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Saturday, August 26, 2017

How Much Detail is Enough?

'Imagine All the Poppies'            8x10          pastel         ©Karen Margulis
available $145
It was the perfect question for this painting. I pulled it out of my plein air travel book and tacked it to a board on my easel for a closer look. It was a plein air demo I had done for my workshop in Ireland. It wasn't meant to be finished really. It was my second demo of the morning and I started it to illustrate a few key points.  I put it away after the workshop in it's unfinished state.....or was it?

The unfinished demo as it looked when I took it out of my plein air portfolio
Perhaps. The bones were definitely there. I had established a base of strong simple shapes. I started to create a feeling of depth. I had placed my poppies in an interesting arrangement and I had hinted at some detail in the grasses.  It could very well be enough detail and I could have stopped.

 But on closer inspection I felt like I needed more detail in the foreground stems and grasses. I like to suggest detail and let the viewer participate and fill in the rest. But in this painting there wasn't quite enough information. The poppies looked as if they were floating on the grass. The foreground looked flat. There was no depth. I wanted to find a way to create a tangle of grasses and flowers that looked three dimensional. I needed more detail!

  • To create the detail I sprayed the foreground with workable fixative. I used some lighter and cooler greens for the grasses in the back.
  • I used chunky marks to suggest seed pods and leaves.
  • I used linear marks to create the stems and grasses.
  • I tried to weave my marks to create this tangle.
  • I tried to use restraint so that I didn't paint every single blade of grass!

1 comment:


Very wonderful flower painting !!!