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Saturday, September 30, 2017

Five Tips for Painting Yellow Trees

'Aspen Gold'        12x16          pastel        ©Karen Margulis sold


The excitement is building. There won't be aspens but I hope to see the reds and oranges of fall! Next week Michael and I are taking a New England cruise from New York City to Quebec City. I've packed my sketchbook and my Heilman sketchbox and my camera. I plan on doing some Facebook Live broadcasts along the way and I have scheduled blog and Patreon posts in case I have technical difficulties!  Since I have to pack this weekend I am sharing a post from the archives on painting yellow. Enjoy!

Painting the yellow foliage is my challenge. I don't know about anyone else but I find yellows to be tricky with pastels. It is hard to get them as bright, clean and vibrant as I want to.  I am always looking for ideas to help me with yellows and I'd like to share five of my favorite techniques.

Gouache Underpainting

  • Try a yellow underpainting under the areas that will be yellow. It gives your yellows a head start. For this painting I did a gouache underpainting.
  • Use your softest pastels. The softer pastels have more pigment and I can get juicier marks with them. This way the yellows don't mix with the colors underneath as easily keeping the yellows pure. In this painting I took an extra step and dusted soft yellow pastel pieces on the painting and rolled them with a rolling pin to set them into the paper.  (see my post on this Dusting Technique HERE)
  • Try to mix warm and cool yellows in the areas that you are painting yellow. I find that if I place warm yellows next to cool yellows, the color looks more alive and vibrant.
  • When building up your layers of Yellow, start with a darker yellow or an orange yellow so the lighter and more intense yellows will stand out in contrast to these darker areas.
  • Use the compliment of yellow....Purple!  Using the complimentary color purple or violet next to the yellow intensifies it and makes it appear more vibrant. Be sure not to mix the yellow and purple or you will get muddy color.
I hope these tips are helpful. I use these techniques whenever I am painting things that have big areas of yellow such as sunflowers!  Do you have any tips for using yellow? I'd love to hear them.

Join us over on my Patreon page! The challenge this week is painting Yellow ! www.patreon.com/karenmargulis

3 comments:

ART-TRAVELLER said...

Very beautiful painting with so nice and interesting colours !!!

Roxy said...

Such a lovely and vibrant image. I wonder how to use the compliment. If mixing yellow and purple makes mud, will layering the two also make mud? Not sure how to achieve the effect you got using the compliment. Can you help? Thank you!

Karen said...

Good question Roxy. It will make mud if you physically blend the complements meaning you press so hard that the colors mix together. If you us a LIGHT touch the colors will sit on top of one another and we will optically blend them. So the answer is to use a light touch when you layer.