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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

What To Paint When You Have Been Away From the Easel

'Late Summer Breeze'           9x12         pastel         ©Karen Margulis
available $165
It's been a week. I have had my Florida family here and I haven't had a chance to get down in the studio until today. I spent the morning puttering around and putting the studio back in order from the minor water we had. Then it was time to paint. But what to paint?

Many of us have had a dry spell or a period of time when life happens and we don't have time to paint. When we finally do have time and get in from of the easel it is sometimes difficult to get started. I was excited for the chance to paint but I wasn't particularly inspired by anything. It was time to fall back on my three tried and true bits of advice.

1."Don't wait for inspiration. It comes while one is working."
If you aren't feeling inspired and everything seems blah....just paint. Pick something and get to work. Put pastel to paper. Putter around if you must but make sure you don't walk out of the studio without picking up a pastel and making some marks.  Once the mark is made more marks will follow and often the act of painting unlocks the block and allows inspiration to follow.

2. Return to your happy place.  When choosing a subject to paint after a dry spell I try to choose something that I am familiar with. The subject that I am most passionate about is wildflowers...the weedier the better. I love getting lost in the tangle of blooms and grasses. It is relaxing. It is soothing. It isn't stressful. It allows me to ease into the act of painting without having to think too hard. If you pick a subject that you are familiar with it can allow you to get to work without too much preparation. The trick is to just get started!

3. REIMAGINE an older painting. It is always easier to break a dry spell with a painting that needs to be wiped off and reworked. That way the paper is no longer precious. There is no fear of 'messing up' because you are reusing the paper!

For today's painting I took out the last unfinished me form last weeks plein air workshop. I was demonstrating ideas for more effective clouds and skies. Since it was done on a nice piece of Wallis I didn't want to waste it. I brushed it out and reimagined it into another scene from the beach in Kilmore Quay Ireland.


Cloud demo brushed out and ready to reimagine

A little spray of rubbing alcohol to set the pastel

Adding the dark shapes of the flowers

Blocking in the flower colors....big simple shapes

The finished painting  with a little bee to add the final touch

1 comment:

denise said...

I learn so much from watching your videos and reading this blog. You're the best teacher that I have found online. Now, I must follow your advice and retrieve an unsuccessful pastel on Uart paper from the back seat of my car! Thank you for the time you put into your teaching.

Denise from Somerville, MA