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Saturday, January 20, 2018

How To Start a Stronger Painting


'Windswept Dunes'          8x10        pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available $145
Start strong. End strong. That's all you need to do. There are many ways to start a pastel painting....wet underpaintings, dry washes, tonal...it can be overwhelming. I have a few go-to painting starts and I choose them based on the subject and the concept I have for the paintings. In this list of starts there is one that never fails me....BE BOLD. Let me explain what I mean.

When working with pastels it is a good practice to work from dark to light. I like to start by blocking in the darkest values in the painting. What I have learned that if I start with strong darks I have a better chance of having a strong foundation for the painting. If my darks aren't strong enough or if they are too spotty I will have to make corrections and too many corrections often lead to mud.

I have also discovered that if I start the painting with bolder color I will have a painting with more interesting color. Starting the painting with strong darks and bold even unexpected color will allow you to tone down and lighten. Remember you can always adjust the BOLDNESS but it is difficult to add them once the painting is underway.




My palette for today's painting
Today's painting is a good example of starting BOLD. The actual scene was somewhat subdued. I decided to do a dry wash underpainting using bolder colors than I really wanted. I used a bright turquoise for the water, a rich yellow gold for the sand and a bright lime green for the grass. I also used a rich dark blue for the dark areas. Once I rubbed in the first layer I added some rich purples and reds under the grass. These bolder colors will add interest to the green grass.

Remember......Start darker and bolder than your top layers.




The first layer is rubbed in for a dry wash


Adding more rich color under the grass



What's Happening on Patreon This Week
If you haven't tried my Patreon page this is a good week to check it out. We have been focusing on VALUE this month. Value is the key to a successful painting! This week's challenge invites you to edit and paint from my photo and share your results for feedback! Come join us! www.patreon.com/karenmargulis


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