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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

My Favorite Tips for Painting LARGE!

'Over the Dunes'          24x30           pastel       ©Karen Margulis     sold
 I love painting large! I don't do it often but when I do I am always reminded of how valuable it is as a learning experience. I just finished a large commission which was inspired by one of my older beach dune paintings. I put together some tips to help you go big!

I am using unmounted Uart paper that I taped to a big piece of
gator board. The gator board is rigid and works well as a drawing board.

This is my collection of Mount Vision pastels. I keep these in a tray for use
on LARGE paintings. I might use a few other pastel brands but
the majority of the painting is done with the Mount Vision pastels.

This photo shows the first layer block in with the Mount Visions.
I am using colors that are darker and bolder than what I want
to finish with. BE BOLD!

I use a piece of pipe insulation foam to rum in the first layer.


  •  Planning is the key! Don’t begin painting without a plan: concept and black & white thumbnail, then color choices.
  •  Choose your pastel palette in advance. 
  •  Do a small color study to test your palette
  •  Start with an underpainting to get a head start and use less pastel. I like Mount Vision pastels for large painting block-in. In fact Mount Vision pastels can be used for the entire painting. They are great workhorse pastels.
  •  START BIG: paint the big shapes first. Keep things big and simple for as long as possible.
  • Save the details (decoration) for the end
  • MOVE! Allow your arm and whole body to get into the painting. Think Big Bold strokes.
  • Play some epic music. I love painting to movie scores!

I just posted my latest Step by Step demo on my Patreon page. Have you wondered how to interpret values in a value thumbnail with color? I address this question in this demo. Check it out. A subscription to my Patreon page is just $4 a month. www.patreon.com/karenmargulis
Here are some recent comments:

"This is just the kind of comprehensive demo that I find useful! Thank you so much! So many questions answered."

"Thank you for such a detailed demonstration! So helpful explaining and showing the same value but different temperature and how it all works together. Also incredibly helpful showing closeups of stick selections and explaining the nuances between them. Going in to paint right now. Thank you, Karen!!!"

"I learn something from all your posts and videos, but this time I learned a ton. I never would have guessed that some of those dune colors were the same value until I squinted. Such a surprise, and such a valuable lesson. Thank you!!!"


robertsloan2art said...

Great article that has me itching to paint large again. I love Mount Visions for that. Their big size is so economical and it's easy to get 3 working pieces with one stick. They have a sweet texture too.

Unknown said...

Karen, where do I find pipe insulation foam? Is it at a hardware store and does it have to be cut. Thanks for any info. Carolyn Stewart

Karen said...

You can get the pipe insulation at any hardware store. It comes in longer pieces that you can easily cut and tear.