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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

How to Paint a Dreary Day

'Shall We Dance'         8x10           pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available $145
 We didn't have a choice. It was a gray rainy day but we had to make it work. The organizers were apologizing for the weather as if it was something that could be planned or changed. Secretly I was excited about the weather. I like a beautiful blue sky day at the beach but I love a moody day at the beach! So I was quite content to find a sheltered spot to paint. It was going to be a great week!

I am home from a wonderful week on St. George Island Florida at the first St. George Island Printout. I was one of 15 artists who were invited to come paint for a week. It was an awesome experience. The island is beautiful and the people so warm and welcoming.  The organizers did a fantastic job putting together a very successful plein air event. I was honored to take part....and paint the many moods of the island!

'Passing Storm'        8x10        pastel        $145

  •  The first consideration for painting a dreary day is to find a sheltered spot to set up. Especially with pastels. A few sprinkles won't hurt but a downpour would not be good for a box of pastels!  I found a covered picnic pavilion at the state park. It had great views of the dunes and the sky. It also offered protection from the wind. I decided to use my Heilman box as a table easel without the tripod since it was very windy. It worked great!


  • The next consideration is to find the right colors to capture the moodiness of the weather. The sky was overcast. The kind of day when the sky would look white in a photo. But as I observed in reality there was a lot of subtle color in the sky. On a dreary day the colors can actually appear quite vibrant since the overcast sky acts like a giant lightbox. Careful observation will reveal colors that photos won't always capture.
  • On a dreary day you have time to paint without having to chase the light. You have the ability to work at a slower pace if that is your preference. I like to work quickly so I can gather as much information as possible.
  • Be prepared to work small and quickly if the skies and conditions are changing. I like to work smaller on a dreary day with changeable skies so that I can capture the changing colors and moods.

Below are the quick studies I did as a storm moved in and out. They are each 5x7 on Uart and Pastelmat.






2 comments:

Julie Babb said...

Beautiful beach scenes. Glad you had a good week.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful indeed. I love your choices of colours, Karen, and the way you captured the ephemeral moments of a moody day.
Sarolta