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Sunday, May 13, 2018

Permission to be a Messy Painter

'A Summer for Hydrangeas'          18x24        pastel     ©Karen Margulis
available $250

I admit it. I am a messy painter.  My pastels are not pristine and yes I put them away dirty!  When I am caught up in the passion part of a painting, dust will be flying and I'll end up with a pile of messy pastels. I wear a painting apron because if I didn't my clothes would be covered in pastel. The only time I do clean my pastels is when I wipe them on a dish towel before making a mark.  I'll also clean my whole box once a year.

Sometimes when I see a neat and organized painter I feel bad.....and inadequate.  Shouldn't I be neater and more careful?  Would it make me a better painter? Today a friend and I had a discussion about this.  She is like me.....happy with a semi organized box of pastels and not afraid to spread our stuff all over the table and make a mess when painting.  We decided that if it worked for us and we had fun ....then why sweat it.  We gave ourselves permission to be messy!

I have to work hard at being neat and tidy.  So when it comes to painting I tend to get caught up in the moment and forget all about being organized and keeping my supplies clean. It is all about the process and enjoying the painting session. I have decided that this works for me. When I try to stay neat and clean it shows in my work.  Give yourself permission to make a mess and see what happens.  It is liberating!  Clean up after the painting session if you must but have fun and see what develops from your mess!

Today's Hydrangea painting is a large one for me 18x24 and I had fun making a mess with the alcohol wash underpainting and the wetting and layering of pastels. I used several layers of pastel and fixative and more alcohol.   I ended up with a dusty pile of pastels, dirty brushes and a smile on my face!


Silvana said...

Karen your the best!
I too am a messy painter who feels embarrassed. But as of today I will embrace it
If a fabulous artist like you can be messy , I will follow your example and enjoy the process.
Have a wonderful Mother’s Day,


Sheila said...

Love this :)

Deborah Lonergan said...

Me, too! Messy, messy, messy. Occassionally, I give in to my OCD and rearrange my pastel drawers, and then feel guilty for the wasted time. I am still looking for that magic organizational system that will allow me to pick the one stick with the exact value, hue, and chroma that I need for every mark that I make. My current thought is to arrange everything by value: one drawer for dark, one for medium, and one for light, and by hue, then chroma within the drawers. Does anyone do it that way? I am thinking that regardless of the mess, this will help me at least grab the correct value quickly, a plus since that is the most important aspect of the color!