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Friday, May 11, 2018

Seven Steps to a Pastel Painting

'When You Believe in Magic'           12x24          ©Karen Margulis
available $395

If you were a fly in the wall of my studio today this is what you would have seen. I put up a piece of Uart paper 12 x24. I love painting in this size and format. I put on some music. I chose the soundtrack for the movie Avatar since we will be going to Disney World soon and visiting Pandora.  I took a deep breath and dove into the painting. This is a scene from the beach in Ireland. It is mostly from memory with a small photo as my inspiration.

1) I decided to do a watercolor underpainting mostly because I had not done one in awhile and I just felt like it. That is sometimes a good enough reason. I used my set of Cretacolor Aqua Briques which are very intense. You can see the finished underpainting in the photo below.


2) After the underpainting was dry I was ready to paint. (I took my lunch break while it was drying) The first thing I did was to reinforce the dark areas. I used several dark greens and violets for the darks. These dark areas would become the shadow areas in the grasses. My goal is to create a feeling of depth in the grasses.


3) The next thing I did was to enforce the yellow areas. I had already established the yellow flowers with the watercolor. Now I needed to start the pastel layers. I took out my box of Terry Ludwig 'Stunning Yellows' set. They were perfect for this painting.


4) Now that the flowers were blocked in I chose to paint the sky. The sky establishes the light so it was important to go in early and develop the sky. I used several blue pastels from the Terry Ludwig Richard McKinley selection. I had fun with the negative spaces in the flowers and grasses. I also take an additional step and add a light glaze of mauves and violets in the grass area. I want theses violets to make the yellow grasses more interesting (complements)


5) Next I used two very dark green pastels to paint the stems and leaves that were down in the shadows of the grasses. I also added some lighter and brighter greens to the foliage areas. I am slowly building the complexity of the grasses which include scrubby plants and grasses.


6) Once the darker stems and leaves were established I worked on the yellow flowers. I used a variety of greens and yellows to develop the flowers with chunky strokes.  I also start on the lighter grass areas using a pale yellow Terry Ludwig pastel on it's side. I used a very light touch. I used negative painting to put the yellow grass behind the dark greens of the flowers.


7) Time for the finishing touches. Up until this point I haven't painted a single blade of grass. Now I take out some Nupastels and pastel pencils in greens and yellows to paint the linear grass marks. I add a few bumblebees because I remember them as being a critical part of the scene. Plus I love painting little bumblebees. Finished! That was fun!


I hope you enjoyed your visit with me today! Thanks for reading my blog!



1 comment:

jojo said...

encore une belle peinture qui respire la belle saison !j'ai appris avec intérêt. merci KAREN