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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Quick Photo Demo and Tips for Painting Grass

'Summer Tango'        16x12       pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available $175
My grass painting has evolved. I have gone through the stages from painting every blade of grass with stiff fence-like marks to big swaths of green with no detail. As my style evolves the grass goes along for the ride! Lately I am interested in getting more depth in my grassy areas of a painting. Even in closeup viewpoints I want the viewer to feel like they could put their hand in the grass and not just on the top layer.  To do this I have to build up many layers of complexity. I thought it would be interesting to show you a step by step build up of these layers.

Here are a few tips to help your treatment of grass in a painting.

  •  Avoid painting individual blades of grass. Think instead of the big underlying shapes or blocks of grass. Pull out and paint a few blades. Allow the viewer to participate and fill in the rest. A few well placed blades will read as grass.
  • Using the long edge of a soft square pastel use the press and lift method to leave a print of a piece of grass. Do a few but be careful not too have them spaced too evenly or all marching in the same direction.
  • Use the top edge of a harder round pastel and roll it leaving a broken line of grass.
  • Lay down a block of color and then draw some lines of grass with a thin hard pastel. Draw a SENSITIVE line. Have a light responsive touch so the line isn't to thick or regular. Practice sensitive lines.
  • Paint on a heavily textured surface. Glide the pastel over the texture and it will look like grasses without putting in a blade!
  • Underpainting! I like to use an alcohol, turpenoid or oil stain and allow the drips to create the grasses.

The underpainting is really just an old painting that I wet down with
rubbing alcohol to create a wet wash. There are no drips because the pastel was so thick.

The beginning stages.I black in the flower placement and use several layers
of dark pastels to make uptake 'dirt' in the grass. The dark that will hold all of the grass together.

I build up more layers of dirt using workable fixative to
give me more tooth for even more layers. I also build up the flowers and layer blues in the sky.

Next I start to add the thicker excess of grass and weedy foliage.
See how the green pops against the dark 'dirt'. 

Once the larger pieces of grassy stuff are in place I start to cover them with thinner marks of grass.
I use a variety of hard pastels to paint some 'dancing' linear grass marks.
You can see that the grass in made of layers form dark to light and from no detail to more clarity.

The finished painting.


Miloke said...

This is lovely Karen. I wanted to thank you for your generosity in sharing your knowledge. I look forward every morning (I'm in Scotland) to reading your new posts and find them very helpful and interesting. I'm sure there are many people like me who lurk in silence but appreciate your videos and blog. All the best, Rae

Marci Potts said...

This is a stunning piece Karen I too love seeing your posts every morning they always bring a smile to my heart.