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Monday, December 03, 2018

Listening to an Underpainting

'Autumn Glory'           12x9.         pastel         ©Karen Margulis
available on Etsy.  $165
 Oh the wonderful surprises I find in my studio! Actually in my studio storage room. We converted our garage into a hang out room for the kids when they were teens. Now I have taken over the space with art stuff. I'll show you a picture someday but it is a scary place!  Yesterday I started the process of organizing the space. I do it every December! I love uncovering forgotten surprises so I was excited to find a fun underpainting.

The problem is I no longer have any idea what I was trying to paint. The reference are long gone and forgotten. Not really a problem! It is actually a gift. Now I can look at the underpainting and let it speak to me. What does it suggest? What do the colors want to do? What does this underpainting want to be?

It is clear to me that this underpainting wants to be some yellow trees. So I took out my fall foliage photos and chose one with warm autumn colors. I decided to go with  autumn golden trees with a dark background. I didn't really look at the photos to paint rather I let the underpainting guide my shapes and my imagination did the rest!   It was fun to let the underpainting guide me and I can't wait to do the next one!

An oil stain underpainting 

close up detail
Try This: Do you have unfinished underpaintings in your studio? Why not listen to it and let it guide your next painting. Let your imagination go and have fun without the restraints of a photo!


leslie said...

The painting is stunning! I've been out of pastels for years, doing watercolor and acrylic, but following your work has inspired me to pick up my pastels again. Isn't it wonderful that they don't go bad, lol!

oldwomanjosie said...

Hi Karen, I just wanted to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed many of your videos and I find your work incredibly awesome. I used to resent pastels (like all dry media except for charcoal), but apparently they can create very beautiful, unique, and expressive artwork. Cheers.

Vanessa said...

Beautiful work Karen. I often find I'm very tied to not only the reference photo but also the "idea" I had in mind when I envision what the finished painting would look like. But yet I love the expressiveness and looseness people achieve when they let go of these things. I suppose its a work i progress, absolutely love your fall foliage painting!