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Saturday, October 05, 2019

Demo from the Archive: Florida Wetlands

From the Archives:  Sunday, September 13, 2015

Pastel Demo: Florida Wetlands with Reflections

'Another Quiet Morning'              12 x 15 3/4'              pastel             ©Karen Margulis
It's funny how a picture just calls out to be painted. I was in the middle of several projects and going through my reference photos. One just stopped me in my tracks. I had to paint it and it couldn't wait. It has been awhile since I did a step by step photo demo so I kept my camera handy while I painted this one. Enjoy the progress shots and my commentary.

I am using a piece of white Pastelmat 12 x 15 3/4. I begin the painting with a quick drawing laying out my big shapes. This is a scene from a central Floirda wetlands and there are a lot of marsh grasses. My challenge will be to keep them simplified.

Next I block in the big shapes with some dark, light and middle values. I chose colors that were close to the final local colors. Underpainting colors are fun....sometimes I go with value or maybe bright colors or complements....there are so many choices. Today I felt like keeping it close to the local colors. I use a mix of hard and soft pastels. It is more about the right color and value.

I decide to wet the pastel with water to make a soft and dreamy underpainting. Since I am painting a lot of water and reflections, the wet underpainting gives me a head start. I use a soft wide brush. Pastel mat absorbs the water so you don't get the rips that other papers allow but I still like the soft underpainting.

Once the underpainting is dry I block in the darkest areas of the painting. I use several colors all the same value. I am using Terry Ludwig pastels with a few Unison and Nupastels.

Next I move onto filling out the trees. I use several greens to flesh them out and give them form. I  pull the tree colors down into the water. I also pull some lavender over the reflections to start the feeling of mist.

Once all of the trees and grasses are blocked in I paint the sky. I choose a pale yellow to represent the early morning light. I also put the same yellows in the water. At this point I was too involved in the painting to remember to take a photo! But it was just a matter of refining the painting and choosing where I wanted to put the most clarity and focus. I added tree trunks, sky holes and grass blades. The finishing touched were the current lines in the water.

Finished! I always forget how much I enjoy working on Pastelmat. It really allows for a bolder mark-making which I love.  Below is a close up of the grasses and current lines.

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