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Sunday, June 14, 2020

A Tip for Painting Authentic Meadows

'Summer Sunshine'                12x9              pastel              ©Karen Margulis
available $175

I dream of running through a beautiful meadow filled with wildflowers. I think it goes back to my childhood and a trip to the North Carolina mountains. We hiked to the top of the mountain and picnicked in a picture perfect meadow. I carry this vision in my head. When I began painting I was drawn to landscapes with wildflowers. But when I tried to paint them they fell flat.

My wildflower meadows looked as if a child came in with a box of crayons and added dots of flowers. This wasn't the romantic vision in my head!

I was determined to paint a meadow, field, prairie, marsh [insert your favorite landscape] that looked authentic. I wanted my grassy areas to look believable. If I chose to add flowers I didn't  want them to look like a child added them.  After painting many, many meadows I have a much better understanding of the things that make a meadow work.  I have techniques and tips that I use to help me create the meadows in my dreams.I am always looking for ways to portray these wonderful flower filled fields in a unique way. 

Here is one of my favorite tips for painting a wildflower meadows:

It is all about MASSING. The best way to approach a field filled with wildflowers is to treat the flowers as one big mass or collection of masses rather than painting lots of tiny dots. SQUINT and see the big simple shapes of the flower groupings. Paint these shapes. Then come back and add just a few individual flowers at the edges of the masses. Let the viewer fill in the rest. 

For this painting I began with the big shapes in the underpainting. I gradually built up the layers of yellow and green to represent the flowers. I used wide areas of color for most of the field. At the end I added the smaller brighter yellow flowers. 

Wash with Derwent Inktense Sticks

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