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Monday, November 02, 2020

How to Start a Painting Without Fear!

'Morning Magic'             9x12          pastel           ©Karen Margulis       available $225

I finally got to paint on Sunday! We experienced Hurricane Zeta last week and were without power for two days and only just got internet back Sunday afternoon! It was nice to have a break from the computer but I was happy to get back to work!  The first painting on the easel was this scene from my cruise to Norway last fall. I loved the photo but it felt a bit overwhelming. How should I begin? I took a deep breath and began with a rough block in and dry underpainting with hard pastels. 

I am going to call it a fast and furious block in. All I did was choose a few colors and values that represented the extremes... the darkest areas, the lightest areas and the most intense colors. I kept the idea of atmospheric perspective in mind and chose warmer colors for the foreground mountain and progressively lighter blues for the mountains. I roughly blocked in the main shapes of the scene. 

Tip: It helps to start a painting on a toned middle value color. I am using a piece of Wallis warm mist seconds (I have a small stash) But you can tone any paper with a layer of pastel rubbed into the paper.  Having a unified tone peeking through your pastel layer is like having a thread woven through the painting. It holds everything together 

I kind of like how this fast and furious underpainting looks. It was fun and I want afraid of 'messing up' because I knew it was only the first layer. It took the fear away and allowed me to relax and enjoy the rest of the painting. I did take the extra step of blending in this first layer because I like to start with an out of focus underpainting I then get to choose where I put the clarity and focus.


We will be adding structures to our paintings this month! We will also have lessons on Edges and the color yellow. I can't wait to paint some yellow autumn trees!  Join the group for a fun month of painting!

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