Imagine a butterfly flitting through your landscape painting. You need to give your butterfly places to rest...interesting areas to explore before moving on to the next interesting resting place. Can you imagine that? (if you are a patron be sure to watch the video today for a reminder)
Monday, March 01, 2021
Friday, February 26, 2021
I recently read an interesting article about Cezanne. Since we have been focused on painting mountains on Patreon this month I was intrigued by his fascination with his muse Mont Sainte-Victoire. I thought it might be fun to try to paint the mountain in my own style!
I did not get to see Mont Sainte-Victoire on my trip to Provence. (it is definitely on my return bucket list!) but I was able to find a copyright free reference photo on Pixabay Here is a link to my search: https://pixabay.com/images/search/mont%20sainte%20victoire/
I used this photo from Twalerio. Click on the photo to make larger. If you are looking for a fun painting project this weekend why not paint Mont Sainte-Victoire in your style! We are sharing our results on my Patreon Community page if you are a member. I am also starting a thread on my Facebook page and I welcome you to share your version there!
Wednesday, February 24, 2021
What is Pastelmat paper?
PASTELMAT® is a premium card surface (360gsm / 170lb) specially developed for pastelists. Its unique velvety surface, made from a fine coating of cellulose fibers, has the ability to grab and hold multiple layers of even the softest pastels.
Is it a sanded paper?
Does it take a dry wash/underpainting?
Friday, February 19, 2021
But the time came eventually to get these pastels out of the original box and get them ready to paint with rather than stare at! We all face this issue. We get a new box of pastels and we aren't' sure of the best way to store them. Here are a few of my tips:
- The absolute best way to paint is to have all of your colors in one box such as a Heilman or Dakota box, organized by color and value. Even if you make a box it is much better to have them all in the same box rather than having to cart around several boxes and hunt and peck for the right pastel color/value. So no matter how pretty they look in their box...take them out and introduce them to your other pastels!
- Next you have to do some pastel surgery. You need to break them into smaller pieces without the wrapper. Some pastels come in small enough manageable shapes. For example I don't break Terry Ludwig or Diane Townsend pastels. I like to have smaller pieces because I like to make larger swaths of color.
- Take the wrappers off or break off a piece. With the wrappers on and full size, I tend to want to draw with them rather than paint. For these Great Americans, I was able to snap off about 1/3 and pull it from the wrapper. The wrapper and the rest of the pastel stays in the original box and the piece goes into my working box.
- Next take your unwrapped piece of pastel and put it into your working box. (organized by color and value is best) I usually put all new pastels into my big box. Occasionally I will get a special set such as this McKinley set that I want to keep separate. I like to challenge myself and use a particular palette for a painting. I keep some cigar boxes on hand that I line with foam for these separate sets. I have a Stan Sperlak set, Terry Ludwig Arid landscape, Jimmy Wright Great American set that I like to keep separate.
- Do you mix hard and soft pastels together? Yes and no. I like to keep my Nupastels in a separate box all mixed together since I really only use them for underpaintings. I keep Giraults separate since the are so small. Other than that I mix them all together. If you are brand new and don't have a big selection I would but them all together until you build up your collection. Than you can put the very hard sticks in a separate box.
Today's painting was done using only my newly prepared Richard McKinley set. I just love these pastels!
Monday, February 15, 2021
The color chart above shows my technique. The trick is to start layering with a duller and darker red. I sometimes even begin with a dark purple. Here I began with a dark brick red. I selected two other dull cooler reds for the middle layers. I reserved the most vibrant and warmest (orange) reds for the final layers. You can see these bright reds better when they are layered over the dark cool reds. In contrast if you just go right to the brightest red it isn't as interesting!
Depending on how much warm light there is in your scene you could take it a step further and add some red orange and even push it to go with some orange and yellow orange as I did in the poppy painting. You are moving toward the yellow of the sun!
I have a digital PDF step by step demo of this painting available in my Etsy shop. Click here for the link
Friday, February 12, 2021
- I began by brushing off some of the green layers with a stiff brush. This left a ghost image of the tree shapes.
- I gave the entire painting a light spray of workable fixative. This allowed the darks to be anchored and gave me a base to build the warmer colors. This dark base was just what I needed.
- I started adding warm colors beginning with dark reds and gradually getting warmer and more intense. I ended with the intense orange marks.
- I also worked from broad marks to smaller details. The last marks were the grasses and smaller light flowers. I used hard pastels for the grass marks and a pale yellow soft pastel for the flowers.
- I did use the workable fixative occasionally in between layers. This gives the look you see in the rough texture. I like this technique for suggesting foliage and grasses.
Monday, February 08, 2021
I am sharing an opportunity to join a livestream demo with me! I will be conducting a 3 hour online talk and pastel demo on color for the Arkansas Pastel Society. Since it is a livestream they are able to open registration to all and there are some spots available!
I will begin the livestream with a talk sharing the four tips I use to get more exciting color in my landscape painting. I will them apply the tips to a full demo. I am not painting these yellow trees but it will be a landscape painting! If time allows I have a second mini demo planned! You will also have the opportunity to ask me questions through the live chat feature of the livestream. Once you register you will receive the link to the livestream a few days before the stream begins.
I am sharing a screen shot of the registration form which has more details. I hope you will join us!
Saturday, February 06, 2021
It is Color Bootcamp month so if you would like a refresher or some tips on achieving more harmonious color consider joining us this month! It is just $4 or $6 for the bonus lessons and Paint along!
Monday, February 01, 2021
Saturday, January 30, 2021
I am painting flowers for Valentine's Day. I will have a pop up sale this week! In the spirit of painting flowers I am releasing a video demo from my Patreon Page. In the video I work from a photo and paint a pitcher full of sunflowers for our month long focus on the still life.
Here is the link to the video on my Youtube challenge. I welcome your comments and I hope you will share it with your artist friends!
It was fun to paint and I hope you enjoy the demo. After the camera stopped and I had time to step back I saw some things to adjust so that I could make sure I created a better visual journey for the viewer, a better feeling of depth and a better connection between background and subject. Scroll down to read more about the changes.
The finished painting is 12x13 on Uart 400.
The first thing I did was to remove the handle of the pitcher and make it into a pot. I didn't like the way the handle looked. I could have fussed with it to get it right but in the end it wasn't important to the story and it was more satisfying to brush it out. Now it is just a piece of pottery!
- I needed to create more depth within the flowers. I adjusted and refined some of the leaves making some cooler green in the leaves farthest away. I also added a darker blue under the largest leave to make it pop away from the pot. I used a variety of greens to refine the leaves.
- I refined the centers of the flowers on the right making them darker.
- I refined the petals and added some to the right. I also add a couple of petals on the table. The reason for these petals is to move the eye around the painting by repeating the yellow. The petals on the right point us done to this area and we are drawn by the petals on the table. We then look back up to the large flower completing the circle.
- I pulled out a bright blue and added it to the center of the flowers as well as in the shadow on the table.
- I add a few more marks of pale blue and violet in the background. I used linear marks to pull the ye into the painting. I chose to keep the background simple so the flowers can be the star. I decided that the background of trees in the photo would be confusing and too busy.
Here is a close up so you can see my marks. Can you see the difference between the heavy yellow marks and those done with a light touch? This add contrast to the painting.
Please consider joining us on Patreon for a low monthly pledge of just $4! We covered the still life in September 2020 and you will have access to all of those posts and much more! www.patreon.com/karenmargulis
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
You can find this set online at Dakota Pastels. Here is a link: https://www.dakotapastels.com/product/unison-120-half-assorted?cat=268&idsku=10631
I actually painted on top of this much older painting. I sprayed it with workable fixative and painted right on top of the pastel which became a dry underpainting. I used the reference photo to make adjustments to the painting and to make it more interesting. It was a fun exercise and the pastels made it easy!
Saturday, January 23, 2021
- VIBRANCY. Look at how bright and intense the pastels in the above painting appear on a black surface. Pastels glow and come to life on a dark surface. Because the paper is black or dark....the lights and brights appear even lighter and brighter than they would on a lighter surface. (simultaneous contrast at work)
- TIP: When choosing a subject to paint on black choose something that will exploit the ability of the dark paper to make light and bright colors pop. Subjects such as flowers are wonderful candidates for black paper.
- CONTRAST: Black or dark paper can lead to stronger paintings. The dark tone provides the glue that holds everything together. It provides the much needed contrast with the middle and light values. If handled well the back paper can help unify shapes and prevent spottiness. I like to block in a painting with simple shapes of 2-4 values. These big areas of light and dark form the foundation for the detail and colors to follow. Working on a dark paper ensures that my darks are strong enough. (often we are afraid of pushing the darks too far and we end up with disjointed and weak paintings)
- TIP: The Uart dark paper is dark but there are some pastels, notably the Terry Ludwig eggplant which is actually darker than the paper. I like to use these 'super darks' with restraint as accents. This makes the dark paper a perfect overall dark allowing my accents to pop!
Sunday, January 17, 2021
In the video I start with a value thumbnail and then do an alcohol wash underpainting. Using the color purple! I do add some bees after the video and you can read more about that over on my Patreon Page! www.patreon.com/karenmargulis
Saturday, January 16, 2021
Thursday, January 14, 2021
I used the Notanizer app on my iPhone to create the black and white thumbnail. I was able to adjust my reference photo to show black and white, notan as well as 3 and 4 values. It was fun to use! I review the app today on my Patreon Page. www.patreon.com/karenmargulis