|'Summer Tango' 16x12 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
My grass painting has evolved. I have gone through the stages from painting every blade of grass with stiff fence-like marks to big swaths of green with no detail. As my style evolves the grass goes along for the ride! Lately I am interested in getting more depth in my grassy areas of a painting. Even in closeup viewpoints I want the viewer to feel like they could put their hand in the grass and not just on the top layer. To do this I have to build up many layers of complexity. I thought it would be interesting to show you a step by step build up of these layers.
Here are a few tips to help your treatment of grass in a painting.
- Avoid painting individual blades of grass. Think instead of the big underlying shapes or blocks of grass. Pull out and paint a few blades. Allow the viewer to participate and fill in the rest. A few well placed blades will read as grass.
- Using the long edge of a soft square pastel use the press and lift method to leave a print of a piece of grass. Do a few but be careful not too have them spaced too evenly or all marching in the same direction.
- Use the top edge of a harder round pastel and roll it leaving a broken line of grass.
- Lay down a block of color and then draw some lines of grass with a thin hard pastel. Draw a SENSITIVE line. Have a light responsive touch so the line isn't to thick or regular. Practice sensitive lines.
- Paint on a heavily textured surface. Glide the pastel over the texture and it will look like grasses without putting in a blade!
- Underpainting! I like to use an alcohol, turpenoid or oil stain and allow the drips to create the grasses.
|The underpainting is really just an old painting that I wet down with|
rubbing alcohol to create a wet wash. There are no drips because the pastel was so thick.
|The beginning stages.I black in the flower placement and use several layers|
of dark pastels to make uptake 'dirt' in the grass. The dark that will hold all of the grass together.
|I build up more layers of dirt using workable fixative to|
give me more tooth for even more layers. I also build up the flowers and layer blues in the sky.
|Next I start to add the thicker excess of grass and weedy foliage.|
See how the green pops against the dark 'dirt'.
|The finished painting.|