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Wednesday, January 25, 2023

New Video and Blog Subscription Ending!!!

IMPORTANT NEWS!!!   I will be ending subscriptions to this blog in one month. The archives will still be available for viewing the older content but all new blog posts will now be made on my website. Be sure to head over to my website  and sign up for my email list on the home page. You can also follow the new blog on the website. Click on the blog tab and you will see the follow button on the right. 

This blog has been an important part of my growth as an artist and instructor. I have had problems lately with hackers so I have decided to use my website blog feature for new posts. I appreciate your support over the years and hope you will continue to follow me on my website or over on Patreon for even more in  depth pastel instruction.

I will end the subscription feed for this blog soon so be sure to head to my website to continue to follow me! If you happen to get any more spam emails from this blog in the next couple of weeks please know I am aware of the problem and I am working on this fix!

Have you watched my latest YouTube video demo?  In this video I share my fix for the problem of finding my favorite workable fixative! Click on the link below to watch the video!


Monday, November 14, 2022

The Sale You've Been Waiting For is Here!

 I am thankful to have the opportunity to share my love of pastels and painting with you here on my blog. I have been sharing here since 2006 and it has been such a rewarding experience. Blogging and creating content for social media has encouraged me to paint every day. All of those paintings have helped me share tips and techniques with you and they have allowed me to grow as an artist as well. The bonus is a studio full of paintings that need good homes!

This week I am offering  a 50% discount on all of the paintings in my Etsy shop! All paintings are original pastels and many of them have been shown here or painted for a Patreon / blog / YouTube demonstrations.  
 Remember, original art makes wonderful holiday gifts for your friends and family (or for yourself!) THANK YOU for your support of my blog. 
Visit my etsy shop to view the paintings.  You don't need an etsy account to make a purchase. Just check out as a guest. Click on the link below:

Sunday, September 18, 2022

I've Been Hacked Again!

 You may have received an email update from this blog with a message from me. It was NOT ME!  Please delete and do not open any links.  I will never post or send anything that is not art related. In fact I have not even posted anything new to this blog all summer. I am so sorry for the trouble. Thank you to all of you who let me know you received a strange message!  

Here is a little something that is more joyful!  My most recent painting fresh off the easel! 9x12 pastel on LaCarte with Terry Ludwig and Girault pastels.

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

New YouTube Video: The Secret to Beautiful Mark Making


Do you know the secret to beautiful pastel mark making? Do you know how to get those fat pastel sticks to make the marks that you want? It is all about the pressure we use....or the Touch!  In this video demo I share with you my way of thinking about the touch I use and how I vary the touch to get beautiful and effective marks. Click on the link below to go to the video on my Youtube channel.

I selected the subject for the video based on a question I asked on Facebook and Instagram. I have a bowl of pastel bits and pieces and I asked you what I should paint with the purple bits! I received some great answers including several requests for a lavender field! I am keeping the list for future demos! What else should I paint with these purple bits? Share your answers in the comments!

Here I am demonstrating a light touch. I call this whispering. I whisper so I can build up many layers of color without filling the tooth of the paper. When I want to emphasize an area and don't plan on adding more pastel to the area I use more pressure for a heavier touch. I call this shouting. Learning to regulate your touch and master the whisper, the shout and just regular conversation will help take your paintings to the next level!

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Introducing My Brand NEW Pastel Masterclass: Expressive Pastel Painting: Loosen Up and Be More Bold

I can't believe it is happening! My first professional video has just been released! I remember how important painting DVD's  were in my early days of pastel painting. My friends and I would gather around the TV to watch the masters paint. Then we would hurry to the studio to try what we learned. These days we have YouTube and Patreon and other ways to learn online. But there is something wonderful about a full length professional Painting video. I am so proud of this video and the opportunity that Streamline publishing gave me to share the wonderful world of pastels with the world!

You can read all about the video at the links below. There is a lot of information about the video and how you can purchase it at the early release price. You have the choice of a digital copy or a physical DVD. 

Read about the video and then be sure to scroll down to see why it would be a good investment for you.


I know you might be thinking.....I am already a Patron and I watch you on YouTube. Why do I need this video? 

Think of the video as a complete course to the way I think and paint. You get bits and pieces in my patreon lessons and demos but in the video I put it all together in one place at one time.  I share in great detail my entire process to approaching a painting from the planning stages down to the finishing marks. It is a great introduction to my approach for those who are new to pastels or to my Patreon group and it is also a great review for those of you who have been with me for awhile! The introductory price is$107 for the physical DVD or  $97 for the streaming version.... an excellent value for the 3 hours of content! 

Here is the demo painting. In the video you will see the entire painting process from the planning to the underpainting to the finishing marks!

It was exciting to have the opportunity to put together this comprehensive lesson/demo in a professional studio! I missed Michael but I had a great crew and they did a great job making me look good! There were four cameras and lots of lights! It was quite an experience and I will share some of the behind the scenes stories in an upcoming post. 

Have a look at the video information in the link

 If you have ANY questions just let me know. 

Friday, June 10, 2022

How to Tame the Greens of Summer! New YouTube Demo

       'Meadow Dance'                 9x16             pastel              ©Karen Margulis   available

New YouTube Video!! GREEN! It can be a challenge to paint the greens of spring and summer. They are beautiful but they can also be overwhelming. Too much green leads to a boring painting. I have some ideas to help us TAME THE GREEN! In this demo I share my secrets to better greens as I paint a typical summer meadow and trees. I hope you enjoy the demo!

This painting is 9x16 on LuxArchival sanded paper with Terry Ludwig Floral Landscape pastels.

Click here to go to the video on my YouTube channel:


Monday, May 16, 2022

New Explorations in the Studio!



I have had a lot of things going on in my studio! This blog has been neglected by me as I work on content for Patreon and Youtube. I need to schedule a regular update for my blog readers! I appreciate you all.  I began the year working on oil paintings. I wish I could say I followed through on my daily oil painting commitment but I didn't. My easel is still set up and waiting for me though!

I also took an online abstract workshop with Larry Moore. It was so much fun and I have been experimenting with ways to introduce abstraction to my landscapes. I won't change my style but I am having fun exploring another way of using pastel and interpreting my favorite subjects. 

The painting I am sharing today is 10x8 pastel. I was painting water lilies and was having trouble. I wiped out the painting twice! I decided to use the same color palette and turn it into a fun interpretation of wildflowers. 

What do you see in this painting? I had someone tell me they saw a coral reef! How fun! 

Sunday, May 15, 2022

What You Need to Know about Watercolor Underpaintings for Pastel ...A Mini Demo

'Summer Loving' 5x7 pastel ©Karen Margulis
Why bother with a watercolor underpainting? I am often asked why I would choose a watercolor underpainting for a pastel painting. For me it is the unpredictability of the watercolor. It is exciting to apply the paint and watch what it does. It drips and blooms and creates washes and new colors. All of these things create a more exciting base for my pastels. I can now respond to this underpainting and create a painting that has more of my input than if I just copied my reference photo. This wet, drippy underpainting frees me from the photo and allows me to truly interpret my subject. In yesterday's post I wrote about the supplies you will need. Now I would like to share some tips for a successful watercolor underpainting.
step by step demo of a watercolor underpainting
  1. (top left) After a loose pencil sketch, I begin by putting in my dark value watercolors. I use a mix of dark blues, reds ,greens and oranges. This is opposite of usual watercolor technique but I want to be sure I get nice strong darks. (I have the painting upright on an easel)
  2. (top right) Wait a few minutes for the darks to start drying. The paint doesn't have to be bone dry but you want it to loose the sheen. PATIENCE is the key. If you add more watercolor too soon it will drip onto your darks and wash them out. Now I add more color above the darks....I want some of this to drip.
  3. Close-up of the two layers of watercolor. You can see the top layer beginning to drip onto the first layer. What will happen? This is the exciting part!
  4. I need to wait and let this next layer lose it's sheen and start drying so I add some greens for the flowers. By chance a bead of paint formed at the base of each flower so I let these drip to become the stems. Fun!
  5. I add some red flowers and let them drip.
  6. Now the first layers that I applied are slightly wet so I draw into it with some green paint, I get some paint lifted and some stems. If it is too wet, this won't work. You can use a dry brush for texture of a spritz bottle for drops of water. I don't want to overdo the texture at this point.
  7. Close-up of the flower heads. Now I patiently wait for everything to dry further. Again it doesn't have to be bone dry you want it almost dry so that when we wash in the sky, it won't erase the flowers. I add a pink wash for the sky.
  8. Finished underpainting.
watercolor underpainting for an 18x24 pastel
Here is the finished underpainting. It is a large one for me 18x24. I will be working on the pastel application this week and I hope you will check back to see my progress. If I could give you only one tip for doing these w/c underpaintings it would be to have patience. I used to get very wimpy underpaintings because I was always in a rush to finish and so each wash of watercolor would erase the previous wash as it slid down the paper. Once I learned to let things get dry I have had better results!

Friday, March 25, 2022

It's Your Turn To Vote on a Demo Subject!


I'd love your input!  Soon I will be doing a video with Streamline Publishing! This is exciting news and I want to be sure to  paint the subject YOU want!  It will be so much fun to have the opportunity to do a full lesson and demo in a professional studio. I will be able to share my favorite tips and techniques in one comprehensive video!  

Click on the link at the top of the page to go to the official poll. Feel free to share your thoughts about subject matter in the comments below. I want to be sure I plan the best possible demo!

Thanks in advance for your help!

Here is the link to the poll:

Tuesday, March 08, 2022

New YouTube Video Demo:Capture the Glow of Sunset!

        'Sunset at the Fort'                  8x10             ©Karen Margulis                   pastel

You have an artistic license which mean you can interpret your reference photos however you’d like instead of copying them! In this video I share my secret for transforming a dull sunset photo into a painting that captures the warm light and glow of a sunset in the forest. Enjoy this quick 24 minute demo! Link to the video is below.
SUPPLY LIST 1. Multimedia Dartboard coated with tinted clear gesso 2. Art Graf Tailors block (black) 3. Terry Ludwig Floral Landscape pastel set 4. Misc. Nupastels and a few Sennelier pastels



Here is a close up of the beginning stages of the painting. You can see the rough texture of the gesso covered Multimedia Art board!


Monday, February 07, 2022

30 Minutes of Relaxing Pastel Painting: Video Demo

        'Relax at the Marsh'                 9x12              pastel        ©Karen Margulis        available $275

I tried something new! I have been enjoying YouTube videos that show artists painting to music. I find it mesmerizing. Even if it is not a medium of subject that interests me, I want to watch to see what unfolds! I thought it would be fin to try to make this type of video myself!

In this video I paint a serene marsh scene at sunset. I paint to music with no commentary so you can watch me paint at my intuitive best. Relax and watch the painting materialize from simple shapes to painterly detail in just 30 minutes! Enjoy the demo!



SUPPLY LIST 1. Wallis sanded paper 9x12 2. Blair Very Low Odor workable fixative 3. Terry Ludwig pastel Floral landscape set 4. Rembrandt pastels 5. Sennelier half stick pastels

Sunday, January 30, 2022

From Drab to Fab! Punch up a Dull Winter Landscape: Video Demo

How would you paint a drab winter landscape that doesn't have the interest of snow? The colors are dull and very brown. The sky is overcast and gloomy. I answer the question with a demo! In this video I share how I take a drab winter reference and make it more interesting using a bold underpainting. I loved the underpainting process for this painting and plan to do more. Maybe I will even leave them alone! SUPPLY LIST 1. Uart sanded paper 9x12 2. Jack Richeson Underpainting squares 3. Terry Ludwig pastel Floral landscape set 4. Rembrandt pastels 5. Sennelier half stick pastels

Click on the link below to watch the video on my YouTube channel!

Enjoy the demo and join me in my Patreon group for an expanded lesson!

Friday, January 07, 2022

This is the Year! Learning How to Paint with Oils

It was 2005. I picked up a pastel for the very first time. I had no idea how to use them. I had visions of beautiful paintings in my head but my hand could not get those fat sticks to make the marks I wanted. I began taking classes with a wonderful artist and teacher, Marsha Savage. But I still struggled. It wasn't enough to go to a class.....I needed to practice!  Enter this blog...Painting My World. I began to paint something small every day and blog about my experience. (you can still see this early posts in the archives)

Guess what happened? It worked! The blog became my accountability partner. I felt guilty if I didn't have a painting to post so I painted. The more I painted the more fluent I became with the language of pastel. Painting and blogging became a habit and the work I put into my paintings began to show. My paintings were improving and I was gaining followers to my blog which was an unexpected bonus. 

It is now 2022. I am now a full time artist and teacher of pastel painting. Many of you have followed me over to Patreon where I still post everyday and share my pastel lessons, demos and challenges. This blog has sadly been neglected. There are only so many hours in the day!  But it dawned on me that blogging about my art life has been a tremendous help to me in the past so I need to make time for it. 

Last week I had an idea! One of my goals this year is to become more fluent with oil painting. I have started and stopped a few times over the last few years. I would do a few paintings and then life got in the way and the paints got neglected. This year I want it to be different. I want it to feel just as liberating to paint with oils as it does with pastels. I have the tools. I am taking an online workshop with Scott Christensen. I am missing one ingredient to success.....PRACTICE!  I need to put in the time at the easel and the miles of canvas if I want to get better. Here is my plan:

  • I set up a dedicated easel and table devoted to oils. It has every thing I need to paint efficiently. I don't have to move or clean up this area (photos coming soon) This will be a no excuse oil painting area. It is all there. I have no excuse not to use it!
  • I made a commitment to success by getting new oil painting supplies. I treated myself to some of the finest materials....Rosemary brushes and Vasari oil paints. I know from my experience with pastels that having quality supplies can make a big difference. They are not magic but combined with practice they are worth every penny. 
  • I invested in great instruction. I joined Scott Christensen's Adventure of Painting online course. It is a wonderful resource and not just for oil painters. I am only half way through the course but I look forward to my evening video class with Scott. Investing in instruction does two things....I am learning but I am also motivated to show up because it was not inexpensive :)
  • I am trying to paint a small oil study every day. My goal is every day but I will be satisfied with at least three painting days per week. I am finding that if I start a painting in the morning I can come back to it before dinner when I am caught up with other tasks. 
  • I plan to use this blog once again as an accountability partner. I would like to post more often and share my oil journey with you. I will also share my pastel life and keep you posted on what I am doing!

In upcoming posts I will share my approach to oils as a pastel painter. I can't help but bring this experience to my oil attempts. Below is a photo of the underpainting for the Queen Anne's Lace 8x6 oil. It is thin oil paint. I might do the exact same type of underpainting for a pastel. I am also working with a limited palette which I will share soon. 

 Thank you for being here and for joining me on my journey as I continue to Paint my World!

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

My Top Paintings from 2021

 Today as I sit at my newly cleaned desk and drink my coffee I am feeling reflective.  
Looking back at my Art Year always makes me think about my own personal journey with pastels. When I saw my Instagram Top Nine something became crystal clear. The seeds for my growth as an artist were planted when I first started painting 16 years ago. I didn't  see it then but others did. 

Look at the paintings in the photo above. These paintings got the most interaction on my Instagram account. Do you notice something about them ?  They are Flowers and Meadows. These are things I never dreamed I would paint. When I first started painting, my subject of choice were animals and beach related still life. Never trees or landscapes! But I had the chance to attend a 5 day workshop with Albert Handell because he was in the area (even though I had only been painting for 6 months.) Much of the instruction was over my head. But I learned two very important things. 
  • We can only absorb and understand what we are ready for. I wanted it all right away. I wanted to paint like Albert or even some of the other students. I wanted to understand everything. But I wasn't ready. I needed to understand the basics of value, color, edges, composition...and I needed much practice before some of the more advanced concepts within those basics became clear. Fortunately I wasn't defeated. Instead I was motivated and energized to put in the time at the easel to master the basics. I am still learning but I am happy to say that it definitely got easier and those AHA moments were so sweet when they came.

  • Paint the Things You Love. When I first started painting, I painted animals and still life. I love animals but I didn't really like painting them! Back to the Handell the end of the workshop we had an individual critique. We could share work done at home and at the workshop which was plain air in North Georgia (trees)  Albert looked at my work and very bluntly told me I should stop painting 'Ducks and shells'. He pointed to my plein air woodland paintings from the workshop and told me to concentrate on this type of subject.....trees, woods, nature.  I left the workshop indignant. How dare he tell me what to paint!  But I noticed that  as the time went on I was drawn more and more to the landscape. I enjoyed painting them and my work got better. I had another AHA moment about subject matter at a workshop years later with Stan Sperlak. That is when I embraced painting 'weeds'.  Looking back I realize that both Albert and Stan were right and they saw things in my work that I didn't passion for the landscape which translated into stronger paintings. Our choice of subjects matter!Paint what you are passionate about so that you own authentic voice can emerge!

I am looking forward to an exciting new year filled with creative pursuits and sharing. Look for this blog to follow my new journey with oil painting. I am feeling a bit like I did in my early days of pastel and this blog is what helped me stay the course!