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Friday, January 20, 2012

One Way to Loosen Up Your Painting Style

'Winter Impressions' 8x10 pastel ©Karen Margulis
purchase painting with paypal $95
I am not one for painting details. A looser approach is just my natural tendency. If I wanted to get more detailed I have to work at it. I am often asked for advice on how to paint more loosely. If your natural tendency is to be detailed oriented there are some things you can try to loosen up. I want to share one way in today's post.
Change your painting surface to one with a lot of texture.
Why does this help? To paint in a loose manner it is important to focus on big simple shapes. You need to forget about details especially in the beginning stages of a painting. Too often we get bogged down with the details and try to paint every branch or blade of grass. If you want to paint loose, it is much better to paint the big shapes and put in just hints of the detail. A rough or textured surface makes it difficult to put in fussy details.
For pastels this means trying out some homemade surfaces. These surfaces can be made to have texture and brushstrokes which will affect how the pastel is applied. Pastels will glide over the ridges creating a 'painted' appearance. The brushstrokes of the ground will show. You can push some pastel down into the ridges but it is difficult to get too fussy. Details are suggested and you have instant looseness. Give it a try!

mini demo of my painting on my own homemade board

I made my own surfaces on Gatorfoam board. I cut a large piece of Gatorfoam into 8x10 pieces. It is easy to score with a utility knife. I coated the board with acrylic gesso to seal it. When it was dry I applied the ground which was made of acrylic gesso, fine pumice powder and water. I tinted this mixture with Golden fluid acrylic paint. There are several recipes for grounds that you can find and you will want to experiment with the ingredients to find mixture you like.
To read more about making your own grounds I recommend Richard McKinley's Pastel Pointer article on Home Grown Surfaces.
Do you like the look of pastels on homemade surfaces?


Suzanne Roberts said...

Really like the looseness of this painting. As far as making your own pastel's a great idea and economical also. One can control the amount of texture that goes on the paper making for a great start for a loose painting.

Karen said...

Hi Suzanne,
Thanks for your comments. I spent the day yesterday making several different ground 'recipes' so it will be fun to experiment with them!

Resa Grogan said...

I definitely want to try this as I tend to be that "fussy" painter. Thanks, Karen.

Karen said...

Hi Resa! It is a lot of fun. I posted a recipe on today's post. I will be posting more soon. Have fun with it!

Roshni Mane said...

I love your pastel skills. Please keep posting more. Thanks a lot for home made recipe for texture surface.