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Thursday, August 02, 2012

A Unique Way to Add Texture to a Pastel Painting

'The Beauty Spot'           12x16          pastel      ©Karen Margulis
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There is a freedom in working on a discarded painting. You have nothing to lose. If it was destined for the trash bin then anything you might do to it will be a learning experience. And you might end up with a better painting!  I have a stack of unfinished paintings and I am working on taking one at a time and doing something with it...either resolving it, cutting it up or washing it off to save the paper.  Read on to see how I transformed this marsh painting by adding some thick texture with Matte Medium.

The original unfinished painting
This painting started out as a demo for a class I taught on marshes. It was done on Uart paper that was drymounted to rag board. I then did an alcohol wash before adding pastel.  I didn't fully resolve the painting during the demo but I had finished enough to get my lesson across. I threw it in my unfinished painting pile where it sat for months.  When I took it out I decided it was blah. It needed some punch and maybe some texture.

Painting after brushing on Matte Medium
I remembered reading about using acrylic matte medium with pastels in Bill Creevy's wonderful book 'The Pastel Book'. I had tried it a few times but I thought it would be a great technique to use on this nice piece of mounted paper. I lay the painting down flat and brushed on the matte medium. It dries quickly and you can start to add pastel as soon as it is dry. You can build layers of matte medium and pastel but I only used one layer. The medium will darken and spread the pastel. See the above photo.

The pastels I used for this painting

A close-up of a section of the painting.
 The next step was fun. I had to choose what kind of mood I wanted. Did I want it to be evening? Green? Sunny? Dark and moody? The choice was mine. I had no photo to influence me, only my imagination. I chose a late afternoon with setting sun and picked out some pastels that I thought might work. Painting over the dried matte medium was exciting. As the pastels glided over the brushstrokes and ridges they left interesting lines and texture.

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