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Monday, January 28, 2013

The Importance of Mystery in a Painting...Inspiration from Degas

'Emergence'          12x16          pastel over watercolor       ©Karen Margulis

"A painting requires a little mystery, some vagueness, some fantasy. When you always make your meaning perfectly plain you end up boring people." Edgar Degas

I love a good mystery story. Something that pulls me in and makes me think. I like it when a writer can give me just enough information to keep me hooked. I want to keep reading.  I'd like to be a mystery painter!  I'd like to tell a good mystery story with my painting.  It is my goal to put in just enough detail to tell the story but not to give away the ending right away!  I want the viewer to linger and to discover the bits and pieces that tell the story of the painting.

This quote from Edgar Degas speaks to me. It is something I have been working on and sharing in my classes.  Last week we worked on watercolor underpaintings with the goal being to let the underpainting suggest details rather than trying to paint every blade of grass.  This week we will be exploring the possibilities of the Dusting technique to help us introduce mystery into our work. 

Today's painting is the demo I did at the Red Cockerill Gallery last weekend. I did a watercolor underpainting and tried to leave some areas to the imagination. Here are some close-ups:

Not every petal is painted and I only used a thin veil of pastel over the watercolor

Very soft edges hint at a flower. Soft edges add mystery

I tried to be  loose and free with my strokes. Bolder more opaque pastel contrasts with the thin pastel over watercolor

Would you like to be a Mystery Painter?  Be sure to visit the blog this week and try out Dusting with pastels. It is a fun technique and one sure to add some mystery to a painting!


Mariela said...

The dusting technique, I love it!!
I already try it and I also put a link to one of your older posts about it!
Thanks Karen...

Karen said...

Thanks Mariela!

Anonymous said...

This is what I love about pastels, not every detail has to be spelled out intricately. Too much of life is tense, loose is good.