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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

A Magic Trick for Painting Reflections with Pastels

'Evening Song'              18x24              pastel              ©Karen Margulis
A little magic makes painting fun!  Painting really is magic if you think about it. I am always amazed at how we can create a three dimensional reality on a flat pieces of paper with a handful of chalks.  Everything we do to create this reality is an illusion....creating depth, making water look wet, making something look hot or goes on and on.  Any little tool I can use to help me create this illusion is always welcome.  Here is one you might like to try:

It's an eraser.  But not just any's a Magic Rub eraser by Sanford.   Just what we need ......a little magic!

The Magic Rub erase in action

To create believable reflections in the water I want to make them softer than the object that is being reflected.  I also want to make them look like they are in the water and not just shapes on the ground.  To do this I take the colors I am using to block in the shapes ABOVE the water and paint them IN the water using vertical strokes. (the water will be painted with horizontal strokes)

I often use my fingers to drag the color down into the water, pulling them vertically.  For larger areas of reflections such as in today's BIG 18x24 demo, I used the Magic Rub eraser to drag the reflections into the water and softening them. I press down hard on the eraser allowing it to pick up pastel and pulling it into the water.  It works great!  Next I put in the water using very light horizontal strokes.

I love magic!


Unknown said...

Neat idea, Karen, and beautiful orange on the treetops.

Hélène said...

This autumn painting is one of my favorite. I recentley bkoke one of my kitchen tools. A pankake spatula made of silicone. I cut the beveled edge and use it for blending reflections on water in my painting. Works' great !

Jo Castillo said...

Thanks again for sharing your tips. All your paintings are filled with magic!

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is gorgeous!!!

:D Riley

Jackie said...

I'm struggling with some reflections right now-will give it a try. Thanks