Visit my Patreon Page for more painting instruction and Paint Along Videos!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Use Your Uglies. A Tip for Painting Autumn Aspen Trees

'Autumn Appeal'              8x10          pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available $145
It was on my bucket list. The last two years I was lucky. I was lucky to be out west at the peak of fall foliage season. I had dreamed of seeing aspen trees with their golden fall colors. It was worth the wait and I have hundreds of photos from my aspen excursions.

As soon as fall rolls around I get the bug....I want to paint fall color! I go crazy in my studio painting as many fall scenes as I can. Today I pulled out one of my aspen photos for inspiration. As much as I love painting them the bright yellows can be a challenge.

Today I stumbled upon a tip a bit by accident. It was a failed underpainting that gave me the clue.

Wet underpainting with pastel and alcohol. Meh.
I was using a piece of dark gray Yi Cai paper. I like this paper but my alcohol wash wasn't very exciting. the colors were dark and dull when the underpainting dried. I forged on with the painting even though I wasn't excited about the underpainting.

That was it!  The dark and dull underpainitng was actually a good thing. It allowed my bright intense yellows to pop! Just like painting on dark paper, the brights needed the contrast of the dark and dull.

First layer of pastel.....dark and dull
 TIP: Start dark, dull and boring! Use your UGLIES! Those colors that don't scream for attention. The quiet ones are needed to balance the loud ones!

Adding more layers of cool, dark and dull

Darker and duller colors on the left with more intense, brighter on the right

Would you like more YELLOW tips? Would you like to join the weekly challenge and share with others? Consider joining us over on Patreon. The theme this month is painting autumn landscapes!

1 comment:


Very beautiful landscape painting with so nice colours !!!