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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Don't Forget to Put Down the Darks!

          'Seaside Wonder'                   8x10               pastel         ©Karen Margulis      available $255

I discovered one of the keys to a successful meadow painting. I love to paint fields of wildflowers but they often looked unnatural. The flowers looked like an afterthought....something my granddaughter might paint. (actually my grands are excellent little artists!) The flowers looked spotty and disjointed. They looked like they were floating on top of the grass. I figured out what I needed to do and I don't have that problem anymore!

My wildflower meadows needed some dirt....or soil to hold the flowers in place. I needed to put the dirt in first and then add the grasses and flowers. It actually makes sense. The green stuff needs the soil to grow! So now I block in a pathway of dark value in the underpainting. I gradually cover up this dark value 'dirt' but enough of the dark is visible to provide the much needed grounding for the flowers and grasses. 

Below is an illustration of the power of dirt. The painting on the left does not have the dark value pathway underneath the green stuff. The painting on the right began with a dark pathway which is still visible. Which painting looks more natural? 

NOTE: I call the dark pathway a foundation pathway and I discuss in in more detail over on my Patreon group. We are painting wildflowers this month and I 'd love for you to join us!


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