|'Flying Free' 6.5 x 12.5 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
The Poppy series continues today with more experimentation and play. I had the perfect reference photo for the painting from my trip to Wildseed Farm wildflower farm in Texas. Before I start the painting I have some decisions to make. All of these decisions depend on what I want to say with the painting. So first I ask myself WHY I am painting the subject. The answer will guide my decisions.
DECISION 1: What format should I choose? I don't always have to choose landscape format for a landscape! I can go vertical or square or even panoramic. I also don't have to stick to standard sizes. (although standard sizes are less expensive to frame) I have enjoyed trying unusual formats this week and I had the perfect scrap of Uart paper to paint another long and tall format. This time it is smaller at 6.5 x 12.5 inches. This tall and narrow format will fir my idea of having the poppies reaching for the sky!
DECISION 2: I have my reference photo and my paper now I had to decide how I would approach the painting. Should I just tone the paper? Should I do a wet underpainting? Should I just jump right in and paint directly with soft pastels with no underpainting? So many choices! Each one is a valid choice but would lead to a very different painting.
*note* I like to use Uart paper because it is so versatile but the type of paper you use will also change the look of the painting so take a minute to pick the right paper if you use several types.
DECISION 3: I decide to do a wet underpainting because it suits the subject. My concept for the painting was to have a tangle of poppies reaching into the sky. There would be a hight horizon leaving a lot of the foreground grasses visible. A wet and drippy underpainting would give me a head start on the loose and expressive grasses.
Of course there are many choices for wet underpaintings from simply wetting the pastel to using other media. I choose to use a black underpainting with black inktense stick and rubbing alcohol.
|wet underpainting with black inktense and alcohol|
|Blocking in the darks|
|adding the colorful dirt|
|painting the sky and starting on the grass|
|blocking in the poppies|
|almost done....a few fixes for the finish!|
There are more decisions that we make when starting a painting but these are three that will get you started on the right foot....with a plan!