I no longer post to my blog, but it contains several years worth of short articles I've written regarding various painting tips, thoughts, and inspiration for pastelists and oil painters. I began the blog in 2011 simply as a resource for students I taught at my studio at the time. I stopped posting in 2018, but even though I've grown in my artistic journey since then, much of what I've shared here is still relevant, and therefore I've kept it visible for anyone who cares to skim though it.
Sunday, October 29, 2017
The Mushy Stage
Stop Along the Way, pastel, 11x14
In previous posts I’ve talked about starting a painting with
connected shapes. (Click here to read one such post.) Even if you’re able to master that step, it can still be a confusing journey
to go from blocking in shapes to the finished painting. We often feel compelled
to rush too quickly from those big shapes to the finishing touches—those small,
crisp, “eye-catcher” marks.
If you can restrain yourself from rushing into those finer
details, you can better focus on pushing each of your original shapes to their
correct value (light/dark), temperature (warm/cool) and chroma (bright/dull). You’ll
want to be aware that, at this point in the painting process, you won’t yet
have the variety of edges to give the landscape form and depth, and it will
likely have an overall “mushy” appearance, which can be disconcerting. But be
Shown below is an early stage of the painting shown at the
top of this post. At this point, I’ve addressed each shift of value,
temperature and chroma over my block-in. The only area that I allowed just a
bit of tightening at this stage is in the area that I know will be my focal
point … just below and to the right of the darkest trees. All other marks are
kept loose and vague (mushy).
The early "mushy" stage of Stop Along the Way.
It’s important to back
up at this point and check value/temperature/chroma. Make all necessary
corrections before you move forward to finer marks.
After a few more tweaks to this phase, it was time to add
the finer details that you see in the finished painting.
Keep in mind, it’s important to let some of the original
undefined, vague areas (those mushy
parts) stay that way, especially in the tree foliage and grass. This will
enhance those special areas that you choose to make more defined.