Monday, April 29, 2013
Sometimes paintings don't work out. For oil painters they are called wipers or scrapers. I guess in the case of pastel you could call it a 'brusher' because when an area needs to be done over I grab a paintbrush, hold the painting over a garbage can (or better yet take it outside) and brush off the pastel. This painting started out as a 12 x 12. Part way through I realized my drawing was off and the light was wrong. The bowl that was the main reason I was doing the painting was almost entirely in shadow. I got frustrated and quit but not until after I had the green apples finished. Over the next few weeks whenever I'd see those apples in the unfinished painting I'd think to myself, "Really nice."
So... this past weekend I cut the board down to 6 x 8, brushed off the area below the basket rim, found the real basket again, got a couple red apples from the fridge and set up a new still life. Now it's heading for the gallery. Sometimes creativity means finding a different solution.
The framed 6 x 8 painting is available from Hunter-Wolff Gallery in Colorado Springs, CO. It's priced at $270. Call 719-520-9494 to purchase.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
I painted Grapes Ensemble (12 x 12 pastel) last year. It was accepted into the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS) annual show and shipped to Brea, California last summer. I'm happy to say it has found a permanent new home. It was sold at Hunter-Wolff Gallery in Colorado Springs, CO just this week. I think it's one of my best paintings. I hope it gives much enjoyment to the new owner.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Most people associate the word pastel with certain colors. But pastel sticks are available in the full value range (very dark to very light) and in every color imaginable. Pastel sticks are made with the same pigments that are used to make oil paint but they are mixed with a small amount of gum binder rather than oil. Oil paint tends to yellow or crack with age but not so with pastels. The color stays brilliant. My pastel paintings are framed with museum glass that eliminates glare and protects from UV rays.
Light and shadow painting uses a single light source to create drama and depth. When painting a still life, I spend quite a bit of time on the set up, concentrating on how the objects are placed in order to establish a focal point plus move the viewer’s eye around the picture. I think a lot about color harmony.
I paint on Wallis brand archival sanded paper. The sanded paper has a rough surface that can hold lots of pastel. I begin with an outline sketch just to get the objects placed correctly in the composition. Then I get the background in because it helps me to judge the values as the painting progresses. On the flower area in this painting I first put a few strokes of pastel color and then brushed over them with rubbing alcohol. This made a pastel wash that filled that area with color. I let it dry before working over it. Like the background, this underpainting helps me to judge values.
Pastel is a very flexible medium. It can be brushed off or erased. It can be blended or layered. I do a lot of blending with my fingers. I wear an old shirt and am constantly wiping the pastel off of my finger on the shirt. By the end of a day’s work, I am covered in color!
This framed 12 X 12 pastel painting "Dahlias in Blue Vase" is available from Hunter Wolff Gallery in Colorado Springs, CO. It's priced at $700.