All posts filed under: pastel painting

Study for American Still Life, Replica

“Replica”

So this little toy gun, and I do mean little, is marked “REPLICA”.  Phew!  I thought this gun, which is less than three inches tall, might be the real thing.  (No, not really.) It does beg the question of why someone would want a really tiny replica.  Something to fit well in the hands of really tiny children?  Something convenient to carry to scare off those accosting you, hoping they won’t notice it’s too tiny to hurt anything larger than a gnat?  OK, I’m out of guesses. I haven’t drawn in ages, having added the role of product photographer to the too-many roles I already have in  managing the business (Sundial Wire).  But it was a  soul-sucking mistake to be away from drawing essentially all summer. I had started another tiny drawing of a toy gun when Jim and I went to Rockport, MA, for a couple of days.  We went to Halibut State Park, a lovely area with an old quarry near the shore.  I sat at a picnic table with a lovely breeze, my …

Size Matters

OK, there are a few parts I like in this picture, in the shiny part on the front of the barrel, where the turquoise, gold, white, and purple-black swirl together.  And on the base and trigger guard and body, in the front, where the reflections allow so much color in those tiny areas. But I made this pastel, 9″ x 12″, struggling the whole time because the size is just too small to really allow me to have freedom with the pastels, to create beautiful, abstract areas of color within the representational picture.  So I decided it would be a study, not a final product, a study for one in a series I have planned, American Still Life. I have struggled to get myself to almost finish this – the right hand side of the wrapper on the peppermint still needs work – and I keep worrying about the ellipse-on-ellipse-on-ellipse of the base.  Should I keep fiddling with it?  The size also frustrates me because the gun’s shadow is too close to the peppermint.  But I made …

Embracing My Medium

Today I gave up the charcoal pencils and two pastel pencils I was using, trying to channel Jim Dine, for my Sennelier and Girault pastels, still in just a few colors, yellows, golds, blood red, and black/gray/white.  I’ve never been able to limit my palette before.  I’m not sure I always want to do that, but I like it in this picture.  I think it’s the Dine influence, still a bit there, letting me do that. Pastel is definitely my medium.  I just love its richness, despite the nuisance of the mess, it often feeling like I’m drawing with a broomstick, the difficulty of framing and preserving them, etc.  The richness and texture and depth of color trumps all that.  In the background of this picture it is thick enough, even on this Strathmore pastel paper – no grit – to let me smoosh it around, my absolute favorite place to find myself with pastels.  People often can’t figure out why I use Senneliers, because they’re so soft, but they do that smooshing thing so nicely. …

Whipping It Off In the Style of….

  I have been struggling with thinking I should whip off drawings that have a freedom and life to them, particularly at the Sundial Still Life Sundays and for warming up and sketching in between working on fully finished pieces.  Part of my motivation is that all the drawing books/classes/etc. say that you should do this, that it will make you a better artist.  The other motivation is that I feel that I’ve had a very static, fill-it-all-in, pretty boring way of working in all but maybe one of the pieces I’ve done.  But when I sit down to whip something off, I haven’t been able to do it.  When I try, what I produce is just a sloppy mess; I hate what I’m doing, don’t think it’s worth any time, and quit drawing for the day altogether in total disgust and discouragement.  I realize one thing I’m forgetting is that drawings that have the qualities that make them look whipped off might not be. I saw the Degas print show at MoMA a few …

Life Gets In the Way, or, Fiddling While Rome Burns

Today I am trying to figure out how to draw in spite of my crazy anxiety about how much I have to do in my life and for the business (www.sundialwire.com).  And after I typed that sentence I thought, “To hell with that!” and went into the sunroom (studio, such as it is) and finished the picture I’d started at the last Sundial Still Life Sunday.   Here’s what I got done during that Sunday session: (Yeah, not much for a few hours, but I’m still quite anxious about making things OK since I’m hosting.)  I was convinced that because I’d gotten so little done, that it wasn’t worth trying to finish it.  Also, I was still feeling fairly lackluster that Sunday, after the month-long plague I had just started getting over, so I again did a very small picture, about 6″ x 4″.  Not my forte doing small things. But what has kept me out of the sunroom/studio for nearly all of the three weeks was the enormous weight of what I currently have to do.  I …