Monday, October 23, 2017

Cultural Days

Richmond Artists Guild planned our usual contribution to Cultural Days - which was September 30th-by having a model and the public could either watch or join in. We decided to have a bit of a twist by having our model pose on her motorcycle. One good thing was, when the model took a break to stretch and walk around, the motorcycle stayed put so some more work could still be done.Some were painting on canvases but I decided to work on pastels and I chose a neutral grey pastel paper. Pastel paper is two-sided. One side is smoother and the other side has more of a grid surface to hold the pastel pigment. Good quality pastels have more pigment than cheaper ones. Pastels come in soft, hard or even pencil forms. There are also very soft powdery ones that come in little cases much like the compacts girls used to carry to powder their noses. In fact, this form of pastel is applied with a sponge - and make-up sponges are cheaper than the ones sold for the same purpose in art stores. Pastels have to be kept sorted to like colours so that they don't rub off against each other and become grubby. One of the joys of using pastels is that the colours have a lush richness to them that can be a delight to apply. Well- it rained on our Cultural Day, but we were under a canopy and managed to finish- but I bet our model would have been happier indoors with a heater.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Sunflowers and yellow paint

Here is the 2017 sunflower painting. I can certainly understand Van Gogh's fascination with sunflowers- somehow they are always a bit different and always interesting. Plus there is the challenge with working with yellow. Yellow pigment tends to be on the weak side - no mater what the medium it is in. I often under-paint with white so the yellow can then show to its best advantage. Today's paints are permanent but Van Gogh had trouble with his yellows because they changed with time and became more green- thus making a challenge for restorers. The question being - not only what to use - but what shade was he actually aiming at?  It is also a challenge to work shadows with yellows and not have them turn muddy, I like acrylics as the shadows can be done with glazes and it keeps the colours fresher. No vase in this one but there is in my sunflower painting in Mila's online gallery at  Van Gogh signed his name on the vase- so, as a tribute to him, I signed my  name on the vase too.  There are actually several different yellow paints in this painting- not only Cadmium Yellow Light, Medium and Dark, but also some Azo Yellow and a few more! Tjen there is Naples Yellow in with some blues and Sap Green to make the greens. Colour is fun!