Saturday, April 26, 2014

from April 25th

Here I am back on "tobacco" coloured paper and doing a bit of cropping. I went with cropping so I could have the face larger and be able to work  more with the shadows.  In the actual drawing, there is a little more space about her hat and her hand is not cropped.  After I did the general outline, I put blue and purple in the shadow areas with hard pastels.  I put white on the lightest places. Then I used a sponge to apply a flesh tone on all the areas of skin with pan pastels. Then I worked with both soft and hard pastels to bring in various colour notes, layering. One of the interesting things with pastels is that even when another colour is layered over, little granules of what is underneath show through and add to the richness. I took my little binoculars and found them useful for discerning detail in the mouth and eyes, especially. Sometimes, with the lighting, it is hard to see everything you want to see. I also used a bit of vine charcoal in the black areas - as well as regular conte' and black soft pastel. So there was a lot of mixing of the various pastels. I find the pan pastels are nice as an under layer as they fill the paper indentations quite easily- making it easier to have richer layers on the top.We had a few quick warm-up poses first so this was about two  hours of work.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Seems like only a week ago-

- but actually almost two weeks now.   Time has been flying - this was the pastel done on April 11th. Gail posed in an Egyptian gown. The shadows were quite dramatic. I used a deep gold pastel paper but lightened it slightly on one side while deepening a bit on the other. The gold with the turquoise accents on the gown made a nice contrast. I didn't have too much trouble getting the black deep enough but I am told that it is possible to blend in vine charcoal first and then the black pastel will cover better. I must add a stick of vine charcoal to my kit ... in case of.... Tomorrow we are drawing again with a different model and a different theme - "On the town". It is planned to have the model on a bar stool, so that will be interesting.  I think - along with the vine charcoal, that I will put a pair of bird-watching binoculars in my bag. Bird-watching because they are not *too* strong. I think they might be handy to check on details - especially facial features and hands. Sometimes it is hard to see everything clearly - depends on where the light hits - and where your position is, of course. And it makes a difference what scale you are working on.  Here, the face is not too large because there had to be room on the paper for the whole body, O course, that was just my decision - I could have cropped it at the waist and then put more detail in the embroidered accents.  Cropping can be more dramatic- but then it is always tempting, I think to draw the whole figure and whole costume. Decisions, decisions - what will I decide tomorrow?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

An exciting new colour book

I have quite a few books about colour. Some have  lots  of information about the colour wheel and mixing, information about the history of colours- where do different pigments come from and when were they developed- , and  some about what colours turned out to be fugitive. All in all, lots of information and good reference material. However, Sophie Benini Pietromarchi's book, The Colour Book, is different again. Sophie conducts workshops in Europe -mostly with children- and has a very imaginative  approach. This would be an excellent book for anyone teaching children but it is also of interest to adult artists in an adult world because it brings the artist back to feelings that colours can create and gives a lot of ideas for a musing and artistic approach. The author states that she looked at colour as discovery, as individual awakening and as surprise. She awakens the experimenter in the artist and leads into what she calls "The Colour Dance".  Sophie said that the book starts from the premise that colours in their colour boxes are like caged birds that must be freed. Anyone wanting to free up colour in their work would enjoy this book - and maybe find new directions in which to dance. Older children could use this on their own if they have a good reading vocabulary but the book could be read to younger children and used for creative play. The collage illustrations are beautifully done and alive with colour. It is a beautiful book.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Gail as a flapper

This was done Friday, April 4th. I decided to try using red pastel paper - and it turned out to be a bit of a challenge. Some of the skin tones I used initially went on looking quite murky. So I had to keep testing out different colours and building up layers as well as placing strokes of different colours side by side.  I used quite a few of the soft pastels for this. Some of the pastels are getting a lot smaller- but it is quite amazing that I've had them since art school. I'm thinking about buying a few more although lugging them around can be a challenge. Gail didn't really have a cigarette holder - Marvin loaned a brush for the effect. I didn't put any pastel on the background at all- just left the red pastel paper. I still think of pastels  as "drawings", not as "paintings".  I could decide to call it a painting if I did the whole paper in chalk- maybe someday as a plein air experiment? One good thing about pastels on paper is that they take up very little room in storage. I think  the extra practice of working on capturing light and shadow on the planes of the face  in pastel will be a benefit when painting in acrylics. When this was photographed, the underlying red shows through somewhat more than it does in physical reality. Nevertheless, it definitely makes it a warm pastel. Done on blue-grey paper, it would look very different. I think I'm leaning towards using darker paper - but if I was doing a baby or child, I'd probably use a warm cream colour, not "tobacco". Here, I think the red implies artificial light, maybe neon, possibly a nightclub- as well as signalling  excitement and a certain amount of drama. The colour choice of the paper was a bit instinctive after I saw the costume but it became an interesting experiment.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

"Checking Nets"

"Checking Nets" is the painting I put on this month's newsletter as it is the painting that has been donated to the Daffodil Ball ( Cancer Society). If you want to be on my newsletter list, please e-mail me and I will add you.
      Freshly up to date - well, at least as far as the end of 2013- there are two new "galleries" added to the website. Go down the right hand column and click on "View Loraine's paintings".
     I have a Pinterest board that shows my life drawings and I work to keep that up to date - but I still have a few older ones to post there. Another board is about matreshkas, or nesting dolls, and I'm adding a set of my originals each month - as well as some other purchased nesting dolls. Also, I'm posting the originals on this blog as they get photographed. I'm still thinking of ideas to finish the blanks I still have.
   "Reflections" on Pinterest will change as I've changed the main painting of "Glow II" - a few years after the fact. But then, that is one of the great things about acrylics- you can change. I just felt I could add even a bit more "glow" to it by pushing the colours even more.  So changes in the air for Spring!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Gypsy Family Nesting Dolls

Well, here we are for April. This was painted  in 2001 on a set of blanks from Russia and is an original design---- just having fun with my imagination.  The largest one is 9 and 1/2 inches tall. From the side view, it can be seen that modelling paste was added to both the nose and the lips and a paper mache' crystal ball is held in cardboard hands. I also used twine to outline her wavy hair and her earring. Then I gessoed the forms before painting in acrylics and varnishing with acrylic varnish. Although these blanks are better made than some, I used beeswax on the joints - just in case. The second doll has a similar blouse and skirt but has a red flower in her hair and carries a tambourine. The mustached third doll wears a red cap and vest,  has a yellow scarf and a red fancy handkerchief in his pants pocket. The fourth, somewhat younger girl has the same blouse, skirt and shawl and carries a cat. The mischievous-looking young boy is dressed like his Dad  right  down to red handkerchief in his rear pocket and has a grey pet dog. The younger girl has her hair in braids with red bows and has a pet monkey. Last of all is a baby wrapped in a purple shawl and carrying a rattle.