Saturday, May 31, 2014

Reclining again...

Here is another pastel on "tobacco" Mi-Tientes pastel paper. There is something quite special about red hair, I think. One problem with drapery is that it isn't quite the same after the model takes a break- so you have to block it in and then just go with what you have. The same goes for a slight shift in a hand position or similar. We have been fortunate to discover a few new models lately. Not that we don't have some long-standing favourites, but it is nice to work with a new model too. It keeps a person on their toes. I've been enjoying soft pastels for getting the softer effects of skin. They cover and blend more easily than hard pastels, I find.  It is possible, however,  to work hard pastels in underneath touches that bring more depth to the pastel. I'm still really enjoying working with pastels for figure work. On the other hand, plein air work speeds up the painting process so maybe one of these days I may just paint a figure and get it done while the model is posing- because- of course- no photography allowed . Therefore, no reference for "finishing" later.  Then again, piles of paper take up less room than canvases and figure studies are not a popular subject to sell here on the West Coast. I just like to do them as part of the ongoing learning process. I have been posting them on my Pinterest site under "Life Drawings" (what else?). I am amazed at some of the beautiful and extensive Pinterest sites that so many people seem to have. It must take a lot of time to accumulate all those Pins.  I'd rather draw and paint!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Plein Air

It is outdoor painting time again and the group , Men in Hats, is painting plein air every Tuesday, weather permitting. The group seems to be expanding and does include women although it just started with guys. The hats are a necessity in the sunlight. This is my first painting of the season and is the Bunkhouse at Britannia Shipyards, a heritage site.  I had a sketch of boats in my sketchbook but then I turned around and loved the shadows on the white building - so here is the result. Why plein air? There is nothing quite like the challenge of being there, having to zero in on a subject, work to get the lighting right and pretty well complete it on the spot.  Outdoor painting goes back to the impressionists who were freed from the studio because paints were available in portable tubes for the first time. This was also possibly a reaction against the industrial revolution which had changed living conditions so much. The artists wanted to get out into the outdoors and capture outdoor lighting. For quite some time now, plein air has been a bit on the back burner although there have always been some artists and groups of artists who have been active - literally  "in the field".  Now there is quite a revival with many major outdoor painting events and conferences. The theorists say it is a reaction against the technological revolution.  Whether it is or not, there is nothing quite so spirit-lifting as getting out there to paint. Here is to a summer of good weather on Tuesdays!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The grey sketchbook

I just finished the last page in a grey sketchbook that I was using for regular sessions at Life Drawing. This is Mark, looking suspended as the stool doesn't show up. I was drawing with black and white Prismacolor pencils. Good practice for studying light and shadow - but a controlled medium. Next book will be working in colour with a "looser" medium for a change. Good to switch things around every now and then.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Reclining Nude

Reclining nudes are a very traditional subject - but always different each time. At the Art Centre, we don't have a couch or even room to store one so we have to improvise with cushions, benches and drapery. So, this pose was put together with what we have, following the inspiration of a pose from a book. Of course, once all the cushions are piled, we end up with something different--- and the comfort of the model has to be considered as she can't end up in a pose where, say, circulation got cut off to an arm. Drapery is always a challenge as the model, of course, must take breaks - and then the drapery is never in exactly the same folds. I find that once I've got the drapery blocked in, I have to stick with what I have -in spite of any changes- so I try to get the basic shadows and highlights in quickly. Again, I used Mi-Tientes "tobacco" colour pastel paper and a mixture of hard, soft, and pan pastels. The pan pastels are good for blocking in light and shadow to start with, I find. I really like pastels for skin tones and am currently mulling getting some more soft pastels plus a different box to carry them in.... and then I need a different box, other than my old tackle box which is just too big and has unusable space, for my acrylics.  I'm always thinking, as I trundle my supplies, that some people could probably go on a world-wide trip with less stuff!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Richmond city Arts Awards

Here is a picture from last night at the city Arts Awards - I was the winner in the Volunteerism category and received the framed certificate. These are some of the Guild members and friends there- Jeanette Jarville, Bonita Ruttkay, Penny Talbot, Marvin Skelton, Margreth Fry, Joyce Kamikura and Gail Arrison. It was a very nice evening and it looks like things are on a bit of an upswing for arts facilities in Richmond in the not-so-distant future.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Pirates for May

Here is "Pirate Crew" which I painted/created in 1997. The blanks were made in China and they are a smaller set than last month's Gypsy Family.... both in size (the Captain is only 6 inches tall to the top of his feather) and in number. The Captain's hat and feather are paper mache' and he has some additional modelling on his lustrous locks. I used metallic gold acrylic for any coins and for the shoe buckles.  The Captain. of course, has a parrot and also the chest of gold and a nice sword. All the crew have swords or daggers and different head scarves. Again, they were gessoed, painted in acrylics and finished with acrylic gloss varnish. This set fits nicely and comes apart nicely - with beeswax on the joints. I'm working on another set that was Russian made but has flaws - I had to use plastic wood filler on a couple of bad spots on the outside one. Currently, it is slow going - but I won't put any nesting dolls in the window over the warmer weather anyway. They are of a more recent vintage than the pirates- but a bit back in time. The pirates were just a fun fantasy. A bit of fun to see the full crew out - usually they are nested in a cabinet.