Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas! Here's a Clump o' Trees . . .

This is about 7-1/2" x 10" on very rough Saint-Armand Colours paper in a washed denim color (nice flecks in it, obviously hand mixed / hand made). I coated it with clear Colourfix primer. Then I started out with a big sloppy mess of an alcohol wash, washing in the (sort of) complementary colors to what I was intending for the finish layer.

One question is this: What's the difference among a water wash, an alcohol wash, and a wash done with Turpenoid? (And here is the answer to that question.)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mr. Enormous Ear

Experiments with an alcohol wash underpainting, coloring a "print" of an old sketch, and a strange Art Deco color scheme plus eerie detached (sleeping?) floating-head subject, the later two attributes both ala Redon.

Well, c'mon. Practice is good/useful in it's own right, I suppose.

I have just received and watched the DVD Plein Air with Pastel: A Complete In-Depth Demonstration of Pastels as a Wet & Dry Medium, starring Greg Biolchini. He spends quite a bit of time and energy fiddling around with the alcohol underpainting. Interesting.

The best part of the DVD were the sounds of the birds happily singing in the forest throughout the entire demo. It took place in the woods somewhere in North Carolina and it was a lovely day. Real nostalgic for (a) North Carolina and (b) summer!!!

La Coquille Genteel?

La Coquille Odilon Redon (22-1/2" x 22-3/4")
I am not at all sure what to make of this turn-of-the-20th century French artist Odilon Redon (1840-1916). His drawings and pastels are both thoroughly creepy and quite lovely. About this particular piece, according to Roseline Bacou in Odilon Redon Pastels (1987), "The source for this well-known pastel is one of the shells which Mme. Redon, a native of the Ile-de-la-Réunion, liked to keep around her. This work, now in the Musée d'Orsay, was placed on the fireplace mantel in the Redon's living room . . . and often served as the starting point for Redon's musings." (page 178)

As I was reading that Bacou book, I turned the page to this piece and I kind of softly shouted, with surprise and then instantly with pleasure. So I had to post it. This shell, it talks.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Determine the Extremes

The painting sequence / process, from Professor Bob Rohm:
  1. Formulate the Idea - Why am I doing this? What do I want to communicate? What's the point? Have a concept, a raison d'etre. It may change, but have one initially.
  2. Simplify the Shapes - Six to eight shapes. Lay 'em in.
  3. Average the Values - Four values. Decide and depict.
  4. Average the Colors - Each value shape becomes a color shape. Assign colors. Decide on relative temperatures.
  5. Determine the Extremes - Find the darkest dark, the lightest light, and the most dynamic edge.
Done! The rest are just modifications and refinements. Questions for the rest of the process:
-- How much detail?
-- How much information?
-- How much color variety?
NB: "Always make these modifications in relation to the extremes that you established. Nothing you add should be darker, lighter, more intense, or more dynamic than your established extremes."

[From The Painterly Approach: An Artist's Guide to Seeing, Painting, and Expressing, by Bob Rohm (2008)]

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Glove? Deprived of.

Back to drawing again! This is a page from my everyday sketchbook, done with PR Velvet Black ink and (the faces at the bottom) with Noodler's Red-Black ink in my two Lamy pens with the calligraphy nibs (one for each color!). On Strathmore Aquarius II watercolor paper, size approximately 7" x 8". I added some watercolor and some gouache (the blue!) later.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Navajo Man

This was my best drawing from the Crash Course In Drawing class this past weekend, using a grid and transferring the layout from the photo. It's overall 18" x 24". Done with charcoal, Char-Kole, and chamois, paper towels, and erasers!

The instructor, Deirdre Saunder, was great! It's a shame that she doesn't teach more classes at the Art League. I'd sign up.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Winners in New Mexico

See the winners of the Pastel Society of New Mexico's National Show 2008, here. I especially like the work of Bill James, the winner with this, and Lelia Hall.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Jowl Study

Here is a pastel paint-by-numbers piece, using one of my carborundum prints as a base drawing.

I wanted to test some of my brand new Intense Darks II from Ludwig. The spaces on either side of her head are layered with some really interesting deep deep reds/burgundies. Very nice! 'Tho you can't see them here. Leastways I can't on my monitor.

It's about 7-1/2" x 11", on real bumpy Saint-Armand 'Colours' watercolor paper upon which I ink-jetted a blow-up of my print. I then sealed it with a coat of Colourfix Pastel Primer in clear.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sycamore Scaffolding

These are some sycamores below my window. As the season moves on I'll see more and more of the white bleached-bone skeleton. They say the best way to learn to draw trees is by careful observation. Maybe I'll make these my special study. Since they are quite handy.