Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Sewing Table

My next farm picture was a still life attempt. Lots of things wrong with this one - the way the curtains drape, the ellipse on the teacup, but it was still fun to do, and I enjoyed the light and shadows.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Morning in the Shed

This is my second pastel from my farm vacation. I just loved how the light looked in the back shed at certain times of day, and thought it would be fun to capture. In fact you'll see the shed again later on! A bit of wonkiness here too, but I still had such fun with these.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Afternoon at the small barn

I'm just back from my annual Canadian vacation to my family's farm in New Brunswick, Canada. Last year I started a series of pastels done at the farm. It was such fun that I decided I had to continue again this year. Even though the trip was shorter than usual this year I managed to get some pastels done.

All were done from life, and done pretty quickly. That *does* lead to some wonky angles and ellipses. That's one disadvantage of working from life (at least for those like me, whose drawing skills always need work), and you also want to capture the beautiful light of a certain scene, but if you take too long the light shifts so much. So maybe 40 minutes max spent on any of these four, but I'll post them one-by-one in the order I did them.

Those that were done outdoors (two of the four) also had the disadvantage of much mosquito presence so were even more quickly done than the two interior scenes! But this was my first attempt, trying to capture a bit of our small barn behind the back edge of the farmhouse. I loved the long shadows of the afternoon sun.

Friday, August 10, 2007

New Beach Houses

"Beach Houses" was a picture I did back in early 2005 when I was brand-new to pastels, and had only been using them a couple weeks. I knew nothing about them! I had no clue about layering or blending or overlaying of colors. I used them the way a child uses crayons.

But these beach houses down in Atlantic Beach, NC always fascinated me with their gorgeous pastel colors. And early in my pastel life I decided to try to produce a picture of them from a reference photo I had taken. The photo was taken on a drear day in flat light, not the best reference, and the picture was clearly beyond my level of ability. But I struggled on to try to produce an image. I spent 5-6 hours on the picture which was about triple what I would normally spend, yet I still was not happy.

So I put the picture in a drawer and went on to learn more about pastels. But I always loved the Beach Houses. So today I pulled out that old picture and wondered if there was any way to add to it and improve it. The pastel was laid on lightly and sketchily, only a single layer of color really. But I had made the beginner's mistake of using the wrong paper, just standard drawing paper. It has little tooth and can't hold many layers of pastel. But it was what I had to work with short of starting from scratch, and I was not about to draw all those houses again!

I know the houses look rickety-rackety, with stairs and balconies leaning every which way. That's what I get for drawing freehand, but no way was I going to use a straight-edge or ruler. It's just so not "me". So rickety-rackety is what I get, but I still love the houses. This is now at a "sit back and think about it" stage, so I might tweak a bit more here or there. The tooth is almost all gone so not too much more I'll be able to add.

But just preliminarily I like it better than my maiden effort 2 1/2 years ago.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Crowded Classroom Nude

Between having pneumonia, and ongoing gallbladder problems, I missed the last few weeks of spring art class, and had no energy to even work at home. But Alex, my wonderful teacher, called and invited me to sit in on a few summer sessions to make up what I missed. This week I finally got to go.

It was a full class, and I had no easel to use, but had to balance a masonite board on the edge of a stool! This made it tough for getting proportions right. But I was just trying to get back into the swing of things after 6 dry weeks at least, and this is what I managed to produce.