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.

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