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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

One Evening in Gulfport

I know -- it's been a while since I've posted! We've had loads of fun company (my parents passed through and D's parents came last weekend) and some not so fun company (corporate types invaded us several times the past two weeks at work...) I'm way behind on e-mail, too -- so if you've had some big news, and I haven't responded, that's why. There's no way I'll catch up with all the EDM e-mails -- whew -- so I'll just be reading the past three digests or so. I'll try to catch up with everybody's blogs over this week as I can! :-)

So, this is the start of a pastel piece that has been in my head for a few weeks. It is based on a photo of a palm tree shadow against a white building taken one evening when we were in Gulfport (or it may have been in Bay St. Louis?) -- anyway -- southern Mississippi. It's the kind of thing that really catches your eye, but makes a lousy photo -- exactly the kind of thing I'm thinking pastel is probably perfect for.

I didn't think to take a photo until about stage three -- I'd already sketched it out, done a pretty good layer of color, and then gone over it all with acrylic medium and more grit. I don't know why I did that -- I'm overusing that technique, I think!

The next step, after everything had dried, was to add some good color. Here I have the sky blocked in and some nice bright blues... (I think I was also at this point wondering what the heck I was getting myself into???? )



Here I've blocked in even more... This is the best part, because I get to add all kinds of reds and weird stuff in that area behind the trees. It's really a hotel or something totally boring in the photo. In the painting, it doesn't have to be anything but the right value, I hope!




Still work to go, but wow -- have I learned a lot on this one so far! I just have to let it rest for a couple of days - I tend to overwork really quickly with pastel. Pastel artist friends -- I'm having a hard time getting the space behind the trees without having all those obviously jagged-y MARKS. I've followed the rules of using my softest pastels last, but that's messing up my detail. Any suggestions? I'm thinking of using pastel pencil last to tighten it up, but wonder if that isn't going to be too much. I like the almost abstract quality of the left side ...

Wonder what it would look like as a watercolor?

And here's something fun to do when a work looks iffy big, but looks pretty good small -- take a photo of it with your camera phone and use it as your wallpaper. This one works great! ;-)

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( "One Evening in Gulfport" work in progress - pastel on sanded multimedia board)

12 comments:

Toni said...

I've worked very little with pastels so I'm curious how do you apply acrylic medium without it smearing?
Or doesn't it smear? Can you tell i know very little about this.

Linda said...

Hey Toni! You selectively apply the acrylic medium (mixed with a grit) over the pastel you've laid down. It mixes with the pastel and makes a paint-ish stuff. You can also do this with water -- using the acrylic medium makes the mix dry darker, while water makes it dry lighter. It's a technique that some people use as a complete underpainting, and others use for areas of particularly dense shadows, or where they want a different type of opacity. I wouldn't have ever thought of using acrylic medium either -- but the guy who taught the recent pastel workshop I attended did it frequently, and it is just loads of fun. I'm finding pastel to be very freeing!
;-D

Linda said...

Oh, I forgot to add that you then work the dry pastel over the top of the acrylic wash ... something you almost have to try to believe.

mrana said...

wow i think that looks great Linda! I actually like the "jaggedy marks" to the right of the palm tree, and your colours are amazing -- I'd love to have this up on my wall!

Katherine said...

You can use Zest-It solvent as well instead of the acrylic medium if you're using water resistant abrasive surfaces.

I LIKE seeing marks. Some of the best pastellists are renowned for the way they make marks. I think the attraction of what you've done so far involves the nature of the marks you've made. I wouldn't want to see it get tight. Hang loose! ;)

annie said...

Glad to see you back around Linda! The picture looks good to my non-expert eye.

Valerie said...

Love your artwork. great composition great color schemes...I love your stuff! Valerie

Sarah said...

Nice to see you back Linda. I'm no pastel artist, but I too like the abstract qualities and think the shadow over the house has great possibilities too - maybe do a couple more versions, one really as abstract as you can, one a watercolour??

janey said...

Well pastels are even more foreign to me then watercolor. You can actually use pastel on acrylic medium? I really know nothing about painting of any kind. But I certainly like this. The shadow of the palm is great. And guess what? You've been tagged. Sorry to add to your list of things to do but if I have to do so do you ;D

mARTa said...

oh I wish I had all the time in the world to play and try out different stuff! I've had such a time with watercolor these past few weeks that maybe it's time to switch to a new medium! I love what you are doing here!

Jan said...

Linda thanks for all your lovely comments over at my blog. I love it when you visit.
I'm actually here to tag you! But I see Janey's done it already - which just proves I'm sicker than I thought because Janey is the one who tagged me. (I've got the flu and I can't think straight.) Too late. You are on my blog as having been tagged and there you will stay.

Kay Cox said...

I love this drawing. And I love you went solo on your trip. I have done that more than once and loved it. And I love Port Aransas and the beach there. Good for you. I know nothing about pastels but appreciate it when someone else does such lovely work with them.