Thursday, February 28, 2013

Line of Pines

Pastel on paper
8" x 10"

You can view or bid on this painting here.

I'm having a hard time getting a good image of this one.  The tones seem to close in a lot when I make the jpeg. The original painting is maybe not quite as dark as this, with not quite as much contrast. A small difference, though, nothing major.

So I'm not sure how I feel about this one. It's my first venture into pastels—dry pastels, that is. I did two oil pastel paintings previously that I was moderately pleased with. This was more difficult. I'm fairly ignorant of technique for pastels, so I didn't really know how to achieve what I wanted. And I don't have good quality pastels; a mix of stuff I've had since art school (frighteningly, those are 33 years old!) and a beginner-type kit of more recent vintage. I'm using an inexpensive paper that comes in a pad of 20 sheets. So I'll say my difficulties with it are 80% "user error" and 20% inadequate materials.

The initial sketch was pretty good. I absolutely should sketch more often, whether it's going to be developed into a painting or not.

Laying down some initial values and colors. Not entirely complete; I had to stop what I was doing for unrelated reasons, so took the opportunity to put it on the scanner.

Now I've got all areas of the painting covered in a general color/tone. This is the point where I look at it and say "This is rubbish. This is absolutely the worst piece of artwork ever created in the history of mankind, and I am begging—begging—our local and national legislatures to please pass a law forbidding me from ever painting again."

After a period of reflection (I think it was the next day) I decide that it's not too horrible, and make some adjustments and put in some detail. Here my lack of experience is a great frustration. I know what I want it to look like—why doesn't it??

I consult another artist for advice. She makes some brilliant suggestions, which I can only sort-of implement, but they are definitely an improvement. I bring down the brightness of those background trees, and use some looser, chunkier strokes on the foreground trees, and generally soften up various areas. Undecided how I feel about the piece as a whole, I decide to put it up for auction instead of setting a price. I feel that's a good way to handle this sort of situation—if someone loves the painting, then I'll be happy for them to get it for a bargain. If no one loves it, then the marketplace has spoken :-)


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