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Rudbeckias: Pastel-pencil 7x14 inches

, 11:03

A Slightly different format today. A while ago I used my sets of pastel-pencils to create a starter-drawing for a dandelion painting; Casual Gold (further back in the posts). Over the weekend I got them out again to complete this piece "Rudbeckias". I spent an hour or so outdoors, along with the wasps, making some line drawings in ink of these flowers. Having selected six or seven blooms to draw, I then took the sketches indoors and spent a while selecting five for the final work. I wanted to do a longer, slimmer work that would encompass the flower heads and also allow for the stems. I picked a piece of plum-coloured pastelMat card...tempting to choose black, but I resisted it and used the plum colour to work towards both light (for the petals) and the darker centre.

The initial sketches were worked again in white pastel-pencil on the card surface; not heavily, just enough to indicate the shapes and positions required. I chose to use my Conte and Carbothello pencils for this artwork, both of which are harder in quality than say Derwent or Caran d'Ache. I rather like the dusky finish that these harder pencils give. The colours are not as brilliant in the final effects as chunky soft pastels but I am happy with this. I could add touches of soft pastel if I wished to, later on.

The dark sections of each flower were put in first, working towards the darker petal markings and then on down through orange-reds to the bright yellow tips. It is difficult to make these darks really intense with harder pastel pencils; it is their nature. The stems were worked with touches of purple and green together for the darker parts (purple tends to enliven a rather flat dull green)...and then added to with lighter green. I have a small set of Russian Olki pastels that are very useful for detailed work; the sticks are small and slender, permitting a closer approach to drawn lines. They're very soft, but produce lovely linear marks.

Finally, the background was added using black, dark green, blue and purple pastel-pencils, working in curly swirls and overlaying the colours. A light spray with fixative and the piece is complete. Yes the fixative does darken the colours a little, but it's necessary to fix the pastel-lines because even the dust from hard pastel-points will brush off.

On other things; I have decided to have a go at placing my artwork on ArtWeb.com I've been a member there for four years but never really gotten around to using the system properly. Now that I have quite a bit of work, I've uploaded some for sale at my own section; the link is in the blogroll to the right. My latest pieces usually go online at my own website and also Original-ArtU100.

Glastonbury: Ink on paper 16x11 inches

, 14:10

Just a complete break for a few days from oil painting, in order to play with something new. I have read several articles on ink and gouache resist techniques but never tried them. They seem to work best with strong shapes and structures, so I dug out a photograph of Glastonbury Tor, famous English landmark, and did a drawing on watercolour paper. The technique then requires the artist to cover over those areas that need to be white in the final picture. The covering is done with thick white gouache paint. Once this is thoroughly dry, the whole picture is painted over with black india ink (waterproof). This must also be left to dry.

When ready, the paper is placed under a cold flow of water and the gouache paint, although covered with ink, will begin to drift off the paper. The ink on top of it will also flow off. Areas that were not painted with gouache will be black ink. However...

The random nature of this process shows that some areas of white will be flecked with black. Also, some thinner patches of gouache will not totally resist the ink and thus may turn quite dark. In my picture, the black patch on the right hand side happened because I did not paint thickly enough with the white gouache.

The overall effect is one reminiscent of a woodcut. The image is stark black and white. It is possible to add colour but the black ink will resist most water-based paints. You might paint over it with thick acrylic, however.

I decided to leave this image alone and not add colour. I may do a second one....it will never come out the same as the first...and try adding colour as an experiment.

A few days ago I carried out another wash for a different subject, which is more complex. It is testing the ability to place black and white areas in the image; sometimes I get it right, sometimes not. The images are far more graphic than "standard" painting; they may help to create new painting ideas for me.

Good fun in between my usual oil paintings.

Monochrome

, 10:29

Due to people who have loaded my blog with spam messages, I have decided to not accept comments; I really don't have the time to trawl through several hundred spam per week in order to find genuine posters, so regrettably I've had to disable the system. Now... I am taking a few weeks' break from pastels and now doing some drawing instead. I have a fair collection of drawing materials including carbon pencils, water-soluble graphite, charcoal, graphitint pencils and faber-Castell coloured pencils. Usually I am busy with pastels and don't draw as much as I should. This tonal piece is subject-matter away from my usual comfort-zone. I just wanted to get away from colour and do something structured.

Kingston Buildings, Bath : pencil, carbon pencil and water-wash on cartridge paper