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A Place to Reflect: pastel 14x11 inches

, 11:11


Following my inner struggle to complete the recent small oil painting of marmalade jar and dish, I have managed to recover and successfully complete not one, or even two, but FOUR pastel paintings in the past week. Today's image was begun last week on a sheet of white Pastelmat card. I chose white because although I wanted a deepish green atmosphere to the whole thing, I didn't want a UNIFORM green all over. Starting therefore with white, I painted over the pastelmat surface with diluted ink, mixing together a deep blue with a deep green, plus a little touch of orange-red which took out the slightly garish appearance of the first two. I marked in the positions for the background trees, leaving an upper middle area white, which was actually a background field. The tree sections were darkened suitably to provide shadowy depth. The ink painting was carried on down into the water area, keeping it slightly lighter. The whole thing was left to dry.

Not all pastel papers cope with ink or other wet media. PastelMat seems to manage fine, and Colorfix is particularly amenable. I have also used fluid on Canson Touch. However do not use fluids on Sennelier Pastelcard, because the surface will flake off.

Once dry, I was then able to plan out the pastel. I say "plan" because in reality I tend to work by instinct; each picture I do is actually begun in a different way every time. I chose to mass in the darks for the trees on left and right, and also add dark "holes" for the central greeny-grey shrub. The upper pale yellowy-green field was added early, to provide contrast. From here, I simply worked downwards, marking in the horizontals for the landing-stage before continuing with the yellowy green growth and adding further colour to the background trees.

The bench was drawn in lightly with a harder Rembrandt pastel, using a pale blue-grey and working into it later with near-white. The boat was drawn in with the same harder pastels, ensuring the boat-curves were visible, before later adding softer pastel. On each side, the mauve-pink shrubs were created with medium greens plus suitable purples and pinks. Finally, moving to the water, all the same colours as used "above" were employed for the reflections, dulling them slightly by occasional light rubbing.

Unison's Dark Jewel range is especially useful for subjects like these; and smaller pieces of broken Daler Rowney pastels provided easier execution of the mauve-pink flowerheads. The work received light fixing-spray at several stages, particularly for the water, where the surface was brushed with acrylic medium at one point to dissolve the pastel dust and move it around. Overall, the result is very close to what I intended.

"Rudbeckias"; pastel on pastelmat card 6x6 inches

, 11:19

This is the final square of yellow pastelmat card that I've been using up over the past six weeks or so. That's not to say I won't be doing any more small ones, but just for the time being I am moving my concentration onto some other pastel projects. It is listed here at auction at DailyPaintWorks.com

https://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/616583

I enjoy using pastelmat card, it is extremely good for close detailed work, especially when you think that pastel is not an ideal medium for fiddly little details. The card surface tends to create a dense and dusty colour when pastel is applied, the colour is vivid and the strokes go on very smoothly. However, I feel a need to go and explore some other surfaces. I am re-ordering myself some Art Spectrum Colorfix sheets and also considering some rougher home-made surfaces like pastel-primer on mountboard. It is easy to stay in the same comfort-zone but after a while the paintings begin to all look very similar.

I found using watercolour on white pastelMat card very useful for starting sky paintings. Art Spectrum paper is geared for multimedia use and also has a different tooth. I have a pot of AS clear pastel primer and have often used it to prime old failed watercolour sheets and boards. When used thickly, the texture created is considerable. Pastel paintings don't tend to have much "body" to them because they are, literally, made of dust; and thus may require some kind of underpainting or preparation to give a bit of extra dimension. We'll see how it goes.

Sun and Shadows: pastel 6x6 inches

, 12:32

Last week was a wipe-out, due to virus, so very little done. This pastel however was completed before then, and I have now photographed it for this blog and DailypaintWorks.

https://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/613535

I have a number of ideas for more of these, but am also trying to get one or two larger ones completed for a local group exhibition in December. Plus, chasing down framing. Framing would be easy if it wasn't for (a) glass and (b) the fact that quite a few of my pieces are square and therefore classed as "not standard". Then, I'm not a standard person, so that's rather appropriate.

At the same time, I am slowly teaching myself lino cutting and printing. Now, why would I want to do that? haven't I got enough to do? (yes; but it won't stop me). The thing with lino prints is often the simplicity of colour-scheme. One, two or even just three-colour linoprints can catch the attention of the viewer. Brash multicolours not necessary. Lino prints also encourage simplifying a subject; after all, it has to be carved out of the lino and, having spent three hours yesterday carving out a 12 x 8 inch panel I can say that I welcome the simplification. (Mind you, the experts produce some extraordinarily detailed works on lino; cutting time must be hours and hours). There are some subjects I wouldn't consider for a pastel painting, but would attempt them on lino because of the tendency toward more graphic presentation. The opportunity to consider other subjects for a different medium, in a different way, is therefore a nice mental change from the pastel work. You're unlikely to see any of my lino stuff for quite a while, though!

Heavenly Dahlias: pastel, 6x6 inches

, 12:37

I came across this very old church building in Devon, England with faded pink-painted walls and right next to a colourful display of summer dahlias. The scene stuck in my mind for a long time afterwards. I recall it here to the best of my ability, in pastel, with vivid orange and deep purple-red flower-heads.

https://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/608859