“Marmalade”: pastel 19×13 inches

This year’s garden rudbeckias unfortunately didn’t include the ones with chocolate brown markings….all the plants struggled in the chilly start to the year and failed to thrive. However, this type called Marmalade was much more successful and has produced a good show.

Here are five that broke off in strong winds. They were rescued and placed in a vase, ready for consideration as a pastel picture.

I retained the arrangement as a V shape and started work on a sheet of leaf-green Art Spectrum Colorfix. Starting with the top left flower, outlines of the shape were drawn in conte carre pastel, noting the petal positions and placement of the centre. They have a lot of petals and it was difficult trying to ensure most of them were included….which they weren’t, in the end, especially where tightly clumped together.

The one below was drawn next, then the bottom flower, moving up on the right hand side to finish at top right. This took me longer than one of my working sessions (which is around 2 to 2 and a half hours). Having completed the outlines, I used harder Rembrandt pastels (deep reddish brown and near-black) to position the centres. From here, it became a little easier to assess the deeper shaded parts below each flower; these were worked with orange-brown Unison pastels. Yellow tends to turn an ochre colour when it darkens into shade; sometimes even green or brown.

With a fair percentage of shaded areas laid down, the lighter golden yellow could be placed to create the petals. Unlike “Rudbeckias” from last year, I did not use any pastel-pencils for the drawing. Unison and Daler-Rowney pastels in the golden-yellow and lemon ranges were picked for the lightest areas. I avoided a too-carefully-drawn look; in general, some application was a bit jittery (especially just before lunchtime). Stems were added in yellow-green shades; and harder pastels were scribbled in as a backdrop—using coloured conte carre sticks in deep blue, green and magenta, with a few lighter shades towards the top of the picture.

It’s quite large—a half sheet, measuring 19 x 13 inches (about 48 x 32 cm).

At the moment I don’t have anything particularly special or finished, ready to post here in a couple of weeks’ time, due to having had holidays and other away-visits…but check back here towards mid-October; I’m already writing up a few “fill-in” articles.

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