yesterday’s life class

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It finally stopped raining.  We’ve had more rain in the last month here in the Washington area than I remember from EVER. The first rain is surpassingly lovely.  The 17th day of rain, on the other hand, can be a tad disappointing.

But the rain has stopped. Hurray! Nonetheless I do not find myself bounding with energy.  I decided to adopt a more laid back approach in the life class.  I am not abandoning larger than life sized, fauvist colored portrait heads forever but I might be finished with them for now.  I’m not sure.  In yesterday’s class, I made a smaller drawing.  It still involved having to draw the head larger than I see it, but the enlargement was much less dramatic and thus easier on the brain.  I also used local colors. I decided to phone it in.

It’s a life class so the poses are not really set up for portrait anyway, which made all my previous drawings that much more of a challenge. There’s challenge too, though, in the simple, straight-forward drawing, so my new approach to the model for probably the duration of the class will be more laid back. Draw whatever is there.  No straining for a certain viewpoint (I sat on the floor in one class session).  Just open my eyes, be grateful, draw.  That’s the plan.


pastel experiment continued

pastel still life

In anticipation of the pastel class that I’m going to be teaching at McLean Project for the Arts in the fall, I’m experimenting with pastel materials for newcomers, and because the sanded surfaces are so marvelous to use, I’m trying to find a way to make-your-own so that students can enjoy the process without buying expensive sanded papers. I’m fully persuaded that a solution is out there, but I haven’t found it with this first trial.

I got some Golden pumice mix and it turns out to be a little too sandy for my task. It will eat the pastels up thoroughly and given the cost of pastels, that’s not a happy development. It’s a wonderful material such as it is and so I’m trying to figure out what I’ll do with it.  It might be better used with a composite technique of some sort.  For now, though I push on with my search.  Golden makes a “pastel” surface too.  I guess I’ll try that one next.  Maybe I should have trusted the label that said “pastel.”

In the detail below, you can see the surface effect more vividly. It’s not unattractive, but it’s not the thing I’m looking for which is a moderately toothy surface that holds pastel without eating the pastels up.

pastel still life detail

The little object outlined in the foreground is a clay whistle shaped like a bird with its wings outspread.


certain shapes & places

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Certain places mesmerize me. I go back to them again and again — figuratively, imaginatively.  I don’t even have to be there. Sometime about the motif, the shapes, the colors I see and the ones I imagine have a hold on me.

This drawing measures about 20 x 25 inches. It’s one of several versions of this motif that I’ve done. There’s at least four versions of different sizes. I was going through stacks of oil pastel drawings and found this one unfinished and resumed working on it. I’ll probably fiddle with it a bit more before I frame it.

The cropped horizon puts the sky on the bottom of the picture.  I’m thinking about the oval contours of the masses of foliage and the contours of clouds and the confusion where the things meet their reflections, enchanted by the world that floats on the rippled surface of water.