late night sea shells

Sea shells on the shelf, say that several

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times quickly. When I finished drawing my late night owl of the previous post, I turned my attention to the sea shells with the ceramic bird. I have an oil pastel that I work on when the light is right, and this pen drawing, made from a different angle, in different light keeps me thinking about the forms.


learning the owl

In idle moments I play in earnest.


I get better acquainted with the subjects of my paintings. You cannot know an owl too well.  And the vase with the songbird design on it needs understanding too.  These late night drawings keep me musing over the topic of my picture. I drew them from this set up seen below, seen here in daylight.

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They are parts of this painting that exists as yet only in sketches and in thought.

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A Yellow Vase

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I’ll be teaching a pastel class in the fall and so I do many of my studies these days as pastels.  This is the first time I’ve focused on this yellow vase, which I got at a thrift store, love at first sight. I’m using a set of Rembrandt half sticks, 30 count, to determine whether to recommend them as a beginning palette.  The paper is Canson mi-teintes in the 12 x 16 inch pad. I drew as someone humming to herself, with no plan, until the lateness of the hour sent me to bed.

The flowers are a rich purple, and the set has nothing in it that begins to approach the flower color so I used two dark blues, a violet-ish red, a pale blue for highlights and black for the darkest darks.  I think the overall mélange creates a decent approximation of the local color.  Optical mixtures can scramble your brain, but if you just have-at-it and don’t bother overly much, you can get interesting effects.  Remember that full color printing uses only three colors and black.  Surely you won’t be outdone by a color Xerox machine, now, will you?

The photo approximates what I was looking at:

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My drawing is “cropped” just as the photo above is cropped, which is to say that I run out of paper.  And I like drawing until I run out of paper.  I arrange the still life so that I will always “run out of paper” with something around the bend, just like life. The edges of the page, particularly when they are only partly visible, can be an enigmatic place.  But getting the tonal/color balances is tricky if it is to support the notion of the things being “back there.”  Obviously to draw the stuff on the edges, I look directly at them, seeing them in greater detail than I do when my eyes glance at the whole or when I stare fixedly at the lovely vase with its sunny and bewitching yellowness.  Tonal and color relationships are different when you look directly at something, though to see at all one’s eye scans all over the place as is its wont.

Recall that the image you see is not on the retina, it’s in your brain — particularly as you have two retinas both visualizing different angles and only one brain.

I think its intriguing to attempt to drawing “everything.” Sometimes I try drawing the oblique pattern on the cloth, but it was late and an artist needs her beauty sleep. And yet there is minutia to draw before one sleeps ….

Here’s more of the table.

flowers drawing set up