I made an earlier version of this motif using oil pastel (Neopastel by Caran d’Ache) but this one above uses traditional dry pastel. It’s on a dark sanded paper.
What can I say, seashells are my favorite landscape subject with their beautiful rolling hills formed deep in the sea.
Just hanging out this morning, drawing seashells. Seashells bring with them far away thoughts, oceanic messages. I look and listen.
The craggy, complex surfaces of the seashell are so mesmerizing and beautiful. It’s like a landscape of beautiful mountains. I never tire of drawing the seashells, studying their intricate forms. Master artists the little fellows who build these shell homes.
I decided to turn one of the seashell, ginger jar and honey pot drawings into a painting. And the first elements of the painting are blocked in.
But I have been unsure about aspects of the seashell, and since any excuse will do, I made the drawing at the top of the post as a study. It’s on Canson pastel paper, 16 x 12 inches and is drawn using Neopastels.
The drawing that forms the basis for the new painting is this one:
But I’ve also started drawing another version on the same size sheet (24 x 18 inches) in which the objects slightly smaller.
I work on the second version sometimes late at night. It gradually comes along. But though I felt this desire to do the second version, I knew I still wanted the objects to follow the size of the first drawing. So there are many versions. There’s also the drawing inside my brain, the one that is the neurological composite of the variations!
Another earlier version —
The pictures multiply ….
I am working on a third version of the seashell, ginger jar and honey pot picture. This one’s on 24 x 18 inch Strathmore pastel paper. I have been striving to get the relationships of the objects more accurate in this version. The objects are also slightly smaller than they are in the first version I made of this same size.
I think I like the larger objects better, and it’s probably the version I’ll use when I do the painting. But the relationships in this one are more careful. And it’s still in the works, of course ….
It’s hard for me to break out of a motif. I fall in love with the objects. Like Miles, I fall in love too easily ….
History of the motif below:
Version one: 24 x 18 Neopastel on Strathmore Pastel paper; version two: 16 x 12 Sennelier on Arches Oil paper.
Sometimes it looks like my gypsy caravan.
Seashell, ginger jar and honey pot on a blue cloth: my sort of art heaven. I had to do another version of the motif because that seems to be who I am. Edgar Degas hypnotized me when he said “il faut refaire la même chose dix fois, cent fois.” [You must redo the same thing ten times, a hundred times.] Now I’m like a Degas Robot who redraws stuff ….
Well, there’s worse things that could happen to an artist. The earlier one which I repost further below was drawn using Neopastels on an 24 x 18 inch page of Strathmore pastel paper. The one above was made on a 16 x 12 inch sheet of Arches Oil Paper using Sennelier oil pastels. It’s very gooey. Particularly as the sticks of oil pastel are old. Lots of impasto in it, as you can see in the detail here:
And here’s the larger antecedent picture —
[The little square in the top middle of the uppermost image is the shadow from the easel hinge. Oopsie! Gotta rephotograph that one sometime or other …]
I get my ideas from the still life table. Here’s one of my favorite things to do — pull out favorite objects, set them on the table, start drawing.
Usually I draw the same motif over and over. I am loving this motif so much I think it’s destiny that I draw it again. But I am trying to train myself to reshape the set up regularly and do faster drawings of different arrangements for the sake of the variety.
The above is 24 x 18 inches on Strathmore 400 series pastel paper using Caran d’Ache Neopastels. Seashell, ginger jar and honey pot, with a bit of blue compotier peeking in from the left.
I got a new supply of paper so I can knock myself out drawing seashells and the blue jay figurine, the frog teapot, the flowers of Capitol Hill and whatever else captures my fancy.
This drawing above is Neopastel on Strathmore 500 charcoal paper. I also got Strathmore 400 pastel paper, these in two different sizes. They are added to my supply of Canson pastel paper and Sennelier oil pastel card. So I’m experimenting with lots of papers.
And my daily motto now is “draw till you drop.” Sleep. Repeat.
I’m still not sure what this drawing looks like. I was drawing until there simply was no further light by which to see. As the contours at the far edge of the seashell began to disappear I knew that drawing time was over. I’ll be curious to see it again in regular daylight.
Unlike my usual habit, I drew the picture from right to left. I wanted to make sure there’d be enough room to include the shell, though I wasn’t certain I would put it into the drawing. So I began at the far right, getting that much beloved frog teapot in there. And I spent most of the session working on it, later adding the blue jay figurine and only getting to the seashell at the very last. This is the second drawing of the objects from this alternate angle. (If perchance you’re just discovering this blog, these objects have a complicated story.)
I was drawing in very low light — which I enjoy — using the fading late afternoon light of an eastern facing window on this cloudy summer day, concluding the drawing with the day’s last faint illumination.
Looking at the still life objects from a different side of the table produces a different vibe. I want to do more such drawings so I can make a better decision about how to set the table in the painting.
Blogging about the still life table helps me immensely too. As I try to explain the visual questions in writing, drawing and through photography, I find that I get additional ideas.