I went sketching with my sketching group to the Botanic Gardens at the foot of the United States Capitol. Inside the enormous greenhouse you can do “plein air” sketching indoors. Great option for cold weather for the faint of heart non-outdoors-persons like myself — though for the record the weather the day of our visit was magnificent!
Above is my drawing using Caran d’Ache Neopastel of a tree growing in the corner of the main gallery.
A few weeks ago in September I went to the Botanic Gardens to draw with a Meetup group. I decided to use some Sennelier oil pastels that I have — just because — and it turned out to be rather a challenge. Sennelier oil pastels, as you may know, are expensive and lip-stick like (when new) and corrosive to the paper (eventually) because of the oil in them. I used them on Arches oil paper, and since mine are not new, rather than being lip-stick like, they were just sticky. I knew then that precision was not the effect to seek and so I bashed the color around. And it’s kind of pretty if somewhat incoherent.
For a second drawing, I used Neopastels (Caran d’Ache) which I love. Not much detail or evident precision in this drawing either but by the time I began it I had been standing rather a longish time, balancing my box of pastels under the drawing itself, a very ungainly way to work! The flowers are composed of little flowerets that cascade across in a ball. I got the ball quality, but not the parts. Still, not bad to get some if not all of the complex perception.
The gooey Sennelier drawing sits inside the closed Arches oil paper tablet. The Neopastel sits propped against furniture on the studio floor where I can see it as I work. (I’m working on a largish painting of a moth at the moment). Seeing it there it has begun to affect me with its bright colors. And even though the kind of flower portrayed isn’t even evident from the drawing, I find myself wanting to go back to Botanic gardens and make more incoherent drawings like these. And I’m wondering if I could make a whole incoherent painting of them, one made exclusively from drawings.
So, we’ll see. But for now, I’m all moth.
Here’s a detail of the gooey Sennelier where you can see the texture available. It’s a very expressive material for a certain kind of work. I wasn’t quite in the mood for it that day I used it, but its appeal sneaks up on you later on after the work is done ….
The color relationships are not unlike those of the flower painting I made recently, which is now on the wall at the Virginia Art League during the month of October.