Occasionally I will use one of my iPad apps to figure out how to edit a project before I make the actual changes. I’ve done it with charcoals and have started to do it with my pastels. While there are times I edit directly on the artwork, using an app helps me add and delete parts when I’m not exactly sure what edits I need to make.
In this pastel, there were a few areas where I created ‘unfortunate tangents.’ These tangents are the tops of foreground trees hitting the mountain range in the background. Sure, you could keep these trees as is but sometimes it’s better to make changes to make the piece more visually pleasing. As you can see, I used my ArtRage app to suggest possible changes. The second photo shows how I made some of the edits.
After a critique today, I decided to make changes to another pastel because its composition wasn’t as strong as it could be. The group mentioned the tree on the left side was cut off a bit too much and all the other elements in the foreground followed the same line. See first photo below. This line was also echoed in the reflection in the water. The suggestion was to visually cut up the area from the tree to the rocks and bush in the foreground. Using the app again, I made various edits to make the piece more compelling and draw the viewer into the piece. See second photo below. All that’s left to do is go to my pastel and make the actual edits.
Note: if you haven’t heard of tangents in artwork, here’s a blog entry with visuals to explain what it is.
At work, we’ve been doing Facebook Live demos weekly since August 10. I’ve been the presenter three times so far. The first time I discussed Pastel Supplies followed by a demo on creating a pastel. Originally, I planned to do a full pastel in 10 minutes but realized doing the pastel while talking and keeping it to 10 minutes was hard. I chose to show what an underpainting would look like when dried and started a small pastel using a dry underpainting. Overall, I think those demos went well
Since the weekly demos have started we have increased the number of views and number of 3-second views. Hopefully people are finding them helpful as well as reminding people what the store has to offer to our customers.
Yesterday, I did a demo on Starting a Watercolor using Basic Techniques. Similar to other demos, I prepared an outline of what I hoped to discuss during the 10 minutes. By Tuesday afternoon and evening I began practicing the techniques. I wanted to show people how to apply paint to the surface, ways of correcting mistakes, and a few ways to add texture to your watercolor painting.
It was a good thing to practice! I planned to show viewers how to use rubbing alcohol, salt, and a sponge in watercolors. In my attempts to use the alcohol, it didn’t work. Perhaps I wasn’t using enough rubbing alcohol. Checking YouTube, I saw someone dip a straw in rubbing alcohol and touch the paper surface. I tried that method too. It didn’t work.
If it wasn’t going to work in a practice demo, I wasn’t about to try it in the actual demo. I changed it to using a splatter effect. It worked much better than the rubbing alcohol.
I thought I’d share the working process of my recent textured pastel.
After creating the first textured pastel in class, I wanted to try it at home. I used a Gessobord instead of cutting a foam/gator board to a specific size then applying gesso to it. I created an underpainting of the scene then I dripped acrylic paint to the areas where I wanted more texture to appear. One classmate worked on her textured pastel at home as she wasn’t in class for the application process of the acrylic paint. She specifically used different colors for drippings depending on their location in the image. Many of us liked that idea and I thought I would try it on this one. When the acrylic paint was dried, I applied the acrylic ground so the pastels could adhere to the toothy surface.
I started on the background and slowly moved to the middle ground. After a while, I started working on all parts of the pastel but soon realized I had a problem. The colors started becoming muddy looking especially in the trees. At this point I thought I’d try what my teacher once suggested—if it’s not working, wash off the pastels and start again.
I had done it once before and thought I’d try it again. I washed off the textured gessobord and let it dry.
Looking at the artwork, I decided more texture was needed. Once I washed off as much of the pastels I could, I let it dry then dripped more acrylic paint in some areas.
I started applying the pastels again after a few days break. This time it was working and I really liked how the trees were looking.
Once the trees were set, I worked on the remaining sections. The middle was coming along nicely but I wasn’t happy with the stream and reeds in the foreground. My teacher had recently sent an email about her new blog entry. She discussed how she washed off a section of a pastel that wasn’t working the way she had hoped.
Let the week countdown to the 7-week exhibition begin. Last week I mentioned 23 pieces were matted and framed. Now there are 25 pieces framed and ready for the exhibit. I finalized the piece I was doing last week so it brings the total number of artworks to 26.
When I mentioned to my classmates I have an upcoming exhibit,they asked me how many pieces I would display. I responded by saying 24 pieces. They were all surprised by the amount of work I have ready to display. Another friend was surprised at the amount of pastels. I don’t see it being a huge amount; I’ve been working on pastels since September 2015.
I’ve always been inspired by landscapes so whenever I’m in a class my main subject matter has been landscapes. Last year when I knew I would have an exhibit in Stow, I made the conscious decision to have all those pastels connected by imagery of open spaces such as National Parks, National Refuges, and Botanical Gardens. I continued that imagery as I took classes or worked on pastels on my own.
As I was speaking with a friend today, I said I had two other pastels I could include but I hadn’t thought of framing the pieces. She thought I could and should include them. My brother thought the same thing. He said it’s better to have too many pieces when I go to hang the exhibit then to think to myself, “I wish I had framed those pieces as there’s still space to display work.” Also, it’s much easier to bring home a piece if there’s no room then to rush around matting and framing an artwork at the last minute.
In two weeks, I’ll be hanging my pastels for a 7-week exhibition. I’m feeling pretty good about how parpared I am for this exhibit.
Last week I mailed postcards to family, friends and a few artists I know. I placed a few postcards on a table at work and will keep a few for the library.
During the past two weeks I’ve also worked on matting and framing a number of my pastels. At this moment I have 23 pastels matted and framed. There are 2 pastels I still need to frame and mat. I may also include another pastel that I am working on currently. I haven’t finalized it but it’s very close to completion.