Sunday, May 10, 2015

Flowering Trees, pastel

 Flowering Trees
5" x 7" pastel on sanded paper

I started this yesterday on the second sample piece of Pastel Premier paper that Dakota Pastels sent me. I'm not sure why I took so long to do anything with the X-Fine white piece when the Medium grit Italian Clay piece was so satisfying. I was a little put off by the extra fine grit, didn't think it'd hold much pastel.

Oh was I wrong about that! The superfine grit held a lot of layers. I had to mix colors on this little darling because I was working with a 36 color set of Holbein half sticks, not my usual big selection with a deep dark violet available! 

I can also happily report that Pastel Premier responds very well to a watercolor underpainting or water wash. I'd heard it becomes a bit sticky with rubbing alcohol 70% wash so I went for watercolor. Wow. It performed beautiful. Here's my tonal underpainting in Winsor & Newton Artist watercolor (vintage pan set from 1998 or so, when they recently changed the name to Professional.)

Flowering Trees
tonal underpainting in red-violet watercolor

I like how the underpainting looks too. t came out well. I made a few changes, mostly hose two shadows on the left looked cloned so I pushed one back and connected it across the painting while making the forward one a bit larger. There's enough layers of bushes showing to give a little depth.

I had fun with this, a spring painting to celebrate the return of my body functioning again! I'm starting to have good days so I'll hopefully paint and post more now as we go toward summer!

Speaking of which, last Wednesday I forgot to post the two pen and ink with watercolor pieces I did while I was out at the clinic garden getting rose photos and lots of spring flower photos too.

 African Tree from Video
ATC size 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" pen and watercolor on paper

Started out in the morning watching yet another nature documentary and fell in love with this classic African tree from a big panoramic scene. So sketched it from life after a couple of rewinds. Fast little pencil gesture, inked and then tested the Borden & Riley 90lb drawing pad for light washes. It curled a little but didn't soak through and flattened again just fine leaving the pad upside down overnight, didn't even need to weight it. Fun little pads, pity Blick doesn't carry them any more. Wish I'd stocked up on them when they were available.

San Francisco Street View from Life

This is actually a view from outside my front door looking toward the left. There's a bright mural across the street enclosing a closed storefront that used to be a Kwik Print or something like that, then these trees in a row on my side of the street. I didn't put people into it this time, the street was fairly quiet and I was rushing to get the pencil done before the Paratransit van came.

Once I got on the van I inked it, doing squiggly and rough lines in motion and straighter clean ones at stops. Later on in the waiting room I did the washes. But the basics of the scene are still from life, it doesn't matter when I ink and color something like this.

It was fun. It feels good to be able to sketch from life. Most of my life I wasn't good enough at it to capture the scene so got very frustrated and only sketched a detail or two, now I sketch better and can detail at will. Put in the pigeon from memory, they are always around and I like them.

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