Saturday, September 11, 2010

Abstracted Cloudscapes #6 & 7

Back in the painting groove again after our trip, and here are the latest two in the abstracted cloudscape series.

Both are on Strathmore 400-series pastel paper.  I was beginning to run low on my existing pad, so I went down to our local art store.  Apparently, they don't carry the 400-series pastel paper in 12x18" anymore, so I bought some 500-series tinted charcoal paper.  We'll see how that goes when I switch to it.  I like the paper simply because it's pretty inexpensive and so I don't worry about wasting it.  It accepts blending and layering much better than Canson M-T, but because its tooth is limited, it does force one to be a bit more judicious with pastel placement.

abstracted cloudscape series #6 - desert cirrus sunrise
12 x 12 inches

I did this painting yesterday afternoon, under less than optimal lighting conditions.  My studio table, which is in our living room, has a west-facing window.  When I have my computer monitor on to view the reference image, the afternoon light often causes the true colors and subtle nuances to be obscured.  So, this morning, when I came down and looked at it, it needed color adjustments.  Setting the painting aside for hours, or a day, is hugely helpful to see these and other discrepancies that were overlooked during the painting process.  

abstracted cloudscape #7 - sunset salute
12 x 12 inches

Another high-chroma sunset.  This was done on rust-colored paper, about the same as the orange/rust colors in the clouds.  I am having trouble resisting the urge to finger blend these paintings, and while it does give a soft look to parts, at other times, it makes the piece look overworked.  I'm still trying to figure out the best way to approach the blocking in of clouds like these, where there are areas of multiple colored clouds that have smudges or tiny patches of blue sky showing through.  And, I've also found that despite the usual rules of pastel painting - light over dark - this doesn't always work so well.  Laying yellow over the darker mauves and purples often results in an ugly dulled color.  

I need to resist the urge to finger blend on some of these, even if paper shows through, and see how I like it.

Oh - a milestone here:  #6 makes the 100th pastel painting I've completed to date since I started painting last fall.  I suppose now I can officially call myself an "artist" now :).   

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