I recently finished a new pastel…

For most of the last two years I have only been working in oil, so it was refreshing to get back to my first love- pastel. Painting again with those dusty, saturated colors had my heart so happy.

It’s funny how painting in one medium will translate into another.  And then everything changes. Different priorities will pull across from the way one handles one medium to another, and this is a good thing. The danger of being an artist is that you can get in a rut.

My son is playing basketball on his high school team. And I am amazed at how shooting a basketball is so technical. He stresses how the same stance and the same hand flexion has to be done in order to be consistent when throwing the ball.

As as an artist that would be a problem. Same marks,  Same subjects. Same colors. It leads to stagnation in my world. And I see it all of the time. I have gone to open life drawing sessions with many people that I see repeatedly and everyone is there with supposedly 2 goals-  to enjoy time drawing, but mostly to improve upon their skills.

But it feels like sometimes everyone is still doing the same thing. Year and after year. Without any major breakthroughs. No criticism. Just an observation. Maybe it would be good to use a different paper or switch from charcoal to watercolor? Whatever it takes to push through and gain competency, right?

So once I went back to my faithful friend of pastel I was not only giddy to be working in the medium again, but I also felt like I was looking at things differently. And handling the medium with the critical eye of an oil painter. So valuable.

Recently I decided to go back to painting a few portraits set in front of mosaics. Here is one I did a few years ago of my daughter. I just love the swan behind her and having it almost resting on her shoulder. (deliberate) As though the name of “Swann” rests its future on her.

And here is the painting that I just completed. I love the peacock mosaic and tried to find a bunch of ways to integrate arcs into the figure and background.

“Peacock” pastel, 36 x 24″  Done from life…….

I liked that she had this shirt where the sleeve looked like a “wing” and that her nails were painted to almost look like claws. Integration! She has a deep love and understanding of fashion, so that plays into the image as well-  peacocks show off their plummage right?  Well, the males anyway…

And what are “arcs?” Arcs, (a sweeping line or curve) can be instrumental to a piece to give it interest and motion. Sculptors know this. They plan for and think about arcs in 3-D integration all of the time. Here are some of the arcs that were planned out in the very beginning when thinking about the composition… you know I like to plan this stuff out……….

Design people! It rocks!

(oh! and yes, this is the same model from the “Goldfish” painting)

The flow is fun. Just like playing “Follow the Leader” -the edges and elements flow and grow and swish around. It becomes a song on paper.

So maybe next I need to start sculpting. Couldn’t hurt.

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