This pastel painting has had an interesting journey. It has spent the last year on the Isle of May where my original inspiration for the painting took place. Last year there was an exhibition on the Island of work by local artists. Stormy weather hampered the return of the paintings and they were there over winter. Then this year other factors meant that they weren’t able to be retrieved until this autumn. I am looking forward to be reunited with my painting.
One of my favourite pieces of art work is Dürer’s Hare. It is the kind of artwork that remains with you and is timeless. It is hard to believe it was done in 1502. There is something dynamic and alive about it. I often find myself wanting to do studies of art work I admire. I did the sketch above using graphite pencils. One thing I appreciated about the painting, having done a study of it, was the way he captured the fur giving volume and shape to the animal. I have observed that my cat often sits in a position quite similar to that of the hare.
The beautiful red roses in the garden inspired me to do a pastel study. With my secateurs I sniped an unopened bud as I knew it would open quickly as soon as I brought it inside. Flowers are great subjects as they need to be done immediately. Therefore you can’t put off the task at hand.
The weather was lovely and my spring plants were looking so nice. I thought if I don’t go out and paint them I will have lost the opportunity. So I put fresh acrylic paint in my stay wet palette, arranging my colours around the palette like a colour wheel. With my small easel, paints and paintbrushes out I went to the garden. The tray at the front is for mixing and when the acrylic dries it can be peeled off. This is a new acquisition which I am finding really practical.
The first daffodils to flower in the garden inspired me to set up a still life. I used my pastels on pastelmat paper to do this study. It was nice to look at the flowers up close. I chose to have a complementary background of purple to enhance the lovely yellow of the flowers.
Snowdrops were early to flower this year. I decided to pick some from the garden and put them in my glass snowdrop vase, found in a charity shop. I set up a small still life in my studio. Below is a quick sketch in conte on a blue background. I decided to add additional pattern for interest under the vase.
I next did a tonal study in oil using 4 tones only. I mixed these tones before starting to paint the still life. This was a fun exercise. A nice way to show appreciation for such delicate flowers which cheer us at this time of year.
I made this pastel copy of “Man Reading” by John Singer Sargent. His painting was done in oil paint. I enjoy doing studies of master paintings you can always learn so much. His edge work is superb and it was a good lesson in observing lost and found edges. I loved working in all the lovely golden tones. His composition is particularly interesting. It was a fun exercise to do.
Wishing you all the best this Christmas and for the coming new year 2020
Recently I demonstrated the above pastel painting for the Carnoustie Art Club. I set up a still life inside a box which had a hole cut out at the side. I had brought along a lamp so I could directly illuminate the set up through the opening. This created an almost theatrical and dramatic affect to the still life. I enjoyed the process and sharing how I was approaching this painting.