Thee and Thou pastel, 24x36" It has occurred to me that I have not posted a painting in awhile. OK. It actually occurred to me that I haven't been on a cool road trip or seen anything not completely waterlogged for awhile. It made for a fine excuse to drag out a painting. I am so lazy. These two paintings are both in pastel medium on sanded paper and I painted them some time ago. Unfortunately now all I can see is what's wrong with them. Of course I always end up seeing what I think is wrong with them after I have them framed up. As a matter of fact the surest way for me to spot what I think isn't working is to have someone buy it. Then I spend the rest of my time trying to figure out how I can get that sucker back off their wall so I can fix it for them. Apparently the police frown on most of my ideas. If I'm lucky I'll catch it just after I finish framing it and attaching the hanging wire. It's funny what an expensive frame job can do for your critical perceptions.
As you can see I am something of a color whore. I seem to lack proper restraint in that area. I am not hopelessly lost however in color overload. I plan to prove it to you in the next post when I will show you a couple of paintings that display my ability to limit my licentious use of color. Today however seemed like a perfectly acceptable excuse to show you these. It has been dark and raining buckets for at least the past two days. There was a brief sun break this afternoon and I thought if I was fast enough I just might make it outside to soak up some of that elusive sunshine. Not fast enough. By the time I got my shoes on I saw the cats waving to me as they drifted by in a row boat. Maybe tomorrow.
For any of you who may be interested in the process I employ in my pastel paintings I'll bore you-- I mean provide you with a quick run down. The surface aka paper I use is Kitty Wallismuseum grade sanded paper. It is like a very fine sand paper. I love this paper! You can pretty much do anything to it and it will hold up beautifully. This works well for me because I like to abuse the living daylights out of my pastel paintings. With watercolor I am much more civilised but, pastel is a full contact sport. I have been known to take a hose and scrub brush to this paper and it just laughs and keeps coming back for more.
Like many artists I paint an under-painting first. This is where I probably go off the reservation a tad bit. I use oil pastels directly on the paper. Some poor unsuspecting fool once said within earshot, that you could not mix oil pastels and dry pastels. I didn't make it out of the art store before I had a new mission in life--proving that unimaginative fool entirely wrong. I'm kind of punky that way. Of course no words were exchanged but it was definitely ON.
The way that this reasonable impossibility works has a lot to do with Kitty's fabulous paper. I use painting medium to thin and work the oil pastel into the tooth of the paper. I have to wear those little rubber finger tip things they use for counting money at the bank though or I would sand my fingertips right off. Sure, I could use a tool and sometimes I do but, I like the finger painting approach. It's in keeping with my juvenile nature.
The real reason I use this method and not the more traditional mediums for an under-painting is that the oil pastel quickly covers a lot of space and maintains its much more rich and vibrant color. This in turn means I can get where I am going in a painting a whole lot faster.
The other particular thing I prefer to use in these paintings is my own hand made pastels. I learned this little art form from the famous Kitty Wallis herself and I have been hooked ever since. I love being able to craft and create my own special colors and shades. It's a tactile thing and a little reminiscent of playing with Clay-Dough. Plus, I'm greedy with colors. There's that juvenile nature again. I find something absolutely irresistible about being able to purchase pure pigments and play around with colors and mixing them up as if you might know what you're actually doing. One day I hope to play around with composition as if I know what I'm doing. I have such lofty artistic goals. It's good to have goals. Goals and Play-Dough that's my motto. Well that and a shiny new box of Crayons. The big one! Summer Afternoon 30x22"