Saturday, May 12, 2012

As they say in French, j'ai ravisé.
I put the painting aside - I normally leave it for longer than I did, but the reflection niggled at me. I wasn't satisfied. So I rechecked the photo portfolio I had taken of the set-up (I always photograph my still life set-ups, from different angles, different exposures etc to cover all bases). I decided that a photo that displayed more of the reflection was what I was after, so I brushed off the excess pastel (out of doors) that was covering the area I wanted to alter. I then turned the photo and the painting upside down, drew in the outline of the new relected dalla, and used a mixture of Rembrandt burnt umbers 403.3 and 403.5 series, and Sennelier Olive Grey 449/450 to paint the reflection. Highlights were added in Caran d'Ache pencil and diffused, then a spot of Sennelier Naples Yellow 103 dabbed into the centre. Background repairs were done with the Sennelier Lamp Black, and the painting put behind glass so I can't touch it again without the bother of unsealing and unframing it.

Friday, May 11, 2012

East meets West II

I think I'll leave it at that. What sharpening I did was achieved by using Sennelier Lamp Black in the background at the bottom; and tightening up the pods with my new Caran d'Ache pastels, that will leave a mark on a soft pastel substrate. I must try another painting using these as the main pastel to roadtest them further. The reflection of the dalla was achieved by drawing and rubbing it in firmly before applying the background; then erasing the background to reveal the gold ochre underneath.
By the way, the Sennelier Lamp Black must be the most friable of the Senneliers - it is basically soot mixed with the absolute minimum of binder - there is no way you can use it for detail. And when you make a mark with it, it looks like a grey piece of burnt paper ash sitting on your support until you rub it in and get the black you are seeking.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

East meets West

Recently someone gave me a gift of a Nespresso coffee machine. The Nespresso set-up is a real marketing success - sleek presentation, neat pods, great accessories - and the coffee's good too!
Somewhere in the studio I had saved a brass Arabic coffee pot or "dalla"; I thought the modern pods and the dalla might make a nice combination.

The paper is my favourite Clairefontaine Pastelmat, in a sort of mouse grey shade. I decided to do a colourful underpainting based on a posterized photograph of the set-up.

In the picture on the right I have started to work on the lid. I used mainly CarbOthello  pencils in shades of ochre and brown, and put a dark outline around the "spire" in order to get a real idea of the contrast.
The lid is finished and I have moved down into the body of the dalla. This is where the softer Sennelier pastels come into play.

The pot is finished and there are some surprising colours in it, including a pale lilac running down the right edge - a little in the lid, more in the curves of the concave to convex area.

The pods have been started off too.
They need to be finessed, the bottoms made more rounded, the foil tops tightened, especially at the edges. This is the point at which the pastel pencils are impractical, as working had over soft is tricky and some pencils just won't take. (I can't wait to try out the new range from Caran d'Ache - they are meant to be easily grabbed even at this late stage of the painting.)