Sunday, February 19, 2017

Henri Roché pastels

Henri Roché Pastels 
For any practising pastellist, the basic rule is that you can never have enough pastels. If you had the the complete Roché set, now over 1200 and counting, you might just have reached that limit!

Roché Pastels have just updated their website to facilitate online purchase, or just to make available to view the complete range in order to see what you don't realise you need, or what is actually available! 

Henri Roché are the oldest extant pastel brand in the world, dating from around 1720 and used by artists such as Rosalba Carriera, and Edward Dégas. At its height in the 1970s, the entire range of Roché pastels exceeded 1800 colours. Today, Isabelle Roché and Margaret Zayer are busy expanding the collection that currently comprises 1201 colours, divided into ranges of nine gradations. Each range is composed of pure colours that are either gradated with white, black, or crossed with another colour.

Manufactured in small quantities, Roché pastels are individually hand-rolled into a form suitable for both bold and detailed work. With exceptionally lightfast pigments and a minimum of binder, the pastels possess a particular texture that allows them to adhere well to a number of supports, as well as display a remarkable intensity and clarity of colour. These are top of the range products, expensive, and not for the beginner. But the quality is superb and the personal service second to none. 

The full set of colours is visible here on the online shop. Look, lust, select, buy!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Lilac Time

Many years ago I went to a musical production in the Cork Opera House based on the life and times of Franz Schubert. The whole production was so twee and artificial that I had to leave before I was ejected for guffawing throughout. It was called Lilac Time, so in humble apology to the players and producers, here is my take on same. 

The first sketch is on my easel. pencilling in the outlines and approximate colours.

Next you can see the base colours of the lilac flowers, (Derwent pencils in violet shades, and Unison pastels) and some definition being added to outline some blooms. I am also giving some consideration even at this early stage to the background (I'm muttering "purple and gold" to myself here).

The background is being taken over by raw sienna and umber (Rembrandt) and the highlighted outline on the petals is a very light grey from Carb-Othello. There is detail now on the vase, and the tray-cloth has the light direction made clear.

The cabinet top and the red drawers are added and the background completed -  as I thought.

I didn't like it . Neither did some of my Facebook artist friends - those who have the courage to contribute useful criticism. So I changed the background to a flat Golden Ochre from Schminke. Signed, and framed.
Lilac Time © Niall O'Neill