Feeling really lazy, I was going for the fewest strokes possible to make this painting believable. The strong colors may have been my saving grace in this one because if you click the image to enlarge it, you can see just how lazy I was.
Traditionally, pastels were used as studies for oil paintings. I often like to use oil paintings as studies for my pastel paintings and this one of "Sam" (named in honor of Sam-Dolman, painter) is no exception. I still have a few refinements to make to the pastel painting which is larger and longer (12 x 24).
I really enjoy the process of working on a study. I know there are lots of things I can work out in Photoshop (I love Photoshop) but there are some things that can only happen, for me anyway, while working at the easel. Doing a study gives me a chance to really study and experiment on a particular subject in the painting without the fear of wearing out the paper or canvas.
When an artist uses colors correctly, it makes our eyes yearn to view the image again and again. It’s addictive. Suzanne Berry’s painting, "Ciree" is such a fine example of the skilled use of color!
Biscuit is often referred to as a black and white cat. Ha! I am pretty certain I have used nearly every color in my pastel box to get all the colors in her fur correctly represented. There is not much restraint here as I start pouring them onto one of my favorite pastel papers; Sennelier La Carte.
Once the patches of color are established with Unison and Diane Townsend pastels, I use NuPastels to blend them together and to define the fur. I don’t want to overdo the blending process; otherwise the colors will turn muddy and lose their sparkle. Eventually, I work over the entire painting, defining shapes, adjusting value and color as needed.
I will intentionally leave some of the edges undone and fuzzy to give the viewer’s eyes some resting spots and to allow her to participate in filling in the blanks. I also add a few token hairs and/or whiskers to give the “feel” of fur without actually putting in every hair. Each painting tends to dictate just how much detail is required to make the story believable. I err on the side of less is better.
Below are some sample pages from the tutorial showing the progression of the painting and the descriptive text below each step. The salmon is the color of the paper I use (Sennelier La Carte).
You will get a link in email and then you will be able to download the PDF once your payment clears. Currently I offer Paypal and if I get any requests, I'll get Google pay set up, too. I am using an automated service to download the PDF so even if I'm not available (hopefully I will be in my studio), you will get the tutorial right away. Well, let's see...go to the movies or learn something new about painting...I know what I would pick!
Biscuit is my constant studio companion and never ceases to be inspiration for me at the easel. It is more than her external beauty. It is much more than what you see with her long flowing mane and those beautiful sun-catching eyes of hers. It is really much more than that. She has the sweetest, kindest, most generous little personality I have ever encountered in an animal. She has made an appearance in The Pastel Journal four times and I have lost count of how many times I have painted her. I wonder if there is a spot for her in the Guinness World Records. Hmmm....
I have been buried in my studio so I thought I would share another of my bird paintings in honor of the eagle meeting at our "cove" this morning. You can see some of the photos I took (here) on my photo blog. It was quite a sight and the sounds were amazing, too. Happy painting!
Colors are such an addiction, aren't they? I was thinking about some of my other SEAL (Self Engendered Art Lesson) projects and thought I would share this one that I know many artists before me have done and many artists after me will do; a basic value study. I think it is such a great exercise. To mix it up a little, I chose to do this one using pastels. Yum. I thought I would miss the color but, really, there was something that felt free about not having to make color choices...but just for a little bit. I'll soon be back to my addiction.
About the painting: This Little Light (pastel, 9 x 12) Ever since she was born, my grand-daughter has held that special little place in the heart and arms of her Papa. My goal for this painting was to convey that sense of security, trust and love she has for him and, in return, the love, sense of protection and longing for the right future he has for her.