Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Turban Squash Demo

Our feline Frida is posing with the subject and my present obsession, the Turban Squash. I have been wanting to do this beauty in pastel for some time. Often when I wish for something, and visualize it, the universe provides. I almost gave up on this one, however it appeared in a Green Market near my home.

Turban squash, the model in this still life set up, lit from the top left, shadows are below and under the right side of the set up.

The sketch is in charcoal on the sanded pastel paper that I make myself. The recipe is Acrylic Gesson, Rainbow Pumice and marble dust. This surface holds a lot of soft pastel. It is my intention to use multiple layers of hard and soft pastels.

I am doing an under painting with water color, however it can be any water based media gouache, or watery acrylic paints. I do this to get a head start on my color layers. Sometimes the colors are cool in areas that will be warm, in this case I am staying fairly true to the MASS tones in each area.

I am beginning to fill in areas with the side of my NuPastel sticks. As I am working on a sanded ground, it takes lots of pastel to cover the area. I will be building up many layers. It is like painting a piece over and over again, until BINGO!, it eventually gets to the point of FINISHED.

I have used NuPastel on its side to cover some of the cloth with a darker red. Also I am layering lots of color on the red, orange bottom area of the squash.

As I work along all over the painting. You will notice a richness of the pastel color. This is the characteristic that draws artists to this medium. Pastel pigment, softly formed into a stick and applied to paper is like finger painting with pure pigment. The color is captivating. While I have blocked in the yellow band, I am leaving the pink water color without any pastel over it.

The subtle changes are not dramatic, as I am sharpening color and focus as I work all areas of this piece. The more I do the more I see - colors appear, shapes emerge, lines want to be stronger. I am in the flow of the creation process.

Somewhere, along the way, hours have passed, and I am still finding shadows, reflections, texture, and color layers to apply. This is ALMOST...finished.

"Turban Squash"
pastel, "18 x 15"

I will pronounce it finished as much of the tooth is filled, and yet not over worked. My goal is to offer an "in your face" portrait of one of natures finest, most audacious characters.

Shelli doing the Demo at the National Art League

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