Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunflower Pastel Demo

I try to do a rehearsal for my demos, in order to feel more comfortable with the subject and medium. This series is inspired by the recent article in Pastel Journal on the work of Jimmy Wright. He has brought sunflowers, long a favorite subject for painters of all stripes, into iconic celebrity status.

I have enjoyed them always as a part of a large casual bouquet. This painting will celebrate one sassy, shapely bloom. Here goes.

Pretreatment and Under-painting.
I am working on Art Spectrum Colorfix 1/2 sheet, a light yellow. This paper already has a medium sanded surface and can take many layers of pastel. Rubbing the side of several colors which are arranged in horizontal bands, I cover the surface.

Alcohol is brushed on and manipulated while wet, softened and made to resemble a wet water color. I enjoy working on a pre-treated textured paper because it challenges me color wise. It enables me to see the tone as a medium VALUE so that I can better judge which lights and darks are to follow.

The "portrait" of this sassy and curvy feminine form is drawn in charcoal with attention to the GESTURE of the stem and placement of the leaves. I am enjoying this shape very much and it feels like it will make its appearance onto the paper in an organic and natural way.

I see this Dancer in a Musical - and the color costume, greens and a crown of yellow. Unlike Wrights often tortured forms this one is happy and willing to show up and show-off.

The background gets more alcohol/pastel treatment and some side of the stick lightly applied color application/enhancement.

I am too much committed to the background and will not mess with it too much - on this piece. Building up using soft, also referred to DRY Pastels, Rembrandt, Sennelier, Schmincke, Unison, and Rowney as I am blocking in the darks of the leaves and the darks in the corona at the base of the flower.

Developing the drawing, and wanting to keep the feeling of this piece about the movement and personality of the flower as I see it. This looks "pretty" is that a bad word?

Some further enhancement of pastel in the background and a lot accents in the leaves to exaggerate the movement that Sunflower leaves actually have. They twist and turn in an amazing variety of shapes and lines, light and darker color. I am using warm and cool greens, and as well as various line colors. The stem is a riot of line and color striping.

This is the finished pastel, I shall call it "Struttin My Stuff" or something like that.

This is a closer view of the Sunflower strutting its stuff. I enjoyed this one, and I want to do more with other attitudes. Stay Tuned!

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