Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fading Light

"Fading Light" as inspired by a small portion of a photo I took at Shaker Village as the sun set on the west side of the property. 
While studying the photo to use as reference for another pastel I noticed how the light ran across the top of the hillside and illuminated the top of the house. The fields and trees created an abstract pattern of interest.
First I created some black and white sketches to study the shapes and values.
"Fading Light" sketches

Then because the distant scene was colored lightly by fading light and summer haze, I needed to enhance the colors giving me a chance to interpret instead of just copying nature. These little color sketches are only 4"x6".

"Fading Light" color sketches

Finally I chose my favorite sketches and combined the best of each to create a larger 8"x12" pastel drawing.

"Fading Light" 8"x12" pasel

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Indiana Fields

Black and white thumbnails are a great way to study value, but color thumbnails can help explore color relationships.
These are studies from a memory I had from a recent trip home from an art fair in Bloomington, IN. I also took some snapshots with my cellphone of sunset clouds. Cellphone images aren't great but the distortions can add to the creative process. Don't copy, just use the photo to trigger memories.

color studies for "Indiana Fields"

"Indiana Fields1" 8"x12" pastel

"Indiana Fields2" 8"x12" pastel

Mowing study

In July I took a weeklong workshop at Arrowmont Arts and Crafts School in Gatlinburg, TN with the pastel artist Susan Ogilvie. It was an amazing week and I'm trying to apply what I've learned.
Of all the things I learned, composition and thumbnail sketches have impacted my ideas the most. 
Yes, everyone knows we're suppose to create thumbnail sketches to study the images for value and composition, but very few of us do it.
Here's the black and white thumbnail I created to study the elements.

black and white study from Shaker Village fields
The cloud section of this painting was created as a plein air piece at Shaker Village this month, but the bottom of the plein air didn't work well. I rubbed out that portion. Then after studying a photograph that I took at Shaker Village the year before, I combined the two images and created "Mowing 2". Confused? 
Well, that's another thing I learned in the workshop - combine images to create a better composition. I plan on talking more about these things in upcoming blogs.
"Mowing 1" 16"x12" pastel on dark gray  PastelMat

This is another image from the thumbnail study.
"Mowing 2" 12"x16" pastel on textured sanded paper