Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Outside the Box Orchid WIP

For my next piece, I chose an orchid picture. I went 'outside the box' on this one in a couple of ways. First of all, this is my first time using a photo that I didn't take. This picture was taken by my husband and yes I have his permission to use it :-) While the lighting in the photo makes for a fine photo, it isn't my usual preference for lighting a subject that will become a painting. My normal way of working is to have strong contrasts between light and shadow. I enjoy playing up these values and I think it makes for a more interesting piece. Having said that, I find myself liking pieces by other artists that have flattened values. Such pieces tend to have a peaceful quality. High contrasts often lend an air of energy or excitement to a work. I like it when an artist is confident enough to break the rules. I loved the photo so I decided to get out of my box and work on this image as it...I would resist the temptation to punch up the values.

My next step outside the box was in choosing a new support...coloured pastel paper. Pastel paper is paper that is coated with a gritty surface (similar to sandpaper). This type of paper is used by painters and pencil artists. It isn't just for pastel. I love working on a medium toothed, white printmaking paper but I decided to challenge myself by working on this surface. I have messed about with pastel paper but this was going to be an attempt at a 'real' work.

This photo shows that this is very much a work in progress. You can see that I am using a burgundy coloured paper. Very dark indeed. You cannot apply as many layers to this surface as you can other papers. What surprised me was that as I worked a sheen started to develop! I have never had this happen before. Definitely a signal that the surface was getting coated with the waxy pigment and it wouldn't be taking many more layers. I am using primarily Prismacolor pencils. You have to use heavier pressure to get results and it of course 'eats' your pencils more than smoother surfaces. On the plus side, I found it much faster to work this way and you can actually erase pigment from this surface. Okay, back to the studio...

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