Sunday, November 2, 2008

pumpkins and other blessings...

'Pumpkin' 7" x 10", coloured pencil on Stonehenge
Copyright Teresa Mallen

Aren't pumpkins great? I love pumpkins and all types of gourds. Many artists have been busy this fall drawing and painting pumpkins. Blogs have been full of pumpkins pics. So, not to be left out, and as I love pumpkins and all, I thought I would post my pumpkin.

I am always telling my students to never give up on a piece. (Remember my Jack Pine story? And to think that ol' Jack Pine was juried into the Coloured Pencil Society of America's exhibition this year!)

Well this piece is one of those ones that almost ended up being torn into bits and tossed into the garbage. You can't see all of the detail in the stalk but I spent a few wonderful hours softly layering colour. And then things got gruesome. I started to work on the body of the pumpkin and no matter what I did, I wasn't happy with the results. I lifted pigment and added pigment. I put aside my pencils and added pastel. Yuck. I removed this and then added oil pastel. Yuck again. I scraped this off with the side of a finger nail file. By this time I had given up on the piece and it now became something to experiment on. Out came the pencils again. I put down lots of pigment and then I got out my bottle of solvent. And wouldn't you know, I liked what I saw! I let the paper dry, and then added more pigment. I used solvent again. I let it dry again and then added a touch more pigment here and there. Suddenly it wasn't heading for the trash but to the framers!

Even when a piece isn't turning out the way you had intended, you may be surprised at what you can make of it. Just keep trying!

So pumpkins are a blessing...I have them outside and inside - adding beauty to my life. Yesterday I added more beauty to my life by opening my studio to wonderful students who are eager to explore creating portraits. I feel blessed and honoured to be a part of their artistic experiences and to play a part in their growth as artists. Sharing my passion for art and coloured pencil is pure bliss. To witness people enthusiastically and fearlessly embracing art and the adventures art making brings is truly beautiful and gives me great joy. So a big thank you to my students...I am really looking forward to the remaining classes we have together.

As the day progressed, wildlife added even more beauty to my life. I had a male cardinal spend quite a bit of time in a lilac tree and on a feeder - both just outside my family room window. I enjoyed watching him up close. Late in the afternoon, I was taking my dog out for a walk. As I stepped out onto our veranda, I saw a beautiful buck in the meadow, just on my right. He lingered and stared at me for quite a while before moving on. It sounds rather trite to say that the best things in life are free, but you know what, many of them are. I sincerely hope your weekend was filled with beauty and blessings too.

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