Tuesday, July 21, 2009

simply pears, new cp work in progress

Time for a new piece and for a change from flowers I decided on fruit. I grabbed some pears and headed outside for a bit of a photo shoot. I must admit that my photos leave something to be desired as I was rushing things. My initial thoughts were that I would like to do a simple, rather stark, contemporary piece. I would have liked to use quartz or granite counter tops as a surface but as I don't have either of those in my house I used my old faithful marble pastry board instead. A lot of great pie dough has been rolled out on that marble! Humm...how about a pear tart? Oops, I digress...

The above photo is one of my not so great reference photos but that's okay as I cropped it anyway. I created a drawing and the image below shows how it looked once I transferred my drawing to my paper and started adding colour.

I chose an olive green sheet of Colourfix paper to work on. I wanted a change from white Stonehenge and I wanted to work on something sanded. The piece is approximately 7 1/2" x 10 1/2" in size. If you haven't tried coloured paper and you are not sure how to transfer a drawing to a coloured surface (or to a paper that is too thick to use a light box) please click here for a description of how to do it. Just scroll down to the question section.

In the above photo, I have put down three different pencil colours to make up the background. The pears are untouched and are still the colour of the paper. I started in on the marble with a first layer of pigment. Then I started to wing it when I should have proceeded with caution. The picture doesn't show what I did next.

After stopping to take a photo, I decided to tackle depicting the dark veins in the marble. I also decided to bump up the detail in the marble to make it more striking (and more like granite). So I started in applying dark streaks all over the place. I wasn't sure it was working but I kept going. Well, when I was finished I knew it didn't work. It was just too busy for the simplicity of the piece. And uh oh, I had got quite carried away and there was a lot of pigment down! Darn.

So I got out my tape and I started to lift...and lift...and lift. It wasn't coming off evenly but hey maybe another layer of pigment would cover it. I tried that. Nope, now it was worse - a real streaky mess. So back to the lifting. Finally I decided that this wasn't doing the job so I reached for my electric eraser. I had hesitated to use it as I thought it might remove the sanded texture of the paper. But hey, things were looking too awful to leave it the way it was. You know what? It worked! Like a charm. Yippee! The lesson I relearned here was that when things really don't seem to be working, stop and assess what is happening. I should have done a test on a scrap bit of paper to see if I liked the marble look. I was impatient and I paid the price. Lifting and erasing took too much time and was quite boring.

So I continued on and started in on the pears.

So at this point, there is still work to be done. I haven't finished the pears (you can still see the green paper at the bottom of the front pear), the shadows are not done and I shall tweak the new non-marble background colour. I should have stopped to take a picture of the awful 'marble' background before I erased it. It was truly hideous! :-)

Now for some garden photos...yarrow

More yarrow...I love yellow in my gardens.

For some shocking pink, good ol' phlox.

I shall show you the finished pears in my next post.

The moral of this post is that sometimes it is best just to keep things simple...oh and slowing down to do a test strip saves time in the long run.


Laure Ferlita said...

Slow down?
Test strips?

Ha! Where is your "adventurous, fly-by-the-seat-of your-pants" attitude?!!!

I suspect in the same place as mine, in the drawer marked "I've-learned-the hard-way and wasted-too-much-time"!

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi Laure! Ummm, being adventurous and flying by the seat of my pants got me an ugly, inappropriate marble background - so perhaps that attitude does need to be stored in a drawer! But wait, experimentation is good - but on a separate piece of paper!!!!

Carol Creech said...

Hi Teresa,

Ooo - I love how the pears are turning out. And it's great to see your step-by-step and learn from your marble-background mishap! Thanks for sharing all of that. Look forward to seeing the final version!

Jennifer Rose said...

thanks for the progress pictures :) the pears are looking great and good to know that an electric eraser will not take off the texture to the paper

anything resembling yarrow gets pulled right away from the garden, makes everyone sneeze :/

Valerie Jones said...

Beautiful pears and beautiful garden!! Test strips??? aww....who needs those? LOL

Paula Pertile said...

Hey, I'm doing pears too!
Don't feel bad about the marble mess ~ I did that with the signature on my last one. Glad the electric eraser took it off, I didn't even think of that for mine.

The pears are looking lovely by the way, can't wait to see the finish.

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi Carol, I'm glad you like the pears so far! You are welcome for the sharing bit - maybe the info will come in handy for someone. :-)

Hi Jennifer Rose, glad you like the progress photos and yes the electric eraser working so well was a surprise.

Hi Valerie, yes LOL indeed!!

Hey Paula, I shall hop on over to see your pears. I can't wait to see what sort of surface your pears are on! :-)

Christine said...

These pears look yummy... your painting is coming along fine, and I am glad that you tell all and let us learn from your mishaps! I am looking forward to the progression of this piece.
You are also quite the gardener it seems...very pretty flowers you have there in your garden. I miss the summers living in a cooler climate...the growing season there is much shorter than here in Florida, but oh so abundant and colorful.

pencilportraits said...

brilliant tips Teresa, no one manages to get things completely right as they work away, it's wonderful to hear things can be altered and brought back onto the correct path, and judging by the last pears pic it looks pretty good to me.

Pencil Sanity said...

Love the pears. I got out in the garden today to take some photos of the trees with berries on them. Unfortunately, I am not a good photographer and many of my shots require artistic license when used as reference. Your pear shot looks really nice to me.

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi Christine! I can't imagine gardening in Florida. Isn't it lush there all of the time? :-) I do enjoy growing things and I am delighted to report that the previous owner already had some flowers and shrubs planted which I am enjoying. I also divided lots of my favourite plants from my former home and brought them with me (we moved here two years ago). It was a lot of work but it was worth it as I now see them thriving here.

Karie-Ann, I hate to give up on a piece! I have only ditched a few and I did end up playing and experimenting with them further in order to learn techniques etc. All the rest I have managed to do something with that I liked even if it wasn't where I was originally headed. :-) I have even put a piece away and finished it years later once I had developed my skills further.

Hi Maria and thank you. May I encourage you to keep taking photos? When I first started my art journey I was intimidated by having to take my own photo references. I learned by doing and I took hundreds of pictures. This was back in the days of film and it wasn't exactly cheap. But perseverance paid off and now I am much more comfortable composing a shot, working out light angles and so on. Your photography will improve with practice. Also, you might find it helpful to study good photos. You can look anywhere. I found high end magazines had lots of great inspiring photos. Food magazines gave me ideas on how to create still lifes and garden magazines always give great ideas on how to crop flower photos well. Have fun with this and I promise you your pictures will improve!