Wednesday, July 2, 2014

old and forgotten

dahlia work in progress from many years ago, never finished,
coloured pencil on Stonehenge, copyright Teresa Mallen

Did you go looking through your stash like I suggested last Friday? (see my previous post if you missed the excerpt from my newsletter) I loved the stories a few of you shared via email. Seems like we all found a few 'gems'. :-)
In a recent rummage through my own pile of unfinished work, I came across the dahlia shown here. Gosh, this is a very old piece, started when I was very new to working in coloured pencil.
I abandoned it because I became uncertain...I wasn't sure if the look was right - I was applying so much pigment that somehow it was becoming burnished and I hadn't wanted that. Up until then all of my work was more airy. I had always allowed some tooth of the paper to show through. I loved that look (still do) and I wasn't sure I wanted to continue.
I also fretted over my use of dark purple to do the 'lines' in the petals. Things were starting to look kind of stylized.  Turns out that was just my future style starting to emerge. :-)
I got frightened and decided to quit before I had spent too many more hours on the piece. In the end, I started fresh and did another one. It made it to the finish! I worked slowly, mindful of burnishing. I learned a lot about technique from these early works and I learned about the artist I was going to be.
I find it amuzing that I was worried about getting too stylized...this from the woman that years later would create this from a leaf of chard...

Swiss Chard Mosaic, coloured pencil on Colourfix Paper, copyright Teresa Mallen

I won't leave the unfinished dahlia in my stash. The drawing is fine and what I have done so far is good. I will finish it, with confidence this time, for once enjoying the burnishing side of coloured pencil.

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