Sunday, January 12, 2014

Practicing Red Rock painting

Tom and I are going to raft the Colorado river in May on a plein air painting trip so I am trying to simplify my painting process and palette.  First I need to take smaller bites; I really liked this reference photo but since I will be working on 9 x 12 wallis paper, there's no way I can do that much detail.

So I cropped the photo to find the most interesting shapes, evocative colors and interesting angles.

I sketched in the large shapes on Kitty Wallis sanded paper taped to foam core

Using a small Winsor Newton travel set of watercolors I washed on the loose under painting.  As I watched the paper buckle I realized I will need to mount all the paper onto foam core before we leave.

Here's the painting...not horrible though I should have made the back wall of the canyon cooler so it would sit back better....well, that's one down and a couple dozen to go.  I hope to have a lot of fine small paintings to sell when I get home - so I can afford the next trip!

I have wanted to paint grapes for a while, they are such little jewels!

The sketch on the rough side of Canson Mi-Teintes with vine charcoal which I brushed down before adding pastel.

stroking on dark and mid value pastels

I have blended the pastels so they become an under painting of sorts

I begin to add details working left to right and top to bottom

This is the fun part, firing up the grapes!

I add the darkest darks and the lightest lights and sign it but I'm going to look at it tomorrow with 'fresh eyes'.

The next day I added blues to the onion and peachy warm tones to the grapes - they were all too equally red yesterday.  I also stroked more warm toasty pastel over the pale violet in the upper right area that was too distracting.  Finally I noticed that since they are translucent, the grapes cast a warm glow on the beige fabric - just the right touch I now think!

Demonstration painting pears with pastel

These pears have been bumped a bit, but with a strong light and a good imagination they will do.

I am recycling a gently used piece of Kitty Wallis Belgian mist sanded paper 9 x 12.  I begin the painting with a sketch done with vine charcoal.  I brushed the sketch with an old oil painting brush to remove most of the charcoal so it won't darken the pastels.

I have blocked in large shapes with light, mid and fairly dark values.  I will add the lightest values at the end.

The finished piece isn't this garish.  Please click on the image so you can examine the pastel strokes more closely.  After a while I stroked the lightest peach pastel over the lavender area on the far right....there was just too much interest in the contrast between the background and tablecloth where they meet.