On Tuesday, we continued with our pastel class focusing on Color Confidence. We played with neutral colors plus saw how analogous colors worked compared to complementary colors.
At the store where I work, we had a gouache artist present a demo in the spring. She believed it was important artists create their own color wheels to fully understand and appreciate how colors work. I remember learning about the color wheel in school but I don’t specifically recall mixing pigments to learn about color.
In college, the teacher in one of my first art classes had his students use colored pages in regards to color theory. I’ll have to think about his reasoning for it but I remember we used these pages during the semester in various exercises. I don’t recall any classes after that point where we spent time discussing color theory by mixing colors.
I feel I may have missed something by not mixing pigments. I’m glad the subject matter for this month’s class is Color Confidence. During the first two classes, I learned a lot about mixing neutrals and how they can be used to make colors around them stand out. These exercises will be very beneficial as I continue with my art.
I think one thing is certain from this exercise. I need to work on determining mid-tones values. Ultimately, I should purchase a few mid-tones of various colors.
While the study isn’t perfect, I wanted to apply it to an actual photograph of a landscape. Does have the right values make a painting work regardless of the colors/hues used in the artwork. Below is the pastel using the various colors in the new Value Study
Do those colors work? This scene depicts pine trees along a small lake. In the reflection you see the trees as well as the sky. Here’s the original black and white photograph. Tell me does the colors from the Value Study work?
We are discussing Color Confidence in our OctoberPastel Class. Over the next few weeks, we are doing exercises dealing with value (light vs dark), chroma (bright vs dull) and temperature (warm vs cool).
Our first exercise would really hit home the idea that while color gets all the glory, value does all the work! First we were tasked with picking out one hue in varying values. In my values photo, the top row showcases a violet hue ranging from lightest to darkest on a scale of 1 to 5. The thought process is in painting it does not matter the color you use as long as it matches in value. If you have the correct value, the color will work in the painting.
In the other rows we were asked to pick colors matching them to their corresponding value. It’s more difficult than you’d think!
A previous pastel teacher once said she could easily pick out colors based on value without thinking about it. In singing, this person would be known as having perfect pitch. Most people are not that lucky. I am one of those unlucky people (not being able to pick out values so easily)
There were a number of times, I found a color that I thought could be a two or a three value and took a chance in placing it in squares of the exercise. When I completed study, I took a photo of the piece and converted it to black and white. Here’s where you can see the mistakes.
That’s why I say it’s So Good because it’s So Bad. Obviously, I’ll correct the value study. The more I work on it, the better I’ll become at determine values and picking colors that will work cohesively in an artwork.
Here’s a photograph showing how to fix a few of the mistakes once I correct the values. Knee completed, I can move onto the next step by taking these values and applying them to an artwork such as a still life or landscape. I’ll post on that part of the exercise later this week
Sometimes the best way to learn is to make mistakes.
At work, we’ve been doing Facebook Live demos weekly since August 10. I’ve been the presenter three times so far. The first time I discussed Pastel Supplies followed by a demo on creating a pastel. Originally, I planned to do a full pastel in 10 minutes but realized doing the pastel while talking and keeping it to 10 minutes was hard. I chose to show what an underpainting would look like when dried and started a small pastel using a dry underpainting. Overall, I think those demos went well
Since the weekly demos have started we have increased the number of views and number of 3-second views. Hopefully people are finding them helpful as well as reminding people what the store has to offer to our customers.
Yesterday, I did a demo on Starting a Watercolor using Basic Techniques. Similar to other demos, I prepared an outline of what I hoped to discuss during the 10 minutes. By Tuesday afternoon and evening I began practicing the techniques. I wanted to show people how to apply paint to the surface, ways of correcting mistakes, and a few ways to add texture to your watercolor painting.
It was a good thing to practice! I planned to show viewers how to use rubbing alcohol, salt, and a sponge in watercolors. In my attempts to use the alcohol, it didn’t work. Perhaps I wasn’t using enough rubbing alcohol. Checking YouTube, I saw someone dip a straw in rubbing alcohol and touch the paper surface. I tried that method too. It didn’t work.
If it wasn’t going to work in a practice demo, I wasn’t about to try it in the actual demo. I changed it to using a splatter effect. It worked much better than the rubbing alcohol.
At work, it was decided we would do presentations or quick demos on Facebook Live. It would be a great way to interact with our customers, we could inform everyone about the products we have to offer, and we could do quick demonstrations.
I was asked to do the second Live segment—Introduce our customers to the various pastel products available at the store. I began thinking back to a college course I took on public speaking. I decided to do an outline and begin practicing.
The outline came together easily in my opinion. I had an open (introducing myself and the topic), a middle (discussing paper, pastels, and various tools), and an ending (reminding everyone of our weekly Live presentations, where to see our calendar and where we are location for those new to our Facebook page.
A day or two before, I practiced using the outline in front of me. Soon I realized just winging it with the outline and not having real dialog would not work for me. I fumbled words and had a few seconds here and there where I didn’t speak. Working on sentences helped me determine what I wanted to say, helped me memorize important information, and minimized those areas where I blanked out on works or phrases
Now I’m practicing for the next Facebook Live segment —Creating a Pastel on Sanded UArt paper.
The segments we will be doing on Facebook Live can be found on Albright Art’s Calendar page
I thought I’d share the working process of my recent textured pastel.
After creating the first textured pastel in class, I wanted to try it at home. I used a Gessobord instead of cutting a foam/gator board to a specific size then applying gesso to it. I created an underpainting of the scene then I dripped acrylic paint to the areas where I wanted more texture to appear. One classmate worked on her textured pastel at home as she wasn’t in class for the application process of the acrylic paint. She specifically used different colors for drippings depending on their location in the image. Many of us liked that idea and I thought I would try it on this one. When the acrylic paint was dried, I applied the acrylic ground so the pastels could adhere to the toothy surface.
I started on the background and slowly moved to the middle ground. After a while, I started working on all parts of the pastel but soon realized I had a problem. The colors started becoming muddy looking especially in the trees. At this point I thought I’d try what my teacher once suggested—if it’s not working, wash off the pastels and start again.
I had done it once before and thought I’d try it again. I washed off the textured gessobord and let it dry.
Looking at the artwork, I decided more texture was needed. Once I washed off as much of the pastels I could, I let it dry then dripped more acrylic paint in some areas.
I started applying the pastels again after a few days break. This time it was working and I really liked how the trees were looking.
Once the trees were set, I worked on the remaining sections. The middle was coming along nicely but I wasn’t happy with the stream and reeds in the foreground. My teacher had recently sent an email about her new blog entry. She discussed how she washed off a section of a pastel that wasn’t working the way she had hoped.
While I had all pastels matted and framed by Sunday night, there were few small things that I needed to complete. I updated my biography and artist statement, created gallery tags for each piece, and finalized a price list.
I arrived half an hour or so after the library opened to hang my pastels. I met with a library staff member who helped me get the hook over plain rods for each pastel. Many gallery spaces uses these rods so that no nail marks are made in the wall. I was informed the gallery tags I created could not be taped to the wall. I hadn’t received any specific documentation about exhibit guidelines so it was a good thing she mentioned it to me.
Assemble Pastels into Groups
I laid out the pastels on the floor getting an idea which areas had the greatest amount of space allowing pastels to stay within a specific group. I have a number of pastels on a few National Parks, some pastels based upon a national wildlife refuge, other historical local areas, and land from a botanical garden
Once I had the space planned out, I began hanging each piece. Luckily I had help from a family member, which made hanging the exhibit even easier. Overall, from the time I arrived to the time I left the library, it took only a little more than 2 hours.
The experience of hanging an exhibit wouldn’t be complete without realizing I had forgotten something. I forgot the postcards I created and a guest book. Later in the afternoon, I came back with the postcards and guest book.
Forgot Something Again
When I dropped off the guest book, I added the exhibit title and dates to the book. What I didn’t realize was that I forgot to leave the pen I brought with me for everyone to use. Fortunately for me, a friend came to the exhibit and left a pen.
Let the week countdown to the 7-week exhibition begin. Last week I mentioned 23 pieces were matted and framed. Now there are 25 pieces framed and ready for the exhibit. I finalized the piece I was doing last week so it brings the total number of artworks to 26.
When I mentioned to my classmates I have an upcoming exhibit,they asked me how many pieces I would display. I responded by saying 24 pieces. They were all surprised by the amount of work I have ready to display. Another friend was surprised at the amount of pastels. I don’t see it being a huge amount; I’ve been working on pastels since September 2015.
I’ve always been inspired by landscapes so whenever I’m in a class my main subject matter has been landscapes. Last year when I knew I would have an exhibit in Stow, I made the conscious decision to have all those pastels connected by imagery of open spaces such as National Parks, National Refuges, and Botanical Gardens. I continued that imagery as I took classes or worked on pastels on my own.
As I was speaking with a friend today, I said I had two other pastels I could include but I hadn’t thought of framing the pieces. She thought I could and should include them. My brother thought the same thing. He said it’s better to have too many pieces when I go to hang the exhibit then to think to myself, “I wish I had framed those pieces as there’s still space to display work.” Also, it’s much easier to bring home a piece if there’s no room then to rush around matting and framing an artwork at the last minute.
In two weeks, I’ll be hanging my pastels for a 7-week exhibition. I’m feeling pretty good about how parpared I am for this exhibit.
Last week I mailed postcards to family, friends and a few artists I know. I placed a few postcards on a table at work and will keep a few for the library.
During the past two weeks I’ve also worked on matting and framing a number of my pastels. At this moment I have 23 pastels matted and framed. There are 2 pastels I still need to frame and mat. I may also include another pastel that I am working on currently. I haven’t finalized it but it’s very close to completion.
Yesterday and today I had some time to mat and frame a few pastels for my upcoming exhibit. I finished framing the textured pastel. I’ve done a quick video discussing how I positioned a channeling mat between the artwork and the mat that would be against the glass.
Most times when picking out a frame, people look at the style and make of the frame (e.g., how it looks and if it is made of metal or wood). As I work on the framing, I had to remember to take into account how the artwork fits within the frame. Frames have a depth of measurement inside the frame called a rabbet. When you are framing a piece, you want the glass, the mat, the artwork, and backing board to fit within this area. If it is too big, you will not be able to secure it into place.
In the textured pastel, I had to make sure the glass, mat, channeling mat, and artwork fit within the rabbet. The frame I purchased had a depth of frame as 5/8″ with a rabbet depth of 3/8″. Yup, all the pieces together just made it. Phew!!