Sunday, December 21, 2008

I'm back being artsy already.

Even though I'm "in transition" now and without a studio, I just can't stop making art. Making ambitious oil paintings is not convenient, but after a quick trip to the Met (just 5 hours away, yeah!) I was inspired by Degas to do pastels. I think I will eventually try some giant ambitious pastels, but for starters I am doing portraits to figure out how the hell to work with "chalk." I've been wanting to do portraits since I watched a documentary made by my neighbor about Alice Neel. (That was just before moving-- because one always gets brand new interesting neighbors just before moving out of a building.) I'm starting with self portraits, because I'm always available. And eventually I'll draw my family. After which I will draw friends... and new friends. Anyway, after a couple ass-scrambled drawings, I was able to make this:



Which isn't a bad start, but I still have a lot of work to do. I just wish I was a more interesting subject. I need to change outfits like Susanna Coffey does in her portraits. So right after this sketch, I tried to change myself up a bit:



But I struggled on this one. Mainly because it was 2am but I didn't know having not paid attention to clocks. All I know was that I was watching Notting Hill and it had finished and started over... and finished again. That's when I realized I had been drawing too late and too long. It shows in this portrait. And the pastel is still not natural. It's a bit muddled because I haven't quite figured out how it works and how to plan out my layering in my head as a draw. I always have to know what colors to lay out first and what to hold of on until the end-- but it takes time to know how different colors of the pastel interact with each other. I know oil, and I have an intuitive sense of each paint and it's qualities and when and where to use it. But pastel is unfamiliar territory. My main frustration is how Degas gets such small and fine detail. These sketches are 11x14 and very loose. His pastels are smaller, and I know he is probably using a much different (and better) pastel. I did a quick google about Degas' pastel drawings and found out enough to know that he got very meticulous about his pastel process and materials. But I must learn about his process if I can! More research is in store.

4 comments:

Belle said...

Those painting are so beutiful. You are really good!

B.T. said...

Thanks so much!

Toothache and Vinyl said...

these are extremely good. i love the top one

Bekka said...

the top one is my favorite too-- though I meant the bottom one to be the best. I was tired and it came through in the drawing.