Still Life in Pastel Class

Art, becoming, Class, Drawing, pastel, Still Life

I’ve been taking a pastel class on Monday mornings in August. I’ve always been a mess with pastel, but I lucked into a good set. I’ve been told that using poor quality pastels was a recipe for failure, but found the entry cost of a good set prohibitive. So I let the idea go. But as a painter, there is a big disconnect between black and white drawings and moving to full color. I thought pastels could help bridge the gap.

Anyway, after acquiring the set, I thought I should enroll in a few classes to get started. The instructor, Chris Seubert, is very nice and understands my goals. 

I’m still getting used to the material, but I was finally able to get it to create some form this week. We had small white still life set up and we’re working warm and cool variations along with value.

The set up was a cast of the lips of David, an egg and an upside down bowl. There was also a pitcher, but I left it out for the composition and to save time since this was a class exercise.

Here it is still taped to the board.
Next week is my last class. I’m planning on doing a color copy of a portrait or figure to practice color manipulation.


Tulips, lilies and a banana 

becoming, biology, Oil, Painting, Still Life

I’ve been working on a more subtle color palette. Purples and yellows are difficult.

I went to the store and was able to get reduced price tulips. The clerk told me she couldn’t sell them for someone as a gift, but since they were for artwork she could give me a really good deal. I wanted yellow so that was great. The white lilies make the yellow pop a bit sound got those too…

First I did a 5×7 black and white study.

Then a color one. I completely lost the color in the background. It is the right tone, but too grey.

Then I scaled it up paying special attention to the background colors. The size is 11×17. 

My work has been taking longer due to the new process, but the pieces are more fleshed out. It’s a lot less stressful to know what I’m doing when I’m looking at  the bigger the blank canvas. I’m able to be freer with the work because I am more confident in my vision too.

This isn’t quite done yet. The background darks need to be deepened and the lights need more brushwork. I don’t want to over cook it, but it’s pretty far along… I’ll repost when it’s finished.

Three flowers 

becoming, biology, Oil, Painting, Still Life

This piece is close to finished. I have been working on studies from thumbnails in order to get the composition and colors the way I wanted them.

This piece was really designed to test the process. I found that I got to paint almost as much. I have several small studies and a large finished piece as a result. I think the finished piece is stronger than it would have been otherwise. The studies allowed me to try different things with minimal risk. This allowed me to be bolder in the finished piece. 

I still might like to sit down and paint from scratch, but this process is valuable and I’m glad to be using it again.

Little teapot with fruit

becoming, Oil, Painting, produce, Still Life

I’ve been working on some still life’s to simplify the image so I can practice paint handling with my new paints. 

This painting was difficult for me. I like this teapot, but teapots are always hard for me. I have given up on them more than once before. I was also trying a different white and everything kept turning to mud. I don’t usually have that problem but have just switched paints so I must be adjusting.

There are things I like about this and things I don’t. I like how the catfish on the teapot came out. I like the different whites in the teapot and I almost like the lemon a bit. I’m not crazy about the composition. I should have placed the pear differently. Also because it was so hard for me to get the teapot right, I wound up painting tighter than I’d like. I want the image to be right so I can be looser with the paint. This is definitely not a painting that painted itself…

Maybe after it dries a bit, I’ll go in and restate a few of the shadows and highlights, but I might be done with this. Or maybe it’s done with me…