Friday, August 17, 2012

Too Many Spy Movies

Pastel,  8 x 10 on charcoal paper
Values were easier to see with pastels than with oils. They're were also less demanding.
There were no brushes to constantly clean. 
"So what did you learn in school today dear?"

 "Nothin' much. --Well, maybe something?"

 I sat down to see for myself. Using pastels,(my legs are still recovering). This forty minute drawing was a value challenge, except, it was easier to select the values for the palette the way the colors were laid out in the  box. I didn't care about how the drawing came out. I just wanted to continue the practice--eyeballing the measurements, determining the values, playing up the shapes, underplaying the lines. In October, Vianna is teaching painting with pastels. I was thinking of signing up for the six week course to strengthen my new way of seeing. My legs can take three hours of standing once a week much better than six hours plus for four days in a row; cement flooring is not my friend. I thought I should make the commitment while I was still energized.

 I took a photograph of this woman sitting behind Ellis at lunch today--actually I took a few. She was leaning against the glass enclosure of the porch where we were seated. I made it look like I was taking a picture of honey. Then, just as I was about to push down on the shutter, I told him to shift away and ruin my shot. He did beautifully.  We've seen way too many spy movies; we were really smooth.


22 comments:

  1. Psssst I take pictures of strangers all of the time. I like group shots because you get so many unanticipated natural positions and it is easier to hide what you are doing. I've begun drawing and painting some - different from sketching out and about, but the same too. I am out of town but will begin posting some when I return.

    Cool what you are doing. I would think values with pastels would be tough. I also have the problem that dust conceals the colors on the sticks and I become very disorganized.

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    1. My whole box from the eighties is dusty! Make a stroke and more dust! I blow it off to I'd rather not know where. But in the box, pure colors and half colors and quarter colors are displayed and more immediately discernible than mixed steps in oils or acrylics on a palette. I think it's easier to see what needs graying and what needs playing up. But what do I really know? I'm feeling it out based upon something the instructor said. I'm taking the word of this woman who learned to paint first with pastels, then went on to oils. Of course she is selling her class, but from my little experience with pastels, I have a feeling she's right. A few more sketches, I'll know.

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  2. Smooth. You and Ellis are quite a team.

    I really enjoyed your workshop. Six weeks--wow. This is a nice piece.

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    1. We are--vaudevillian :) six weeks BUT just once a week for three hours--easier on the body, plenty of time to recoop.

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  3. Great, about the class, the clandestine photography . But be careful with pastels. Do not blow dust around. It is bad or the lungs nd also pigments are often toxic.

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    1. I think a shop mask will do it. I actually knock the drawing against the side of the waste basket so all the dust falls in; it's a closed container waste basket. Thanks for the heads up though. I'll get those masks out. --you'd think I'd use my phone for spying, but I use my camera and my sidekick: honey now just put your glass down and smile into the camera. That's it! Hold it. Ah you moved. We'll have to do it again. --this gives us chance to apply our acting skills:)

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  4. The October class sounds great. So you and Ellis are getting into the clandestine-type business???

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    1. I want to stay connected. She got me interested in the value of using pastels to seeing values more clearly. And she just happens to be teaching a class in the handling of the medium in October. October is just far enough away for my legs to recover fully. The last class ends four days before we leave for Mexico, our Winter kick-off trip. After that it'll be me alone in my studio till Spring with what I picked up at two workshops this year. Seems like a plan---two workshops a year to speed up my progress. I do have a lot of catching up to do after wasting twenty five years in the design/build business:)

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  5. This is really interesting about using pastels to explore values, and am sure that the theory doesn't just apply to oils.... why can we not apply it to any medium and in my case in particular watercolour? So that's what I've learned from your course with Vianna!!! Look forward to hearing what else she has to teach you in October!!!

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    1. I thought so too. It was just a casual remark I overheard her make to someone else. A light bulb went off in my head that made me want to pull my old pastels out and find out for myself. I think this drawing came out okay for using the medium for the first time in a long time. I think what we learn about values from pastels can be applied to whatever else we're working in.

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  6. This pastel painting is wonderful, Linda with wonderful values. Very impressive for just beginning!!! As you know, I work mostly with pastels and I'm careful with the dust. Like you, I knock the dust in the wastebasket next to me ..with any medium you have to be careful...ALSO, my sister is a beautician and she uses a rubber mat while she works, and at the end of the day, she's not as tired. Maybe that would help you.? (of course, its just another thing to take with you!!)

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    1. That's a great idea IF I could count on setting up in the studio and being able to leave the set up for the duration. Unfortunately, they have evening workshops and classes who come in and arrange according to their needs. Then the mat would have to be the size of those used on carpet between desks and credenzas in offices, so I could do all the backing up I do. I'm afraid I'll have to find the right shoes--clod-hoppers, not at all fashionable.

      Thank you. That means a lot coming from you; your work is superb.

      At the moment, I'm just using pastels loosely the way I do charcoal. I think loosely is what I'm after. Fast likenesses is what I'm after. I just read in Sargent that eventually he did mostly charcoal and pencil portraits and limited sittings to two hours, producing only 30 oils in that period of his life. I also noticed he did a lot of contour drawing. I sucked at contour drawing as I was taught--never take your eyes off the subject. I always ended up with a piece that looked like an ant had stepped into the dust and walked it all over the paper. I need a lot of practice in contour. His "daily" painted sketches are fabulous--a dash here, a smear there, a dot or two and done. But they did have a bit more size than his drawings--and what I'm seeing around Blogville. Thank you again Hilda for your encouragement.

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  7. So did you sign up for the six-week course??

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    1. Yes. The woman said something that just turned on a light bulb in my head. Plus, I do like the camaraderie. Left on my own, I'm pretty reclusive. I don't think it's healthy. Time to break that standoffish part of mt personality.

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  8. In the small image on my blogroll this portrait seems hyperrealistic! When I magnify,I see that it is not hyperrealistic,dear Linda, but I understand "on the field" what you have catched from this workshop!

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    1. It is a new way of seeing that is so simple once it's pointed out to us. Vianna has another workshop that sparks my interest (I like the way the woman thinks): six ways to start a painting. For years, I knew instinctively that different subjects demand different treatment. I'm hoping she offers it again in the Spring. Two workshops a year is enough for me--UNTIL I have this knee attended to, which I've decided will be in January or February. Ellis said he would chauffeur me around. The winter months are not my favorite. I never carried on with my skiing.

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  9. Great that you'll do the 6-week course!!!
    The spy portrait is very good!
    You and Elis make a good team of 007s. I had a huge smile reading your adventure.
    Warm regards.

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    1. Better to spread out the pain. The knee pain of the work shop did push me to the next step with this knee--get it done. January, for my birthday. With ice and snow on the ground, it's a good time to plan indoor activities:) Thanks, I thought so too. I think I got it. I think I got it, (a line from Pajama Game, the Broadway Show, I think)?

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  10. So! You survived the knee pain - well done. You obviously learnt a lot and I anticipate a new form of you emerging hereabouts. As for the special agent (E-man) ...what a team!

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    1. Well here it is Sunday and I'm still icing. I am considering it may be time to get a replacement? What's been holding me back these five years or so is I've been hearing as many bad tales about it as good. I am getting sick of having to coddle it.

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