Monday, January 24, 2011
Back to Rudy
Instead I went back to this pastel portrait of Rudy that I started at a demo in December. It was difficult to get to it because it made me so sad. Rudy is deceased and I took this photo on the last day of his life. Soon after I took it I really liked the photo because I thought it captured him seeing angels. But today it was just difficult. I really want to do the best work I can to "do right" by this special soul.
Up until today I had been working with my harder pastels and a limited palette of Rembrants. But today I broke out the relatively large number of Rembrandts that I had purchased since - many "animal colors." It was such a joy to work with series of anywhere from 3 to 5 grradations of a single color. Previously, to get a lighter color I just used less pressure and applied less pigment. But today I could just pick up a lighter pastel and I think it works much better to have more pigment on the painting. So from now on when I buy more pastels I will buy them in that way - a series of 3 to 5 rather than just a single color. Anyway, Rembrandts are classified as "medium" pastels but, aside from the Giraults, they are the softest pastels I owned. The way they laid down the pigment was wonderful and I like that they have wrappers as I can't stand getting really dirty with pastel dust! I still like the harder pastels for the beginning phases, but these really brighten up the painting.
Since I am working on a piece of velour paper that is anywhere from 4 to 6 inches bigger all around than what the finished painting will be, I was getting a little confused about where the edge of the painting was. I was concerned that when I went to crop it I would find that I hadn't finished to what should be the edges in some places. So I got out some strips of paper. laid them out on the pastel, and marked where the edge will be. Now I'm more grounded.
My plan was to work from the eyes outward, but I ended up working randomly here and there as I saw places I needed to either fix or detail. The place I had the most difficulty was the tongue. It seemed that it needed to be warmer, so I glazed a very little bit of bright orange over the highlights and that seemed to help. There is a lot of splotchy detail in the photo around the gums, but I don't know what it is and am reluctant to simply copy what I see without understanding it. So I'll revisit that problem tomorrow when I hope to finish it except for the final final touches which will require looking at the painting for a few days.