Sunday, December 07, 2008

The portrait of Eleanor sort of stalled, but I have been sketching a lot. Opportunistic sketches in cafes for example (I keep a small sketchbook and pencil in my handbag at all times), and sketches in the margins of my music score, of the conductor, the pianist and other singers in my choir. Unfortunately I had to rub those out before I handed my music back in to the choir librarian. It's all good practice anyway.

However I have started another large pastel piece, of hands throwing a pot on a wheel. It is coming along nicely, and I shall do more work on it today. Much larger than life size, the fingers are over an inch wide - Steph would be proud of me for working large. I used the same method I have been developing, of a careful underdrawing based on a photo (not gridded up this time, just drawn by eye, with careful checking of relative proportions and much rubbing and re-drawing until I was happy with it). Then fill in areas of light, dark, and midtone, with silly colours but carefully picked values, covering every scrap of paper so no white is left. Fix. Then begin more detailed work of graded shadows and lines, using a limited palette with total disregard to colour but careful choice of value. For example the hands are purple, the pot is green. But oddly it doesn't look surreal, it looks quite natural and normal. Fascinating how the viewer's eye is able to accept this - as long as there is no doubt he is looking at a painting of hands, his eye "reads" the hands as "hand-coloured" although in fact it is purple.

EDIT - It's finished I think. I'm quite happy with it overall. My favourite bits are the bubbles.

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