Following on from last week, we tackled fabrics again. I started afresh, looking at a double knot in a loose white fabric. Sketched in charcoal but painted entirely in acrylics. I’m pleased with the outcome. The knot is fairly convincing. The background hangings I just made up.
We have started on a two week project, representing fabric in pictures. This first week just trying to draw various fabrics draped and twisted over hangers of one sort or another. It took me a while to get into it. Mainly using oil pastel, but with charcoal and soft pastel laid over the top. I am not that keen on oil pastel, but I like the way you can keep layering and layering it on. It gets so thick you can carve down through it. Colours show through so the final image can be very rich, even if a bit inexplicable.
We weren’t copying Rembrandt as such. We were trying to use very contrasty portraits as sources for subtractive oil painting. Using a single dark colour, burnt umber plus blue in my case, smeared over an entire sheet of shiny, coated paper, and then wiping off highlights with rags and cotton wool to create a light and dark image. We had two of Rembrandt’s self portraits as examples of strongly litl paintings, and I decided to copy one of them.
I liked the outcome, but it looks more like Einstein than Rembrandt. There is a great richness to the varying darks. The white cap is just the paper shining through where I have scraped off the paint with a pallet knife. A very satisfying, physical form of painting, but very messy. I had to wear vinyl gloves, and even then had paint all over them.
After finishing this picture, I had ten minutes left, so tried the same thing in charcoal with another Rembrandt self portrait. I had meant to blacken the whole page, but actually just blacked in the figure and then took out light areas of the face and hand using a plastic eraser. Again, it doesn’t look much like Rembrandt, but I was pleased with the outcome of ten minutes. I do like charcoal.
Every artist has to do it eventually. I painted a scene of trees in our watercolour class, and was pleased with the results, which looked very summery. I decided to have a go at doing the four other season, using the same, imaginary group of trees. The basic technique is wet on wet, allowing the paint to move around.The trees are applied as faint blue pastel lines for the distant ones and charcoal for the main, near ones. The autumn scene, my next version, was done just the same way. Then I tried spring. To get the light green of the new leaves, I used pastel over the watercolour and charcoal. I also put pastel streaks and blobs in the foreground for the spring flowers. There is meant to be a sea of bluebells, which we get around here every spring, but they don’t come through too clearly. winter was the last and a challenge. the basic painting was wet on wet, but the foreground was left white for snow, with pale purple streaks for shadows. A few dots of colour for old leaves, hanging on in there. I tried scraping through to the paper for snow on the branches, but it just didn’t work. Possibly the paper was still too damp. I used white acrylic paint instead, which does work, but you have to be carefully just to place it straight on, without working it. If you do brush t at all, it picks up the charcoal and you get grey.
Second watercolour class for this half of term. Focused on creating texture using cling film over at paint. It gives a good ground and can be used both in layers and different parts of the painting. Problem is that it can be to easy to concentrate on the technique and forget the picture making. Some of the tones in these two are the wrong way round, set up conflict in depth perception. It is also a bit hit and miss what will read through from different layers. Snow done with spattered acrylic, which is not that great.
Art classes have stared again for the second half of the term. In the mixed media sessions we were trying to use frottage to add texture to dry drawings. Basically bras rubbings as back ground. to give you some texture. A good idea, but my rubbings were so pale and I covered them with so much scribbling that you couldn’t really see them. It was good to work from real things. We had various bits of dried vegetation and I chose the teasles as they are local and important around here, being used in the weaving industry.
The big pictures were fun, but the two little ones of individual flower heads were better.