SCRUMBLE — A Blog About Pastel Art
Scrumble is a pastel painting technique of lightly touching the surface; the result is visually stimulating and very textural. My blog adapts that technique of scrumble, lightly touching on art and the art of pastel painting.
Talking About Ticonderoga
Finished? Put the last stroke of color on it? Added your artistic signature? Even framed it?
It's still not too late to make it better. Examine your painting. Put it front and center where you have to look at it several times during the day. Study it for flaws:
- One small area bothering you
- Colors wrong
- Background doesn't recede
- Perspective not quite right
- Focal point in the wrong place
- Cropping would make a stronger image
- Maybe you stopped just short of pushing the form or color
Enter it in a competition. If it is rejected, try to understand why. Sometimes it just didn't fit in with the parameters of the show or the preferences of the judge, or the photo image was not true to your painting, and sometimes there were simply more excellent entries than the show could accept . But if you were diligent about choosing the right competition (which includes medium and juror), it likely was rejected because of something that you can still correct.
Get a professional critique. Some excellent artists are now offering digital critiques for a very reasonable fee. Their advice can be invaluable in helping you to see your work through fresh eyes. And if you can incorporate their comments on that one particular painting into your future paintings — then everything gets better.
The image on the right was my "finished" painting, the best I could do. At least that's what I thought. Until a critique from Bill James, an impressionist pastel artist whose figurative work I've admired for years. Bill's critique made me look at the composition as a whole, and its elements individually. With trepidation, I brushed off those stairs I had so laboriously painted. An immediate improvement. Some of the red reflections got whisked away; I understood why they shouldn't and couldn't be there. Minor color adjustments. Every change made the painting better, stronger. The final Talking About Ticondergo is at the top of this blog.
I used to be afraid that changing something would "ruin" the painting. Now I study it and try to find what it takes to make it better.Comment on or Share this Article →
A magnificent willow tree lives on our golf course. Right on the edge of a water hazard, it thrives all year. Getting plenty of extra food from its neighbor, a well nourished green, it grows full and tall. It's a beauty when the wind blows: its branches reach sideways, making a delightful sound. And when the air is still and the branches gracefully lean over, well that's a beauty also.
However, painting that tree and the surrounding green was like the Karate Kid's wipe on, wipe off. I forgot one of the basics: keep it simple. I painted lots of color and value changes, trying to show the ground slopes and distance. It was intended as a donation to Rally for the Cure, but honestly was not good enough to leave my studio. After seeing it on my blog in October, I removed it from artwork.
"It doesn't have to be a golf painting, it can just be a pasture," offered my husband aka chief critic. Off came most of the pastel. A few color swipes and a lot less detail, and I could finally feel the majesty of the willow tree. One streak of sunshine yellow and three cows on the horizon, and I'm happy. The photo at the right with the flag was round one, Bluesy Greens. The painting above is Bluesy Moos. And isn't that a fun title!Comment on or Share this Article →
Memorial Weekend Was: A little golf, a little John Wayne and a little painting. But along with the painting came an artistic eye-opener.
I had several unfinished paintings of the Neches River bayou. Painted on Wallis Sanded Paper, the layers of pastel can be easily brushed off, which was my intent. I plan to start a series of paintings from our India trips, and since that white Wallis paper was already covered with luscious colors of pastel, I wouldn't need to tone them.
But in looking at the unfinished bayous, all the same scene, I thought it would be interesting to just complete them, each in a different color palette. It was not only interesting and fun, it was a learning expose.
- I learned that changing the color scheme can make: different mood, different light and shadows, different reflections.
- I learned that the masses could rule: they did not need numerous patches of grass, flowers and twigs.
- I got a better understanding of creating depth, receding the ground with overlaps and thinner strips of color.
- I reinforced the importance of shadows and using darks.
I have always been a step-back artist, looking at the whole composition from a distance, but painting in this "new" way gave a bigger importance to the step-back. Standing close to the surface, as is necessary holding a short stick of pastel, limits the vision area, making it too easy to think detail is needed.
I also learned the freedom and quickness of painting a 9x12 massed-in landscape as compared to the many hours involved in portrait and figurative work.
It was a fun, liberating learning experience. I actually want to give a shout out to Catherine Anderson, who posts small impressionistic landscapes frequently on FaceBook; I have admired them for a long time. Perhaps she was muse to my subconscious.Comment on or Share this Article →
Talking About Ticonderoga
Which is better, the painting with the plain stone wall in the background or the one with more information in the background?
The Ticonderoga guide seemed to be pretty good,but there was nothing in the painting defining WHAT he was. Now the knapsack and coat suggest the historical element, and the 1775 plaque carved into the stone help to tell the story. I made the table longer and added the wooden stairway to push the wall back. Slight adjustments in color in his face, and I was finally satisfied. If something in a painting bothers you, as an artist, you know you will never be satisfied with the painting unless you fix it.
Comment on or Share this Article →