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.
Hot Day Cool Drink, Pastel, 18x24
Does a portrait or figurative piece have to have a detailed background, or can it be abstract? I love painting people but I've never enjoyed "putting an environment behind or around them." To me, the person, character, gesture and emotion are the only important elements. So it was with joy that I read Seth Haverkamp's article in the beautiful ArtistsOnArt online magazine. It was almost like I now have permission, or excuse, or justification to forego all the hours trying unsuccessfully to perfect a background.
As an example, the foreground and person were complete in Hot Day Cool Drink, but I couldn't resolve what was behind the subject. The painting went through these transformations.
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The painting got better, but the struggle with the background surely took away from the enjoyment of creating the Pepsi man. Guess how my next figurative work with be finished!
Hot Day Cool Drink
In conversation, lots of people will say they are not creative. But painting does not flow just from the creative side of the brain. True, that's the enjoyable part of painting: stroking the splash of color, not believing you are actually going to use THAT color. Seeing a real emotion materialize on paper as a face comes alive is almost like being outside your body, watching another person create something. Sometimes you wonder how the painting came to that point.
But painting also REQUIRES the analytical side of the brain: the whole process from white, blank paper to masterpiece is problem solving and decision making. The nose looks too long; how can I use color or shape to change it? I need the background to sit down; how can I make the flat ground not look like a wall staring at me? The composition is one sided; do I crop the finished work or add content on that side?
Even, as in this painting, my husband took a 30 second look and said, "his face is too young, skin too smooth." So, how could I age him? Or , again this painting, I love this part of the background, but this side isn't working; what to do? And, the right side needs a better negative space, but gosh I really don't want to draw another bottle. Add, or leave it? The thinking, deciding, doing is a constant that, hopefully, brings the painting to a beautiful finish.Comment on or Share this Article →