Thursday, 5 November 2009

"Grumpy Joe" 9" x 12", Pastel on gessoed cardboard, 2009

Another transformation. I sketched this guy yesterday, so his image was still fresh in my memory. I was attracted to sketch him because he had a really interesting face, the kind of face I love to sketch. The only problem was that, I was a bit to far away from him and couldn't really get to see his features clearly. Nevertheless I managed to get the most important bits down and when I got to my studio I quickly did this pastel sketch of it. I have also taken a picture of the set up to show how I laid my pastels, with the working area and reference.

I went about working on this piece as follows.

1. Got my gessoeed cardboard primed with white gesso and a neutral grey tint, which was a mixture of ultramarine blue and cadmium orange.

2. I start by running a few colours of pastel across the surface in a haphazard manner, just to break the plainness of the grey tint.

3.I start from the light areas, working on the big shapes first with all the light coloured pastels I feel will work for his skin tones in the light. There's no real formulae to this, I only respond to intuition.

4. Then I move to the darks and repeat the same process as I did for the lights. Its the big shapes first.

5. Now when the big shapes begin to look good, I start drawing into the shapes with my darker coloured pastels to get some of the features in.

6. It generally looks finished at this point and this is how simple 2 tones and some brief sketching basically bring the face forms to life.

7. Just before I wrap it up, I use some soft thin willow charcoal to sketch in some interesting lines and details, just to add some life to his face and that's it!

8. This was purely an experiment and the pastel medium gives one a lot of room to do that.