Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Creating a starry night panel

Today I started working on a large (at least for me) panel--30 by 40 inches. I decided to do a night scene but wanted it to look a little different than the couple I have completed in recent months. After working in oil pastels for 10 years I very recently came across a better way to sketch my composition. I've always worked with a graphite stick--Derwent graphitone--to do my underlying sketches. And that works great on paper because it is quite erasable. But it doesn't erase as well on the gessoed panels. So, lazy artist that I am, I would sometimes decide the composition was good enough just because I didn't want to erase the graphite and redo. Pretty silly when you think of all the other hours that go into creating a piece. Anyway, I was cleaning out one of my cupboards in the studio and found some chalk--just plain chalk--and it works great on the panels. If I don't like something I just get a shop rag wet and wipe off the line. Also, working in the lighter color on my colored panels makes the composition/sketch much more visible than when I use the graphite. The chalk also doesn't create a dark line when I go over it with a more translucent color. I wish I'd thought of it sooner. Well, I got the composition drawn and the sky filled in--that might be another topic for this blog--filling in the sky. I've roughed in the mountains and some of the baseline trees and one of the structures. Not real happy with the structure color so I figured I'd leave it until tomorrow and see what might work in fixing it.
And, besides, Junebug has a visitor today and tonight--our neighbors had to go to Santa Fe and this is our first time taking care of their dog, Princess--a shepherd mix. She's never even let me pet her before today but she's making herself quite at home. Asleep in the studio most of the day and asleep in the bedroom right now. Ahh, a dog's life. And, the Westminster Dog Show starts very soon.
So, besides finishing the big panel, I think tomorrow I'll take some pictures of the studio and the panel piece. A picture is worth a thousand words, right? (Is that all?) And maybe I'll post some pictures of all the snow we're getting! Later.

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