Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mangled Birch

"Mangled Birch"
pastel on Wallis board, size: 9x12 inches, unframed
copyright 2013 MaryAnn Cleary

This week I had planned on going outdoors to do some painting, but the temperatures became too frigid along with gusting winds. I did managed to do some sketching while sitting in the car with the heater on and take some photographs. "Mangled Birch" is the result of a pencil study and photographs.

This pastels uses many of my own handmade pastels. I am finding that I reach for them more than the purchased ones. I did make up many handmade pastels that are dark in value and also ones that are warm and cool grays. For the gray tones, I used complimentary colors for the initial mixture and then made lighter graduations. So far, most of the handmade pastels are exceeding my expectations. To date, I have had only one failure where the end result gave me a pastel that is extremely hard and refuses to make a mark. I will probably crush this one up, re-mix it and add titanium white/French chalk to it to see what happens. The French chalk (calcium carbonate) is what gives many pigments that soft feel.

For my next handmade pastels, I am also going to try adding a little carbon black to some of the pigments to see what happens. Just a touch to try to deepen that values. Typically, I do not use black when I am painting, so it will be interesting to see what happens. My goal is to keep the pigments vibrant and fresh looking versus flat and dull. I have a feeling that a little black will go a long ways.

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