Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pastel Poses and the Pissy Printer

After a week of painting soaps and brooches for the fair at St Mary's Church in Waipukurau today I was relieved to break out at life drawing yesterday. Our model brought along her eight month old baby who needed a couple of pit stops during the session which provided a lovely pose to draw. This image is done with oil pastels on black sugar paper.

Unfortunately this week my 10 year old printer has had a complete mental breakdown. At first it wouldn't turn on so I had to switch to a power pack from the scanner. When I took the printer's power pack out to check it it was leaking fluid and the points were black and smelly. I think I was very lucky to not have had a fire. When I eventually coaxed the printer to work it wouldn't print on cardboard and now the cartridges just slide aimlessly back and forth while the paper inches its way inside. Rang my brother whose technical opinion was that the printer is "****ed". With crazy power and phone bills hanging over my head replacing it will just have to wait which is a royal pain as I print my own art cards etc. However the up side is that now I know what caused the weird smell in the office for the past couple of weeks although it did mean that I had to apologize to the cats for all the angry and unfounded accusations.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Warning

The model booked for portraiture yesterday couldn't come so we were left without anyone until one of our number volunteered to sit for two hours. I was really pleased with my work for once and came home all satisfied and pleased, propping the pictures up against the door of the hot water cupboard. Later that evening I heard a thumping noise and came out to discover my drawings scattered across the floor. On closer inspection the conte pastel sketches were smeared and the paper screwed up in places. Seems the cats decided to have a quick rehearsal of "Riverdance" using the paper to simulate the sound of tap shoes. A lesson learned- never leave your artwork anywhere a cat can dance on it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Still Life With Blue Glass And Decomposing Apples

The Festival at Pukeora was a huge success apparently (I never got there) with 1900 people visiting on the Saturday alone. Regarding the art exhibition 180 paintings were submitted and 120 selected. Fortunately mine was one of these. It didn't sell but a friend told me today that it did get some good comments from viewers. Art is a gamble really- you pays your money (entry fee) and you takes your chances (that your work will be accepted and then perhaps that it might sell). Not all of us can get someone to throw some rubbish on the floor, call it "installation art" and win a huge cash prize. Mostly art is about hard slog, trying to learn new techniques, practicing your skills and occasionally achieving a work which doesn't make you want to throw it on the fire. Add marketing and schmoozing to that and you might become a successful artist. However there are thousands of people painting who will never achieve financial success and who just create for the love of it.

I am learning about still life work at the moment. Spent an hour setting up the arrangement on the coffee table where it has sat for the past fortnight slowly decomposing. Less is more in still life- I removed three things from the original setting leaving just three apples and two glass items. I have never tried to draw or paint glass before. The main trick is to not draw the glass but to draw what is behind it as well as the highlights. The drawing to the left is done with oil pastels on black sugar paper. I have also drawn the same picture with chalk pastel and charcoal. The great thing I have found with still life is that my models don't move and once I finish I can eat a couple of them.