Wednesday, June 30, 2010

This and That

The last couple of days I've had the opportunity to do some demos in two art classes I'm teaching.  In the morning class, my student asked if I would teach her how to draw a beach scene which looks kind of like an abstract color study.  She wanted to learn about layering color and making the scene look realistic.  I found an appropriate picture on my computer then started to show her how I do it.  She drew along while I drew.  It's a little bit hard to tell from this photograph, but there are crazy colors underneath the blue - my student was taken aback when I put vermillion red down, but she said she decided to be a good student and do it despite her misgivings!  The effect it has is to make the colors more interesting and complex.  There's dark green and blue and red and some orange under there.  In the sky, there's red and pink and mint green under the pale blue.  I didn't blend any colors, rather I just applied the marks overtop of the other colors.  When I use very good pastels (i.e. ones with lots of pigment) on sanded paper, it's very easy to cover whatever is on the paper already.  The earlier layers will show through a bit, creating a more interesting final picture.

After we were done with the sea scene, I used the same colors and did a quick color study.  I often like to do that to get away from the tidiness and carefulness with which I created the scene from the photo.  I've become familiar with the colors and how they interact and just want to play with that at random.  This image will give you more information about the colors which are underneath the previous picture!

In my evening class yesterday, the students were learning about composition and value and color and creating form - there's a lot to keep in mind when drawing with pastels!  I had them draw a piece of fruit.  I insisted that it be a SIMPLE piece of fruit so they didn't have to struggle with complexities of shape along with everything else.  To the right is the demo I did to show them how to apply the strokes - in the direction an ant would walk if he were to traverse the curves, both from top to bottom and around the entire circumference.  To create a shadow, apply the primary color of the fruit (red, in this case), then put in its complementary color (green), then put the background color over it so the shadow appears to be on the surface.  It is a very good way to get a decent shadow that looks fairly realistic.  I wouldn't say that this shadow is one of my best, but it gives you an idea of how it can work.  I was very excited by the work the students did in both classes.  They ended up with some very nice pieces! 

Next week we'll do self-portraits!  A great challenge!

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