Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Studio Battlefield

Today was a day I was looking forward to all week. My girls were on a field trip to an aquarium, but I had to stay behind because my son is doing standardized testing. That means all children were out of the house for a few hours this morning. I love having them around, but I can’t think of the last time I was alone in the house!

So little time – so much to do. I took the dog for a walk and then carved out some time in the studio.

First, I worked on a complementary pair of colors on the color wheel I mentioned before. This was only the 2nd set of colors I’ve gotten on there. It’s quite time consuming, trying to get the different tones. But, I think acrylics and I are starting to become friends.

The same can’t be said for another medium I dealt with today. I decided to warm-up with my “drawing game.” The subject: bicycle. The medium…my nemesis: chalk pastel.

I knew I was in trouble from the very beginning. A bike – narrow bars and spokes, numerous intricacies. Chalk pastels – chunky blocks with no fine tips for capturing those details I like so much. But, there was no backing down from the challenge.

Now, I happen to greatly admire a lot of art done in chalk pastel and wish I was more comfortable with the looseness that it requires. I love chalk pastel on a colored paper. However, I can’t stand all the chalk dust all over my work space, getting smudges of color and finger prints where I don’t want them. I love edges, pulling and pushing elements in space with color or value brought right up against it.

So, we duked it out for a while. More than once, I wanted to walk away from it out of annoyance. But, I know that I tend to get something out of an exercise if I just stick with it a little while.

I think the one highlight of this drawing session was in placing the atmospheric foliage on the horizon. I will admit that it can be easier to deal with background distance because of the smudginess of the medium.

Part of me would just like to ignore chalk pastel forever, and I suppose I probably could. But, as long as I keep seeing beautiful work with that medium, I think I'll keep coming back to it.

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