Sunflower and Friends, 6x8" pastel, Diane Mannion
The Real Thing
There's a wealth visual information when working from the real thing rather than a photo! These flowers were wilting but still hanging on from a demo I did a week ago. Set them up in the studio and went to work while the petals withered and dropped.
Didn't bother with special backgrounds or lighting. Attempted to capture the "atmosphere" of the room, rather than fiddling with walls, doors, windows, or studio clutter. And let the lighting and values glow from the color of the flowers.
We see color and values and how things "live" in space a zillion times more vividly than the best camera out there. Flowers are forgiving! Unlike portraits where every measurement must be accurate, flowers are delightful for practice. For example, I added leaves and flowers where there weren't any to help the composition flow. Changes can be seen in the thumbnail sketch and the pre-wash underpainting below.
Every sketch, study, scribble, drawing or painting in whatever medium...is practice for the next. I love pastels for their speed, a great way to work on small, fast pieces while those large… serious oil paintings are developing on the other side of my studio.
I'm working towards a show next season and also have portrait commissions in progress. Will not show any of those things for many months. Meanwhile, these pastels and other small works allow me to keep posting and sharing information on my blog. Looking forward to teaching one class at Ringling Englewood next season… PASTELS ONLY!
Worked on ochre colored Canson MT smooth side taped to four sides to board, alcohol wash underpainting. Used Nupastels, Giraults, Rembrants, Great Americans, and Unisons.