1/29/09

City Drama, 24x24


"City Drama" 24x24" Pastel on sanded paper   Sold

Wow! This sure is a drastic shift from my past work! I mentioned in one of my past blog entries that I'm thinking about making changes in my work, wanting to brighten up my palette and work on brushstroke quality more and more? Well, I've tried something new and it was sure fun! In an effort to come up with an entry for the NPS Members Show this coming April, it has to be a bit experimental as stated in their show prospectus. In this piece I've applied gold leaf to the piece that was entirely experimental for me. I've wanted to use gold leaf for a long time now and here is my first attempt. My inspiration for working on a night scene comes from 2 sources. One, In a recent artists' gathering, we saw the work of one fellow artist Michael Fisher and he shared with us his nocturne paintings...simply spectacular! And 2, I also was influenced by a recent article in The Pastel Journal on artist Tony Allain. Both show sensitivity to brush work and color, composition and subject matter. I'm not sure if I'll keep onward with this nocturnal theme work, however, it was a good stretch for me.

So, here is my first attempt to a night scene, a work in process (WIP) series. Photo resource from the Reference Image Library.


In this first step, I mounted Wallis Museum Grade sanded paper on a gessoed gator board and under-painted it with a mix of dark blue, black, and purple Createx Pure Pigment paint. I used a light blue pastel pencil to lightly mark my intentions always loosely, so not to over-commit to the scene. Don't want this painting to be rigid now, do I? Naw...


Here, I've applied the gold leaf to areas I want to shimmer with light. I applied this leaf first and formost simply because I don't think it would stick directly to a surface covered with dusty pastel. This was my first time trying gold leaf and it was a bit messy for me. I wasn't sure on the "how" to do it, but I knew that I had to paint on a gluey solution on the preferred areas for it to stick. Then I applied the leaf gingerly with my fingers and using a funny flat-tipped brush to tamp down onto the leaf. I think it worked. My 8 year old boy thought it was "neat" that I was using "real gold"! OOOh!


Now for the color! Blocking in basic shapes of light and dark patterns all while I'm figuring out what colors I'm going to use. Working on a black surface has its twists because the colors seem brighter on an intensely dark surface than working on a light surface.


Here, I want to communicate that the illuminating neon lights are what makes this scene. Without those lights, this scene would be just another city street. Adding details and still sorting out what goes where, I begin to forget what the resource photo has, and begin to play with the mark-making and color placement.


Finished! I love it when I'm nearing the end of a piece. It's so satisfying and thrilling, meditative and calming, correcting and reviewing all the while.

10 comments:

G. Lindwood said...

Nice job on a complicated street scene Lil' B! It's got a good rainy feel. I'm intrigued by your use of gold leaf on a pastel painting. Looking forward to seeing this piece in person.

Miki Willa said...

I really like this one. The gold leaf adds so much to the overall effect. Thanks for sharing your technique.

B Boylan said...

Thanks you two for your comments on this one. It's a really interesting effect and I'm already dreaming up other ways to apply it to my work. I was considering using it in a Koi painting by using the gold as the highlights on the surfacing fish.

B Boylan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loriann Signori said...

Wow Brenda..at first I wondered if I had the right blogsite!!!!!!!!
Congratulations to move so bravely and pull it off majestically! And thank you for sharing your process. Maybe I will try some of that tempting gold leaf. You're awesome!

Celeste Bergin said...

nice job with this! I sure wish you'd have put this into the Broderick street scenes show....it would have been perfect! beauuuutiful. I do see the M. Fisher influence!

B Boylan said...

Thanks for your comments on this new piece.
Celeste, it's too bad it wasn't even completed by the submission time for Broderick's show, but yeah, I'd have entered it for sure!

Karen said...

Wow this piece is stunning! It sparkles. I absolutely love the gold leaf...it brings me out of the picture as an image of 'something' and back to its materiality...and then I go back into the image. How cool. If it were me, I'd have probably gold-leafed everything in sight by now!

B Boylan said...

You got that right, Karen! It was really, really hard not to put it on everything that was "light".

alkemilla said...

Great nocturnal view!!!
I love your style!