"Crossing the Perch" 24x24" Pastel ©Brenda Boylan
After much struggle and delay, I've come to a point where I think all the corrections have been made to call this one piece complete. Along the way, I was flip-flopping between a warm or cool light source. If the light is warm then the shadows are typically cool and vice-versa. Because the foggy sky had a lot of cool color (a typical Portland sky), it made the painting very cool in nature and I didn't want another foggy painting. So I switched the light to be warm (yeah, we artists can change weather almost in a blink) and it gave the painting the pop it needed. Also, the highlights on the shiny cars and other urban motifs have either a pink or yellow hint to them from the warm light source, giving my painting some sparkle. Below I share my process of struggle and success...
There is a guy somewhere in Portland who now is in a painting! Who could he be? He originally was a tad to the right, but his head was in perfect alignment with the Nordstrom sign, and that created a direct linear path through the middle of the painting. That being a big no-no, I scrubbed him off and moved him a cadence back. Also of note, the grey street is not grey at all, but a series of colors lightly layered on top of each other. Our eyes "mix" the color and that is what I love about pastels...the layering of colors that make the eyes excited.
Then there are the birds. Every city has them, be it pigeons, seagulls or small brown finches and so I was inspired to name this piece after their heavenly perch because of their presence in every city. These gulls were originally perched a tad towards the middle of the light pole, but I moved them over to the left to give weight to this corner of the piece... creating a flow and balance to the overall composition. There is lots to explore in this piece, but most of it is painted with a soft blur so it's not too fussy. In keeping with focal point guidelines, (strong contrast in dark and light, complimentary colors touching, tighter detail, and busy shapes) I kept the tight rendering to the busy traffic pattern in the far distance.