"Twilight on 33rd" 24x24" Pastel
Getting back to my favorite medium, pastel, I have decided to work on furthering my urban series for a Portland gallery that has been wanting to represent my pastels. I currently have only two pieces available and must create more for a nice presentation for this gallery if I wish to show with them. As I was contemplating what to paint, I stumbled upon a photo I had taken last year from the passenger's seat of our car as my husband was driving me out to a special dinner. He had planned a surprise birthday party for me, and I had no clue! But I digress. As we were arriving in the Belmont district of SE Portland, the sun was low and the neon signs and traffic lights were in dire competition for my attention. The atmosphere was dense for an October evening. It was the perfect photo for my next urban painting.
First things first, I sketch out the idea to check value patterns
Laying out the sketch onto the mounted Wallis sanded paper.
I do not use any grid system to map out the idea.
The beginning of a painting is where drawing skills are most important, as the keen sense of dimension, depth, angles and such can be taken off course, making the finished piece impossible to read well. When that happens, we end up re-rendering and fixing (fighting the work) throughout the piece instead of using our intellect in the beginning process of the work. Once the rendering is set, and all questions of illusion are solved, I can leave the intellect behind and enter into the intuitive part of the painting process. Mapping by grid is a great way to solve complex illustrations and I will use them from time to time, but I haven't mapped since I began painting plein air. (perhaps another blog topic)
I start out with a value driven, monochromatic warm underpainting.
I chose a warm underpainting because the atmosphere of the day was very warm and muggy. Had I used a cooler, perhaps a blue underpainting, the mood of the work would have been more sombre.
I blocked in the main colors of most of the structures, asphalt street and sky.
I then began to layer veils of similar values over one another. Not sure if you can see in this photo, but the sky has about 8 different colors, all pretty close in value and temperature to each other.
Developing the details and playing with more punches of color here and there.
As I am looking at my resource photo, I notice the play of warmth from the surrounding car lights on the asphalt and so I added some more color to the asphalt. The reflections on the sides of the cars, and slightly suggesting figures and signage are some of the final details to be added.
All lines are drawn in while holding my breath!
UPDATE! This piece was entered into the IAPS (International Association of Pastel Societies) 23rd Juried Online Show. This honor has earned me a total of 2 points towards the 5 needed for "Master Circle" designation. Looks like I am well on my way!