Sunday, February 17, 2008

Slightly Strange Orange, a sketch

pastels on Canson Mi-Teintes yellow
5x6 in (10 minute sketch)

I get it now! Okay, so the shadow isn't quite right, but that's beside the point. I can fix that.

Frustrated with false starts and pieces that just didn't work, I took a break and read, cooked, and baked for three days (very good thing to do anyway with the chilly weather we've been having). Then, trying to get myself back in art frame of mind, I started organizing and cleaning up my studio area. I came across a couple of little "how-to" books for beginners that had come with a lot of pastels I'd bought from someone who had decided they weren't her medium. I'd just tossed them into a pile of miscellaneous odds and ends.

As I leafed through the little books, I recognized many of the exercises as things I'd done a loooong time ago learning the basics of art. You know what? They were fun things to do. And random play is exactly the kind of thing to get the juices going.

Also in that pile of stuff was a pad of Canson Mi-Tientes pastel paper that I'd tried and hadn't liked. At all. Yes, it comes in wonderful colors, and I admire what some artists are able to do on it, but I could never make it work for me. So, because I figured I'd never use it for anything serious, I decided it could be my sacrificial lamb to play on. Got out some of my harder pastels, and set to.

Well... I surprised myself. Playing away, not thinking about the outcome, just seeing what happened when I followed this or that exercise... and I suddenly understood what makes Mi-Tientes work. I fell in love with it. Not for replacing my other papers and surfaces, but for itself, because it has a quality of its own that works with certain kinds of techniques and styles. None of the exercises I did produced a piece of art I'd frame and hang-- but it taught me some things that had eluded me before, and got the dust back on my fingers. I think I'll be exploring Mi-Tientes more. I'm so tickled that I decided to post the breakthrough orange, even if it's kind odd looking and the shadow is off!