City Slicker

“City Slicker”
A glossy raven at Jaures.
240 x 260 mm. November 2017

“City Slicker” – noun – informal, derogatory: a person with the sophistication and values generally associated with urban dwellers.

The opportunistic raven is nobody’s fool.  He is sleek, healthy, clever, and manages just fine thank you very much in the heart of the city.  Not unlike Fagin from “Oliver“, he is “reviewing the situation” when I observe him.   Our encounter is in Jaures – a less salubrious area of Paris than a tourist might want to visit.  However not being a tourist, but a flaneuse (a female who saunters around observing society) I find myself there.

It is business as usual for this feathered city slicker – while I make a hasty retreat back down the more genteel (and safe) path beside Canal St. Martin.


8 thoughts on “City Slicker

  1. anna warren portfolio

    There is something about your birds Julie that is just captivating. I think the pleasure you get from them permeates the drawing, and adds life and character. This raven is IN CHARGE. He is the boss of his surroundings and nothing escapes him. Birds with character, such as ravens, are so watchable, they always have a plan, galahs and corellas are always up to mischief. And the drawing itself is so good, the bit of graffiti swirling below echoes the misty lamps in the background. Very nicely composed.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Well, yes, you’re probably right – in that I love my subject. I took the photo from whence this came in 2012 but I could never figure out how to make something of it. Just last week though I suddenly had the “ah-ha” moment; cropping it just so – but also the fact that I’m now working with oil pastels helped me to see a way to work it.
      Interesting, the photo for this came after the photo which became “Enchanted April”. So I walked from the beautiful Parc des Buttes-Chaumont down to Jaures which is “from the sublime to the ridiculous” – or – from elegant gardens to dodgy-as-hell urban decay…and dangerous with it.

  2. occasionalartist

    Great drawing again Julie, he is a majestic bird. I like the transition from the detailed rock, to the bird then the out of focus background. Interested that you are using oil pastels, is that by themselves or mixed in with other mediums? But I really love, that thanks to you I have a new term flâneur. So I can no longer be a tourist, my aimless wondering away from the tourist sights has a name! Your writing is as interesting as your art. Now I have to find a French speaker to know how to pronounce it without embarrassing myself. Karen

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      I don’t speak French either, Karen, so any time I have to say a French (or Japanese) word, I flinch at the awfulness of the sound.
      I use oil pastels as undercoat, then working the cps over the top and into them. The two media mix making rich strong colours. Different oil pastels have different qualities. Sennelier are quite wet and oily…not unlike using oil paints. Right now I’m using the Caran d’Ache “Neopastels” which are drier. I like them both. The Holbein oil pastel is even drier than the Neopastels. I put the pastels onto the paper with a bristle brush (the type used for oil painting) pushing them into the paper. I’d like to think I’m the inventor of this way of working. I started this method because I wanted to make stronger darker colours than I was making with cps alone.

      1. occasionalartist

        I know the flinch Julie, my accents are awful, but I still want to try.
        Thanks for sharing the info on oil pastels. I have the neopastels but not tried them with cps yet. I get fantastic luminosity with sennelier inks under my cps, I thinks it’s transparency allows the light to go through the pencils and ink and bounce back off the paper, or that is my theory. I am going to try my oil pastels now. Thanks as always for your generous sharing.

  3. juliepodstolski Post author

    I’ve been using both Sennelier and Caran d’Ache on the current drawing I’m working on today. The Sennelier is much stronger colour than the Caran d’Ache. The latter is more gentle and subtle. So really it depends on the type of result you are looking for as to which one you pick up. Have fun with yours, Karen, and let me know what you find.


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