Non, je ne regrette rien
happy with undercoat beginning…
This morning I photographed my first layer of a big drawing (380 x 505 mm) after a week of laying on the under-colour in Sennelier oil pastels.
A couple of hours later… Uh oh – I’m not feeling the love.
And…that’s it. No regrets.
A few hours later: In hindsight, every work which is labour intensive needs to be believed in. It is a huge effort but it will be worth it. In this case, I didn’t have quite enough belief (or enthusiasm) in the piece for all the effort I knew I was going to have to put into it. That’s probably the primary reason I let it go.
PS: Another reason for dumping the picture above was that it was too similar to “Rhapsody in Gold” drawn in 2017.
“Rhapsody in Gold”
pastels and pencils
240 x 255 mm. May 2018
Have you ever waited at traffic signals after dark and observed how surrounding colours change depending on whether the signal is red or green? In “Wait” the colours of île de la Cité are also made bright by a boat’s high beam illuminating the arches under Pont d’Arcole. (We can’t see the boat but we know it is there.)
Here is a deep dark “Walk” (partner of “Wait”). Notice how light from the signal casts a different glow on the sky in each of the two drawings.
A much lower key “Walk” than “Wait” as the green walking man gives off lower light than the red standing man.
In recent posts I have been showing the oil pastel under-painting (before coloured pencil is layered on top). In comparing the under-painting stages of these two drawings (drawn several months apart) I see that this primary stage is now richer and more consolidated than it was in mid 2017. It is fascinating to chart the evolution of a new idea.
oil pastel undercoat of “Wait” (May 2018)
oil pastel undercoat of “Walk” (August 2017)
Next time you are sitting in your car waiting for the lights to change, or standing at a pedestrian crossing after dark, observe the colours as the lights go through their paces. (Trust me, it is more entertaining than merely being impatient.)
oil pastels and coloured pencils. 240 x 350 mm.
“We weren’t in love oh no far from it” (Bob Seger sings in “Night Moves“). Nor am I in love with Moulin Rouge but I certainly am captivated by her lit-up sails and their effect on Place Blanche. “I used her, she used me but neither one cared/we were getting our share“. She gives me art, I give her publicity (not that she needs any from me)!!
“Night Moves” is a partner to “Irresistible Blanche”. They are the same size and will hang side by side when exhibited in September.
For those of you interested in my technique using oil pastels as undercoat to coloured pencils, below is the drawing when the oil pastel/undercoat stage was completed. At this point I was ready to begin layering coloured pencils on top. You can read about this technique in my post Brush and Pencil or in the April 2018 issue of Ann Kullberg’s Color – https://annkullberg.com/collections/color-magazine-all-issues
You could say the cake was the oil pastel and the icing the coloured pencils. Cake + icing = delicious!
coloured pencils and oil pastels. 235 x 350 mm.
Place Blanche bursts into technicolor life as dusk deepens into evening.
As I have mentioned in past posts, Place Blanche is decrepit during the day. (Perhaps it was always so, even in the late 19th century.) Iconic Moulin Rouge in daylight hours is clothed in a dreary red – a courtesan well past her prime.
However, linger until the sun goes down. Eventually the windmill’s blades start to turn. All the lights pop on and the area becomes a roaring kaleidoscope of colour. At dusk Place Blanche is transformed into an artist’s fantasy.
Surely this can’t be real?!
“Irresistible Blanche” on the easel.
Rhapsody in Gold
“Rhapsody in Gold”
Coloured pencils and oil pastels. 330 x 390 mm
On 22 October 2016 I wrote in my journal, “Sigh! I sure am feeling lazy. I don’t really want to go anywhere”. However I forced myself out of my little apartment on rue de Poitou and set off for an evening’s photography walk.
Next morning’s journal entry reads, “I finished yesterday’s entry by saying I didn’t want to go out. I was downhearted. I’d had enough of Paris and felt homesick. Blah blah blah – negative thoughts. However, the light changed, I got good photos. On the way home I got even more good photos.”
One of the photos during this walk became my source for “Rhapsody in Gold”. The view is of Ile de la Cité; la Conciergerie, a dome of the Palais de Justice, a spire of Sainte-Chapelle – and beams of light emanating from the Eiffel Tower. In the foreground, the Seine reflects street lamps and traffic lights.
The moral of the story is, sometimes when you don’t feel like going out, it is good to force yourself. You might just find treasure – in this case – pure gold.
“Daydream” coloured pencils and oil pastels, 215 x 290 mm. August 2017.
Daydream – a pleasant fantasy or reverie.
“Daydream” is my second drawing from a photograph I took in Pontocho, Kyoto in the spring of 2013. The first drawing is “Promenade”, February 2016.
190 x 250 mm, February 2016
I was persuaded to let Matthew (husband) keep “Promenade” as it is a favourite of his. However I did so want to exhibit it in my exhibition Entranced next month. A few days ago I had the bright idea to do another version of it, this time using Sennelier oil pastels as well as coloured pencils and drawing it larger than the first one.
I was curious to see how I would treat the subject 18 months after my first interpretation and after months in the interim doing impressionistic Paris drawings.
Here they are side by side; the new one on the right. I didn’t look at the first drawing while I drew the second so as not to be influenced by it. The dark areas are more intense (saturated) in “Daydream” than “Promenade” and I think the new drawing has more luminosity and power than the older one.
In the new drawing, the figures have a floating quality and the road sweeps up rather than along, but the scene has a gentle dreaminess so I’m leaving it this way.
So Matt gets to keep “Promenade” while I get to exhibit “Daydream”. This is called ‘having one’s cake and eating it too’!
“Daydream” is the 23rd and final drawing for Entranced opening on 7 September (until 20) at Kidogo Arthouse, Bathers Beach, Fremantle.
“Sideshow Alley” drawn with coloured pencils and Sennelier oil pastels.
213 x 230 mm. May 2017
Boulevard de Clichy in Pigalle is a busy strip of peep shows, sex shops, clubs and bars. In search of bright lights as well as photos of Moulin Rouge, I went there one evening last October.
I have always had a fascination for fairgrounds – the scariness of them. Pigalle with its neon kaleidoscope and promises of thrills is just like a fairground – a tawdry extravaganza of colour, people and noise. By day it is simply sad but at night it bursts into showy splendor. (Day or night you need to watch your back.)
A few months back I did a drawing of Moulin Rouge which I called “Show Time” also from this particular visit. The two drawings make a good pair.
“Sideshow Alley” is an overcoat of coloured pencils – worked into an undercoat of Sennelier oil pastels.