Coloured pencils. 210 x 288 mm. June 2018
On my way home from a before-dawn photography walk, I stop on Pont de la Tournelle and look east. Morning light reveals an overcast autumnal sky.
Some of us primarily enjoy a view under sun and blue sky; cloudiness may be described as “a dull day”. To my mind an overcast sky creates a meditative and subtle beauty. Eyes need not squint against strong light.
Grey day, reflection and introspection; peace.
“Overcast” is the second drawing featuring Notre Dame for the “Remember Paris” exhibition. I like to portray a subject in different ways…
“Far from the Madding Crowd” drawn with Sennelier oil pastels combined with coloured pencils on Arches Aquarelle. 330 x 365 mm. October 2017.
A Small Act of Love
“A Small Act of Love”
212 x 308 mm
coloured pencils and oil pastels. June 2018
“A Small Act of Love” is the second drawing I have made from a single source photo. When the first drawing “Just a Moment” sold last year I was both happy and sad; happy as it is always a pleasure when a drawing sells; sad because it was destined to be a part of my “Remember Paris” collection – to be shown in September 2018.
“Just a Moment”
Coloured pencils, drawn January 2017.
Recently as I was reviewing the “Remember Paris” drawing collection so far, I once again mourned the loss of “Just a Moment”. However I saw the possibility of a second chance as I had cropped the composition the first time. This time I would draw from the entire photo – making a whole new composition. And I would use oil pastels as well as coloured pencils. (You can compare the two pieces – above and below – here.)
“A Small Act of Love” June 2018
coloured pencils and oil pastels.
The thing is, I want my exhibition of drawings to be more than merely sumptuous views of Paris. My aim is to show a wide range of her personality traits. The essential ingredient of this piece is intimacy – an everyday moment of a mother assisting her child.
Last weekend I visited one of Australia’s major art galleries. I felt like I was in a void while I viewed the traditional and modern grandiose works. What was my place in art? Did I have one? Back home again, finishing off this drawing gave me a sense of perspective. Perhaps this is my place in art; what I do day after day is a small act of love.
Note: The drawing is made to be seen from across a room so it is a good idea to stand back a few paces from the top image…and then it makes sense.
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.)
The Liberation of Art
“The Liberation of Art”
oil pastels and coloured pencils – 290 x 420 mm. April 2018
One of my favourite Paris spots is in Saint Germain des Près where rue de Seine forks one way and rue de l’Échaudé forks the other. I returned there on my last trip and was delighted to find a blue neon sign in the window of Galerie Lumas saying “The Liberation of Art”. What a subject! All I had to do was decide on my composition and wait for passers-by.
Soon enough I had my people (and dog). They’d do very well!
On the left of the composition is a corner of Galerie L. de Puybaudet and on the right, Galerie Lumas – 42 and 40 rue de Seine respectively.
What IS the liberation of art? Perhaps the couple are discussing this very question as they stroll on a peaceful October morning past the galleries.
The undercoat of the drawing in Sennelier oil pastels, before coloured pencils were applied.
Past drawings of rue de Seine and rue de ‘Échaudé in coloured pencils –
“Paris en hiver” 2011
“Rue de l’Échaudé” 2014
“de bonne heure” 2012
“Rhapsody in Blue” 2014
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!
a drawing of an eroded poster.
Coloured pencils, 250 x 300 mm. March 2018
As I take one step after another on the journey towards my goal – a gallery filled with Paris drawings – I never know what the next addition to the exhibition will be. It is often the last completed drawing which steers me towards my next piece.
The last completed drawing before “Rebel Rebel” was “Still Life”.
It is obvious how “Still Life” (a grungy Beaubourg urban-scape) metaphorically took my arm and drew my attention to a tattered poster I’d photographed when last in Paris.
This is my source photo for the drawing.
Looking at the drawing “Rebel Rebel” (the title I gave it is from a David Bowie song) I am mindful of Russian Constructivist posters from the 1920s and 30s. I also think of the pop art of Roy Lichtenstein, romantic heroines of film and literature, as well as the white face and black hair of both mime artists and geisha.
I wouldn’t have made a drawing of a flawless poster. What appealed to me was the texture and randomness of decay – and – the fact that this caught my eye in the first place. The tattered ripped subject is simultaneously beautiful and ugly; eye-catching and something to be ignored. These dualities fascinate me!
“Rebel Rebel, you’ve torn your dress/Rebel Rebel, your face is a mess/Rebel Rebel, how could they know?/Hot Tramp, I love you so!”
Today I found an image on-line of the poster as its complete self. If you google images of Fédération Anarchiste you’ll see that all their posters have gorgeous designs and are clearly influenced by the political art of the Constructivists [an artistic movement that extolled art as a practice for social purposes].
How the poster would have looked once upon a time.
La Fédération Anarchiste
You may like to read Subject 4: Street Art while you’re here.