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.)
Far from the Madding Crowd
“Far from the Madding Crowd”
coloured pencils and oil pastels. 330 x 365 mm. October 2017
If you have been to Paris, you know what Cathedrale Notre Dame is like. Its magnificence makes it a magnet for tourists. Endless queues snake towards its doors as people wait to go inside and up the tower. Like all great world tourist attractions, it is a place to steadfastly avoid.
Only five minutes’ walk from the maelstrom of humanity, across Pont de l’Archevêché and down on the riverbank of Port de la Tournelle, all is serene. The view of Notre Dame is sublime, the river Seine quietly flows, minding its own business.
So few people walk by that I have to wait patiently to compose my source photo for the drawing I want to do. Finally a few pedestrians come into view and I have my composition.
I give a prayer of thanks.
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.