The challange: create something that celebrates your own creativity.
This week I let myself play with pastels and pears. I painted a pear a year ago and have wanted to paint more---so last weekend, I bought some fruit and instead of going outside to paint another landscape I decided to work in my studio. I played with the shadows created by the sun streaming in the window, composed some still life images & took digital pics, then after fiddling with those images decided to just set up a pear to paint from life at that moment.
I placed it on a shelf and put a sheet of black paper behind it to cover the shelf brackets & a badly placed wall plug. Then pulled out my pastels & went to work. I discovered several issues in the process---aside from the lighting issues with the late afternoon sun moving quite fast, I was also dealing with easel placement issues---in order to use the sun, shadows, & shelf I had to put my easel with its back to the window---making the painting surface difficult to see (can you say backlit?!) I quickly put together an overhead light system that helped me see my paper easier, but the time that took was enough to move the sun & shadows away from my set-up! Luckily I’d already finished my preliminary drawing so I just scooted the pear along the shelf, with the paper & worked as best as I could with the traveling sunlight. Nothing is ever easy of course!
Working on this pear was a way I could celebrate my creativity---something I’ve been wanting to explore ever since I painted the first with pastels on sanded paper. I’ve always been blessed with creative people in my life which made it easier to embrace my own creativity---As a child I wanted to be an artist when I grew up, and happily this dream wasn’t discouraged. Art was my primary focus in school---especially in high school when I could take all the different art classes offered (jewelry, ceramics, along with art). That’s what I continued doing in college, and after. I’ve taken many side roads into many different art forms, from learning to spin cotton, silk, angora, llama, wool & playing with dyes, then knitting sweaters, mittens, hats, to continuing my studies with paint---oil, acrylics, watercolor, then colored pencils and pastels. I’m married to a sign artist/graphic designer, and we both have been learning how to use computers with our artwork. I’ve always loved photography and several years ago learned how to develop and print my own black and white photos which eventually led to creative photo albums and scrapbooking. Each of these have been continued explorations in creativity, some quite successful, some not. Some have gripped me for years, then I’ve moved on to other creative interests depending on different circumstances. I started playing with pastels about 10 years ago after working for a long time in watercolor and only just last year took my first workshop in pastel, learning secrets about the medium I’d yet to discover on my own. I still paint in watercolor, but it seems more like work to me than pastel---it’s still playing!
This brings me back to pears---my subject of choice this week. Next week I might move onto landscapes again, or maybe apples. Or maybe I’ll finish some of those watercolors upstairs that have been languishing by the way-side. All depends on which way the creativity blows!
This first painting is the pear I painted a year ago---with a close-up showing detail.
This is the pear I painted this week---again with a close-up.
One of the many digital photos I took before starting to paint---for the future when this pear no longer exist---part of my creative process, collecting images for future painting + playing with lighting.
Lastly a favorite image of my pastels!