Friday, June 8, 2012

Point of no return

I think it is done - the ravens - except for the name. Will have to keep playing with words to see what fits. Sometimes the title comes before the work is done, sometimes it is the title that makes the work happen. This time it was a photograph I had taken when my husband and I stopped in a Bird Rescue Center in Vermont. There were these two ravens, they were sitting on a branch, turn and grabbed each others beaks. Nothing aggressive, nothing amorous, like two little kids who both grab the same toy and neither are willing to let go first. The people that worked at the center said they have never seen them do that before. I took several pictures not knowing what I would do with them but the more I looked at it the more I knew I needed to draw them. When I left they were still holding on to each other.

I had a piece of handmade paper 22X30 inches that I had toned with colors that had accumulated at the bottom of my pastel container. I often take the particles of pastel dust and blend them on paper. Usually get a beautiful grey color. This paper was a heavy texture and kept the color in place,  I just added more of the same color and let them blend together. Once I did this I did not know what to do with the paper so I put it away for a long time.

This spring I pulled the paper out put it on the easel and just looked till I saw something in the abstract colors. I saw the ravens. I pulled out my pictures and did a couple quick studies. As I started working on this hand made paper the pastels did not want to make a mark. I tried very soft, medium soft and very hard. I found the medium hard seem to work the best. I use pastel pencils and charcoal pencils to do the line work. Again a bit of a struggle, the medium to hard pastel pencils worked best but the charcoal I used 4B & 6B soft and dark. As I continued to layer the colors and black on, the paper accepted the pastel and charcoal better.

When I got to the point I thought I might be done, I took it outside, sprayed some workable fixative on it and took some photos of the work. Looking at the photos I did not like some parts of the work. I left it over night, looked at it the next morning. Turned it up-side-down and re-worked the areas that needed softening. Let it go till the next day, took another photo and worked a little more in one area...finally looks ok...bumped up the whites/highlights and sprayed it again. Working on the spraying technique to see if I can slowly seal in the pastels without melting them and causing them to darken. I am at the point of no return...I think it is done.
ravens pastel & charcoal on handmade paper

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