Thursday, April 28, 2011

"PRICKLY PEAR FRUIT" 8" X 10" Pastel

                                                                                                                                                       
Because we live in the desert of southeast Arizona we have many varieties of cactus plants. The one that is my favorite from a painter's point of view is the Prickly Pear cactus. I like it because of its shapes...roundish paddles that grow in different directions...and colors...everything from green to turquoise to pinks and purples. Here are a couple of pictures ( below) of them at various stages.

The painting itself is done on a surface called Multimedia Artboard. I hadn't used it before this project, and it makes an interesting ground for pastel. It's made from paper and resin and comes in white and black. I used black for mine. It accepts pastel well and leaves an interesting texture which is perfect for THIS subject matter. I did have a hard time making fine detailed marks, but again, for this subject I felt it was alright. This surface is also advertised for oils and acrylics. The website that makes this paper is http://multimediaartboard.com/Home_Page.php    You might be interested in experimenting with it sometime.

                                                                                
                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                           

11 comments:

  1. Lovely textures on this, Carol. I like your photos, too.

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  2. Thank you, Virginia. Lucky me! I have a husband who's a photographer!

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  3. Tim, thank you so much. We never lack for this subject matter.

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  4. What a great array of colors those plants provide. The texture of the board seems to really come through too. Great effect!

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  5. I like the soft colors and texture in this one. It almost looks like velvet, which is the effect I was going for in my last painting with limited success. Thanks for the tips on surfaces. I'm still trying to find one that works for me with pastels. I really liked your plums and apples too. Great lighting effects. Is it just natural Arizona lighting on your setups?

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  6. Hi Libby,
    The paper is an interesting surface. It's lightweight and fairly sturdy due in part to the resin in it, I guess. It's not a sanded paper which is commonly used for pastel, but yet it does hold a fair amount of it because of the texture. I need to take some time to "play" with it using oils and maybe acrylics as well and maybe try an underpainting for pastel. Fun to see what it would do.

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  7. Thank you, Melanie,
    I was interested in the texture as I applied the pastel as it definitely let the color of the surface show through. Oftentimes, that's just what we want as artists. For some projects we want full coverage. I didn't try rubbing the pastel into the paper fully, but again, I need to experiment more! As for the lighting, I generally set up my still lifes in whatever situation gives me the strongest shadows or contrast. I know many artists have a wonderful lighting box setup which must be ideal for them allowing them to control the light. There are some good descriptions and pictures of these boxes or setups on the net. I know Carol Marine for one has a couple of photos of hers on her blog's older posts.

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  8. This composition is so simple, yet you have just enough detail to make the eye roam around. Beautiful color and texture. I love cactus! Thanks Carol, for you comments on my blog. Paint on, fellow retired teacher!

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  9. Thanks so much, Karen. Prickly Pear is one of the "gentler" cacti. There are some out there that seem to be in "attack mode."

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  10. This is a gorgeous piece, Carol! It feels lit from within. Seeing an actual photo really confirms my appreciation for how you see and interpret. You focused on the play between complementaries instead of rendering the cactus and found the spots that make it glow. It would be wonderful to see your take on the prickly pear in bloom, too. They grow all over San Antonio and it never occurred to me to paint them but now . . . hmmm. Thanks so much for your comments and your reference to Carolyn Anderson. I had looked at her work a lot over the past few years and she made a huge impression---someone who's not bound by limits or boundaries and seems to know no fear. Thanks so much for reminding me of this also "messy" painter. "Courage!"

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