Saturday, January 24, 2015

Back to School

School is in! This morning was my first pastel lesson with Addren Doss, and I am just thrilled she accepted me as a student - she is such a wonderful teacher/mentor! We're starting out with color theory, working on values first. Addren is incredibly patient and knowledgeable. She made sure I understood each step before going to the next, and was very willing to answer any questions I had along the way. She helped me organize my pastels by value, and explained the correct use of the Picture Perfect 3 in 1 Viewfinder that she recommended I purchase (this thing is awesome!). Then, after showing me how to set up a still life with correct lighting (she wants me to use a single light source initially), she gave me a six-part homework assignment of using a very limited palette of grey pastels to do smallish still life value studies. I did my first one this afternoon of an egg using a total of four hard pastels - a light/mid grey, a dark/mid grey, a black and a white. I also, per Addren's suggestion, refrained from finger blending on this and instead let the pastels do the blending work themselves. The setup I used initially consisted of a box with only the side facing me open, the egg on a white surface inside the box, and the light source coming from the right.
© 2015 Tammy Kaufman
As requested, I emailed the image to Addren for review and was delighted with the immediate and helpful feedback. She asked me to think about things I saw while working on this still life that I may not have noticed before, and it was eye-opening just how much I've missed previously with the distraction of color! In particular, I was surprised that the shadow was a lot darker than I would have thought - the Picture Perfect viewfinder really showed this to me, much more so than the naked eye.

I'm looking forward to continuing with the remaining five homework assignments, and hope to see much improvement with the practice. Very thrilled and honored to have such a wonderful mentor teaching me, and excited to see what Addren has in store when we meet again after the completion of this assignment!

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