Saturday, February 7, 2015

It's Caturday!

Venus is my purrfect painting companion and studio cat. She curls patiently around my feet, keeping me company while I paint, never bothers any of my painting supplies and as a bonus, makes a beautiful subject to paint. After spending the past two weeks working on still life homework for my pastel class, I decided to take a break last evening and paint something just for fun and just for me.
© 2015 Tammy Kaufman - Catticus Finch - pastels on Uart 600 7" x 7"
I'm please with how this one turned out for a variety of reasons. First, it's a huge step outside my comfort zone as I painted it using only value and temperature to choose my palette, instead of relying on color hue. It is from my own photograph, as most of my paintings are, but for this one, I cropped it down much tighter than I usually do to achieve the final composition and greyscaled the reference image it so I wouldn't be distracted by color.
Original Photo Reference in Greyscale
Additionally, I made a conscious decision to avoid drawing all the details and then "coloring within the lines", instead choosing to let the big value shapes define the subject. So after cropping and greyscaling my photo, I used the Picture Perfect 3 in 1 Viewfinder's red filter to help me determine the values. I drew only the general location of the eyes and nose but nothing else in order to avoid that "coloring inside the lines" appearance and set to work. Once I had my values mapped out, I selected pastels from the corresponding value compartments with no real regard to the color itself, although I did try to consider temperatures based on my light source when choosing which pastels to use.

All this was a bit scary for me, but I want to learn to trust my instincts, as well as what Addren has been teaching me. During our initial lesson, she had helped me arrange my pastels by value and sort them into the six compartments in my pastel box - dark darks, light darks, dark mids, light mids, dark lights and light lights. So for this painting, I made no conscious decisions about color hue, selecting my pastels solely based on value and temperature. I realize I'm still very early on my path to becoming an artist, and very possibly a year from now I'll look back on this painting with embarrassment, but today I'm happy enough with this little experiment that I decided to mat it - in a mat I cut myself! - pop it into a frame (please pardon the glare and reflections from the standard glass) and hang it on my studio wall. :-)
© 2015 Tammy Kaufman - Catticus Finch - pastels on Uart 600 7" x 7"

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