Sunday, January 25, 2009


"Rachel", 2007
pastel on Wallis paper, 10" x 14"
This was the first serious portrait. Not a conventional portrait in the sense of a sitting in the studio. This painting was done from my photograph, but I know Rachel well. She is standing on the beach after a day in the surf and sun. Photos can dull the lights in a scene and darken the details in the shadows, but I wanted to capture the naturalness and emotion of her expression. I wanted to catch the wisp of hair across her face, and I loved her hat.
I first used pastel pencil to sketch Rachel, then followed with stick pastels. I might use a pencil for small detail, too, but pencil lacks the vibrant color of sticks. I used the Wallis paper to hold the layers of pastel, but I missed the smoothness of Mi-teintes for obtaining realistic effects. I struggle even now to control blending and the desire for smoothness. Using sanded paper helps to discourage excessive blending with my fingers. I learned the hard way- until the tips of my fingers were worn.
This pastel is in a private collection.

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