Working on the Dark Side

Updated: Aug 13, 2019

A set of dark pastels can be a dangerous thing.


This 11x14 was the first pastel I did after getting a new dark set of Rembrandt soft pastels. I used the abstract sketch below as a guide. It was an experiment in many ways. This likily will go into the "work on later" pile but it served its purpose.


As you can see, the lines were made with high energy, witnessed by the erasures and the way the lines started or ended way past the borders of the drawn formatted rectangle. Like so many of my drawings, this was done to music that was fast paced. I like the freedom of not staying in the lines when drawing.


There's always a challenge to take a sketch that has high energy and try and copy that energy while painting in oil, pastel, or probably any painting medium. The sketch had an elle design in it so I made sure my roughed in under painting emphasized that design too. By the end of the painting, the design concept evolved to include radiating lines.


Struggles Repeating High Energy in Paintings

Notice how I managed to keep some of that energy in the under painting but lost most of the energy as soon as I started treating the subject as representational instead of keeping it abstract. That's pretty typical. Even when I draw representational subjects in pencil and charcoal and the drawing has a lot of energy in the lines -- it's difficult to duplicate that level of energy in a painted piece.


As I said in the opening, this was an experiment: 1) to try out the new set of darks, 2) try and capture the energy of the drawing in the painting, or at least some of it, 3) I had never -- as far as I can recall as an adult artist anyway -- added the sun to a painting and I wanted to try that and see if I could keep it from becoming "hokey" -- I think that part of this worked.


What I Learned


  • Trying to copy the energy of drawing doesn't work well

  • Energy in a painting might have to become more intuitive and a natural process to work as well as it does with a drawing. Maybe I need more abandon with my painting process -- find a way to let the marks begin and end outside of the borders of the painting.

  • I can put the sun into a painting and at least that part of the work look okay, ..... interesting possibilities!


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Avon Waters
Modern Artist