Work In Progress: Raine, Update 1

Work in Progress: Raine, Update 1

            As I mentioned at the end of the last Update, I’m inclined to do another portrait. I bought a few varieties of pastel paper over the past few months, with the intent to see how I like them for pastel portrait work. The brands I purchased were Canson mi tientes pastel paper in a few different colors, U-Art 500 sanded pastel paper and Sennelier La Carte Pastel paper. I used the Canson to do the portrait of Peaches. This time I’m going to use the Sennelier pastel paper. Being a sanded paper, it is much rougher in texture, so I’m real interested in how different the experience will be. The paper I chose was sand color.

The portrait I’ll be working on is one of my granddaughter, Raine. I took the photo some years ago but the expression and pose, I think, are very natural, and wonderful for a portrait. I was drawn also to the way the wind had played with her hair. Although the face is in light shade, there is plenty of light to define her features, and I like the sharp contrast in light and shade as the sunlight catches her hair. I think the lights of her hair will look good against the darker color of the sanded pastel paper. I have a number of other photos to help with the details.


012 Raine 2010a Update 1


The size of the portrait will be 16” by 20” but I haven’t decided on horizontal or vertical format. I’m leaning toward horizontal.

The first step will be to place the figure on the paper, fix the topmost and bottommost points of the head and determine the angle between them. From there I’ll work out all the rest of the features. I’ll discuss the first steps next Update.

Work in Progress: Peaches, Update 12

Work in Progress: Peaches, Update 12

I think this painting is completed. Added the reflection at the bottom. All the same pastel colors used for the other area of the floor were used here except for the addition of CO 105. I purposely left the background area with less detail than the subject because it supports the main subject. The background adds realism and places Peaches in a specific place she is associated with. I wanted that association to ground her to her home, where she spent her life. That was an important consideration from the beginning. She was not just Peaches but Peaches in her home.


Finishing this painting also leaves me a bit sad. It means one more association slips further into the past. Doing this painting also kept me close to her for the past 3 months. In some ways I will miss that. But, we’ll always have this painting of her nearby and can look at it – and remember her – as often as we want. Heidi is growing by leaps and bounds and is becoming more and more a companion. She is wonderful to have around and her youth and affection is much needed, desired and appreciated.

IMG_2002a Peaches Update 12


I have in mind another portrait for my next painting. I’ll discuss that next week.

Work in Progress: Peaches, Update 11

Work in Progress: Peaches, Update 11

            In this Update I’ve done more work on the entertainment center, the French doors in the background and the couch, bringing closer to completion.

At the end of the last update I mentioned that the background colors are predominantly browns and how that allowed for the lighter colors of Peaches to stand out. In fact, the whole composition is done using harmonious color. I didn’t especially plan it that way but, early on, I did notice that the all the objects in the photo showed predominantly browns and ochres. I liked the combination and felt it gave a warm, quiet and comforting feeling to the painting.

In her book “Painting Children’s Portraits in Pastel”, Wendy Caporale speaks of using harmonious color to “bring out the gentle warmth” of the subject. This is especially true when the colors are warm in temperature – the reds, yellows and oranges. All the browns and ochres used in this painting are warm in temperature, leading to a feeling of calm. If care is not taken, the painting can become boring if there is not enough variety in tone. I’ve tried in this painting to establish variety in tone, and feel I’ve accomplished that. The values range from nearly black in the darks of the entertainment center and couch, and the shadows associate with them, to the very lightest of values in Peaches. The contrast in the tones used in Peaches and those of her surroundings also focuses attention on her.

IMG_1977a Peaches Update 11

The colors used for the surroundings were all the same. Only the proportions were changed. For the couch I used CO 175, 670, 165 and 692, PP 175, 187, 280 and 169. I used some darker soft pastel colors in the entertainment center to further bring out the subject – Peaches. Those colors were Sennelier black brown 02 and lamp black 526.

I will continue to refine the entertainment center, curtains and french doors and the reflection on the floor. I’m getting closer to completing this portrait. Another week or so.

ArtWalk in Ocala tonight!

There is an ArtWalk in Ocala tonight. You may already know that there is one the first friday of the month. Spending the day getting everything ready for the show.

I also just finished up an Introductory Colored Pencil class for Master the Possibilities at On Top of the World Communities yesterday. Had two classes this week. I was quite impressed by the students taking the class. They had little previous experience with colored pencil painting but seemed to get the hang of it quite well after the two sessions. I hope they will continue to work at it, for it was evident they had a feel for it.

I’ll try to post my next update this weekend.

Florida Champion Live Oak