Wednesday, October 24, 2012

dog walk

On our dog-walk yesterday, I took this photo and printed it out in color and in grayscale. The grayscale print has a large X corner-to-corner as a guide for transferring the sketch onto my pastel surface (which also has a large X). The surface for this new painting is a 2009 painting that I spray-washed the pastel off of in the laundry tub, then laid it face down to dry overnight.
When I unframed the old painting, there was enough Wallis paper (coated with ochre gesso) to make the new painting 1" larger all the way around. Here you can see a charcoal sketch (click on the image to enlarge it) over the top of the old painting.
For the first step, I used four pastels to block in the shapes: my darkest value, my lightest value and two other colors. See the pastel sticks lined up along the bottom.


  1. I look forward so much to your descriptions and photos of your works in progress. Each one is a marvelous tutorial of your techniques and strategies. I was wondering what the advantages are of coating Wallis with a gesso. I'm sure it does something wonderful, but I'm afraid I don't the reason. Thanks, Barbara!!

  2. Your explanations are good, and so are your photos, always so clear and crisp--what kind of camera and lighting do you use? What tips can you offer about photographing artwork both when it's in progress and when the paintings are completed? What about tips for storing and cataloging images?

  3. Thanks Carol. Two reasons to apply a colored gesso I guess ... one would be if you wanted to leave some of the color showing through your painting and the other is to start with a value other than white even if you do cover it all up with pastel. Of course, it doesn't have to be gesso, it could be any kind of foundation color: pastel diluted with alcohol, an oil wash or watercolor, etc.

    1. Thank you, Barbara! I usually use watercolor (via Caran d'Ache crayons), but the gesso sounds intersting as well.

  4. Thanks Sarah. Tips for storing and cataloging images is a big topic that I'll write about someday when I have more time. Briefly, I use FileMaker Pro. I posted a little about my camera and taking photos on this blog October 14th. Scroll down...I hope it answers some of your questions.