Wordless Wednesday #3

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Them apples

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Ely Apple Day has been and gone, but it left me with a couple of Braeburns to sketch, so I plopped them on top of my trusty Canson sketchbook and went to it with my Sennelier oil pastels.

 
I realised, doing this, just how much I have missed the daily discipline of these small one-hour studies from life. They are so easy to fit into the evening of an otherwise busy day, and they’re great for keeping my observational skills sharp and my fingers familiar with the pastels. So why have I have neglected them?

Wordless Wednesday #2

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Recent sketchjournal stuff

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It’s image dump time, now that the scanner’s in action again, and I’m pleased to be able to upload a few sketchjournal pages – the first I have posted in a while. However mediocre I tend to think these are when I’ve done them (inhibited as they are by pressure of time, the presence of other people and/or the subjects I have to hand), in the chronological context of my sketchjournal, they end up meaning something more to me than the sum of their modest parts.

This last sketch was done late this afternoon.

Wordless Wednesday #1

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Ely in the Mist

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Ely in the Mist, 1st of October 2004 (2009)
15″ x 12″ soft pastel on Winsor & Newton Tints paper

This picture languished unfinished for five years. I had struggled to capture the dog on the end of the woman’s lead, and was caught in a frustrating cycle of drawing and brushing off, drawing and brushing off … I had always hoped and intended to finish it, more than anything as a tribute to the wonderful Sooz (known over on the Soft Pastel forum at wetcanvas.com as Khadres), whose gentle virtual kicks up my backside encouraged me to do so much creating that I would never otherwise have done, including this pastel. Sooz died in 2006.

Five days ago, I pulled the painting out and prepared to put the finishing touches to it. After several days of struggling just as I had done before, and a mood darker than any I have felt in a long time, inspiration struck. Turning my problem dog into a small boy has enabled me to release myself from the pain of an unfinished thing, and to finish Sooz’s picture.

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I received a comment on this painting from Deborah Secor which means a lot to me, because she has totally understood why this finish made sense to me. She wrote: “I love the addition of a child running toward us instead of the dog, E-J. Excellent, and sort of a fitting statement, all in all. There’s always another generation running out of the mist, in some way, after all!”

Five-year itch

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October has rolled round again (how on earth did that happen?), bringing blue sky, warm autumnal light and a distinct chill to the air. The realisation shamed me this morning into digging out a pastel that I began precisely five years ago, but left unfinished: a scene depicting Ely in the mist. I intend to finish it this weekend.

I snapped my setup in response to the first task in today’s #ebethchallenge, hosted on Twitter by the estimable @eBeth, which was to “pick one thing that you’re really good at” and share it via a picture. I’m not entirely sure whether my “one thing” is pastel painting or plain old procrastination. Take your pick!

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