Sunday, June 14, 2009

White Azalea Pastel Painting Progressing

Today I gave myself an hour for art.

I have a multitude of things I should be doing today in order to achieve my many goals, most of which were related to household responsibilities. Call me selfish, but sometimes I just have to do for ME

So I set the alarm on my cell phone for exactly one hour, and I started to get my hands dirty with the pastels.

I began to work on this pastel which I had started on Mother’s Day this year as a plein air painting, when the white azalea bush out front was in full bloom. Every year I get so impressed at the incredible show of white blossoms, a bright and strong statementwhen viewed together, yet so thin and fragile when seen up close, individually.

Also every year, I am always disheartened at the extreme short length of the show. We get a real treat for what seems like 2, 3, maybe 4 days. Then the wonderful white turns into an ugly brownish haze which is the deadening blossoms which drape morbidly over the stems. It is a bush of opposites; it goes from very beautiful to quite ugly in such a short time!

So this year, not only did I take advantage of that beautiful sunny Mother’s Day (Click here to see blog post dated May 11, 2009) but I also took some photos of the scene to be used for reference later if needed.

But today, I didn’t use the reference photos. I’m not interested in getting everything to appear exactly as it is in reality. I’m more interested in some semblance of what is(was) there, with the addition of a sense of the stillness, mood and temperature of that day.

I worked on each area, starting with the stone column, reworking the coloring and the value differences between each of the two sides of it. (One side is in full sun, one side in shade.) Then I move to the concrete steps and reworked them quite a bit. I think they definitely look more solid now, although I think I sacrificed some sense of freshness in application in doing so. Do you agree?

I also added in more detail in the geranium plants and touched the back hedge and woodpile a bit. Then it was time for those azalea flowers! To try and paint the thousands of individual blossoms would be insane of course. I tried to first lay down some areas of some of the colors that I see in those whites: a lot of blue-purple-grays, some pinks,... Then I went over that whitish blur with two different white pastels, making marks that suggested the sharp angles of the blossoms' edges. This second pic
shows the bush half done, then I worked for awhile longer, and the next picture is what it looked like when the alarm went off.

This one is a journey for me; a journey I am enjoying.

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