View Full Version : Crumby Masks

06-19-2005, 09:49 AM
Hey Everyone,
Looooooooooooooong time no see. I haven't painted for about 6 months and this is only about my fourth in the last couple of years! I notice people have left a few privtae messages whilst I've been away . .sorry haven't answered . . . but thanks for thinking of me! :)

Anyway, this is a WIP which I am actually enjoying . .been a log time since I have actually enjoyed my art rather than "forced" it. The last couple of paintings (the nectarines and the bubbles) were done freehand but I have unashamedly transferred this image with a fair bit of detail coz it would drive me nuts otherwise . .besides I just wouldn't find it enjoyable . . .and that's what I'm trying to accomplish here. Don't know how fast this will progress as I don't have much time on my hands . .but there's about 20-25 hours in this so far.

It's on a full sheet of black stonehenge using whatever pastels have the right colour!!

Pics are progressively close-up. Sorry they are blurry but they were taken with hand held digicam about 11:30pm. Hope you can see ok.


Pinecone Conniff
06-19-2005, 09:55 AM
Geeezz!! It's like the masks are coming to life right out of the paper! :cool:
So glad you are enjoying this! That is what it's all about!
Fun fun fun!!...Have fun and I can't wait to see more!... :D

06-19-2005, 10:32 AM

This is getting awsomelly incredibly great !
Wise choise of colours.



06-19-2005, 10:38 AM
Wow! Can't wait to see the rest of this emerge! So mysterious and the details just draw the viewer in! But then your work is always so beautiful...

06-19-2005, 11:05 AM
Glad to see you enjoying your work again, Tom- and that sense is coming through on this piece: This looks much more carefree yet still your usual signature realism. Good on you.

06-19-2005, 11:20 AM
This is going to be exquisite. PLEASE keep us posted.


K Taylor-Green
06-19-2005, 12:30 PM
Hi Tom! Glad to see you enjoying your work again. I think this is fantastic, so far! I'll be following along.

06-19-2005, 01:25 PM
WOW - well thats almost all I can say ;)
It is so beautifully - you are so incredible good with pastels! Love already the colors and the contrast!
Cant wait to see it finished!!


06-19-2005, 03:46 PM
Nice one, Crumby. Great texture on the mask. It's nice to see your work again.

Susan Borgas
06-19-2005, 06:00 PM
Ohhhh I love what is happening here :clap: . Canít wait to see it finished.

Kathryn Wilson
06-19-2005, 10:52 PM
Glad to see your work again! I'll be watching for updates on this wonderful painting - the face emerging are amazing.

06-20-2005, 12:34 AM
Crumby, very interesting! Lovelovelove texture and you've got it here!


06-20-2005, 08:33 AM
I'm gawking again. What did you find for reference on this? That is often the challenge and this subhect is fascinating.


06-20-2005, 10:18 AM
Very cool piece.I like the darkness of it, and the textures.

Just curious what type of supplies have you used for this? have you used any type of pencils? or is it all soft pastel sticks?

06-20-2005, 04:31 PM
Great to see you here! As usual an amazing piece is emerging here...looking forward to updates!


Merethe T
06-20-2005, 05:22 PM
Ooooh, I really really like this - amazing already!! Can't wait to see this one finished, fascinating piece!!

06-21-2005, 10:31 AM
Hi all,
Thanks for the supportive comments . . . sorry don't have any further progress to report but will answer a couple of questions that have been asked.

Turbocat . . Yes, finding reference material is always a problem as I'm no photographer (and I need to work off photographs mostly for a variety of reasons). Have just made an acquaintance who is a professional photographer and will look to do a deal with him. The reference comes from a magazine from which I am awaiting copyright clearance. I always gain such clearance before selling/printing a painting . .otherwise it'll just hang on a wall here at home . . not too worried about that as I kinda like this one so far . . and there's always relatives/friends asking for a painting . .so there'll always be a use for it.

Runemaster . . . the paper is black Stonehenge 245gsm (one of my faves) and the pastels are a mixture of Unison, Schmincke, Windsor Newton, Faber Castell, Conte, Maimeri Artisti (an italian brand which I just bought the entire set). All are just your normal pastel sticks . . .I hate the pencils as they are always tood hard and I end up just breaking them if I try to sharpen them . . so I have none (well, I lie. .. I have three but never use them)


06-21-2005, 10:41 AM
What a beautiful and unusual piece, Crumby! Such complex colours and textures.

I'm afraid seeing your works in progress takes me no nearer to understanding how you achieve this jaw-dropping realism of yours ... I am merely content to look on, enjoy and think of it as a miracle :)

06-22-2005, 08:30 AM
OK, here's a bit of an update . . not much to show i'm afraid after about an additional 5 hrs work . . . I'm basically working around each mask as I go doing the more mundane crinkled paper and then giving myself a treat every now and then by doing a mask . . . very close to mask No. 2 now . . can't wait!! lol. I find I need to set smaller goals and then give myself rewards during a long project otherwise it can become a little overwhelming. Guess I learned that at work . .chunk up the project and tackle it piece by piece . . next thing you know you've completed it (just did a quick estimate . .probably have about another 40 hours to go!! eeeeeeeek!!)

Kathryn Wilson
06-22-2005, 08:43 AM
Okay, here's a mundane question - what is your set-up? Do you sit down, stand up - are you using a drafting board or an easel. What kind of chair are you using if you sit down. I can't imagine working that long at a stretch - my top limit is 2 hours standing, then my legs and back get to hurting.

You are an amazingly patient artist.

06-22-2005, 03:46 PM
Wow! Your artwork is amazing! I normally use colored pencils because of the detail that can be achieved. I had no idea that this could be done with pastels. I just bought a set to try them and would love to understand your technique. You should consider writing a book!!!! I thought that the artwork in your signature were photographs until I read the thread. I'd love to see more of your artwork, do you have a site? Sorry to go on and on, but I'm just shocked!! I love your style!!!!!

Jo Castillo
06-22-2005, 11:11 PM
Wow. I am fairly new to WC and thought the thumbnails in your signature were photos .. then I checked your page. Remarkable work. Speechless, I am. :)

06-23-2005, 01:10 AM
Amazing work as usual...really good to see you posting again.

06-23-2005, 08:29 AM
:rolleyes: I looked at your profile and found your page. (Should have done that to begin with.) I'm used to seeing them with the signatures. Beautiful artwork, just amazing.

Rose Baggs
06-23-2005, 09:05 AM
Stunning...even if you don't get to finish this..it's a work of art already!!!!!

06-24-2005, 05:52 AM
This is going to be a masterpiece! I especially admire how you draw the crinkled paper.
I have never heard of the Maimeri Artisti pastels that you mentioned. As you said you bought the whole set I consider that they have to be quite good?
Can you tell something about them?


06-25-2005, 01:03 PM
:clap: :clap: Welcome back , I am so glad yu are enjoying this as we sure are :)

06-25-2005, 01:44 PM
Very inspiring.Could you give some suggestions on detailing with pastel sticks?

Your work is great.

Mikki Petersen
06-25-2005, 01:44 PM
Crumby, so good to see your woderful work in progress again! And I'm so glad to hear you are finding joy in this piece...it looks like a fun project. I love all the textures you have going on from the rough of the mask to the smooth of the cloth. Will be watching eagerly and hoping you keep your enthusiasm going.


06-26-2005, 03:52 AM
Hey Everyone.
Thanks for the kind comments . .always helps with the motivation. :)

Ok the weekend is here and I've managed to get a few more hours in here and there . .again doesn't look like I've done much but this is taking forever!! LOL. Finally finished the paper around mask No.2 so next comes a good part. :) Hopefully next post will have the second one done.

OK, few questions which I'll try to answer:

Kyle - I don't have a drafting board or an easel . . . I just have a shelf (about 8 ins wide) against the wall on which I prop my painting on (I can post a picture of my set-up if you like . . but it's just a shelf!! LOL). The shelf is waist high so it works well. I never sit down whilst painting as I'm always stepping back away from the painting to look at the "forest" rather than the "trees" . .if that makes sense. Few strokes then back up a few paces to check it out and away I go again. My limit is also about 2 hrs standing ( the 5 hrs I mentioned before was over a few sessions) . . and I'm not THAT patient!! LOL

AuntBe1 and Runemaster - the best advice I can give you about my technique is to go to Gaka's article here in the pastel forum . .we basically use the same technique with a few minor differences . . . after reading that you should get a pretty good idea . .happy to answer any further questions if Gaka's article doesn't make it clear.

Doeark - I can't really tell you much about the Maimeri Artisti pastels as I just saw them for sale in a shop and bought them . . I would class them as semi hard (not as hard as nupastels but certainly a lot firmer than Schmincke or Unison). I can post a picture of them if you like.

Cheers all and thanks for hangin' in there with me on this one

Rose Baggs
06-26-2005, 10:05 AM
Crumby, if you don't mind I'd like to know some about your preliminary steps. You told you work from photos so what do you do next? do you draw your subject by hand? grid? trace? What kind of pencil do you use to draw with? Do you mark down the highlight areas or/and the shadow areas?
Thanks so much for your WIP and the already answered questions. Very helpful.
Great work!!!

06-26-2005, 10:18 AM
It looks great. I am really curious how it will look completed.


06-29-2005, 10:47 AM
OK a little more progress here . .gave myelf a treat and did the second mask now that all the crinkled paper around is done . . .back to the grind now and into the paper again. Still some tweaking to do here and there but will leave that to the end when I can view the entire painting in one go.

Rose, I try to draw the setup when I can (I feel that maintaining drawing skills is essential). For example, the last few I've done have all been drawn (eg. the bubbles, the apples) but to draw this from scratch, well, to be honest, I just wouldn't find it enjoyable . . so I have traced the basic outlnes here . . I find I tend to lose my guide lines as I lay pastel over them . .so then you have to use the surrounding trace lines as a guide to position . .but it's not so hard that way (guess that's where the drawing skills tend to come in).


06-29-2005, 10:51 AM
Crumby, this is a masterpiece! You have a very interesting subject and the roughness of the marks along with the multitude of color in every little nook and cranny is just lovely. Can't wait to see the finish and I want to know what you're going to do with this piece....??? I hope someone is waiting for its completion with great anticipation.

Rose Baggs
06-29-2005, 02:33 PM
Thanks for answering my questions Crumby. I pretty much work the same way you do. I know what you mean by covering the guide lines with pastel...
Your update is looking great..can't wait to see it finished!

06-29-2005, 08:23 PM
Hi Tom. Great painting, as always, & an inspiration for me to get my 'a into g' & work on my own painting...
It's very much like doing a jigsaw puzzle, isn't it? I like painting pastels in that way. Work on one part, finish it, then the next.
All the very best,

07-01-2005, 01:32 AM
Tom, beautiful work as always, I like the way you have the light refledting through the cloth :clap: :clap:

Merethe T
07-02-2005, 12:51 PM
Stunning!!! This is just excellent - can't wait to see it finished - will be amazing! Bet this is even more stunning in real life...but oh, the patience you must have.... :)

07-13-2005, 10:33 AM
Hey everyone,

Thanks for the responses.

Sorry about the length of time this is taking but I get very limited time at the easel nowadays (or even on WC for that matter). Some more progress . . working around the third mask towards my treat of actually doing the mask :) This is about another 5 to 7 hours work since the last update . . I guess I'm starting to get quicker!! LOL

Cindy, I don't know what I'll do with it yet as I'm still waiting for copyright clearance. Once I obtain that I'll be getting it high-res scanned (as I do with all my paintings) in readiness for making prints . . I think this one might have wider appeal than the wildlife art . . mmm . . time will tell.

Carol, yep . . exactly, I work on a small section at a time, a lot of small goals in the end add up to one large one.

Crumby :)

07-19-2005, 06:03 PM
Hey all,
Bit more of an update . . third mask done!! . . on the home stretch now!! . . .I promise I WILL finish this someday!!!!!! LOL
Was quite pleased with the way this last guy turned out as I wanted him to be a tad brighter than the others given that's where I'm trying to centre the focus of attention (mainly coz he's smiling!! he he)

07-19-2005, 06:09 PM
. .and here's a closer view

07-19-2005, 06:10 PM
gobsmackingly good! i love the whole feel of it, very well done so far! i'll be watching this wip closely...


07-19-2005, 06:39 PM
This is so incredible, I can't even comment. It has left me near speechless. The masks are beautiful subjects and you have caught their antiqueness, but all that crinkled paper is equally amazing. Never in all my life would I be able to paint on ground dust and get these results.

07-20-2005, 04:17 AM
This is absolutely brilliant! Its breathtaking! The masks look so intriguing, and the paper is spectacular! Can't wait for you to finish!

07-22-2005, 07:53 AM
Thanks Guys,
Think I've only got about another 15 or so hours left on this . . . trying to get it finished in tim for the next art society meeting here. Hopefully get a bit more done over the weekend.

07-22-2005, 09:28 AM
It's important to love doing the art ... it sounds like you've returned to that! That's great ... this shows great promise. Dare I say you are inspired by that black paper that you get such good results on?

08-03-2005, 03:28 PM
so I have traced the basic outlnes here How did you trace?

Your website is amazing.......

08-03-2005, 10:12 PM

08-04-2005, 03:13 AM
Hi Crumby

What a fun and fantastic painting. I can't imagine how I have missed this before. :clap: :clap: :clap:

Awed.....Dianna :cat:

08-04-2005, 07:02 AM
Impressive to say the least!
..ah .. someday, SOMEDAY!, I'll be touching my mere mortal pastels and turn them into gold as well! ;)
Your work is trully faboulous. You're up there, bookmarked into my Favorites as a reference, just so you know :p
Now, are we to see the ending soon before we run out of breath?! :D

08-06-2005, 12:00 AM
Hi Everyone,
Thanks for all the supportive comments . . belive me they really help on a project as long as this. :) ok this seems to be going slower and slower . . not by virtue of my painting pace but just lack of time to paint. but here's an update. Finished the paper above the last mask and couldn't help myself . . even though I said I would do the paper fully around each mask before I got my "treat" . . did just the top of this last guys head. Will be a good boy and sit in the corner finishing off the paper now :(

Oh and by the way, sorry about the photos . . taken in the dark . . but those are not flash spots . .they're actually drawn in :)

O'Aieghlans: Yes I love black paper always have done . .and I luuuurve Stonehenge . .best paper around for mine . .suits my style.

SuzySue: I make a copy of the picture then rub pastel on the back of it . . . then go over the lines which leaves a fine pastel mark on my paper . .it's how I used to trace at school!! he he (I'm a slow learner!!)

Orchidacea: thanks so much!!!

ponting: . . shheeeeesh coming from you I'll take that as a huge compliment!! . . I love your work especially since a friend of mine went to one of your workshops and told me all about you ;)

MelG: Soon I promise!!!!!! aaarrrrggggghhhh


08-06-2005, 12:27 AM
In a word - WOW! I am in awe.

08-06-2005, 08:19 AM
Just had to add another WOW! :clap: This is and has been a great WIP. :clap:

Mikki Petersen
08-06-2005, 10:30 AM
I admire not only your skill but your patience...and both seem to pay off. Beautiful work Crumby!


08-06-2005, 12:01 PM
Superb (has that one been used yet, lol). Thank you for all the WIP photos, so helpful and inspiring.

Looking forward to the finish.


08-12-2005, 09:26 AM
Hi all,

Thanks for the kind comments ye again :)

It's FINISHED!!!!!!! LOL . . . . finally!!!
ok it's signed and considered done although it will sit on my "easel" (will get to that soon) for about a week or so so I can make any adjustments while I wait for the guy who does my high res scanning to get back from his skiing holiday!! lol

Have attached a progress pic here too.

Someone earlier in the thread had asked me about my "studio set-up" . .well here it is in all its glory!! . . . My "easel" consists of a shelf on the wall . . I stand while I work so I can step back constantly away from the detail . . . yes that's the ironing board . .and those are fabulon (ironing aid) bottles . . you can see I don't get much ironing done around here!! LOL

OK everyone . . thanks for following this WIP . .hope it's been of a little benefit to at least one person on the planet!

08-12-2005, 10:20 AM
It is fabulous. Really enjoyed this thread. Your studio shows one doesn't need a lot to produce such gorgeous work. How are you planning to frame it?


08-12-2005, 10:32 AM
Beautiful work and a geat job......Thanks for allowing us to be like one of those wonderful little birds you paint and sit on your shoulder throughout this process.

Will look forward to seeing more of your work......Cheers, Dianna :clap: :clap: :clap:

08-12-2005, 10:48 AM
Another stunner- solid, loving work. Thanks for the view of your process.

And thanks for the view of the studio- I'm going to be keeping that one in mind. The addition of an ironing board is especially helpful since I despise ironing.

Kathryn Wilson
08-12-2005, 11:06 AM
Absolutely exquisite work - I am in awe as usual over your talent.

Your studio sure is a good example of plain and simple - all the fabulous studios don't make the artist.


Rose Baggs
08-12-2005, 11:21 AM
This painting is out of this world Tom!!! What an imaginative idea you've had.
Thanks for allowing us in your "studio"!

08-12-2005, 03:56 PM

What can I say ?
It's a winner, either here on Earth or on Mars.
I wish I could paint paper like that, especially when I need it for a work I'm doing...



08-12-2005, 04:43 PM
Im just wondering how the creator of this piece knew what to sketch relative to the almost finished first mask? Another sip of my margarita.Ahhh!

Kathryn Day
08-12-2005, 05:50 PM
Just beautiful! Love your work.

Rose Queen
08-12-2005, 11:35 PM
What a stunning comeback, Crumby! :clap: :clap: :clap:

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08-13-2005, 01:12 AM
Great Finale! And thanks for the peek into your studio.

08-13-2005, 12:03 PM
Tom... to possess one tenth of the patience you have would be a miracle! You really take the time to thoughfully and skillfully render each curve of the face and the texture of the paper they are wrapped in. Give yourself a bit ol pat on the back and sign this baby. Oh and if you care to - sometime share your framing with us. It would be good to see it gets the final touches it deserves.

Keep me in awe!!! You always do! Barb

08-14-2005, 01:11 AM
Great work here and a great idea.

08-14-2005, 01:28 AM
This is absolutely impeccable, totally exquisite. You had been awaiting the photographer's permission. Has it come yet? Thankyou for sharing the process and your studio. There is no way I gleaned anything I could personally use in my paintings; this is so far above what I do, but the enjoyment of the piece and its emergence is worth a great deal and I look forward to subsequent WIPs from you.

08-14-2005, 03:35 AM
Thanks everyone for the kind comments . . kind of an empty feeling now the "easel" (aka shelf) is empty LOL

Ok many of the comments and questions were the same so I'll answer like this:

STUDIO SET UP: Yes you're all right, a big studio is not a must for painting but keep dreaming that "one day". (sigh LOL) and Yes the ironing board is a good ploy . . . if you keep the pastels stacked high there's no way you can iron!! ;)

FRAMING: I frame all my paintings the same way . . . all have a very wide off-white matt with thin gold trim and frame. Similar to museum syle framing . . the gallery I sell my paintings through is very expensive and he insists al paintings are framed this way . . I have to admit, he has a good eye . . . since I started framing this way everything else looks a bit "cheap" to me even though I know they're not. It's a very classy look.

COPYRIGHT: Yes I have received permission to use the reference material but it will cost me (LOTS!!). That's fine though . . I've paid before and will probably do it again as I'm no photographer. The price varies depending on what I'm planning to do with it so when I get my high res scan done, the publisher will tell me if he thinks this is good enough to go into print (I'm tryng to get in good with a Nation wide publisher here) . . if he likes it then I'll pay, if not then it'll sit on a wall of one of my friends or family . . I tend to give more paintings away than I sell. I get a lot more value from my paintings that way. I've had people come into my "studio" when I was only half way through a painting and say "mmm . .I Like that" . .next thing they know it's been left on their front doorstep fully framed and everything . . I get a buzz outta surprising people like that! :)

OK signing off on this one . . thanks again!!!!!
Crumby :)

08-17-2005, 02:01 PM
Missed the finish but glad I looked for it and found it this morning.

Absolutely gorgeous and an inspiration! :clap: :clap: :clap: Thank you for sharing and your notes on matting and framing. So much to learn, so little time...

Mmmmm, I LIKE that... (do you want my mailing address? :wink2: )

08-17-2005, 09:48 PM

i have really enjoyed watching the progress of this masterpeice, anyone would be very lucky to have it hanging on their wall.

i look forward to seeing more of your work.