View Full Version : I can't do it ... :( ... lol

07-02-2010, 03:02 PM
I have discovered that I lack a certain ability ... I lack the ability to be "random"!

I was adding some snowflakes to a winter animal pastel, and I noticed that although I was attempting to add the flakes randomly, there was a definate pattern. When I tried to concentrate on being more random, it got worse ... Anyone else have this issue?

Aside from having my 4 year old niece come over to add randomly placed snowflakes, what can be done? Is one side of my brain bossy? Sigh :)


07-02-2010, 03:30 PM
Lol! Oh, yes, we try for anything random, and end up with repeated patterns. I think it is basically a law of the universe, most things seem to be repetitive, structured, 'patterned', including the human mind. Not even a butterfly flutters by randomly. I had one in my garden who whimsically actually *patrolled* his turf, same 'random' pattern every day.

It is one of the most sneaky tendencies artists have to fight. We try to make three treetops varied, and end up with identical triplets. Or we try to randomly make a treeline weave through the landscape, under an equaly 'random' line of mountain ridge, and what do we get? Either the two lines are entirely parallel (in all their 'randomness'), or they mirror each other (where one dips, the other rises, and vice versa).

Snow? As in snow 'dribbling' down from the sky? Try taking a sharp kife (or razor blade), and scrape off pastel dust from a stick. Put the painting flat on a table or the floor, and mask off any areas you don't want 'flakes' on, and do the scraping thing at quite a distance over the painting, say, at least 30 cm (whassat in "? Oh, 12"), or even more. The dust will drift down fairly randomly, and settle on the painting. Then take a flat blade, say a painting knife, and press the 'flakes' into the painting. (Or, put a piece of paper over it all, and then gently rub in the fallen dust. It will flatten the whole painting, though.)

Good luck,


07-02-2010, 04:20 PM
Oooo ... great tip! :) Thanks ...

And I am glad to know that it is not just me that can't be random :)

I say random things alot, but can't seem to randomly place snowflakes :)


CM Neidhofer
07-02-2010, 05:47 PM
I think I read somewhere about shaving some pastel dust off your pastel stick, then dip a toothbrush into the powder and hold the handle in one hand and the tip of the brush by a finger and flick the pastel onto your painting. Worth a try....? Maybe....?

Deborah Secor
07-02-2010, 05:49 PM
:lol: I understand, too. I have some suggestions on how to paint falling snow in my chapter on snow (http://landscapesinpastel.blogspot.com/2010/06/chapter-eighteen-snow.html)--but you'll notice there are no paintings illustrating it! :rolleyes:


07-02-2010, 07:56 PM
Snow and New Mexico not really being synonyms... :-)

07-03-2010, 09:07 AM
new Mexico gets a good amount of snow in the northern part of the state.
Albuquerque not as much but still some. it just melts by 10am:)

I am going to miss New Mexico. sigh.

but, I need to be back with my friends. i need to be in the community that feels home to me so back to Arivaca I will go:) And we even get some snow there on a very rare occasion! (very Southern Arizona) we are at a little higher elevation, not higher than Albuquerque though.


07-07-2010, 11:32 PM
I appreciate the question for the answers it got and because it made me think about this problem. One I have as well. When it works for me I find that I have to be deliberate in my actions and often use marks or random bits I find in the paper or that are already in the work. Does that make sense - if you really look you will see little random marks or bits of available under painting or paper that you can purposely follow. Well it works for me ... LOL huni

Gerri Mc
07-08-2010, 10:27 AM
Genius pieces of advice! Although - I don't think not being able to be random is a problem. Not much in nature is random if you really look. Even the snowflake itself has a symetrical pattern. We are programmed like this for our own safety. Like Charlie's butterfly, it needs to keep to a structured path so it doesn't get lost. Bees, birds, migrating herds of animals, our own sense of direction - all based on a pattern learned or inherited.
Sunrise, sunset, phases of the moon...sorry I'm rambling now but probably not randomly!:lol: