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Old 01-27-2020, 04:36 PM
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nha63 nha63 is offline
Canandaigua, NY
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 92
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River Bloom - Work In Progress

I've never documented a painting from start to completion, so I'm hoping this works:
I started by loosing drawing the large shapes (neutral pastel pencil on UArt 400 paper)

Then I filled the shapes in with NuPastels in roughly the colors I planned to use in the finished product (if I didn't have the right color, I tried to get as close as possible in value:

The next step was to wash the whole thing with turpenoid and let it dry:

Once that was completely dry (next day), I started with the top portion (I try to stay top down/left right as much as I can) correcting colors and adding most of the detail I hoped for in the finished piece:

As I move downward, I'll correct/add detail to the previous day's work before going on the next portion of the painting, usually aiming for a third of the piece at a time:

Next is a detail of the rock formation; I corrected the colors, then added the texture and details with pastel pencils:

After I finished the rocks, I moved to the bottom of the piece; the lily pads come completely off and got added back in, then reworked!

Lastly, I went back and put in anything I'd omitted on the first pass; when I'm 'done' I make a check list of things that need attention (I always do this an hour or two after I've stopped painting):

Here's the finished piece, River Blooms, 12x16 on UArt 400; I used several brands of pastels.

Please let me know what you think of the piece and the process. I'm anxious to hear people's thoughts. Thanks very much for looking. Neal
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Old 01-27-2020, 07:49 PM
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water girl water girl is offline
san diego, ca
Join Date: Jul 2007
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Re: River Bloom - Work In Progress

Neal, I really like your palette. It is unexpected, but adds great interest to what could have been ordinary landscape. Thank you for taking the time to post the WIP.
Karen, IAPS/MC, PSA WC Moderator-Pastels

web site , Getting started in soft pastels., What you need to know, Critique Guide Lines
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Old 01-28-2020, 10:04 AM
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franglais franglais is offline
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Macon, GA
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 304
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Re: River Bloom - Work In Progress

Love to see the stages of a piece. Thank you for sharing, Neal. I especially like how you used the flower colors in spots in the rocks and the water to bring harmony to the painting.
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Old 02-01-2020, 06:13 PM
PeggyB PeggyB is offline
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Washington state
Join Date: Sep 2005
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Re: River Bloom - Work In Progress

Thank you for sharing your process. I'm impressed with how you painted the rocks, and there's a lovely glow in the foreground rocks and water ; well done!
Since you asked for opinions, I well address a couple things that I see on my laptop; which may not be accurate!

There appears to be a jarringly sharp contrast in values between your background and foreground. You might see this by taking a picture with your cellphone, and changing the color to monochromatic gray scale.
This sharp contrast messes with the composition by making the very light, centrally placed plant overly important. The positioning of the log in the water and lily pads in the middle ground also "point" at that plant. Perhaps the value of the log could be lowered, and some of the lily pads removed. When I look at a painting, I want to be able to let my eyes "travel" through it enjoying all the various parts. The plant keeps my eyes too much focused on the middle (center) of the painting. I forced myself to look elsewhere, and saw the beauty of the colors you'd chosen and how well you'd drawn the rocks. As many of my students have said, "Rocks are hard to paint without making them look like potatoes!" Your's are certainly not potatoes.

And here's what I tell to all of those students too. Always, always make small compositional drawings of your subject in different proportions before choosing what size paper you will use.i.e. 9x12 or 12x16 painting = 3x4 drawing, 18x24 painting = 2.25x3 or 4.5x6 drawing etc. Determine exactly where you want to place each element in each drawing; each of them should have a different placement. Chose the one that allows the viewer to look around the painting without stopping too long in any one place. Then also take the time to do either a full value scale or notan drawing in either pencil or pen so you will know what value of pastels to choose to support the composition. I know these preliminary steps aren't as fun as applying color to paper, but in the long run almost every single student has thanked me for insisting they begin this way because not only do they save time in painting, they also save pastels by not having to wipe off colors they end up not liking. They also learn that this is something they can do less of once they become more accomplished. They do fewer compositional drawings, and less detailed value studies. A notan is their goal in value study. Having said this, I know this method isn't for everyone.
Peggy Braeutigam, IAPS/MC
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