I'm relatively new to pastels, and new to trying to do art full time, and new to these forums. This isn't my best work, so perhaps not the best introduction, but I'm looking for suggestions on how it could be better.
I've been experimenting with various papers, and tried a medium gray Velour for this one (not a paper I can imagine using very often, but it was in the sample pack I purchased), 8.5x11 inches.
I painted the raccoon almost in black and white because that's how it looked in the darkness. That's one of the things I'd like feedback about. I'm also not sure she looks adequately attached to the tree?
There's a great story that goes with the image, so I'll offer it as entertainment in return for feedback:
I had just gone to bed when the clatter started. Something was rummaging through some empty plastic buckets I have stacked behind my house for use in garden work. I suspected raccoons, got up and grabbed my flashlight, but the batteries were dead. There was no moon and it was inky black outside except for stars. Then I heard something on the roof, and branches of the crabapple tree just outside my window were scraping against it. Suddenly there was the sound of a branch breaking, a big thump, a disgruntled growl, and finally silence.
About that time I heard deer approaching, the sound of hooves clear on the cold ground. I still couldn’t see anything, but deer had been coming by every day to see if any of the last crabapples had fallen to the ground.
After a couple of minutes, I heard a loud, “Whoof! Whoof! Whoof!” from something moving from behind my house toward the tree. The deer scrambled a few yards away, as surprised by the sound as I was. I heard something, probably the raccoon, scrambling up the crabapple tree. I realized later it had "barked" to get the deer to back away. Gradually the deer began moving back under the tree.
By now my curiosity was overwhelming me. I didn’t want to go outside (it was cold, and the sound of a door sometimes disrupts the wildlife), so I decided to try taking a flash photo. The tree is only a few feet away from my window, so I thought a flash might be enough light to see what was happening there. I put the lens against the window to minimize the reflection from the flash, and clicked to focus. To my delight, the red focus light was enough to show me a little of what was happening. A very large mother raccoon was in the tree, with at least one young one, and I could see the backs of the deer foraging beneath the tree. It was a busy night!
Using the red focus light, I was able to aim the camera and get a couple of photos with enough detail to use as references for this pastel painting.