Tuesday, July 24, 2012
You can tell at this point the leftmost leaf is rather flat. More needs to happen in that green to bring out the convoluted relief. I still have two to three days to put into this. This isn't a situation where you can establish the painting in totality and then bring out detail evenly throughout the scene. The plants wilt before you get to do this, inevitably, and you cannot go any faster with the delicate layering. So the image for now is a bit fragmented. More than delivering exactly what is before you, you are forced to analyze the plant's form - what repeats, what is unique to each leaf, and be able to combine them in a seamless image.
Color pencils are a tricky medium. They lend themselves equally well to spectacular realism and spectacular failure. Simply by being the toy art supplies of children or creators of fan art, who have perhaps that genuine spark and love for the act of drawing, but hardly any sense of form yet, let alone exposure to supplies of quality, pencils forgive and encourage grainy unfinished doodling. They are really not ment for that type of sketch though, if one can judge a medium for where it shines at all. I have used them so, for sketching, and provided that the paper surface is not overly toothy, it appeared a worthwhile method to jot down the moment, spontaneously and with some suggestion of color - psychochromal most often rather than realist. It's useful. But color pencils really shine in form building and painstaking reiteration of color detail.
Ann Swan's book made me realize the possibilities, explained the behavior of pencils themselves (soft or sharp point, prone to breaking or not, fugitive of color fast, etc.) and paraded in front of me work that takes this method to the very edge. And so, I finally felt equipped to tackle color space. No need was there to change my hand movements or deal with the beautiful but disarming accidents of water media, or stubborn delicacy of brushes. Here was the same old pencil, just in color.
And here is my first experiment:
It was odd eating this pineapple. when I was finished with its portrait. I had gotten to know it so well over the several days, biting into it felt bizarrely special.