Sunday, August 26, 2007

Painting a Series

Recently, I was commissioned by our parish to paint two small works in pastel, one of St Anne's Anglican Church, and another of the parish hall. These were to be for our retiring priest as a parting gift. Here is the church. (As always, you can click on the small image to see a bigger version.)

"St Anne's Anglican Church" 5x7, pastel

Because of the difficulty in finding a good vantage point that was not in the middle of a busy road, I ended up taking several photographs of the two buildings to work from. (I know, this is a blog about painting en plein air -- but sometimes we have to humble ourselves!) I picked two photos for these "architectural portraits."

When I finished the first painting, I wanted to make sure the second one had a similar look and feel to the first. The best way to do this, I figured, was to use exactly the same palette. So, I took the sticks from my "working palette" -- a plastic jar lid -- and put them away in a Ziploc bag. When I got around to the second one, I simply pulled out the bag, dumped the sticks into my "working palette," and got to work. I also put the first painting within view of my easel so I'd be able to match the colour of sky, grass, shadows and so on. Here's the second painting.

"St Anne's Parish Hall" 5x7, pastel

This system works well. Anytime I do a series, I try to keep a certain number of things the same: painting size, subject matter, and palette. Keeping the palette the same is easy with pastel, since you can have handy the exact hues and values you've been using, but it's harder with oil. With oil, it helps to keep near your easel the other paintings in the series, and to then match the colours you mix against them.

Below is the "palette" I used for these two pieces. I don't use many sticks for paintings as small as these (5x7.)

No comments: