Last May while visiting Stone Harbor, I took an iPhone picture of the salt marshes along the causeway leading to Seven Mile Island, a barrier island along the southern end of the New Jersey shoreline. The marsh grasses were a spring green with some winter browns mixed in at that point.
Last summer, I took a charcoal drawing course and drew the scene of the salt marshes in black and white, with soft vine charcoal on watercolor paper:
Today, I revisited the scene in pastel: 12×18, Canson pastel paper:
This part of New Jersey is so beautiful. I enjoy revisiting it, in person, and in different art mediums. Next, sometime this winter, I will paint the scene in watercolor then oils. By then, it will be time to drive ‘down the shore’ again, as we supposedly say in New Jersey.
After you finish your work of art, you have to make some finishing touches. Just Google any of these phrases and you will see that artists think about these issues a lot. Before you see a work of art displayed in a gallery or on a website or in someone’s home, all these things should have happened:
Don’t forget to sign your work (search for ‘artist signature’ posts on the web)
(Seriously it’s easy to forget to do this!)
Don’t forget to use fixative, varnish or other preservative appropriate to the medium
Did you photograph it for your website or records?
Store it somewhere safe until you frame it for exhibit or sale
I am at the ‘store it somewhere safe’ step. The photo collage shows that I have safely ‘stored’ and (Bonus at No Extra Cost to me !) displayed, my two latest charcoal sketches by thumbtacking them to the walls of my studio space. One small pastel still sits on a tabletop easel taunting me: are you done or not? And my biggest recent work, a pastel of Verona, Italy, is clipped to a drawing board, covered with glassine and resting on top of the old wardrobe filled with crafts supplies. That’s me with my iPad snapping the pic of the resting pastel. The wardrobe itself is decorated with oil pastels, paper collage and acrylic sketches, so that’s another way to find storage space for your artistic efforts. Just paint on your furniture.
So anyway, to my friends and family who are super supportive and kind about my late-blooming artistic journey, this is what’s going on. It seems like a long way to get these works framed, exhibited, sold, gifted, turned into cards or pillows or even a proper website. But I am learning a lot and slowly producing work. And enjoying the process. And liking some of the results enough to thumbtack them to the walls without cringing or climbing up to change one more little detail. Progress!
I just started a charcoal drawing course last night. The switch from the brilliant colors of pastels that I have been using the last few months to black and white was a jolt. I thought it would be nice to sort of simplify my thinking or observing of the world to just values and forms and lines without colors kind of calling out to me. What I need to do is turn my photographs into black and white but last night I was expecting a still life and was not prepared to just ‘do whatever you want.’ I based this drawing on a picture on my iPhone that I took in May. The picture is looking from the Stone Harbor Wetlands Institute over the salt marshes and bay toward the barrier islands of south New Jersey.
I started a pastel landscape of the Passaic River which runs along the edge of my town as it loops around northern New Jersey. I decided to take a break from the landscape of the Adige River in Verona, Italy which was at the stage where it was driving me crazy. So I thought, just grab the small pastel pad and do a relaxing little sketch based on some pictures and sketches I made last spring. Of course, paintings have a way of taking on an ornery life of their own. Despite its small scale and my promise to myself to just relax, I struggled through a number of issues. I worked on this at home without the guidance of my art teacher. I have reached a stopping point and ‘The Passaic’ was photographed this afternoon in my makeshift kitchen photo ‘studio’ (ha ha, see my previous post about photographing my work for this blog.) ‘The Passaic’ will be wrapped in glassine and put out of reach and sight for now. So here it is, pastel on 9×12 tinted Canson pastel paper.
My pastel landscape of a riverside park along the Adige River in Verona, Italy is almost done. Possibly really done. I’m not sure. When is a painting ever done? The painting has been ‘resting’ on its drawing board, swathed in glassine to protect it and out of sight, almost out of (my) mind on top of a large old wardrobe in my studio. Today, I decided to photograph it in a very down and dirty (impatient, unprofessional, please don’t make me get out a camera and tripod and Adobe Elements) kind of way. So here is a shot of this landscape. I think this is the shot where it was propped on my kitchen counter and not the one taken outside, leaning against the garage. I used a white foam board as back drop and late afternoon northern light illuminating the scene. I got confused on the HD/no HD and remembering to turn off ‘Live’ in my iPad. But anyway, until I get serious about this photographing my art thing, this will do. In the outside shot, the colors were prettier, but when I uploaded the images to this blog, both images looked the same. For the beginnings of this painting, from photograph to sketch, through various stages of putting down the color, see my previous post.