Monday, 4 August 2008

Some more island pastels

The sketchbook is still resting and I am starting to get used to night time closing in so much earlier further south, or is this just the general move from summer solstice to late summer? I've been doing some more cloud observations, across the fields and the garden, recognising the different light, colours and intensity of shade and sunshine here. It's a funny one: to observe closely the things one assumes to know so well, to know by heart and blind. That only means to discover new: after some absence the quality of light seems different, cloud formations that indicate a rain shower or thunder storm closing in to change subtly. Did I notice that purpley yellow in the skies before?

I swapped some colours in my pastel kit from Small Isles to Northern Germany. Notably: took out some of the neutral greys in favour of some neutral(ish) purples in different values. I think neutral grey, although useful it is, is not my neutral colour of choice, if that makes sense. I'm always going for the various shades of purple in different values. It's a funny one. When I first started with pastels, that darkish, slightly grey purple was one of the first colours I knew intuitively, and it's still a firm favourite. In addition, I included some bright cadmium orange, and two Schminckes: one a dark caput mortuum in a warm burgundy brown/red, and a green raw umber, also dark. I kept the turquoise - I'm sure I'll find some use for it. And took out some of the very dark Terrage sticks - they are too full on, I find. Useful but rather in your face they belong to a bigger set than my rather generous limited palette.

The support I took with me are the leftovers from the island hols: Colorfix board in aubergine, sand and pale blue. That is a distinct Scottish West Coast colour set and I don't think that either sand or pale blue will do me much good here. I need to go hunting for a bit of turps in my dad's various outbuildings and just sort out some warmer (yellow ochre, raw siena or so) underpainting by applying some pastels first and then washing over with turps. It's a bit wasteful to use pastels for this, but I left everything else I normally use for underpaintings (like acrylics) at home, so this improvisation will have to do.

Across to Moydart
Across to Moydart, Pastel on Board, 34x24cm

Above Kildonnan Bay
Above Kildonnan Bay, Pastel on Board 34x24cm


my croft said...

Hi Gesa,

I appreciate your use of purple as a neutral. I always think of green and blue as neutrals, on the theory that everything goes with leaves and the sky (when leaves a=or the sky aren't featured as themselves)

Gesa said...

Hm... that's an interesting one. I must admit I've never thought of green or blue as neutrals. I'm curious and will try that - the rationality is good, made me smile - just need to find something withinout leaves or sky... no landscape then... Thanks!

my croft said...

I guess, to be clear about that, I shsould say that I think of "neutral" as an element that serves a unifying function of some kind rather than as a particular color or group of colors. (Sometimes metallic gold is the neutral)

of course, I also insist (too often) that "white IS TOO a color." It's my favorite color -- so consider that with all the eccentricity it deserves.

as ever--

Gesa said...

Yes - I totally agree about the role of 'neutral' - similar to negative space it's crucial. I also share the white, as well as black, as colour point: sometimes find that the 'oh, i only use colours other than white/black' stance a bit tiresome. De Stael, e.g., uses black to great effect. So: eccentricity is quite alright.