what interests me

artist 36I don’t always have something to say, nor am I always inspired. Painting is enough of a struggle without the added burden of making a statement. Thus, I let the subject speak to me, and I simply serve as the editor and interpreter for my audience. The subject matter is usually more profound and interesting than I am. It is this realization that freed me from 20 years of a fear of painting.
In this piece, I simply wanted to depict the sensuous way in which the single source light seems to caress and reveal the mode’s form while suggesting a strong sense of weight, movement and tension.

my design strategy

Although the pose appears passive at first glance, the image projects strong dynamics of movement and mood. The left arm helps draw the viewer’s eye up into he body. Her twisting body then presents a series of planes in which each major part faces a different direction, creating a spiral that turns back on itself.

my working process

  • I began with a detailed carbon pencil drawing, lightly applied at first but gradually heavier as I became more confident of the position of the elements, the direction of important angles and the shape of the shadows.
  • Using hard pastels, I applied the darkest darks, then the secondary darks, then the lights (not highlights). The toned paper served as a place holder for the mid-tones. This quickly established the overall range of values.
  • Over this foundation, I continued to apply the pastel lightly and in layers, using variations in pressure. I did not blend so that I could maintain the painterly quality of pastel. I allowed a good deal of the underlying paper to show through to unify the image.
  • As the painting drew to completion, I applied more of my soft pastels, especially the lights and more intense colors, with decisive strokes, which tend to give the appearance of spontaneity, even if it took hours to reach this point. At this stage, I concentrated on refining my focal areas, values and edges through contrast.
  • This painting was done in about two to three hours from life. No fixative was used on the finished pastel.

HOT Tip!

Painting a person’s face or figure from a photograph at one’s leisure can not compare to the animation, expression, subtlety and pure adrenaline manifested in painting from life.

what the artist used


White sanded paper toned with a pastel and Turpenoid wash


Primarily hard with a few soft pastels and a carbon pencil

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