Saturday, July 11, 2015

Torn Between Two Loves

Today and yesterday have been kind of weird days.  I said in the last post I need to get back to a couple unfinished acrylic paintings, well I haven't, at least not yet.  Instead I've been feeling very conflicted about working in pastel vs working in acrylic.  I even went so far as to start an experiment last night.  I started two paintings of the same subject in the same size, one in acrylic and one in pastel.  I'd spend some time working in pastel, take a break then spend some time working in acrylic.  I did this a couple times last night and then again today.  Acrylic was winning, for some reason the pastel painting was fighting me.  It wasn't until today in the afternoon when is occurred to me it might be because I switched surfaces.  I painted "Red International" on Uart 400 which is a sanded paper I had mounted to acid free foam board.  For this experimental painting I switched to Ampersand Pastelbord.  I was so sure that I would like Pastelbord it didn't even occur to me that I might not, turns out I don't and am very surprised.  For some reason the pastel just was not coming off as easily with the Pastelbord, it felt scratchy rather than smooth.  The tooth was easier to fill in to get a smooth look, but the application wasn't smooth, it's hard to describe, I just didn't enjoy using it.  I'm sure it's the perfect surface for some people but not for me.  So now I'll have to restart the pastel side of my experiment using Uart paper this time. 

In the mean time I decided I need to take the pastels outside so I went to Olympus Hills Park in the city of Holladay, Utah.

art painting pastel landscape nature tree plein air

"Silver Trees by the Path"

5" X 7", Pastel on paper mounted to foam board
Original - $50

art painting pastel landscape plein air nature tree grass

"Young Tree"

10" X 8", Pastel on paper mounted to foam board
Original - $100

If you've been watching the blog for a while you can clearly see that the pastel medium results in far more colorful paintings for me.  I'm not sure if that's a good thing but it is interesting.

As for the experiment I'm sure there will be no clearly defined winner, there are good and not-so-good things about each medium.  I'm guessing I'll be going back and forth with them for a while, this is kind of hard to swallow for a guy that prefers simplicity.  I was real good at sticking with acrylics for nearly a year, but man how I've fallen off the wagon!