Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The Color White and Leaving Your Rut

White Arabian
Grace and Dignity
Pastel, 11 x 14

This beautiful horse was in an Arabian show at the state fairgrounds.  There was something about the way she held her head, the elegance of the pose and the controlled strength that gave me no choice. I had to paint her!

I love painting white - white cats, white dogs, white tigers, white horses, even white flowers! There is nothing dull or flat about the color white. It has depth and form and movement; it reflects the light and shadows of its environment.  White isn't just "white" and is one of the most difficult colors to paint. (The other is black.)You never know what color may be lurking just below the surface. Which goes to show you - 'things are not always what they seem.'  Or maybe 'there is more than meets the eye.'

White Kitty
Pastel on Art Spectrum Suede Paper
7 x 5

Recently I purchased a sample packet of a new (to me) pastel paper which has a texture like suede.  Made by Colorfix, it is supposed to be less rough than sanded paper, thus easier to blend and easier on the fingers. At the same time it is stronger than some less textured papers and holds up under layers of pastel.  I tend to work applying several layers with a light touch, sometimes using my fingers to blend in certain areas, so it seemed the perfect match for me.  It will be a challenge to find subjects that are appropriate for some of the color samples,  as I gravitate toward neutral beige or gray colored paper for most of my work.  For this kitty, the white paper was just right.  She is all soft and fluffy, very affectionate and reminds me of a beautiful white cat that helped to raise me when I was a child. After all these years, I still miss her.

Sample pack of Colorfix Art Spectrum Suede Pastel Paper

So far I am happy with the results for the animal painting but it remains to be seen how it works for sea/landscapes, people and flowers. One of the greatest frustrations of art is you never know if a project will succeed until you try it. That is also one of its greatest joys.  Without the uncertainty, art becomes predictable, boring, and static - the same kind of thing that happens in  LIFE,  right? It is all the ups and downs, the experiments and, yes, even failures that keep us from just falling asleep.  My artist friend Sandra says that a grave is a rut with both ends filled in.  Quick, before it gets filled in, let's get out!!!

Changes can be challenging or they can be pleasant.  Most often they are a combination of both - painful during the process, yet rewarding in the end.  Sometimes they are our own choices and sometimes they have been thrust upon us - either way we have to keep moving.  There is an old Chinese proverb that has been quoted so often it has become a bit of a cliche, but it is nevertheless true: The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The first step out of a rut may be something so simple as trying a new restaurant or a serving a different dish.   It probably won't be  skydiving or white water rafting, not the first step, but who knows where it all might lead? 

So, have a great day today, and try something new - whether it is a walk in the park or digging out those watercolors you packed away all those years ago, or anything else you can dream. Take the first step.   You will be glad you did.  Oh, and if it is whitewater rafting or skydiving, please post pictures!!!

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