Monday, November 30, 2009

Thursday a week ago my mother died. She was 86, and her life had been filled with experiences both good and bad, joyful and sad. Through it all her most enduring characteristic (besides loving all us kids passionately) was this - she was a fighter. An inborn stubborness allowed her to fight fiercely for what she believed was right, no matter the obstacles placed in her way.

This was counterbalance by a playfulness that came out at the oddest times, and allowed her to see the good in situations as well. I caught that playfulness a few years ago, during a visit with her at the nursing home where she spent the last 8 years of her life, and transferred it to this portrait in coloured pencil. Although she looked very different at her end days, this is how I will always remember her - full of experience, and with a twinkle in her eyes.

Another fighter I admire is the Orchid - a plant adapted to living, in many instances, without soil, getting nutrients wherever it can, stubbornly existing where other plants would fail, and producing the most amazing variety of shapes, colours and scents.

This painting is done with oil pastel - my first foray into what I call "painting with lipstick". I recently acquired some Sennelier oil pastels, and was looking around for something to try them out on when I ran across a drawing of orchids I had started (a white outline on the black Canson paper) and never completed.
Although somewhat small for the oil pastel sticks (9x12 paper), I enjoyed the texture and blending qualities of the Sennelier pastels, and their ability to cover and stay true to their colours. Blending was interesting - as with most media, if you persist in overblending you get mud. However, even with their lipstick-like consistency - I'm not kidding, folks, these pastels are very soft and oily - I was able to layer on many colours.
Now I'm ready to tackle a larger piece, and see what this media is capable of. Did you know that Sennelier invented these pastels for Pablo Picasso? How cool is that!
Talk to you soon :-)

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