Carolyn McKee-Freese, Pastels

Carolyn McKee-Freese, Pastels, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Carolyn McKee-Freese is a mother, freelance artist, art instructor and scientific illustrator for the Field Museum in Chicago. She works with many different media and explained that the subject determines which media she uses. She suggested going to the Field Museum in Chicago for their "Artist in the Fields" project. On the third Saturday of every month, artists come from all over the world to create at the museum, using the exhibits as reference. I would like to go sometime.

At the March KVAL meeting, she demonstrated her pastel technique and gave many tips and hints for using pastels, some of which are below:

•The number one concern when using pastels is to make sure they are light-fast because pastels will quickly fade in direct sunlight.
• She suggested using glass with 2-3 levels of matting when framing to keep the glass off the artwork. Acrylic is not suitable because it holds static and will actually life the pastel dust off the work.
• Warm your work area, including materials, before getting started. Warmth will make the layers creamy and easily workable, while cold will crumble the pastels and they will not blend well.
• Plan ahead. Think about your lights and darks, complimentary colors and hues BEFORE starting. Start big and work down to details.
• Keep wet paper towels handy. Placing a portion under your pastel box will save you from accidentally dropping it on your piece.
• Don't use your fingers to blend until a decent number of layers have been built up.
• Consider working the pastels in diagonal lines for a dynamic composition.
• work the entire piece together, don't get caught up in one area. This way your work will have a cohesiveness about it.
• Using the finger cots, have each finger blending a different color so that complimentary are not accidentally blended resulting in a muddied color.
• Preferred papers: Art-Again paper is acid-free, neutral pH, has a great texture, nice weight and is recycled. It is great for indirect application. Wallace paper is better for holding more layers. It works well for direct applications; Color-Fix paper is sanded with a tooth. It is great for indirect applications with fewer layers. Use for quick pastel works.
• Use richly colored, highly saturated, dark papers for a richer finished product.
• Rubbing alcohol softens colors, works colors into the fiber of the paper and works as a fixative.
Under painting is a quick way to add depth, although she does not use this technique in her artwork.
• quote, "Pastel reflects light like no other medium will."
• Preferred pastels: Unison Brand has a creamy, velvety texture; Rembrandt has a good color pallet and will hold an edge; New Pastel is hard and good for fine details and hard edges; Pastel pencils are the hardest and great for finishing detail work.
• Finger cots may be used to keep hands clean when working.
• Keep one end of your pastels rounded for broad application and one end with sharp edges for detail work.
• The traditional Direct Application technique is to work from background to foreground, dark to light; but use whatever technique works for you personally.
• Alternately there is more of a watercolor-style technique using Indirect Application. In this case, work from light to dark. Use this technique for tight detail, use unsanded paper and fewer layers. For the indirect technique start with a cotton ball and rub it onto the pastel, lifting color. Transfer this color over to the paper. Work large areas first, thinking about hues. Next move to a q-tip, then to a blending stump.
• Remember color theory and do not mix complimentary colors. If complimentary colors are next to one another, consider using a bridge color. For example use pink between violet and yellow.
• Use a spray fixative only when needed and DO NOT use on the finished piece as it will change the colors. White especially will be altered.

YEAH! She was a great presenter! I've never really tried pastels before, but I am so excited to try!

No comments: