As you may know, I’m spending a couple of weeks in La Manzanilla, Mexico. I’m finally settled in and the sun has once again graced us with its presence (the whole weekend was cloudy but that was still okay as it was WARM!). Realizing I had a blog post due, I finally set up a still life yesterday to get me warmed up before I head out to plein air later this week.
What to paint? It was my honey’s Cam’s body brush and shaving things that caught my eye this time and I thought, what the heck. So I set up the items on a table outside.
First the thumbnail:
Thumbnail sketch in pen and ink for “His Shaving Things,” 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 in
Outside of course means changing light! The shadow created by the can of shaving cream and the brush soon disappeared leaving only the shadow under the razor. Luckily I had my thumbnail sketch to consult!
Here’s the pastel progression:
Initial drawing in vine charcoal on Wallis paper (toned with watercolour) for the pastel, “His Shaving Things.”
Getting the first colours on. Using a limited palette (chosen from Unison’s starter box) really did limit my choices. The brush hairs were an ochre colour and the table a turquoise colour. But I didn’t have these pastels available. I had to create my own versions of these colours. I could see a lot of reflected green on the brush so I started with that as a middle value.
Adding more colours and getting in the lightest values. Feeling my way around both the values and the colours.
Adding more pastel including a layer of yellow on the top of the brush. I wish there was an ochre colour in the box but there isn’t so I’m attempting to build layers to give the effect of ochre. This layering is what, for me, can give a piece a vibrating excitement.
Further defining of the brush tufts. Also starting to indicate the writing on the shaving cream can.
More work on the lettering on the can. I don’t want to make it too obvious but enough so a viewer will probably guess the brand if they are familiar with it. Some further definition of the razor and also the shadow of the brush.
Gail Sibley, “His Shaving Things,” Unison pastel on Wallis paper (toned with watercolour), 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 in. Perhaps you can see how I made the shadow line of the shaving can more diagonal. I also worked a bit on the shape of the shadow from the brush, including a hint of it on the left side of the can’s shadow.
The 10 pastels used. The eight circled are the ones I really used. The other two I used just at the start so they are part of the whole but very little used.
Here is the Unison starter box from which I chose my colours for “His Shaving Things.” You can see that there is no ochre and no turquoise colours. A good challenge to make your own!
The photo of the set up. You can barely see the shadow cast by the brush and the shaving cream can.
And there you have it. What do you think? Have you ever painted shaving things? I’d love to hear from you.
Next time, being the end of the month, you’ll be able to wonder at this month’s selection of pastel gems. Then, in a couple of weeks, I’ll have a plein air progression for you of some scene here in La Manzanilla.
PS. Ahhhhh sunsets in La Manzanilla!
Puesta del sol en La Manzanilla