I went all sporadic on you again, sorry! I’ve been in Reduction/Organization/Creation mode, no time left over for much of anything else except for doing my taxes. Not that I haven’t thought about you- honest- everything reminds me of a blog post. Remember my little remark about cochineal beetle juice the other day? I just happened to be sipping my favorite new apertif, Campari and Cinzano With a Twist on the Rocks, enjoying the very interesting warm red color of the drink, as well as the peculiar bitter aromatic flavor with an underlying nuttiness, and looking at the ingredient list on the Campari bottle noticed that the only thing specifically mentioned was Natural Carmine Color. The rest of the ingredients, apparently, are a closely guarded secret. Only Mr. Campari knows for sure, or something like that. So I looked up Natural Carmine, and sure enough, it’s cochineal beetle juice. Who knew? I feel even closer to the splendors of nature drinking this stuff, and now I have something else in common with paint.
Current art projects include a logo for OU’s Darwin celebrations (Darwin turns 200 next year- lots and lots of candles he’ll be blowing out), some new drawings, a pastel of a resting bison-see above-and a new commission of a pair of Australian Black swans. That’s a going to be a post all in itself. Do you know what I had to go through to get my reference material?
Q:Where do you find Australian Black swans in Oklahoma in the dead of winter?
A: You find them at the Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum in Seminole. Silly question.
Q: Are Australian Black Swans nice birds?
A: No. Swans are mean and will hurt you. Australian Black Swans will hurt you the hardest.
Oh no! A swan! Run like hell!
About the bison picture at the top of this post: the background was an experiment that turned out very well. I’ve been hearing all about pastel washes: you draw on the pastel and “wash” it with turpentine or turpenoid, in my case. Works real nice. You use as many colors as you want in the dry medium, get the colors where they look good, then brush on the turp, mooshing up and dissolving all the colors , smushing them around and into each other. When it all dries you can go over it again with more dry pastel. And turp it some more. As far as I know there’s no end to it. The pastel sinks into the tooth of the paper and stays there for good (I’m using Rives BFK heavyweight). Part of the beauty is that the paper doesn’t buckle, dries fast and flat when you saturate it with turpentine as opposed to water. Just don’t light a match while you’re waiting for it to dry, and use some ventilation, for God’s sake.
Pastel wash on Rives BFK, still wet.
Once you have your pastel washed paper, you can draw right over it, and add more pastel color on the drawing. Try it- it’s fun and easy!