Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"Charmed - I'm sure." Maine Coon Cat Finished

I've finished the Maine Coon cat. I'm really pleased with the way she turned out. I had to do a few adjustments on her right leg. It was too fat and her foot was too far forward. It was easy enough to fix by adding darker pastels underneath her foot and over the bottom of her toes. On the leg it was just a matter of making more shadows and darker hair around the edge of her leg. I added a few shadows on the surface of the tree stump and decided that was enough.

Naming a piece can be a whole lot of fun. Sometimes you have the name before you even start, other times it will come to you while you are drawing. I didn't have her name until I was brainstorming with my sister and we came up with "Charmed - I'm sure." I think it fits don't you?

If you would like to purchase this pastel please go to my website (if it isn't there today it should be in the next few days) at http://www.karenhargettfineart.com/ for pricing on the original and giclée prints.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

All but the Tweaking on the Maine Coon Cat

I'm at the spot in this drawing where I'll let it sit for a day or two just to see if there is anything that stands out to me that needs to be added or adjusted. Sometimes after working on a drawing for a while you don't see things that need to be corrected or added until you have stepped away from it. Sometimes all it takes is to see it on screen and those little bits jump right out at you.

One of the corrections I made from an earlier post is I reduced the ruff around her neck. I had gotten carried away with drawing the fur and had made it too full. I just used the background color to "erase" the parts I wanted. I've made a few adjustments to the feet and finished out the tree stump. The tree stump was done by layering light and darks - browns, yellows, greys and black until I was satisfied with it.
This little cat is precious and so captivating with those eyes. I have really enjoyed drawing it. I hope you have enjoyed seeing it come to life and I hope my explanations have helped you to understand how I draw with pastels.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Another Update on the Maine Coon Cat

I've got a little bit more done on the Maine Coon cat tonight and started on the tree stump she is sitting on. I think you can see what I'm doing - layering the lighter colors on top of the darker colors and then even taking some of the darker shades and making them even darker creating the fur thickness and texture.

I used the white Conte stick to make the whiskers and the black to make the little tufts of hair on the tips of the ears. Even though the sticks are square you can use a corner to make really thin lines. If you look closely I've done quite a bit of the finished part of her fur that way too.

I hope to have her finished or at least to the point of tweaking and putting the finishing touches on her the next time I log in. I can see looking at the image on the screen there are a few places that need my attention already - like the feet. That usually happens. I try to hold my work up and take a look at it while I'm drawing because I can get too focused on one area and not see how it is in relation to the drawing as a whole. I think focusing on one area at a time is a good thing though. It allows you to interpret what you are drawing and to make it lifelike and not just a copy of a photo.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Maine Coon Cat Update

When I start to draw any animal or person I draw the eyes in first. I want them looking back at me while working on the drawing – besides it creeps me out to see empty eye sockets! I use mostly Conte sticks for the eyes. I have marked the pupils on the cat and for the iris I’ve put a ring of green around the edges even though this cat has rather dark golden eyes. If you look at eyes, even yours, they are never just one color. They have flecks of many colors giving them depth and sparkle.

Here I have darkened the outline around the eyes also with black then used several golds, oranges, browns and white to fill in the color of the eyes and put in the reflections. I also have taken a taupe brown color and added a shadow across the top of each eye – this sets the eye in the socket and gives you the impression of an eye lid creating a shadow on the eye itself. At this time also I have marked areas of white in the fur.

I decided I just want a plain background so it won’t compete with the cat and before going too far with the cat I’ve added some background color. This will help the cat to be seated well in the drawing and eliminate having to go back and "color" around the cat to put the background in. I have also added more darks with a Rembrandt black pastel and put some of the background
colors in the cat.

It is about at this point that I always wonder if I’m doing things right because it is at that ugly stage. I continue to add several shades of browns, beige and white to the cat forming the tufts and patterns in the fur.

Pastels can’t be mixed like paint. You just add layer on top of layer letting the under layer show through. So I continute to put cools next to warm colors, darks against light, creating depth and textures. I don’t blend too much either but do occasionally rub the color down in to the velour. This will dull the color a bit but more color can be added – at least up to a point. Eventually the paper won’t accept any more color because the pastels have filled the "tooth" of the paper. If you find you need to add a bit more color when the paper won’t accept any more you can take a small stiff brush and rough up the surface and remove some of the pastel. One time I even took a vacuum cleaner hose to another drawing to remove some of the pastel – it worked but you need to be very careful!

I have continued to add bits of color all over the cat. I will continue to do this building up color for the fur and create texture.

More updates to come later. . .

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Maine Coon Cat WIP

In October I have been asked to give a pastel demo to my art club, Artists of the South Corridor. I’ve never done a demo before. I have taken a drawing to my shows to work on while at the show but I have never given a demo so this will be a first. I thought I’d "practice" with this pastel of a Maine Coon Cat. I selected the reference from Wet Canvas’ reference image library. The photo was taken by a member named "Snag." Thank you Snag for sharing!

This will be on a piece of 11" X 14" sand colored velour paper. I love working on velour. It has a naturally soft surface with a velvety feel to it. In addition, really takes a lot of layers of pastels and cuts down on pastel dust by the nature of its surface. If you’re not familiar with pastels they can be toxic so be sure to read the safety warnings about working with them before using them. Pastels are made with pure pigment and formed with a clay binder so the colors are gorgeous.

So far I have just put a rough sketch of the cat on my paper with a black Conte pastel stick. Conte pastels are hard square sticks. I use both Conte sticks and Rembrandt soft pastels in my drawings. Rembrandts are considered soft pastels but are harder than most soft pastels and give a bit more control.

That’s it for now. . . . more to come.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

My Art Journal

This art journal will feature my graphite and pastel works in progress. I hope it will give you an idea of the process I go through when working on each piece of art. I will try to elaborate on the steps involved as well as give you updates on shows and general news.

I have a show coming up the first weekend in October. The Buda Fine Arts Festival. http://www.budachamber.com/Annuals/FineArtsFestival/Flyer_071707.htm This is my second year to do this show. Last year I did well and hope to do even better this year! Preparation for this show and every show is time consuming but necessary to try to ensure it is as successful as possible. Tonight I have been printing my giclée prints. I sell most of my original drawings and have archival prints of each original for sale too. I'd love for you to take a minute to browse through my galleries on my website http://www.karenhargettfineart.com/ and see what all I have been drawing.

It’s been an eventful month so far. My pastel, Breaking Point, was chosen by international dog and animal artist and Editor of Starving Artists, Mike Sibley http://www.starving-artists.net/ It is a great honor to have him choose this pastel as I respect him so much. He has so many wonderful artists submitting work all the time on his site and to be selected even made it more special.

Then Thursday, I was interviewed by the Buda Free Press, a local newspaper. They are featuring local artists who are participating in the Buda Fine Arts Festival. I’m anxious to see how that interview turns out – I’ll let you know!

Lastly, but certainly not least, I want to thank the Lord God Almighty for this talent I have been blessed with. What a joy it is to be able to look at what He has created and then try to describe it on a piece of paper with pencils and pastels! Thank you Lord!