Monday, November 2, 2009

Pastel Art Workshop Rae Andrews

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

I started my Halloween Saturday by attending a workshop on using pastels by colorist Rae Andrews. The workshop was held in Austin, Texas, at Jerry’s Artarama. I still consider myself a novice when it comes to color and the medium of pastel and one can always learn something from another artist.

It is always fun to watch the creative process and interesting when the creator is able to share the thoughts that go along with that process. Rae is more adept than I at being able to speak while drawing. I took these images (with permission) to give you some idea of the atmosphere of the demonstration. In this first image, Rae is reminding us that one must step back and look at our work from a distance. If you move far enough back, you no longer see the details, but simply the design of shapes. I was always taught that if, from across a room, an artwork does not intrigue the viewer enough to pull him towards the piece, what is the point of having details with which to engage him further?

I include this next image because it shows a pastel painting of horses in its frame (my apology for the glare from the fluorescent light above). Rae said that this pastel painting of the horses was sprayed with fixative and then framed very carefully with the pastel art on a board pushed right up against the glass - no mat! It must be secured well for this to work, but she has shipped this work successfully and carried it around for many years now. I was surprised that one could ship glass successfully and had no idea that pastel could be against the glass. She had a name for this time of framing (French something?), but I forgot to record it.

In this close-up shot, you can see how the sandpaper-like Sennelier pastel paper not only offers ‘tooth’ for holding pastel, but also allows for lots of texture. Although Rae’s style is not as tight as mine, one can still clearly recognize the subject matter. Realism is really just a specific arrangement of abstract shapes.

I thought I would include this image of the work of the parrots almost completed - at least for the demonstration. It is a quite colorful and fun composition and I also enjoyed the colorful papers hanging on racks behind the artist at Jerry’s Artarama. I daydreamed about what I could do with those . . .

Rae also spoke about two products that I had never heard of before: an electronic eraser (which Jerry’s did not currently have on hand) and pastel pencils! The electronic eraser is supposed to be a more exact and efficient way to remove the pastel without affecting other areas. The pastel pencils are truly pastels and with the ability to sharpen them, they are great for refining small details. Based on my current projects, I can see that they would be ever so useful for doing portraits, especially around the eyes. So, now I know what I want for Christmas!

Rae Andrews also did a demonstration of ocean waves crashing against some boulders on a shore. It had a very lively energy to it. Check out more of her work by clicking on her name in bold.

Another helpful link: Austin Pastel Society


Tina Steele Lindsey said...

She does fab work, doesn't she, Kelly. I want the pastel pencils for Christmas, too. I just have fat pastels, which I dearly love, however one really needs some pencils. Great post. How long will you be in the states?

Kelly Borsheim said...

Yeah, I have always loved the look of pastels, but never thought that I would have the patience to ever work with them.

You might enjoy this write-up I did when I was tagging along with my new friend and fellow Eugène Carrière junkie Mallory Lake (a pastel artist from Vermont -- and what a cool name she has!). She took me to see the Roché House of Pastel boutique:

I have told my friends in Italy who are storing my winter clothes and art materials that I would return in January.

Jo Castillo said...

Ha, I opened your blog from my reader and saw the photo of Rae and the name and thought I had clicked on the wrong item. :) Isn't Rae fun? She is the Vice President of the APS and does a great job. Thanks for sharing the info as I didn't get to go to the workshop. Hope to see you one of these days.

Kelly Borsheim said...

"The technique of framing flush against the glass is called "FRENCH FRAMING', just for future reference."
a note from Rae in an e-mail to me.
She wrote more, but I did not ask permission to publish, so . . .

Now, after having returned from the Franklin Barry Gallery/The Frame Shop in Indianapolis, gallery owner Don Elliott said that for all of his framing experience, he would never, NEVER frame a pastel up against glass. Fixative or no, the pastel will go to the glass and if ever the glass breaks . . . plus there are issues of swelling with humidity (or shrinking due to lack of). In his opinion, there is no reason to do this.

And then he proceeded to frame my "Il Mimo - Firenze, Italia" with a beautiful frame, museum glass (way reduced glare -- amazing), with thin spacers (acrylic piping inside the frame edge). It looks great, I assure you!

Ryan said...
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