Pastel on Clairefontaine Pastelmat, 19 x 27 inches
I was trying to think of a snappy title for this one...morning read, good read, lost in a book, etc., but none had the snappiness I was looking for...then I hit it...Fifty Shades of Grey, borrowing the title of the novel in vogue that has captured a lot of women's hearts currently. Is that the book she's reading, is it a nod to the silky underwear she's wearing, or to all the subtle pastel shades of grey in the bed linen and cushions? Clever eh?
As far as the painting is concerned, I felt the composition would suit the softness of Pastel and I enjoyed crafting all the folds of material radiating around the model and on her silky top, and then concentrating on the subtle twists and turns of flesh colour of the model herself. There's no short cut to getting the colours and tones of the human form right. It's a patient trial and error, placing each stroke and slab of colour down, then comparing it to the colour and tone immediately surrounding it and the colour and tone surrounding that, and so on. That's why you must never concentrate too long on one part of the painting, because if you isolate one part, then place the background next to it, the passage you've just spent valuable time on and are happy with, will immediately change. It's all about comparing and balancing, until you reach the whole. Have you got the subtle nuances of colour and tone right? And with a relatively big painting like this, I always paint standing up, so that I can constantly keep stepping back, squinting and assessing. If you sit down and never step back, you're too close to see the whole, and it's odds on that you will have made several errors of drawing and colour that you just can't see so close to the painting.
Why I hand out these tips so freely without monetary recompense is beyond me. Sometimes I'm just TOO nice for my own good. If this rambling has touched you, please send cheques made payable to Peter Barker, at.......