Q: How long does it take you to complete a pastel-on-sandpaper painting?
A: Mine is a slow and labor-intensive process. First, there is foreign travel to find the cultural objects – masks, carved wooden animals, paper mâché figures, and toys – that are my subject matter. If they are heavy I ship them home.
Next comes planning exactly how to photograph them, lighting and setting everything up, and shooting a roll of 220 film with my Mamiya 6 camera. I still like to use an analog camera for my fine art work, although I am rethinking this. I have the film developed, decide which image to use, and order a 20” x 24” reference photograph from Manhattan Photo on West 20th Street.
Then I am ready to start. I work on each pastel-on-sandpaper painting for approximately three months. I am in my studio 7 to 8 hours a day, five days a week. During that time I make thousands of creative decisions as I apply and layer soft pastels (I have 8 tables-worth to choose from!), blend them with my fingers, and mix new colors directly on the sandpaper. A finished piece consists of up to 30 layers of soft pastel. My self-invented technique accounts for the vivid, intense color that often leads viewers of my originals to look very closely and ask, “What medium is this?” I believe I am pushing soft pastel to its limits, using it in ways that no other artist has done.
Comments are welcome!
Posted on July 19, 2014, in 2014, An Artist's Life, Art Works in Progress, Black Paintings, Creative Process, Guatemala, Inspiration, Mexico, New York, NY, Pastel Painting, Photography, Studio, Travel, Working methods and tagged "What medium is this?", 20" x 24" photo, 220 film, accounts, analog, apply, approximately, artist, ask, believe, blend, camera, carved wooden animals, choose, closely, color, colors, complete, consists, creative, cultural objects, decide, decisions, developed, directly, easily, everything, exactly, figures, film, fine art, fingers, finished, foreign, heavy, image, intense, labor intensive, layer, layers, leads, lighting, limits, look, Mamiya 6, Manhattan Photo, masks, mix, order, originals, painting, paper mache, pastel-on-sandpaper, photograph, piece, planning, process, pushing, ready, reference, rethinking, roll, sandpaper, self-invented, setting, ship, shooting, slow, soft pastels, start, Studio, subject matter, tables-worth, technique, thousands, toys, travel, using, viewers, vivid, West 20th Street, work. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.
What a incredible amount of time you put into your work and may I suggest looking into the Nikon D 800 for taking photos of your work – it’s a great camera for that type of work .
Thanks, Peter. Will do.