Saturday, January 30, 2010

Morning Sanctuary

Soft Pastels on Wallis professional grade paper 6x9”

The ‘Ann’ saucer magnolia in bloom seems crowded with exotic pink birds, her complex curving branches weaving an open air cage. The open weave of this frame was essential to the setting for this uncluttered pair, but it was the idea of ‘Sanctuary’ that allowed me to find the life in the lighting.
The placement of the branches provided the composition lesson for this piece. The curving branches generally spiral from behind the flowers. I included a couple branches I shouldn’t have, and had to minimize their presence late in the game. On the right I used the nexus of crossing branches to accomplish two things: to establish a third ‘point’ in a diagonal arrangement with the flowers for a subtle sense of movement, and to become the bottom frame for the space on the right that features the distant pink spot. To keep that space from spilling off the page, I pulled a branch down from above.
(This piece no longer exists. I tried to 'fix' all the 'official' issues with it and finally threw it away. Lesson? Leave well enough alone. Start again from scratch if you think you can improve it.)


  1. Beautiful. Soft. Inviting. I just found your blog and your work is beautiful. I enjoy finding other artists out there! I will be following!

  2. Nice use of design, Carol. Looks like you made it work with a lot of thought.

  3. This work, like The Wall, has taken on a different meaning for me than the one you describe. It may be that the pastel medium makes it more difficult to get a "real life" look to the final piece - or it may be that your ability to see beyond the obvious is being captured...I think the later. I am first taken with the softness of the subjects - the flowers, background and even the twigs. Your blending of the colors in this work is really good. Then the piece becomes architectural...the angles of the twigs drawing my attention to the deeper pink spot, which now looks like a setting sun. And the whole drawing moves to fantasy and I imagine the two magnolias snuggled in their cozy house of twigs watching the outside world. They almost look like they are leaning on each other.

    When I look at other pastel works -- the usual fruits, landscapes -- I'm not captivated by them for very long. The effort to convince me that this is a beautiful bowl of fruit falls short. It is a bowl of fruit -- beautiful maybe if you are a master of pastels. What continues to come through as you work your way through the mastery of pastels is that the piece can be more than the obvious...inviting the viewer to linger longer and see "into" the picture.

    I'm enjoying this journey with you and look forward to each new installment.

  4. Thanks Steff. As always, your thoughtful critiques educate me about the viewer's experience.
    I am trying to NOT be too literal in my rendering. I figure one can find a photo if that's what they want. No point in my trying to reproduce it in pastels or any medium. I do love to layer color though, in the manner of colored pencil (only with more texture), so sometimes I indulge that application method for the selfish joy of it.

  5. Thanks, Gary. I appreciate your stopping by.

  6. Beautiful soft textures! Great work!

  7. The "Ann" Magnolia. Gods most beautiful creations embracing a day not yet promised to all.

    This piece speaks to me. It caught my eye immediately and I could feel its peace and beauty flowing out to me. I love it.

  8. Aw...thanks for sharing your lovely comment, Sis.