From start to finish

This is the first in a series of posts about how various pastel works came into being. These will show different states as a piece is completed with some insight into the process and materials – plus other commentary.  Essentially, how they were born, how they grew up and what problems they presented as they matured into finished pieces.  For the first few posts there might not be much documentation, but I am starting to make more images of various states so I hope to make this a rich record for interested parties.

Here is the progression of Material Girl, 2018, on display as part of the exhibition: Figure Study- Hidden Story at the Healdsburg Center for the Arts, 9/8/2018 – 10/21/2018.

Here is the third state.  You can see at the top the ghost of a previous drawing – the head of a model, and a foot at the bottom.  The red and green tones were probably added before this male figure at a University of Kentucky Life Drawing session on March 1, 2018.

Here is the fourth state with another figure added based on a drawing, plus new color added around all the figures.  The ghost head and foot are still visible.  This was photographed March 27, 2018.

At this point the piece malingered on the studio wall for several months before I finally took a garden hose to it and selectively “cleaned” various areas outside the studio with this garden hose.  No finer eraser exists, but it’s not for the faint of heart.

The resulting paper was toned blue with additional applications of water, pigment and black enamel spray paint. Then some dry pigment dusted onto the surface.  Yes, and a tear repaired about 1/3 down on the left side.  The ghost head is still there, as are two sets of feet from the earliest two iterations. This image was made July 26, 2018.

The finished piece began as a Sunday Life Drawing session here at the studio, with some additional work with pastel applied post session.  This is one of our most frequent models, and when I commented that her face seemed like a Madonna, she said “Oh, the material girl.”  And of course with the hammer and sickle imagery an ironic pun was born.  July 29, 2018.

Material Girl, 2018 Mixed media on prepared paper, 42 x 29 1/2 inches


2 comments on “From start to finish
  1. Bernard Bartlett says:

    Interesting insight on the time line of a painting. I especially like the comment about “no finer eraser exists”. Maybe we should all turn the hose on ourselves from time to time.

    • Martin Beck says:

      Nice thing about art – if the work is an extension of yourself you get to do just that! Thanks for providing the first comment on my blog. You were there at the beginning.

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