Sunday, June 20, 2010
quick draw in pastel
About the images...the pieces are all in the approximate size of 9"x12" or 12"x9" depending on the orientation of the paper. The vertical one of the cottonwoods along the water and farm buildings in the background was the one I completed in 30 minutes for the Miles City Bucking Horse Sale Quick Draw event in May. The horizontal of the aspens along the river with the cliffs on the right was done at the 2010 Festival of the Arts in Joseph, OR in 1 and a half hours and the river in fall with lots of vegetation was done for the Wallowa Festival of the Arts as well, but in 2009. It was also a 1.5 hour limit.
So I approach the quick draw events with a plan in place. For one that allows only a 30 minute drawing/painting time, one needs to be well prepared for the party! I went to Miles City with an entirely different image in my mind to paint - hay bales - which are fun to do and I had worked up a nice sketch and also felt it was a piece that would work well and hopefully sell well for the area. I worked the trials on this several times and was really never comfortable in completing it the way I wanted in the 30 minute time frame. So I was feeling a little uneasy and finally decided to abort that plan and work up something different. I still wanted something relevant to the area to hopefully entice bidding from local collectors, so decided that the cottonwoods would be my best bet. Going back before the hay bales I had toyed with the idea of something representational of the Yellowstone River Valley - because that's where MC lies...along the river near some beautiful rugged multicolored hills covered with pines, juniper, sage etc. With a couple of mock quick draws, using my idea of the fall cottonwoods, my confidence was restored knowing I could create something that was quality in a 30 minute time. It worked! The piece was the highest selling art at over $1000. So my set up included having the paper type that I knew would work well - a sheet of black Art Spectrum paper (I wanted that black to assist me is creating depth; knowing I wouldn't have to do a very heavy coloring of my favorite deep blue for the depth I desired and that it would allow for good texture for my focal point cottonwood leaves.) and I had chosen my palette and put those pastels separate from my large color box (keep me focused on the colors I needed over that 30 minutes!). I also packed my supplied and had them all together so there wasn't any stress in getting set up. This quick draw was in a wonderful city park, so I wanted to be situated in a spot that had some shade to work in (lots of huge trees) so getting there early was important so I could pick a spot that would work for me. The artists have to bring all their props. I used my French easel and a chair to set my pastels and other supplies on. For me, keeping it simple works...The quick draws tend to gather a group of on-lookers and one thing that is fun is to be able to visit a little with the folks taking an interest in your work...with a 30 minute time frame - one needs to concentrate pretty much on your work and not visit too much...but I managed to do a little chatting while I painted. Because I had a plan and subsequently stayed with it; the piece was actually ready for it's frame at 25 minutes. So for the short time frame quick draws, I suggest a well planned piece, not an extremely intense piece, but one that still is good quality and represents ones workmanship, supplies picked ahead of time and separated. If you have practiced painting the piece and know you can complete it in the time frame; you are already ahead of the game because you have that confidence before you start the event!
As far as the quick draws that allow an hour or hour and a half...you get to work slower, compose a more complex study and visit a little more with those gathered around! I still go through the same steps...knowing that I can complete a specific work in the time frame; isolate my chosen palette, have all my supplies organized, etc.
Quick draws are fun; gets your heart rate going and the adrenalin pumping. People watching love them because they can see a piece of work materialize before their eyes.
The two quick draws in Joseph, OR are held in an old bank building. It is a very interesting log building with two floors and lots of windows. But, this quick draw is an evening event, so the windows are not a source of light and one must bring some lighting...which can add to the warming up the temperature of your work area in a hurry. This venue is a fun one to go as well. The event includes music, drinks, treats; a real event for the people buy a ticket for the event and come to watch and bid on the works.
I like both set ups and have a great time doing quick draws. It's the challenge, I guess, to get a painting done, get it done right; get it done with a time limit!
That's my take on this! Happy painting....