The Lighthouse Keeper Pastel Portrait

                                                           The Lighthouse Keeper
This is the first picture that I have done on pastel mat.  I have been holding off trying it until I felt I was back with pastels.  Now that I have I am very pleased with the surface, for I think it is between velour and sanded paper, it has a velvety rough surface.  Now I know what everyone was raving about.

I was drawn to this picture because I liked the dramatic moody twilight and all the shadows as well as the man's craggy face.  Neil Kingsbury always takes such dramatic shots.  Again most of this picture is done with pan pastels, on medium gray pastel mat, with the details being done with pencils.  I did play a little bit and added in some extra colors like magenta and some blues.  I have heard that we tend to see as nature gives it to us in monotones, so it is up to the artist to exaggerate color to make it more interesting for the viewer.

Again I struggled with was it finished.  I used to think I overworked everything and now I tend to underwork.  So I put it up for a critique on PMP and sure enough there was some excellent advice.   Just a note here, each group for media type in PMP has a critique - it has been there for all the years I have enjoyed PMP, but I  never knew or used it.  How dumb is that?  Moral of that story is if you utilize some groups look around to see what is offered.  Some of the most talented artists and teachers are there to give you really great advice just for the asking.  So I am now making a list of questions I need to ask myself before I declare a piece done -
-  Did I squint and look at both the reference and the painting?  It really helps with defining the lights and darks.
-  If I don't want to squint you can load your photo/picture and put it to black/white tones to compare, again making sure you have the darks and lights
-  Did I make my focal point the focal point?
-  Did I do the mirror test.  It is amazing at what pops out if you hold your picture in front of the mirror.  I guess it tricks the mind but the bad things just pop right out there for you to see.
-  Did I wait a few days between my excitement to get it done to determining is it finished?

Do you have questions you ask yourself, if so please share so I can add them to my list.

      Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there                           is nothing left to take away - Antoine de Sainte-Exupery


Word Weaver Art said…
Wow! I LOVE this one! What a story it could tell! So many questions we could ask about that guy! It would be a good prompt for students... "Look at this piece of art. Let your imagination work. Tell this man's story."
I agree that the mirror test is surprisingly amazing. I find that snapping a photo then looking at your painting on the computer screen has a similar effect.
But, the wait a few days thing... yuck! Not me!
I guess this piece is just too moody for me as I just can't like it. You did an excellent job, especially on his face but for the reasons you like it I don't - isn't that a kicker? Have a great day Nelvia!
Sheila said…
So wonderfully moody. There is a story there, and I find I am interested to find out more. Good to know about PMP. And good questions too. I try to check for values in Photoshop, that is something I need to work on. Well done Nelvia :)
Nelvia said…
Yes I agree, something about seeing it on screen disconnects you from just looking at it and things pop out there too. I often put my WIP and the reference side by side in a word doc and then look at them that way to see differences too. I really like this one and have a couple more earmarked because I like the story too.
Nelvia said…
I think in some ways this could be considered depressing because of the color, heavy feeling and sense of isolation. But that is part of what I like about these shadow paintings is it can go either way, coming out or going in, whatever the person wants to think. Got some more planned and will be interested in what you think - I love that about you Val.
Nelvia said…
Wouldn't you just love to sit down to dinner with this guy and listen to his stories. I used to try to use GIMP and never tried photoshop, just too long a learning curve for me I guess. What filter do you use in Photoshop?
Joan Tavolott said…
This has a great mood with the grey tones. Perfect for a lighthouse and keeper. Nicely done!
Janet Bradish said…
This is wonderful - love those greys. The sailor has such a great weathered look about him. Look forward to seeing more.