Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Landscapes, wet pastels (art) 2008

I'm posting all my 2008 wet pastel landscapes at the end of December, though they were done over the course of a year, most were done during the fall of 2008.

Wet chalk and wet construction paper pastels: these are mostly 6x9" in-class demos. Some are 9x12". Many are experiments, or are not finished. If I don't finish them in class, I can't go back and finish them when the paper's dry as they're generally far too fragile to re-wet and add details. I usually only have about 10-15 minutes to complete a pastel as I have to teach the kids too!

This lesson evolved when my after-school art kids asked if they could do chalk pastels. I wasn't wild about the idea as I like more painterly colors, etc. But I also love to draw. So we did some pastels and I was disappointed in our results. I noticed that one child developed a cough from inhaling the chalk dust. (It bothers me too). His mother insisted it was only a cold (I think she was afraid I wasn't going to let him participate as he totally loved art). But.... I wondered: how can I reduce the chalk dust? Water. When I worked at a horse training stables, we used to sprinkle the indoor arena sand to keep dust levels down.

I discovered a technique of wetting both paper and chalk and it's akin to painting with sticks of chalk. (I've used both oil sticks and Aquerelle watercolor crayon sticks so it was a natural progression. With the Aquarelles, I weted the stiff morilla board first, or sprayed it with water after the crayon was applied. But I didn't want to use white paper for chalk pastels—besides, morilla board is astronomically expensive to use in the classroom.

So I experimented with all kinds of paper and the ONLY paper that would work was my former school painting/drawing nemesis, construction paper. It has a tooth (texture the chalk needs to adhere to) and the glue that holds the woodpulp together softens and the chalk adheres directly to it. Riverside acid free construction paper works best. Most schools have the worst grade cheap construction paper, but it will work, though it's more fragile and will easily tear.

An added bonus of using chalk wet, the colors are more painterly and vibrant. Cheap kid chalk or hopscotch chalk generally won't work, it's often too hard and will tear the paper, but the heavy teacher white chalkboard chalk is a perfect blending tool with a buttery consistency when wet.

We add black details with the waterbase stabillo pencils at the end of the session. (I also remove black chalk from the pastel sets). Pieces are very fragile until the construction paper dries. I put them on paper towels and in a sunlit window to dry.

Adult pastel sets often have toxic chemicals in them—like vermillion, cadmium and cobalt. Don't use them with kids! make sure the chalks have non-toxic AP labels.

Chalk pastel on construction paper, 6x9" or 9 x 12".



Landscapes, wet pastels (art) 2011



Another version of this in 2007; did I do it twice? Or rework it?


























All writing, works of art and photographs in this blog is © copyright by Maureen Hurley 2009 and may not be used in any endeavor or context.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mary McAleece, Irish President in SF


Sinead and I went to see Mary McAleece speak at St. Ignatius in San Francisco. In line I ran into my cousins, Ann Dinneen, Michael Collins. I think Pat D'Arcy was there too—or she may have seen Mary at the United Cultural Center. My UC Berkeley Irish Studies prof. Robert Tracy was there with his wife Betty Tracy as well as many Irish folks I've met over the years. Dierdre?

I will need to dig out my notes and see what I wrote as I'm posting this well in arrears—scanning old photos and such, getting them out of the way.  So this is a placeholder. —July 19, 2013.