Friday, June 12, 2015

House of the Vestals in Pastel

Accept the things to which fate binds you,
and love the people with whom fate brings you together,
but do so with all your heart.
~Marcus Aurelius 

Staying with the theme of Antiquity (from my last post) I thought I'd share my most recent pastel.

This photo was taken in 2012, at the Roman Forum. I'd just been on the Palatine hill and the sun had begun to set as I made my way off the hill and through the Forum. They were trying to get everyone out but I managed to make my way into the House of the Vestals. Last time I had been there, there was so much excavation going on, you couldn't really see much, but from the other side of a chain. 

The photo I chose for a study was one of those frustrating moments in "point and shoot" photography, where you can get the beautiful sunset sky but everything in the foreground is in silhouette ... or you can photograph the subject matter in front and the sky becomes totally blown out and white!

Solution? Do a painting.

This was mounted, sanded, paper than can take water media. So ... I was covering the surface with water colors, to have a jumping off point for the pastels.

My little setup with my handmade Heilman box, below. It has a little metal easel that sticks into holes drilled into the box, to make it easier for working in plein air (outdoors) ... or in class.

Below, you can see I've started getting the trees, the background Roman structures and sky in, with pastels.

I like doing a pink underpainting in the sky with the watercolor and letting it show through when I go over it with pastel, especially for a painting that's during "magic hour." You can see I've started defining some of the stone of the reflecting pool, as well as some of the other greenery.

Going more into the stonework, and getting the mossy feel, as well as a bit of a reflection ...

And finally, into the statuary ... I kept the  ones in the distance softer and more loose.

And here it is! I am going to lighten the lower left corner slightly so it doesn't match so much with the right ... but there you have it!

House of the Vestals
Pastel on sanded board

For my photographic post of that magic hour I spent at the House of the Vestals and Roman Forum click here.
For the Palatine Hill, click here.
For the pastel demo of The Baths of Caracalla, click here.

When you arise in the morning,
 think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive-
to breathe,
to think,
to enjoy,
to love.
~Marcus Aurelius 


Rick Forrestal said...

I love seeing your work. It's so nice.

I like when you get "soft and loose."

Kerry O'Gorman said...

You really know how to capture light in your works, lovely!

isabella kramer - veredit said...

WOW!! Awesome result .... !!

Many thanks for the look over your shoulder.

xo, isabella

rjerdee said...

What an exquisite post! All your progressions through to the finish...and what a finish!! Bookended by two Marcus Aurelius quotes, how appropriate!!! Thank you so much for this visual and verbal delight, my dear.