Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Infans Giganteum

Infans Giganteum
Following on from my last post demonstrating a quick and cheap way to optimise the use of oil pastels outdoors, testing begins in earnest. The title, 'Infans Giganteum' is my best stab at Latin for 'Baby Giant,' and eludes to the type of tree depicted; Sequoiadendron Giganteum or Giant Redwood, the world's largest trees by volume, known to grow up to 90 metres high. This particular herd is situated in the grounds of the Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh and I estimate their current height at around 25 metres - mere toddlers! It has been one of my favourite places to sit over the years, but recent times have seen its once off the beaten track charm usurped by the formalised development of an outdoor wedding venue. I applaud the governing bodies for such enterprises though. Anything which might contribute to continued free access for all is fine by me and spiritually speaking, I can't think of many better places to get married than among such magnificent trees. If the option had been available in 1999, we may well have!

Impasto Detail
Overall, the 'Pastel Port' worked great. I got the core of this image done in situ, but was so woefully under dressed the chill sent me packing after an hour or so. Another lesson learned. Some details were added back at the studio, where I discovered that whittling the tip of a wooden coil spring clothes peg made an effective detailer. That's coming out with me next time. This image was painted on acid free card treated with a coat of burnt umber acrylic followed by a coat of Atelier Interactive impasto gel. Despite this though, the initial blocking in with palette knife still bothers me a little. I think there is some optimisation yet to come and exact treatment depends on the unique properties of each surface. For example, I notice the oil pastel is easier and quicker to lay down once there is a base covering, so the next obvious thing to try is one further priming layer of transparent oil pastel medium which, using the large 38ml pastel, takes seconds to apply. Once that initial blocking layer is down though, using a palette knife with oil pastels is a dream. Any colour of any value sits happily atop any other, giving some lovely textures. The trials continue...