Friday, January 31, 2014

Old Nickelhead

 
"Old Nickelhead" (pastel, 30" circle)  $3500

Here it is... my first round pastel painting. The idea came to me about a year ago when I was cropping some photos for painting references, and a particular cow profile caught my attention.

photo, cropped

By habit I had cropped it into a square, but something just wasn't right. It was trying to tell me something. This noble profile really reminded me of a Roman coin.

! It was a light bulb going off... a circle! After a bit of playing around with the controls (I had never cropped a circle in Photoshop before) I got it figured out.

photo, cropped and adjusted
I was enthralled. Just look at the shape of that negative space! How perfectly she fits.

But like so many things in life, this idea had to wait until I had time to figure out the details, like... framing.

And, essentially, I just had to let it rest in my brain for a while so I could Think About It.

So I thought about it for a year or so, while studying the frames on clocks and round mirrors, and collecting more shots of cows when they'd look away, and finally, when agonizing over what great new piece to create for the Austin Pastel Society's annual juried exhibition, I decided.

It was time for the circle.

So I cracked down and did my research. Round frames can be had at InlineOvals.com (although my husband is filling my ears with ceiling rings and modified ceiling medallions, and "Let me check at Home Depot, honey!"..) A local glass company can cut a circle out of my glass. I've had advice on spacer options for circles, and I spent an enjoyable evening cropping circles around cattle, which is where I found my beautiful Bison photo from our Yellowstone trip.

photo, cropped and adjusted
I decided that in keeping with the coin feeling, and to set off the portrait-ness, I generalized the background and even used a couple of my new Diane Townsend metallic pastels.

Hopefully I'll have him framed in time for the show in early March!

*May 2015 Update: Here's the frame I found for him!
Solid handcrafted walnut by Mike Crone www.cronescustomwoodworking.com

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