April snow in the Yosemite
- Working on tones and values with felt pens contains 2 sketches dones during my US trip.
- Prince Street (Berkeley - California)
April snow in the Yosemite
The Exploratorium in San Francisco has a tagline that reads: The museum of science, art and human perception.
The relationships between art and science on one hand and art and human perception on the other hand are facinating subjects; so I was eager to see what was on show.
The museum is a large hall full of hands-on experiments. As an artist, I found the section on vision and perception interesting. We tend to forget how much subjectivity goes into vision and perception.
To demonstrate aerial perspective and how the size of the subject will shrink with distance, they have built the device described by Leonardo da Vinci in one of his notebooks. Here is Leonardo’s description:
"How to portray a place accurately
Obtain a piece of glass as large as half sheet of royal folio paper and fasten this securely in front of your eyes, that is, between your eye and the thing you want to portray. Next, position yourself with your eye at a distance of two-thirds of a braccio from the glass and fix your head with a device so that you cannot move it at all. Then close or cover one eye, and with the brush or a piece of finely ground red chalk, mark on the glass what you see beyond it. Then trace it on to paper from the glass, and pounce it onto paper of good quality, and paint it if it pleases you, making good use of aerial perspective."
(Source: Leonardo on Painting: Anthology of Writings by Leonardo Da Vinci with a Selection of Documents Relating to His Career as an Artist (Yale Nota Bene) – page 216)
I took a few photographs, so you can see what the actual device looks like.
at the Palace of Fine Arts
3601 Lyon Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
While in the US, I bought a set of PITT Artist Brush Pens made by Faber Castell .
These pens'tips are shaped like brushes and use pigmented India ink that is both acid-free and archival (PH neutral). The ink is also waterproof when dry.
I used them for sketching during the trip to California. I still need to get used to the palette of warm and cool greys to make the most of them and achieve good contrast and light and shade effects. However, I already like the smoothness of the tip and the ease of use of these pens.
They are ideal to work on tones and make quick sketches to establish values.
Two examples of sketches done in California will give you a better idea of their potential. I also used a fine black felt pen of the same brand for the initial drawing.
Waiting at the airport
Related resources and articles
Prince street (Berkeley - California) - Watercolour (11"x15") by Benoit Philippe
I am the boss of a company and I am here to make money… Why should I do that?
It is necessary to protect pastels under glass to avoid them to be smudged, scratched or to gather dust (I am talking here about soft pastels, not oil pastels).
I have seen two different types of framing styles for pastels. This is a matter of personal taste:
Think about whether you want to use UV glass or not. It really depends on where the work is going to be hung. UV glass is more expensive and you will need to take that into account when setting your price.
Avoid acrylic sheeting because its static charge could lift the pastel dust. In addition, if you use large thin sheets of acrylic, it will bow and touch the surface of the pastel.
Make sure that the pastel does not touch the glass. Allow at least ¼ inch space between the surface of the work and the inner side of the glass pane. A mount will serve this purpose or, if you want to frame you pastel like an oil painting, you will need to insert a separator between the glass and the work.
A small amount of pastel dust is unavoidable and the best way to prevent this ruining your framing is to create a gutter where the dust can fall and settle out of sight. The illustration below shows a section of a frame sandwich and demonstrate how it is done.