Featured Artist: Marlene Rye
Marlene Rye has an A.B. from Smith College and an M.F.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. She has studied under Andrew Forge, Barbara Grossman, John Moore, and Martha Armstrong. Her work has been shown nationally and has been accepted into juried shows with distinguished curators from the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Guggenheim. She has had 20 solo shows since 1994.
“I often have no idea what draws me to work from a particular image until I have worked from it several times. Once the “why” becomes clear, I dig in and go after the magic that lies below the surface. The visual connection to my original source material becomes lost in the translation as the image departs from the visual and delves into all of the senses. I am not interested in conveying a specific moment in time or place, but rather the essence of what makes that place magical. In the searching, the subject becomes a metaphor for relationships, the joy of living, conflicts and the beauty of friendships, a reflection of my life and of the lives of others that I encounter.”
Challenge: Reflective Skies
This month we have taken inspiration from our very talented featured artist to put together a great selection of supplies to help you explore an artistic medium that you may not have tried before. Soft Pastels are a great tool for bold, vibrant colours and expressive marks. Try using the ends, sides and tips of each tool to see what different marks and textures you can create. Try smudging and blending, combining the colours together too. Then use these various techniques to bring your artwork to life. We want you to let go a little and not worry about the subject itself, but more about the marks you make and how the colours interact and blend. Start with a sunset or sky visual that reminds you of a certain time or place and then try to convey that feeling within your work.
ScrawlrTip: An advantage of using sanded surfaces (like the paper included) is that the pastel can be erased and reworked to some degree. Keep in mind, that soft pastels fill the grain of the paper rather quickly. Test it out and check the limits before you get started and don’t forget to keep your eraser clean to avoid contamination.
What was in the box?
Rembrandt Soft Pastel Half Stick Set – https://amzn.to/2PxZQ3s
A set of 10 half stick soft pastels from the Royal Talens Rembrandt professional range. Pastels are a soft type of chalk based on kaolin (china clay) and pigment, with which drawings can be made in a style similar to painting. Artists who work with pastels tend to see their work as a painting rather than a drawing. These Pastels offer excellent colour release and intense, pure colours. They have a good degree of lightfastness and very high colouring power due to high concentration of pigment. Rembrandt soft pastels owe their quality to the close collaboration with professional artists, combined with traditional expertise and more than a century of experience in pastel manufacturing. Each colour is made according to a unique formula, and the necessary raw materials go through very strict controls for each new batch.
Bruynzeel Design Pastel Pencil – https://amzn.to/2Tjj0eo
As with watercolour it’s helpful to use pencils to add finer details to your work. You can work more precisely than with pastel sticks, ensuring that you’re not limited to bolder strokes and can take that extra step to refine your work. These Bruynzeel Design pastel pencils are essentially superior quality pastels, encased within a pencil. The high-quality pastel pencils are crafted with the finest lightfast pigments and Kaolin clay. The 3.7 mm wide-gauge, perfectly centred and double-glued coloured cores combine with the finest light cedar casings to make them very resistant to breaking. They also hold a point better than most pastel pencils and are a joy to sharpen.
Canson Mi-Teintes Touch Paper 350gsm – https://amzn.to/3ckQeD9
The unique surface texture of Mi-Teintes Touch paper allows for many creative possibilities and layering of pigments. These high quality paper sheets retain all dry pigments perfectly because they have micro abrasive surfaces created by a sanded primer. Mi-Teintes Touch paper is the ideal surface for dry pastels, allowing them to perform beautifully. Give your artwork a new dimension, while allowing colours to really pop due to the thinly sanded surface.