Rainbow Girls in Wheatland, Wyoming, 1957, Sketch 6, Breakthrough

I’ve been really stuck with the “how” of this project even as pieces of the puzzle seemed to come into view. I have really liked the Conte Crayons, how they look and what they’re like to work with. I’ve been practicing on newsprint. Newsprint is a pretty toothy surface, and the crayons like it, but it’s not an enduring surface. It’s two steps above TP. It has given me a sense of how this could work, though. I couldn’t see attempting this on anything other than a board of some kind and my imagination isn’t really “feeling” oil paints. A friend said I’d drawn the “ephemera of motion,” and I realized that that’s it. Movement really IS the story here. The girl and her mom, bro and uncle are only at that gas station for a few minutes. It’s one of those serendipitous things that takes maybe 20 seconds of our lives, but we remember it forever. Oil seemed kind of static (even though I LOVE it). And, this was working every time, and I’m not even good at it. Not sure how to do faces with it, but colored pencils are fine with me. I don’t mind mixing things up at all…

So, a little research showed me that I can get a board for pastels. I’m getting one in gray which will be a foundation for night and will bring the white up which the newsprint does somewhat. The lighting puzzle will be easier to solve on a gray surface and the conte crayons will make it easier. Also, the board will take an underpainting of gouache which is a good way to block in solid areas that don’t want to come forward, like the gas station or the ambient darkness.

I think it will be fun.

18 thoughts on “Rainbow Girls in Wheatland, Wyoming, 1957, Sketch 6, Breakthrough

  1. If you get a good paper or board with a strong ‘tooth’ like sandpaper the conte or pastel sticks better. But you can’t use fixative spray. If you use lower quality paper you can?! I used milk once as a spray it sort of sticks the pastel down. If you frame it use a mounting board slightly lifted away from the picture. It stops loose powder falling onto the mounting board. Learnt this from a pastel workshop I attended.

  2. I do like the swishiness of that blue dress and shawl. I can’t wait to see the finished product.

  3. MAK…your vision is lovely! I love the mixed mediums. Oil pastels are my favorite (in my past of teachery projects). And pencil for faces~perfect. I love the colors and the movement. I can’t wait to see the next step. You’re so gifted. 💕💕💕

    • Thank you, Karla! This is the hardest painting I’ve ever tried — or not? Maybe it’s that I keep pushing myself a little bit. Conte crayons are softer than oil pastels but not as soft as pastels. And, I’ve drawn with them many times in the past so they’re familiar. I think this is just a kind of journey of discovery. ❤️💕

  4. The birth of this piece of art is exciting! I can’t imagine a “labor” that lasts a year or longer!! I love the idea of using the pencils and the pastels/conte crayons – letting each do what they do best.

    • Thank you — it’s a very cool “class” to be in. The teacher’s a little weird, though. I’m not sure she knows what she’s doing.

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