#P4: Twilight Landscape

#P3: Tonal Landscape (Pastel on Paper, 30 x 32.5 cm)

My fourth pastel painting. This is another copy of one of my earlier oil paintings, in this case, the one I posted here. This time I used the smooth side of the Canson Mi-Tientes paper. The version shown above is after I applied fixative, the one shown below is before.


As you can see, applying fixative darkened the color significantly. In this case, the effect is not too bad, depending on taste. But in my next painting, the effect was a bit of a disaster.

I am using fairly expensive Schminke fixative, but I suspect the nozzle is clogged or something – the fixative leaves spots and does not deposit as a uniform layer. Oh well, I keep learning with each painting experience. Perhaps I can join the “never fixative” crowd, but the idea of never touching the painting again puts me off a bit.

Outside the rain falls incessantly. It is cold outside, but warm in my studio. When I am in here forging through my technical incompetence toward the images in my head I am forever looking inward, wondering about this urge to paint – to go in and risk the failure that so often comes. It can only be good for me – the headstrong personality has to give way for something better.

Eliot said that ‘The progress of an artist is a continual self-sacrifice, 
a continual extinction of personality’. 
Joyce said that ‘The personality of the artist . . . finally 
refines itself out of existence, impersonalizes itself, so to speak’.

TRILLING, Lionel. Sincerity and Authenticity 
(The Charles Eliot Norton Lectures) (p. 7). 
Harvard University Press. Kindle Edition.

A poem on this theme by Cavafy:

The Trojans
Our efforts are those of men prone to disaster;
our efforts are like those of the Trojans.
We just begin to get somewhere,
gain a little confidence,
grow almost bold and hopeful,

when something always comes up to stop us:
Achilles leaps out of the trench in front of us
and terrifies us with his violent shouting.

Our efforts are like those of the Trojans.
We think we’ll change our luck
by being resolute and daring,
so we move outside ready to fight.

But when the great crisis comes,
our boldness and resolution vanish;
our spirit falters, paralyzed,
and we scurry around the walls
trying to save ourselves by running away.

Yet we’re sure to fail. Up there,
high on the walls, the dirge has already begun.
They’re mourning the memory, the aura of our days.
Priam and Hecuba mourn for us bitterly.

this version copied from http://www.cavafy.com/

Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you are warm, happy and content.

9 thoughts on “#P4: Twilight Landscape

  1. yep…..the reason why I don’t like to use fixative. Spraying upside down before you put your fixative away helps to keep it from clogging, also spray a little on another piece of paper before spraying your painting also helps to cut down the spits. I never liked the fact that fixative makes a the painting go darker unless you want that affect. I also don’t like it because fixative kills the “sparkle”. So, the only difference between the top and bottom painting above is the fixative on #2? Did I read that correctly? if so, not only does it knock down the light, it changes the color! wow…..I would hate that. The problem with Canson is that the pastel is even more fragile because it doesn’t adhere to the paper as it would on a sanded paper. I already gave you info about it on your other post, I won’t embarrasses myself in giving you pointers about it. lol 🙂 I get too mouthy as it is.

    Being headstrong will make you into a better painter and it will urge you more into finding what it is that you are after. I take it as a good thing and it sounds like you do too. Between the two paintings (one painting!), I love the moodiness after you sprayed and yet the blue and the true colors made the painting sensitive (before spraying, that is). Anyway, my thoughts for today. lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Margaret! Thanks so much for your comment and advice. Sorry I have not replied on your earlier comment. I have computer problems and hate typing comments on my tablet ( typos all over). I really appreciate your advice, dom’t mind it at all!
      Will try what you suggested, also take a needle to the nozzle. I am sure it was not so bad on the first few charcoal sketches I sprayed, although the color issue is not so visible there.
      To confirm, the top painting is exactly the same as the bottom one, only it has fixative applied. There may have been a slight change in lighting, but visibly the effect is about as shown in the photos. But I am learning!,

      Liked by 1 person

      1. right…..I realized that the top painting had the fixative but I wanted to comment on the painting before it was fixed. Interesting how much it was changed. It is a never-ending learning process, isn’t it? makes it exciting and fun.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. If the fixative has changed the colors that way, something is wrong with the fixative. Any clear layer will darken color — even the glass used to frame a pastel darkens it but only slightly. However, this fixative seems to have shifted the colors significantly toward brown. Woah! That is so weird. My picture framer applied light coats of Sennelier to my pastel, enough to improve adhesion, and there was no discernible color or tonal change. Put side by side with an unfixed pastel of comparable subject, the two pastels looked the same. Maybe you should do some trials on scratch paper to figure out what’s going on.

    I would strive to find a scientific solution to the problem since it’s a technical problem not an aesthetic one. Pastels don’t need to be fixed as long as the particles aren’t falling off. And so there’s always the option of shaking it and considering that whatever stays put “is” the picture. Or you can fix it very lightly with a clear fixative, applying light coats until the particles adhere. Many light coats is better than one sustained coat.

    I like using SpectraFix as a workable fixative. It offers itself as a version of what Degas used in his experiments with fixative, and thus it’s made using alcohol and milk products (casein) and that is indeed one of the things that Degas used. I had already used this workable fixative throughout stages of my drawing, so that when the framer applied a light acrylic varnish for pastel (this Sennelier brand) it was added/working over these other light applications of SpectraFix.

    My pastel that the framer fixed was made on Canson “touch” sanded paper.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks Alatha. Yes, it seemed from my own research that SpectraFix fixes the problems with fixatives! I was not able to find it here in NZ yet. But I think a close inspection of my fixative nozzle may also help. Thanks for your comment, glad to see you back after a while!

      Liked by 1 person

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