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Tiffany Budd demonstration

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Semi-abstract Pastels, 7 March 2013
Visit www.tiffanybudd.co.uk. See her blog and on Facebook
Since about 2006 Tiffany has been influenced by the early 20th century Russian Constructionists (right) but she aims for much more realism.

You could see from her samples that although she loves abstraction her subject matter is nearly always obvious.

She works quite tightly, favouring Derwent semi-hard pastels and pastel pencils. This evening she was using black Art Spectrum Colourfix paper: black for vibrant colour and Colourfix because of the excellent tooth it gives (it felt like flour paper to me).
Tiffany had used pastel pencil to pre-draw only the overlapping outlines of a bottle and a glass. She started breaking everything up into separate areas by ruling rays from a "light source" in the top corner.
Then the surfaces of the wine were drawn (the first one carefully placed to coincide with one of the light rays) and a "shadow" outline was added to the right of the bottle. A label outline also appeared.

The background was further divided into a number of areas (6 to 12? Not too many, not too few). She did this by extending interesting lines out to the edge of the paper (neck and base of bottle, back surface of wine, front of glass rim and the slope of its foot).

Now for some colour. She had decided to use a virtually "red-free" palette: some 4 or 5 light green-yellows nearer to the light source and 3 darker-tone blues further away (and white).

Keeping carefully within the lines, Tiffany roughly puts colours down and then blends them with her finger. You could use a tortillon, torchon or homemade paper stump but a finger's OK for all but the smallest areas.

As well as working darker and more blue the further away you are from the light source, you also need to make a clear tonal difference across each line. This sometimes makes it impossible to stick to the yellow to blue gradient within every area that the lines create. I suppose that a colour difference across a line might be the next best thing to a tonal one.
These differences are strengthened by putting thin strips of the contrasting tones, including cream or even white, on either side of the line and then blending them in. This blending works well if you rub the finger along the lines themselves, never across.

Each section must work on its own. Unless you were very calculating when you drew the lines you will find that some are so small that you need a pastel pencil and something smaller than a finger for the blending.

Tiffany worked systematically away from the light source, one section at a time, only returning to a section if it did not gel with the adjacent ones, generally to reinforce the tonal difference.
Towards the end more little hints came out:

If you want to try this technique you're advised to start practicing in monochrome, preferably using graphite
Check your work in a mirror
She finds that once you have build up a good number of "friends", Facebook is an excellent way to sell your work. Not long ago she put a painting there that her husband said was not worth bothering with and had sold it in 10 minutes!
Tiffany, unlike many painters who think fixing pastels dulls them too much, does use a spray. Gerstaecker "Fixativ" is the one she goes for (she gets it from Great Art).
Beware of the copyright laws if you paint from a photo and intend to sell it. Tiffany suggested that there was a rule of thumb that there should be at least 4 significant differences, but I would be very hesitant to sell a painting if the photographer could recognise that it had been copied from his work. You can still find free-to-use photos on the internet. She likeswww.paintmyphoto.ning.com (where you can also offer your own photos if you like).

So ended an interesting and entertaining evening. Thank you Tiffany.

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