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Pastel Still Life and the Art Fairy

December 27, 2007

My daughter Claire has been home for the last week or so, and has been working hard over in the studio, trying to get a portfolio together for a Master’s program. Inspired, and wanting to hang out with her a little, I went up and worked on a pastel the other day. I was furious with myself because it was so dull, so I added color, and then I thought I’d gone too far, so I left the studio in a discouraged mood. Last year, someone from the EDM list left a comment on my blog after I’d written about a similar experience, and said, “you just need a visit from the art fairy.” That’s the one who fixes work you’re unsatisfied with, so that when you take it out a few days later it just doesn’t seem so bad, and sometimes even looks pretty good! So yesterday I went up to check, and Claire agreed with me that the art fairy had indeed been by. She (my daughter) thinks it’s not one of my best, but it’s definitely been improved upon. I wish I could remember who it was who first introduced me to the art fairy, she’s become a great friend, and saved me from some dire acts of destruction. If you recognize yourself, please leave a comment so that I can thank you again.

23 Comments leave one →
  1. December 27, 2007 9:05 am

    and she´s right. the painting is nice and certainly nothing which i would destroy. keeping stuff which isn´t “perfect” helps seeing your progree and the difference to your better work.

    what a nice story about the art fairy. i think i need her too! 🙂

  2. December 27, 2007 11:30 am

    I would think that one of your chief rules of thumb is that YOU can never go too far with color! You have such a strong and quirky- in- a -very- good- way sense of color—I’d love to see you push it even more! I like the blue/orange relationship here–and the white spaces made by cup and plate. And the negative space around the egg cup and between objects! Do more, do more of these!

  3. December 27, 2007 1:08 pm

    I agree with Laura completely…More please!! And the ARt Fairy is indeed an amazing being.

  4. December 27, 2007 2:58 pm

    I think you are better off pushing the color. You can always go over with another layer to get it as close to what you actually see as you desire.

    I remember an art teacher putting bright red on a face I was drawing using pastels. I was shocked and thought it looked terrible until she then went back over it with ligter flesh tones. It looked much better than trying to get the flesh color straight away.

    Try drawing something that does not have much color, first putting down strong color and then going over it with another layer. Draw the same object using what you think are the final colors to begin with and compare the two works.

    Oh yea, why I’m telling you what to do, make the bed, take out the trash, and fix me a peanut butter and sweet pickle sandwitch, will ya?

  5. December 27, 2007 3:08 pm

    My art fairy is wonderful. If I do something depressingly awful, she will change it to something not so bad. If it weren’t for my art fairy, I would have given up on artwork instead of marching forward.

  6. December 27, 2007 3:43 pm

    ok, I fess up…..I took flight last night and while admiring your beautiful pastel my wing brushed up against the painting and I had to fix MY damage on the cup a bit…but honest Casey, that’s all I did!!!!
    I too love the color compliments here. The orange vibrates while taking center stage. The egg cup with the egg is a bit disconcerting as it seems to be not quite ‘settled’ into the setting like the other objects are. I’m glad you walked away from it for a few days and not destroyed it because it has so many wonderful qualities.

  7. December 27, 2007 3:58 pm

    I agree… your pastel has some great qualities. What a nice thing – an art fairy. I’ve had her visite my studio before, what a wonderful job she does. Lets here it for the Art Fairy.

  8. December 27, 2007 4:00 pm

    I think this pastel painting is beautiful! That art fairy is one busy fairy for all of us.

  9. Bonny permalink
    December 27, 2007 6:21 pm

    I really like this pastel painting. I like it because it’s a simple still life, a vignette of a morning’s quiet moment before starting the day. It’s a glimpse into a comforting routine.

    I personally think this is really good and that the Art Fairy didn’t have much to do to make this painting work. (I keep her plenty busy, so don’t worry about not keeping her on retainer… LOL!)

  10. December 27, 2007 10:06 pm

    I have heard the art fairy called the trunk fairy by people from the US. She sometimes comes when you put your work in the car ‘trunk’ on the way home from class. But we call a ‘trunk’ a ‘boot’ and I have never heard her called the ‘boot fairy’. And it always seems she’s female.

  11. December 28, 2007 2:50 am

    Oh boy – I’m hiring that Fairy. If she could only make my stuff look like yours, she’d be one rich faygeleh.

  12. December 28, 2007 8:12 am

    Actually, you guys are better than the art fairy! Thank you for the encouragement – and I’m definitely going to try that color exercise. And Marta, thanks for the direct intervention…

  13. December 28, 2007 10:13 am

    This is lovely – I particularly like the contrast in the way you’ve made the marks, strokes, scumbles and smudges.

  14. December 28, 2007 9:33 pm

    I’m totally enamoured of the blue/orange combination, so I find this very appealing, Casey. That Marta..she’s more like an angel than a fairy!

  15. December 29, 2007 5:23 am

    The lines that make up the colors in this, some how create movement for me. I like what it does. I think I’m the hardest on myself when I’m in a “mood”, if a piece comes out the way I want it to, I’m fine but if it doesn’t then it will throw me farther into the funk….I’m always grateful when the fairy shows up to “fix” my stuff; glad she moves between all of us so easily!

  16. December 29, 2007 1:07 pm

    I keep meaning to ask you about the title to your blog.Does it have a special meaning? Do you live on this street?

  17. caseytoussaint permalink*
    December 29, 2007 1:26 pm

    Lindsay, yes, I live on the corner of two streets and one of them is the rue Manuel. (we have a double address and usually use the other one) It’s a tiny street, with small houses and it has had lots of strange characters living on it, although, thank goodness, it’s settling down a bit. My header is a distorted version of a drawing I did of the street while hanging out the window. This blog is ‘bis’ because of the yahoo blog which came first.

  18. December 29, 2007 4:28 pm

    There’s a lot of French Impressionist about you, Casey. I love this one for its colours, its marks and its great style.

  19. Fleur permalink
    December 29, 2007 8:03 pm

    Thanks to you and Claire for the art class, I’m sure the art fairy will make “my” drawing even better!

  20. December 30, 2007 6:36 am

    I’m so glad to see you did a pastel again…your pastels are always special and maybe this year we’ll get to see more pastels? a lovely painting Casey

  21. December 30, 2007 4:13 pm

    The complementary color palette is what I noticed first off! Very restful, and the composition fits the palette perfectly. Maybe not your best work, but it’s absolutely worthy of sharing and allowing us to appreciate it.

  22. December 31, 2007 1:23 am

    I really like this piece. I do some pastel too, mine are usually a bit duller, but I am trying to liven up. I think the color on this is great.

  23. January 4, 2008 6:04 am

    Thanks for the reminder about the art fairy. It’s so true! And she definitely waved her magic wand over this lovely pastel! What I need is both the good art fairy and the wicked one who snatches the painting away from me and tells me to go to bed instead and let the good fairy come and do her good magic. Because you know, if you don’t stop working on it she can’t come!

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