Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snow day

The gift of a snow day yesterday gave me a chance to explore another gift, the set of pastels I "inherited" from the studio of painter Louise Marianetti. It was a well-used and well-loved set, the hinge broken but the softly worn pastel sticks carefully arranged. Heavy on reds, pinks and light orange it was obviously used for portraits. Not being a portrait painter I needed to rebalance the colors for landscape so sorted through them, adding my own earth colors. It was strange picking up the velvety ovals of color, knowing that the last hands to touch them were Marianetti's adding a stroke to an unknown drawing, and that the next stroke of the pastel would be on mine.

With snow still  falling outside I decided to work on a snow scene using a sheet of Canson paper also from Marianetti's studio.
I haven't worked in pastel for awhile but found it freeing to work quickly and without detail, even though it will take me awhile to get back in stride with it. It's a good winter medium, I just wish they weren't so hard to frame! But that's a problem for another day.

Louise Marianetti's show is now up at the Bert Gallery in Providence until March 19 and I highly recommend it. The work shows the obsessive focus of a real artist. The more you look at her work the stranger and more interesting it becomes, a quality that seems rare today. Don't neglect to look through the rack of unframed paintings by the door, some of the best work is in there. And the exhibit includes some artifacts from her studio, including art supplies and props, beautifully arranged by Cathy Bert.

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