Gwenneth Barth (Portrait in Pastel) just finished a new pastel painting titledTurquoise and Emerald, and we asked her to share her thoughts on her newest piece.
ForTurquoise and Emerald, I was inspired by the idea of combining textures and colors: Indian tapestries and silks, to be contrasted with the wonderful red hair and pale complexion of my model.
I asked myself the following questions: What do I want to bring out? What do I want to downplay?
You can’t define everything. That will overload the painting. But there’s real fun in the choosing. There’s also real fun in using strategically placed shapes of black to bring in the composition.
I didn’t go in with a formal color scheme. I just used colors that I love. For the setup, I threw, then arranged, tapestries and silks on the floor. I then posed my model on top of the fabrics. I tried her in different places to find different compositions.
It was all instinctive and great fun.
I wanted to contrast her red hair with the turquoise and emeralds of the fabrics, while keeping a low-light, somewhat mysterious and luxurious feel to the piece. The choices of dominance were, first, the light on the side of her face, followed by the turquoise Thai silk. I decided to underplay the model’s hair, which is otherwise spectacular. And yet, I could have gone in a totally different direction.
In this second image, you can see that I’ve made the hair much more prominent. Isn’t it fun that as the artists, we get to decide!
Learn more about how Gwenneth Barth approaches her pastel portraits in her videoPortrait in Pastel, available here.