Farms and Barns Bowland Fells
Norma Stephenson PS | Pastel | 22 x 22 inches
“I enjoy being out in the landscape sketching and collecting visual images for future work. Often my attention will be captured by the unexpected. The sudden burst of yellow in the spring gorse or the rich burnt sienna in a moorland view often sparks my interest in a subject. I use sketch notes and photography but once settled on a subject I will then abandon the research material in favour of creativity and intuition.
My working approach is studio based; I work on full size mount board, later cropping the image. I draw with enthusiasm and vigour using conte sticks, hard pastels and charcoal, quickly fixed and then brushed over with clear gesso. This gives a slightly gritty surface to take on the pastel and leaves a varied texture brushed in the direction of the landscape.
Although I predominantly works in Pastel, I use an under painting of watercolour or acrylic paint. Some of this underpainting will be left exposed, some just peeping through. This can reveal exciting marks to be exaggerated and worked into; splashing and dribbling paint and water into the soft pastel work all adds to building the painting.
It is important to me that a painting has areas of busy texture and mark making balanced with calm quiet passages. Often in despair, usually brought about because the painting has got all too busy, I will sweep a hand across the surface of the work. This has the effect of simplifying and blurring the image allowing for more time and space to rework or leave the painting space to breath.” Norma
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