#1804 The Value of Online Classes – My Sloth Progress

I am slowly getting to the finish line with my sloth. I think that is quite appropriate, given that I am drawing . . . well . . . a sloth!  They don’t do anything quickly, now do they?

Actually, I think this is going much quicker than I had anticipated. So far this has only taken three evenings to reach this point: the first for the background, the second for the branch and the beginning of the eye, and the third for the head. I believe it will only take one more session to be pretty much ‘done’. I will then leave it for a bit and come back to it and see what to adjust. I am sure I will find something.

I always thought that working with pastels would be a chalky mess. I remember one day when my daughter Danielle was young, I allowed her to use my soft pastels to ‘color’. She was about six or seven years old and we put an old shower curtain on the floor and I was glad I did. There was certainly a lot of pigmented dust everywhere. I can honestly say that I haven’t touched them since. Perhaps the vision of the mess in my mind deterred me, or perhaps maybe it was because the style of art that I enjoy creating the most is photo-realistic. After all – how could you get realism from things like chalk and colored pencils?

Oh – but times have changed!

Because of amazing artists such as Lisa Clough of Lachri fine Art and Jason Morgan of Jason Morgan Wildlife Art, entire new worlds of creating have opened up for me.I saw some of Lisa’s work on Pinterest, where half the picture was colored and the other half was not and I stared in disbelief. Certainly, I thought it was a photograph!  To find out that she used colored pencils to create her paintings just about blew my mind. Add to that, her openness and willingness to teach her method (much without cost to us) really was amazing. I soon became a ‘groupie’ and began watching her videos and studying her methods in my ‘spare time’. (And you all thought I was slacking!)  I even had quite a large set of colored pencils to get me started, so all I needed to do was fill in some supplies, right?  Little did I know it would take me on another wonderful path of art discovery.

Through Lisa, I became familiar with Jason Morgan and his work. Jason is also a multi-talented artist who’s main focus is wildlife. He is also very giving and generous in his sharing of his talents and I became a follower of his Patreon page as well as Lisa’s. For those who many not know, Patreon is a subscription where you pay a small amount (that YOU decide) each month to help support your favorite artist. Depending on the level of support, you receive access to detailed instructional videos, reference photos, and even critiques. It is a great way to advance your own abilities while helping these great art “teachers” as well. I hope that some of you consider it, as the money I pledge to them has gone much further in improving my skills than just about anything that I have invested in. (My other favorite subscription is from Mary Kinslan Gibilisco’s Net Subscription Classes. She is another amazing teacher!)

In any case, I wanted to update you with the progress of my sloth. After three sessions here is where he stands (or rather HANGS!):

So far, I am not unhappy with him. 🙂  He is coming together nicely and I ham having a great time playing with his fur.  I am pleased with his eye and while the nose needs a bit more work, it is getting there:

His nose is quite tricky. It is a fleshy, light brown, yellowish nose with a texture that is hairless, but not really smooth. It is buried in the shadow for the most part on  my reference photo, and I may wind up shading the left side of it a bit more before the drawing is completed. I will go over everything once I finish the arms and adjust the colors finally then.

I also want to make sure that the hairs are not too ‘neat’. I noticed that in much of the wildlife art is see, the hairs are too uniform and not ‘wild’ enough. After all – we are depicting animals. They seldom look completely neat and tidy. My slot is a bit tidy right now, but these are still not the final hairs that will be on top. I can mess them up a bit when I complete things next time.

Overall, I am pleased. For this being my attempt at this media,I am pretty happy. Fortunately for me, the basic principles of drawing, painting and art are pretty global, no matter which media you are working in. It feels good though to pull out these supplies that I have had for over 20 years and make use of them.

And the dust?? I would say that it is pretty much ‘non-existant’.  Between the Pastelmat paper, which ‘grabs’ the pastels and my light style of drawing, I can honestly say that I have done all of this work in my ‘white studio’ without any issue. I think I put a white paper towel under the drawing on my desk when I did the initial background. I used the larger Conte a Paris crayons for that and there was a little more dust. But the details on the branch and sloth both were done with the CarbOthello Pastel pencils and I have hardly had to even sharpen them. With the way I draw, they will last me a good, long time.

I hope you enjoy seeing the progress on these. In between I was drawing new scroll saw patterns. I didn’t actually start on this piece until nearly 9pm last night, and I probably put only about three hours in since the last pictures. As I said – it is a quick process as the pastels cover very quickly. I watched some great things on Netflix as I drew and had a great night after a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner.

Thank you all who have sent me encouraging messages and comments. I really feel that being part of my online communities have made me a better artist and have enriched my life. I am very happy to be here.

Have a wonderful Friday.

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