With my latest artwork A Handful of Faith on the drawing board, I have now passed the halfway mark in the journey of creating my series of six hands studies. Each artwork is in pastel, and they are all featuring hands that through their actions tell a story of every day life for these individuals in Vietnam.
A Handful of Faith is the fourth pastel painting, and you can see it’s humble beginnings here in my studio. I typically work across the whole page when I start an artwork, blocking in the basic values of light and shade and getting a sense of the outlines and proportions. Details will then be very gradually introduced and developed, most commonly according to what catches my eye at any given time.
I spend a lot of time sat before this drawing slope in my studio, with natural light thanks to the North facing window and my daylight lamp boosting levels whenever it gets a little dim. This is how I work, with my drawing materials on my right hand side and any reference materials and my pencil sharpener to the left.
Over the years I have developed a system that works well for me. I have three sets of pastel pencils that are laid out, each has slightly different qualities and colours to the next, and the three together make the dream team. The pastel pencils that you see stood up in the cup are those I have used thus far on the picture in progress, and those laying down beside this are the pencil which I am using for the part of the picture I am drawing right now. These will typically be held in my left hand whilst I draw so that I can quickly swap them around, as so much of my work changes in colour every few millimetres.
Many thanks go to Réhahn Photography for his inspiring reference images.