A Sweet Caress

"Sweet Caress" 9 x 12 Pastel on Paper


This piece has been a long time coming...
In 2007, we evacuated because of the Rice Canyon Fire. As we were leaving, I debated whether to take this statue with me. I decided to leave the angels at the house. Miraculously, the only thing on the property that didn't burn down in that fire was the house itself-- even though it had minor damage from the flames and heat being directly on it.
A couple of years later, I noticed how nice the statue looked in the light from the setting sun, and took a picture to bring to my art class. I brought the picture, and my art students immediately began protesting-- at first, they freaked out because they thought the statues were kissing. Then, they said it was too hard. A few students weren't allowed to draw angels for religious reasons, so I gave them a different subject to draw-- I knew these students well and had anticipated they might need something different. Suddenly, I had many religious objections from students I had never known to protest religious objects in the past. Irritated, I handed out more copies of the alternative subject to those newly objecting students. Ultimately, only a few students tried the piece, even though I tried to explain and demonstrate how easy it would be if they followed the negative spaces and paid attention to value. What I thought would be a fun, challenging drawing lesson turned into a battle of wills with a bunch of middle-schoolers.
The whole experience was so disappointing, I put the photo aside for a while. When I did finally take up the piece on my own with pastels, it was just as easy as I predicted-- I followed the negative spaces and broke the picture down into dark and light.
So, I ended up with a painting that was a joy to create and has a little history to go with it. This statue looks great from so many angles throughout the day, I may have to try it again from a different point of view next time.
And, next time I try a lesson with negative space, I suppose I'll use candlesticks or something similar to minimize the objections.

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