Pastel figure on drafting film

  Dancer in a yellow dress .  2017.  Pastel on drafting film, 14 x 11. 

Dancer in a yellow dress.  2017.  Pastel on drafting film, 14 x 11. 

This is another exploration of a drawing-painting medium and new type of support (drawing surface).  Here I tried pastel and charcoal on drafting film.  Drafting film is a thin, translucent sheet of material that is much tougher than paper and has a surface with a fine "tooth."  Architects and engineers use it for drawing blueprints and plans. 

For me this was in part an effort to reproduce one of the techniques used by Degas, one of my favorite historical artists.  Degas is well known for drawing and painting the figure -- in fact I think he is recognized as one of the premier figure artists of the last 150 years and he influenced art instruction for a century.  He is particularly known for his sketches, pastels, and oil paintings of ballet dancers and dancing students in Paris.  He used a technique that was heavily based on drawing lines at the start to capture the contours and gesture of the figure (a technique that he learned from his master, Ingres).  He did many pastel drawings on tracing paper, which was translucent, stood up to a lot of layers of charcoal, pastel, and fixative, and had a fine tooth.  Much like the drafting film that I used here. 

I started with a charcoal line drawing and applied pastels in a cross-hatched pattern in many layers, with fixative sprayed on each layer, which allowed new pastel and charcoal marks to be placed on top without mixing with the underlying layers.