Australian Wildlife Artist | Kerri Dixon

  • Kerri Dixon

What's on my easel?

This week I have finally got stuck back into the Cassowary I started months ago. I know I have been slack, it's been staring at me since before Xmas, but I made a point of getting back into it on the weekend and I must say I am so happy that I did. It has been too long since I have worked with my favorite medium (soft pastels). The feeling of getting your hands into it is incredible and the brightness of the pigments in them always blows my mind. As you can see in this picture the blues are just beautiful. The next step is the reds in the neck which will also be extremely vivid. Hopefully, by next week's blog, I will be able to show you all the finished piece.

I worked on the background a lot and am pretty happy with where it's at. I wanted a muted dark look depicting the dense bush and rainforest these guys are native too. So I chose dark browns, greens, and blues to achieve this. To keep the colours visible over the black, you put them down first and blend them in. The black gets added at the last stage around the other colours and then blended up to them. If you laid a solid black down first and then tried to put the lighter colours on top when you blended them together the black would always come to the top and you would lose the brightness of the lighter colour giving you a muddy effect. You can always go darker but it is much harder to make something lighter.

Another tip is, I have used a white sanded pastel paper as the substrait. Even though the majority of this drawing is dark, most would assume that I would use a black pastel board. However white works best to keep the brightness and vividness of the beautiful colours in the cassowary. They would all be a bit duller if I drew them over black. So if you want a pastel to stay really bright, then always use white. :) I am actually going to start another leopard pastel soon which I will use a black sanded pastel board because I want it rather subdued and look like its just getting the light as its walking forward. So stay tuned for this to see the difference.

So now I've probably bored anyone who isn't into pastels haha but I hope to give many tips and insights into all the different mediums I use. Don't be shy to shoot me a message if you have any questions.

Until next week, Kerri x

#cassowary #art #pastel