SUBJECT: A commission for six pastel paintings received through the Mary Bell Gallery of Chicago for Northwestern University Hospital, Chicago.

I provided slides of my pastels which Mary Bell Gallery submitted to Northwestern University for consideration. The pastels varied in subject and included scenes painted from my reference photos taken while on the Architectural Tour on the Chicago River.

After nearly a year of considering several artists of various mediums, I was selected for the commission of six 40" x 30" pastels on sand board. Specifications of the subject were to be scenes of the Chicago River site buildings (not industrial) with the use of "oranges and river colors". The Wrigley Building was to be featured in one of the paintings.

I requested one-half of my total payment to be made before starting the work. After I made a trip to Chicago to shoot reference photos, I submitted 12 computer color prints (10" x 7.5") of suggested scenes to the gallery and the final six were selected. Since the photos were made in the dead of winter; people, river traffic and sunny warmth would have to be added.

The six paintings were to be completed and shipped for framing in less than two and one half months from the time I was notified of the commission. Color photo prints of "work in progress" were sent to the gallery to keep them aware of the progress.

Step One: I started with a full-size (40"x30") xerox blowup of each of the six approved photographs. The back was covered with sepia pastel and the drawing was trace/transferred to Ersta sand board.  

Step Two: I then drew on the sand board, adding more detail in charcoal pencil, blocking in "lights and darks" with NuPastel sepia and ultramarine and laying in light blue for sky and water. Each step along the way I constantly checked the "drawing." Unlike a regular landscape, buildings must look "square" and the rules of perspective become extremely important.
Step Three: Here I began to define form, shadow and enriched the overall color with the NuPastel, always checking the accuracy of the drawing.

Step Four:  
Finally the color was enhanced with a variety of softer pastels from Sennelier, Rembrandt and Grumbacher. A light application of Rowney workable fixative was used between each of the major segments. Photos of the completed pieces were sent to the client for approval.

Each finished piece was individually wrapped with glassine paper and secured to a 1/4" foamcore board by tape. All six pieces were "sandwiched" together and packed between 2" layers of ridged builders foam and shipped in a double corrugated container.

© 2000, Joyce Nagel

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