My Pastel Tribute to Modigliani

I miss having an art studio.  I loved being able to splash paint around on a canvas and have as much light as I needed any time of the day or night.  Working in a garage is not as simple.  Usually the lighting is poor and you have to work around all of the ‘stuff’ that gets moved into the garage when all the storage space in your home is already taken.

Painting, much like cooking and exercise, is one of my stress relief activities.  It gets me through those troubling moments when I feel like I want to either curl up in a ball and cry or worse, lash out at the people I love most.  I miss having that outlet, but I have found that working with pastels can provide the needed pressure relief with lot less mess.

I work with oil when I paint and oil pastels and chalk pastels when I draw.  I like the chalk pastels a little better than the oil as far as subtle blending goes, but the oil pastels, to me, have a cleaner look and line.  I am not a fan of acrylic or watercolor, because they dry too fast and I love to be able to blend and go back in while it is still wet and move the color around and mix it or pull it off.

One of my favorite artists is Amedeo Modigliani.  His works have always had a tremendous effect on me.  I love his aesthetic and his unique perspective.  You can always tell when a piece is his.  His color use, his brushwork, his placement; all scream his name while leaving you to revel in the beauty of his sensibilities.  If you would like a quick over-view of his work you can get one here.  I am especially fond of his nudes.  Somehow he manages to capture the beauty and sensuality of the female form in an incredibly intimate way without making you feel voyeuristic.

When we first moved to Oregon I found one of my old pastel pieces from years and years ago that had been my attempt to study one of his nudes  and this gave me the itch I needed to pull out a set of oil pastels and give it a go again.

You can view his original piece at the link below.

Amedeo Modigliani Reclining Nude 1917

My piece began with a pencil sketch on paper.

Once my rough sketch was completed I began adding in the flesh tones and shading.  It had been quite a long while since I had done any real sketching or pastel work so it took me a bit to get back into the swing of things.

Once I got some color on to the paper, I began to really work with the shading on the skin to reshape my original sketch.

Modigliani Nude Tribute, oil pastel on paper January 2012 - Christen L Jackson


I like the look of bright background colors that really make your eye pop. So instead of using the usual dark background tones I kept it light and bright.  Just my spin on things, not what he would have chosen at all.  Well, maybe the red.  And this is my finished product.  Finished for now, that is, because I always seem to find a reason to go back and rework a piece that I have already completed.

If for some reason you feel the need to copy one of my pieces, please have the decency to link it to my site and list my name, Christen L Jackson as artist.  I don’t want to track you down and scold you, but I will if I have to.


9 thoughts on “My Pastel Tribute to Modigliani

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