Au Moulin Skelly, 19×17″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia. This painting is available for purchase. Email me to arrange payment and shipping.
So Au Moulin Skelly is done, done and done! While working on it I got to thinking about bars and how I used to enjoy going to them when I was younger. You know, BK (before kids). I remember looking forward to the weekends, getting dressed up, dancing with my friends, drinking to excess…
Those days are way behind me now, but painting this nightclub scene, with all these skeletons clearly having a great night on the town, reminded me how much fun that used to be.
I can’t help but imagine the stories behind all the figures. Like the guy at the top left looks like he’s either on his way to the men’s room or he just got rebuffed by the two beauties primping in front of the mirror. What do you suppose they’re all talking about at the table in the middle? And why is that woman photo bombing the picture from the right? Let me know in the comments what you think! Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec probably had a lot of fun painting the original. I know it was fun to recreate it peopled with skeletons!
Nearly finished with this one. It’s been such a great challenge! So many figures. You really come to understand better how brilliant Toulouse-Lautrec was in the way that he arranged the people in this painting, and made decisions about colors and values. My palette for this was twelve NuPastels, by the way. I wasn’t sure about using black, but in the end, I did it and I’m glad. It really pushed the forms and added so much to the painting overall.
I still have some tweaking and cleaning up to do, but the next time you see this, it will be done, done, done. Here are the progress pics:
Starting at the upper left…
and moving diagonally toward the right…
Working on the central figure’s dress. So fancy!
Tackling the underlighting on the right skull.
Filling in the details on the other heads.
Here’s a picture of my iPad perched on top of my easel. I took my skeleton model and lit it so that I could use it as a reference.
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What I’m working from: Au Moulin Rouge, by Toulouse-Lautrec
More work on this Toulouse-Lautrec homage today. I got the block in done and used some packing peanuts to rub in the first layer of pastel. I’ll probably work on this over the weekend and maybe finish it by Monday. It’s coming along pretty well.
This is the stage that’s hardest. Some people call it the ugly stage of a pastel painting. I just think of it as the foundation for the rest of the piece. I noticed that Toulouse-Lautrec used a blue-orange palette in this painting, which coincidentally, I was reading about earlier today. Nothing is new, it seems. Even color palettes.
I like the teal colors along the mirrors at the back of the room and shadowing the skelly’s face on the right. Contrasted with all the warm, golden floor color and the orange-y bar that shoots across on the diagonal in front, I just know this is going to get good.
Starting with the darks
Moving onto reds and oranges.
Throwing that teal around and the yellows and highlights.
Mushing it all in with packing peanuts. Great way to recycle!
If you want to see the initial sketch stage, check out my previous post.
I have copies this painting before, way back when I was in college. Back then I made a wood cut print and turned all the figures into punks. It was awesome. My brother and his wife have one of my artist’s proofs framed in their home. I thought it’d make a great entry in my Old (Dead) Masters series, so I’m tackling it again in pastel.
I love Toulouse-Lautrec. His paintings are surreal looking, especially this one, with the ghostly green face of the woman on the right, the crazy angles of the bar and the floor boards. I love the young ladies preening in front of the mirrors along the back of the room. It’s a great painting and I feel lucky to be able to screw around with it.
Here’s some work in progress pictures of my initial sketch for this painting. Notice that I started this the first time with the paper the wrong way up. I had to wipe out the first charcoal drawing and turn it 90 degrees and start again. Oh well. It’s my brain. It remembers things just fine, but usually kitty-whompus, like I’ll remember colors but complementary to the ones that are actually there. I’ll substitute blue for orange and red for green. In this case, I remembered wrongly which side was longer. Weird. Check twice, draw once.
Look at all the top hats!
Figuring out the relationships between the figures.