This blog is created FOR and BY female artists and creators around the world.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Interview With Soft Pastel Artist - Adrian Frankel Giuliani

American artist Adrian Frankel Giuliani
1. Tell us a bit about yourself – who are you, where are you from? 
Originally from Queens, New York, I always knew that I wanted to be an artist. I drew from the time I was a very young child.  
Today I am a pastel artist, and primarily do children’s pastel portraits. I have recently done my first dog commission, Scooby, and I absolutely loved it! 
I have been happily married for 19 years, (although my husband and I have known each other for 26 years!), with two boys, ages 12 and 15.

"I always knew that I wanted to be an artist."

2. What got you interested in soft pastels? Have you taken any art classes?
I was first introduced to soft pastels by Flora Giffuni, the founder of the Pastel Society of America. When I was a teen, I had the very good fortune of taking a pastel class with her, in her home in Jamaica Estates, Queens.  
I had no idea what an honor that was, at the time! I proceeded to study at the Rhode Island School of Design, where I majored in Illustration. My favorite parts of RISD were painting from life, figure drawing and working in soft pastels. I worked in many different mediums, including watercolor, oils, charcoal, acrylics and pastel.  My favorites were pastel, charcoal and oils. 

During my junior and senior years I did a great deal of pastel work. I took a class with Richard Merkin, who was a fabulous teacher and really inspired me to embrace this medium.
In fact, pastel became “my medium!”  Back then I used Rembrandt pastels and Canson MiTientes paper, and they were a great introduction. During my senior year, I started taking photographs of the kids in Providence, playing outside. I began doing portraits of them, thus finding my passion for children’s pastel portraiture. I graduated from RISD with a BFA in Illustration in 1987.

"I was first introduced to soft pastels by Flora Giffuni... I had no idea what an honor that was, at the time!"

3. You have a plane ticket to go anywhere in the world to paint - where will you go?
If I had a plane ticket to go to any part of the world, that would be a difficult decision. Engaged in Paris, France in 1994 and honeymooned in Italy in 1995. Would I want to go back? Absolutely! There is a plethora of rich beauty and inspiration in the landscapes of those countries.  
However, beauty is all around us, everywhere we go. We just need to open our eyes and experience it.  

If I could choose one place to visit now, it might have to be Australia.  Taking in and exploring the beauty of the country would be remarkable.  However, I would be most excited to meet and visit with my wonderful friend, Barb Heidi Burns, who I have met via Facebook and who has become a very dear friend to me. 
Oh, to meet her in person... That would be thrilling!

"...Beauty is all around us, everywhere we go. We just need to open our eyes and experience it."

4. What is the tool that you just cannot live without?
The tools that I could not live without are my Terry Ludwig pastels! They are buttery soft, creamy and a complete joy to use! Using these pastels has made doing my pastel work truly a wonderful experience.

5. How do you deal with “pastel messes”?
Yes, soft pastels do create dust! Often I will notice a coating of pastel dust on multiple surfaces in my studio. I periodically spray them down and clean them, mopping my floor. 
While working in pastel, I wear a surgical mask and have an air purifier doing its job!

6. Do you have a favorite artist/s? If yes, what draws you to that person’s work?
I revere so many different artists, some contemporary and others who are old masters. A couple of the old masters whose work I am particularly drawn to are Vincent Van Gogh and Berthe Morisot. I love their work, because of its freedom and movement and celebration of color. 

I believe Vincent said that as he became deeper in despair, his colors became more and more vibrant. I saw an exhibition of his work at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and it was an amazing experience. It was one of my favorite exhibitions that I have seen to date.  
I love Berthe Morisot’s strokes. Her freedom was so extraordinary, yet still very precise. That is something I embrace as well. I want my work to be loose and free, yet accurate.

7. Ever had a commission that was really memorable or special to you?
One commission that was quite memorable to me was my piece, Childhood. I was inspired by the light cast on this little girl’s face and her wonderful, blissful, childlike expression. Commissioned by this girl’s grandma, I set off on my journey, which always begins with a black and white sketch. 
After that, I embark on the pastel.  In the process of working on the pastel, I captured something good and posted it.  Everyone loved it. 
However, I knew that the piece had some drawing problems that, once rectified, would make the piece much stronger.  I ended up overworking that version, at which point I had a good cry. Then I pulled myself together, knowing that I would eventually achieve something much better. I started anew, and I was right. I loved the results. How incredibly honored I was to have that piece, Childhood, juried into the IAPS 24th Annual Exhibition, which was held at Vose Galleries in Boston last year.

"I was inspired by the light cast on this little girl’s face and her wonderful, blissful, childlike expression."
- Adrian, about her favorite pastel piece

8. Is there a ritual that gets you "in the zone" for painting/drawing?
Most mornings I go for a run, with my dog. That was part of my daily routine before we adopted loving Sedona, but now I have incorporated her into my run. 
When the weather is nicer, I go out after our run, for a longer power walk. I also go through daily gratitude every day, saying thank you for everything and everyone who blesses my life. 

Listening to music energizes me when I run and while I do my artwork.  That typically gets me in "the zone" to do my art.

9. Where else can we find you in Social Medias?
I am only on Facebook, in terms of social media I am also one of the administrators of the Pastel Society of America FB page, which is a large commitment, but a truly rewarding job. 

I have an art page on Facebook, , where I share my work, the beautiful work of my talented peers and the brilliant work of the old masters. 
More work and news can also be found on my website, which sadly, has not been updated in quite awhile *winks*

10. Last and final – this is a great opportunity to share your 3+ most special pieces and tell a bit more about them.

Jami Swimming II, pastel.

Childhood, pastel on Wallis White sanded

The Life of an Artist, pastel on Wallis Belgian Mist

Scooby, pastel on UART 400 grit.

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