Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Week Number Three of Pastel Class

Last week we had a couple of new folks making for a very lively group of six. Deb asked us to set up a still life and then we discussed how a painting can be more dynamic if the painting reads from left to right with the focal point/center of interest being on the right side (preferrably in the Golden Mean....another topic for another time).

Of course as the class went around and looked at how we all set up our still lifes, my center of interest was on the left. So we worked with getting it on the right.

Deb asked us to paint the still life for the rest of class, about 90 minutes. She asked us to approach the painting as we normally would so she could see where she could help us. Fortunately, I am a "put in the darks first" person.

Here is what I wound up with....I felt like I was chasing a freight train as I work very slowly and I'm not used to standing up to paint for that long.

I think my biggest problem was painting in a dark studio. To get good lighting on your still life we turn down the lights. I will probably take a small can lamp to light my easel this week. As you can see, I was pretty wild with the color. The values looked good in the dark!

So much to learn!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

First Two Weeks of Pastel Class

Well, I chose wisely....this is going to be a great class with Deborah Bays!

The first two weeks we have been discussing the difference between two approaches to painting:

Tonal and Light/Shadow
They are important in revealing form on a two-dimensional surface, and play a big role in the "intent" of your painting. (Another new concept, which I will try to explain once I understand it....smiling)

Tonal painting reveals form (a form is your subject...a pear, apple, box, flower) by value, shape and color. It can look quite graphic in nature. A great example of tonal painting is the Japanese prints. If you do a search on Japanese woodblock prints or art you will have some great examples, but I liked this site at Tokugawa Gallery -


12" x 18" My attempt at a tonal drawing using vine charcoal on Canson (white)

I attempted to show form by shapes and values....this was hard for me as I think I am primarily a Light/Shadow painter. So let's take a look at that concept.

Light and Shadow painting reveals the form through light and shadow (things are in the light or they are in the shadow), and some great examples are the old Dutch Masters. Many of today's artists who specialize in Realism employ the Light and Shadow concept. Here is the Wikipedia site for Dutch Masters -


11" x 12" My attempt at a Light & Shadow drawing using vine charcoal on Canson (cream)

One approach is not more preferred than another, it is all in the intent.....

My observations....
It is much easier for me to employ the Light and Shadow approach when painting.
I do think in the tonal approach when I do my art quilts.
I hate, hate, hate vine charcoal!
I can't wait to explore the idea of "intent" for starting a painting.

All for now.....C

Friday, September 12, 2008

My New Etsy Shop


Come visit my new Etsy shop, Littleton Studio. I will be offering many of my fiber art pieces and some original artwork in pastel and colored pencil.

I will be accepting payments through Paypal or Money Orders.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Girlfriend Getaway!

Just returned home yesterday from a Girlfriend Getaway sponsored by Travel Concepts in Aurora, NE. The pictures above are from historic Weston, MO. Tomorrow I will post some other pictures from the trip.

My lifelong best friend, Sharon, and I turned 60 last month and we decided we would celebrate by spending some time together. This was a trip to historic Weston, MO and Atchison, KS, home of Mary Carol Garrity/Nell Hill's. Mary Carol is the Martha Stewart of KS and her elegant home was open to the public over the weekend. Her retail store is called Nell Hill's and is in downtown Atchison with many other lovely gift shops.

We also attended the New Theater in Overland Park, KS on Friday night and the Atchison Community Theater on Saturday night....both excellent productions.

There was also a farmer's market and flea market in town over the weekend. We also stopped in St.Joe, MO for lunch at a victorian home that is being restored as a bed and breakfast called Whiskey Mansion.

Some pictures to share from the first day....I'll share some of Atchison tomorrow.

St George Hotel in Weston, MO - Lovely architecture and antebellum homes all throughout the town, many on the National Historic Register.

Winery in Weston, MO - in an old church

Arbor at the Winery in Weston, MO

Patio at the Vineyard where we ate lunch..it was a little chilly this day so we ate on the glassed-in porch.

Lovely stained glass from the Vineyard Restaurant. It was such a "moment", sitting on the porch in a quiet little town, far from the worries of the world.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

With a Twist II - Peeled Orange in a Twisted Glass

Step 1-Getting some color down with some thoughts about value.......

This is my new colored pencil piece I'm working on. It is 8 x 10 on Ampersand Pastelbord with Coloursoft by Derwent.

The Coloursofts are wonderful and chalky and can be smooshed nicely into the tooth of the board with the stencil brush.

I found this wonderful glass at the Goodwill and I think it adds to the concept of the partially peeled orange.

I won't be finishing it before next weekend...I'm off on a weekend getaway with my lifelong friend Sharon. I'm hoping everything at home goes well while I'm gone. (fingers crossed)

Step 2-More layers to get closer to the value I want with lots of rich color peeking through.