Friday, February 26, 2010

Painting Autumn is Hard!

I enjoyed painting my last landscape, "CO High Country", and thought I would try a few more. In my mind they are distinctly more difficult than still life and I am learning a great deal!
This landscape resource comes from a monthly challenge in the Landscape Forum at The photo is one of several provided for the February Challenge.

Yesterday's progress on
"Autumn" 11 x 14" Pastel on Wallis Paper (Belgian Mist)

Blocking in colors and shapes

Monday, February 22, 2010

CO High Country - Finished

"CO High Country" 11 x 14 Pastel on Rust Colored Sanded Paper

Finished just before the deadline for Studio Atelier's Monthly Challenge! I really had fun with this one, keeping it very loose and colorful. I hope to do more landscapes in this fashion, using the scribble stroke with NuPastels. The only soft pastel was a dark purple.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

February Challenge at Studio Atelier - Work in Progress

And now for something completely different! I don't usually do landscapes as I really love still life. My friend and fellow blogger, Barb Benik, at Studio Atelier has set up a monthly challenge to paint a photo of her choosing. If you check out her blog you will see the resource photo and other artists' interpretations of the photo. Such great fun, but I don't know if I will meet the 2/22/10 deadline as I have been down with the flu and also overwhelmed with other responsibilities.

Can't wait to see what is up for March!

"CO High Country" 11 x 14" Pastel on Rust Sanded Paper (Work in Progress)

The progress thus far is only the first layers to get the large structures in. I wasn't in the mood today to pay close attention to the shadow shapes on the tomorrow night I will have to buckle down and focus.

I selected the rust colored paper because there are really great warm tones in the photo resource.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

"Chopsticks and Tulip Bowl" - Finished

"Chopsticks and Tulip Bowl" 12 x 16" Pastel

Finally finished on Thursday night. The background was a real challenge because I had painted the background black and then used harder pastel over the top. It took lots of layers to get the harder pastels to "settle into" the background.
I used pastel pencils in quite a few places such as the outlines of the shapes on the fabric in the back and to define the chopsticks.
On to my next pastel piece which will be a landscape. Haven't done a landscape in pastel in a long time. This should be very enlightening and humbling. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Occasional Colored Pencil Painting

"Brass Pitcher and Red Onions" (Work in Progress)
Colored Pencil on Wallis Sanded Paper

This was a still life set-up I finished in December in pastel. Now I need to get a painting (or two) done in colored pencil. The deadline for entering the CPSA 18th International in Los Gatos is March 31, 2010, so I'd better get my *ss in gear.

I'm using Wallis paper which is a lovely sanded paper usually used for pastel work. The warm underpainting is using Inktense watersoluble pencils which are legal for the CPSA International. I'm also using Colorsoft by Derwent which are quite chalky (not waxy like Prismacolors) and work very well for me on sanded surfaces. Most of the dark background is "mixed" using Dark Green, Red, Indigo, and Black. The lighter area of the background is a Lichen Green and a few other colors that are appropriate value-wise.

Then I'm using a toothbrush to "smoosh" in the color. I usually use a stencil brush, but couldn't find one the other day so I grabbed a somewhat softer toothbrush and I really like how it pushes the pigment around. The onion on the left is getting darker just by virtue of picking up some darker pigment from the background with the toothbrush and brushing it into the shadowed onion.

Friday, February 5, 2010

OK - We're Making Progress!

Work in Progress "Chopsticks and Tulip Bowl" 12 x 18 Pastel

Made some changes to the background last night:

- changed the shape in the lower left corner
- softened all the edges
- toned down the values in the background

Things left to be done:

- typical of the style of print in the fabric I will be outlining some of the shapes but with a darker value than I originally used
- finish refining the tulip bowl
- finish refining the silk case
- make any last adjustments (in pastel class we call this the "last 20%")

This painting is a "light and shadow" painting where the light reveals the form of the objects...however, the background is a big ol' tonal passage where the shapes and values define the objects.

I'm soooooo ready to move on....but "finish" needs to be a "happy" concept, not a "dirty" word.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Update on Chopsticks and Tulip Bowl

"Chopsticks and Tulip Bowl" 12 x 16" Pastel (Work in Progress)
Finished putting in the background today. Since I last posted I also darkened the foreground which should draw your eye to the chopstick on the left (when I get all the detail in), and travel up the chopstick to the tulip bowl. I will be working on painting the bowl to near completion on Wednesday. Thursday night will probably be the finalization of the chopsticks/silk case (under the bowl) and Sunday's painting session will be to make any adjustments and finish up.
I was able to get the background to read well in ambient light and I'm happy. The trick will now be to get enough detail in the chopsticks, bowl, and the silk chopsticks case so the background really sits in its place.