Thursday, April 29, 2010

Affordable Art Sale

I will be participating in the Lakewood Arts Council's "Affordable Art Sale", May 3rd-23rd. Here are my paintings that will be available.

"Green Grapes" 9 x 12 Pastel

"Eggs and Green Pot" 8 x 10 Pastel

"Eggs on Pink" 5 x 7 Pastel

"Cuties" 5 x 7 Pastel

"Eggs and Sake Pitcher" 8 x 10 Pastel

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Walnut Creek - Finished Painting

This 11 x 14" landscape is pastel on sanded paper (Elephant Colorfix). The photo was taken five years ago at Walnut Creek Recreation Area southwest of Omaha, NE. The area has sentimental meaning for me and I was happy to be able to finally paint this.

I started it yesterday and finished up today in the studio.

"Walnut Creek" 11 x 14" Pastel on Sanded Paper

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mexican Pitcher Finished

"Mexican Pitcher" 11 x 16" Pastel on Wallis Sanded Paper

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo on May 5th!

"Tenebrism" is a term I've heard from Deborah Bays many times. Here is the Wikipedia definition of "tenebrism". I've come to understand it in the context of chiaroscuro as being very dramatic lights and darks...maybe to say the dark end of chiaroscuro. I'd say of the pieces I have done while studying with Deb this is painted in a tenebristic style....moreso than my other paintings. I love the high drama in my paintings, but not in my life!!

As you will read, Caravaggio was probably the first to paint in this style but painters after him were identified as tenebrists. Here is a lovely painting by Hovsep Pushman, or this by Emil Soren Carlsen.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

What a Blessing....Thank You!

Before I share my newest still life work in progress, I'd like to take this lovely Sunday morning (in Denver) to count my! I appreciate each and every one of my followers on this blog. I find so little time to be able to respond individually to your kind remarks and encouragement. Please know you keep me motivated and inspired to paint!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Photo of my still life set-up...I am working from the live set-up,
so this viewpoint is a bit different from my painting

Drawing and starting to get the darks in

"Cuties and Lace" 11 x 14" Pastel Work in Progress
First layers of color, adjusting values, and correcting drawing

I started this painting on Friday, setting up the still life, a process which should never be shortchanged. I could have spent more time on this but I was in a hurry to get started. Can you relate to that??

The lighting on this is warm, so my shadows will be cooler (than warmer).

My concept for this is "color" as outlined in "Oil Painting Secrets of a Master" about David Leffel's approach to painting. The idea being the orange color of the cuties starts on the left side and grows in intensity across the painting plane until you hit the focal point which is the cutie leaning against the plate and in front of the pitcher. OK, understanding what I'm supposed to do and accomplishing it are two different things here, but I am learning through lots of practice and reading. David says " can only paint to the level at which you understand.." (I think the quote is close enough.)

I decided to paint the cloth underneath the lace first, paying attention to how the light hits it through the lace. I could have done the reverse...paint the color of the lace and then paint the dark holes of the cloth. However, one thing Deb has always said is "you paint up". In other words, you start with your darks and work your way towards the light. Just like you start with harder pastels, in general, and work toward the softer pastels. This is the reason I have lots of Ludwig soft "whites" to make sure the soft whites will go over the harder darks.

My challenges for this painting:

- keeping the left side cuties from stopping the flow by lowering their intensity compared to the focal point
- the obvious, painting the lace..both the pattern and the perspective (which is already bugging me)
- expanding the right side of the painting ever so slightly (I always seem to crowd the right side)
- the drawing challenge of the flutes in the pitcher and saucer (I have painted this before and know it's a pretty good challenge)

I'm sure this list will grow as I go along ;-)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Great Video

Have to share Jan Blencoe's post on her blog, The Poetic Landscape. It's titled Creativity and Mistakes. Make sure you watch the video she is sharing by Eric Maisel on Honoring the Creative Process!!

I thought it was very appropriate to share after my week of experimentation.

Flight of Fancy

One of the exercises suggested by my pastel instructor was to take a black and white photo reference and create my own color scheme. So the project this week was doing just that. I ended up playing and having a great time.

In the 3rd photo you can see the beginning where I started out with some intense colors in the background, then I sort of lost my "nerve" on the tree and foreground. After looking at some art magazines, especially Pastel Journal, I decided to play with "smooshing" pastel dust into the foreground. OK.....I admit.....then I went crazy!! But I had oh so much fun.

One thing I learned was that NuPastels are to hard to "smoosh" into the paper and they don't create the best dust when scraped with a craft knife. Softer pastels like Ludwigs work beautifully. I scraped a bit of the dust into a paper towel and then sprinkled it on the painting. I used wax paper to lay over the dust on the painting and push it in with the palm of my hand.

The photo doesn't really show it off well so I've included a detail photo. But in person the whole thing sort of jumps off the paper which may or may not be a good thing ;-)

Tonight at pastel class and tomorrow in the studio it's back to my classic style and design...but it was fun to explore a bit.

"Fanciful Trees" 11 x 14" pastel on sanded paper

Detail of "Fanciful Trees" soft pastel applied as dust

The beginning of "Fanciful Trees"

Monday, April 5, 2010

Trees on Orange Sky - WIP

I wanted to do something really fun and experimental today, so I took a lovely photo that pastelist Paula Ford contributed to the Wet Canvas Image Lib, and changed the colors and shapes.

There are some things to work being that the color of the sky and background is sooooo different but I chose somewhat normal colors for the midground tree and foreground. I think as the day progressed I got less willing to push the envelope.

Another being that the painting is really about describing form by color and shape yet I was trying to do light and shadow shapes on the I need to look at making the tree more shape and color driven.

The other big thing is the foreground needs to decide what it's going to be and I have only started working on that.

But I thought I would share and see if I send anyone screaming from their computer yelling "my eyes, my eyes" with the orange and blue.

I've never been to Africa but I could hear African drums and chants while I was painting, seriously ;-) Paula's trees were growing in TN, but I think I transplanted them to someplace else.

"Trees on Orange Sky" 11 x 14" pastel on rust-colored sanded paper

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Prairie Afternoon - Today's Landscape

"Prairie Afternoon" 6 x 10" pastel on sanded paper

After finishing with paintings of eggs, I decided to cleanse my "palette" with a quick landscape. I'm still new at landscapes and really a newbie with clouds, but I'm happy with how this turned out.

Growing up in Nebraska, this is a scene I'm very familiar with. There's something very soothing about the clouds rolling in over the plains.

I've had questions about blending and my scribbling, so I took a picture with my left hand while my right hand was scribbling, quite a feat if I do say so. I hold the NuPastel down at the end between my middle finger and thumb, stabilizing the pastel with my "pointy" finger. I don't push hard but rather let the NuPastel glide over the sanded surface.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Eggs and Sake Pitcher - Finished

Finished this in the studio today......

"Eggs and Sake Pitcher" 8 x 10" Pastel on sanded board

I have included this photo of two paintings side by side. The sake pitcher was painted in cool light (spot lamp with blue filter) so the shadows are warm. The green pot was painted in warm light (just the spot lamp with a 60 wat bulb) so the shadows are cool. As many artists know, color temperature is relative.
(Click on the photo to see the shadows more clearly)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

More Work on Sake Pitcher and Eggs

"Eggs and Sake Pitcher" 8 x 10 pastel on sanded board (Work in Progress)

Worked some on this little piece today...focused on the eggs and the warm shadows. Also worked on the sake pitcher a bit. I should be able to finish up tomorrow with the cloth and the final adjustments on the sake pitcher.