Sunday, August 24, 2014

Going With The Floral Flow

"Perennail Sunflower", 18 x 24, pastel
Sunflowers do something to me I can't explain. They are exquisite in every stage of their life from the bud to the dying bloom. Lately, I've become obsessed with them as well as other flowers. I have been painting lately on a Strathmore paper called Artagain. It is a medium weight (to me it feels very light weight) ,lightly textured and  minimial tooth paper. It is a very sensitive paper which seems to heighten my creativity level. For some reason I paint more loosely and feel freeer with this paper than with other papers. Don't get me wrong, I still have my other favorite pastel papers and continue to paint on them but for now I'm going with the flow. I'll call it the floral flow.  Here's more floral paintings recently completed. These are on Artagain and Canson Mi-Teintes paper.

"Droopy Sunflower", 12 x 9, pastel
"Windswept Sunflower", 12 x 9, pastel.
"Showoff", 9 x 11, pastel.

"Cornucopia With Sunflowers", 18 x 14, pastel.

"Morning Celebration", 12 x 16. pastel.

"Exuberance, 9 x 12, pastel.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Beautiful Things Around Your House

"Orchid Mania", 6 x 14, pastel on Mi-Teintes Touch paper.
We all have it whether you know it or not. we all have beautiful things around our house, both inside and out. Even if you don't think so remember you are an artist and you can make things beautiful. You and only you are the master of your creations...So take a little journey around your house perhaps at first light of day. Look at the little things as well as the big. A beautiful vase , a fresh cut flower, a lampshade , a cluster of rocks, tree shadows on your lawn. Take your camera or paint from reality. Whatever you choose, the possibilities are endless. Over the summer I'm doing a series along with my class to see what we can come up with. My orchid plant in my living put out its bloom for the year and I took advantage creating several paintings from it. Here's some more

"Living Room Bloom, 6 x 6, pastel on Artagain Paper.

"Orchid Seduction", 8 x 8, pastel on Artagain paper.
Here's a close up photo taken in my living rooom of of some dried tulip leaves in a blue Mikasa Vase. 
From this photo I created
"Windswept Sunflower", 12 x 9, pastel on Artagain paper.
Another photo this one outside my house. Closeup of a tree and and my driveway. 
This one turned into
"The Island Calls", 9 x 12, pastel on Artagain paper.
Take a journey around your house. You just may be delighted with what you find.
By the way, if you are interested in purchasing any of these, I would be delighted. Contact me through facebook message or email me through my website

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Great Pastel Tip - How To Transport Unframed Pastel Paintings Safely Around Town

"Garden Intrigue", 25 x 9, pastel on Canson Mi-Teintes paper.
I stopped doing my own framing years ago when arthritis in my hands kicked in. So that meant taking them to the framers. This hint works for just one or many pastel paintings that need to be transported somewhere locally. I usually wait until I have anywheres from a few to up to 20 at a time. I don't like anything touching my pastels once they're done. I used to lay newspaper over them and it worked ok. But still, I don't really like anything on top of them since I rarely use fixiture these days. So here's a great way to transport one or many of your unframed pastel paintings around town.
Take your painting , gently attach it to a sheet of foam core backing that's larger than the painting.
Take four strips of masking tape.
Wad them into a loose ball with the adhesive side faceing out. I see one of my hairs is attached to one of them. Sigh...Oh well. Anyway take the masking tape wads and
Attach them to the foamcore board.
Cover with another sheet of foarcore board to make a pastel sandwich  but "don't eat it". Sidebar....
Don't you think that when you get a new set of pastels how beautiful they look in the box, like luscious candies waiting to be eaten but again I if you pastelists don't know already DON'T EAT THEM, LICK THEM, OR INHALE THEIR DUST!!!!
Back to the topic...
Continue the process to make your quadrouple decker sandwich or as many as you wish. Don't forget to cover with another foarcore sheet to protect the one on top.
Now your ready to take your pastels on the go. Also it's light as a feather.
Stay tuned for my next post. Coming soon.hahahaha......well maybe in a little while.
Bye for now.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Shape Up Your Pastels

"Foothill Magic", 18 x 24, pastel on Canson Mi-Teintes paper.
I have all kinds of tools in my pastel ensemble for blending, scraping, erasing etc,. Here is one I've been using for forever, one that many pastelists don't know about, one which I used at times in the  creation of  the painting Foothill Magic. I use this tool to create fresh, clean surfaces and shapes on my pastels sticks. It's a simple tool just a piece of lumber to which a piece of medium to heavy sandpaper has been attached.
I can't tell you how many times it has come in handy. 
That's it for today. Now back to the studio.

attach sandpaper
Piece of wood alongside one I've used and still use.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Unexpected place for a pastel painting.

"Exuberance, 9 x 12, pastel on Artagain paper.
I get in the mood to paint florals every once in a while. Well, I was in such a mood a few weeks ago when I went to our local health care facility with my husband who had to take a blood test. It was quite crowded and I guesstimated the wait to be about 20 minutes so rather then sitting in a crowded room with a bunch of potentially sick people, I walked the halls to get my exercise in. There is a corridor adjacent to the waiting room with glass walls and a lovely patio sits on the outside. I started snapping away taking photographs.
Using these photos as my referances, I created "Exuberance" and "Garden Intrigue" (shown on my last post but not a very good image). Here's a better image.
"Garden Intrigue", 9 x 25, pastel on Canson Mi-Teintes paper.
Here are more florals I did while on a floral roll.
"Orchids and Raindrops", 12 x 9, pastel on Artagain paper.
"Sierra Tear Drops", 9 x 12, pastel on Artagain paper.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Getting Away From the Standard Rectanular Format

"Morning Serenade", 7 x 14, pastel on Canson Mi-
Teintes paper.
The standard rectangular composition is very popular especially for landscape paintings but something to think about in the planning stage of a painting is the elongated rectangular format. This shape painting fits well in difficult spaces around the house such as over a high dresser or small sections of wall where the standard format just doesn't look right. In composing this shape simply make your own view finder by cutting out an elongated shape on a piece of paper or mat board so that you can place it over your photo and more it around until a pleasing scene presents itself. Also try slanting the viewfinder for another interesting effect. Here are two other paintings I did in this shape format.

"Random Frieze With Dahlias", 10 x 26, pastel on Canson Mi-
teintes paper.

"Garden Intrigue", 9 x 25, pastel on Canson Mi-Teintes paper.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Speedin Up The Process

"Nature Glimpses", 12 x 12, pastel on Artagain paper.
Artagain paper has a smooth surface for multimedia use and so does not have the tooth to grab and hold many layers of pastel. It's great for quick studies done in alla prima style which means the pastels are put on in a single application instead of building up by layering. We did some quick studies using this paper in my class,. For the painting pictured above, I used four of the quick studies done in class each on six inch square sheets of Artist Tile paper. For each one the timer was set 8 minutes. For the subject matter, we all picked blind from a stack of  4 x 6 or smaller photos. we did not look at them until the timer started. Once the timer started, we painted like little bunnies.  We did this at least four times. I grouped mine together for the four paintings that comprise Nature Glimpses pictured above. This is a fun and stimulating exercise. Try it. I think you'll like it. Here's another one. This one is my demo for class quick study but this time we used a 12 x 16 sheet of Canson Mi-Teintes paper. The timer was also set for 8 minutes.

"Ping Pond", 12 x 16, pastel on Canson Mi-Teintes paper.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Ripening in the Closet.


"Sweet Memory", 15 x 19, pastel on mat board.
Not too long ago I retrived a painting that sat in my closet for a year or more. I put it  there because I knew it needed more work but was not in the mood to finish it. When I came across it behind a few other works in my closet I found myself in the mood to finish it off. Either it ripened or I did sometime during this time lapse.   Lesson....don't throw out or give up on uncompleted paintings.

Friday, April 4, 2014

A New Prospective

Twas a Good Summer, 13 x 15, pastel on Canson Mi-Teintes paper.
This painting was originally done on 18 x 24 paper. So what happened to the rest of it? Have you ever had a painting where it never felt done and you got so frustrated that you hid it away in the place you called "I'll finish it some day" drawer or closet. Here's a suggestion to try to finally bring it to a close. Take the painting out of the ugh pile and take a mat somewhat smaller then the painting and move it in and out and all around the surface of the canvas to see if cropping gives it the oomph it needs to call it complete. If you don't have the right size mat in your studio then take foam core strips 2,3,4 or more inches wide with the length the same as your canvas in this case 2 ea 18" and 2 ea 24" and create your own mat moving them over the painting. Try it, I'll bet you will be surprised at the results.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Trading Spider Solitaire for Easel Time.

"Fluorescent Morning", 14 x 20. pastel on Canson Mi-Teintes Touch paper.
Just because I haven't been blogging since January 27th doesn't mean I've been idle. My blogging time seems to of been overtaken by teaching and painting, time spent at Timberline Gallery, along with other incidentals like household duties, medical appointments, getting a new roof, traveling . ....well I could go on and on but what's the use we all have this stuff in our lives. For a 75 year old, I seem to have to devote more of my time for a daily rest period (and playing a little spider solitaire on my smart phone). Have to admit, I enjoy that. I can remember a time not so long ago when I spent up to 12 or even more hours a day at my easel enjoying both the agony and the ecstasy of it. But, for this old gal, I haven't been doing so bad. I have been creating. I lined up some of the works I've done since my last blog plus some other large paintings I will reveal at a later date.

Now about the painting Fluorescent Morning, I used masking tape in the same way as I did on my last post of Jan 27th letting the canvas show thru in some places. I like working on Touch paper. It  has a mild and softer grit then most sanded papers which allows me to blend and be more expressive.  About the painting itself. My inspiration came from the reflection of the blazing sunlight light upon the water of a nearby lake where we take our summer early morning walks.
That's it for now. It's my spider solitaire time calling.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Friskett And Alcohol - What does That Have To Do With pastel painting?

"Last Summer", 15 x 19, pastel on Canson Mi-Teintes Art Board.
I borrowed the concept of using frisket from my watercolor days. Before starting out on this pastel painting, The first thing I did was to cut out freehand shapes from ordinary masking tape and arranged them into what looked like an interesting placement on my canvas, one that helped to create and establish the composition and flow I wanted to achieve. In this case a loose x composition. My first layer of pastels were done in complimentary colors. I used my color wheel for this part.
Complimentary colors I used in this painting.
Detail of some of the places where I placed masking tape. Others not shown.
Once my complimentary colors loosely covered the paper, I did an alcohol wash using rubbing alcohol. I heard of one artist who used vodka ( a little for the painting, a little for her or maybe more) on second thought maybe not a bad idea. Then I proceeded on with the regular colors. Somewhere about three fourths of the way, I very gently removed the making tape as it has a tendency to pull the paper layer off with it. You want to preserve the integrity of the canvas below as it had an acid free coating on it for the preservation of the paper. Once done, I decided I liked the effect it created so I didn't apply any pastel over it. Now I proceeded to finish the painting. Btw, I felt like drinking some alcohol at times as I battled through this one.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

New Years Resolutions and Catching Up

January Day Dream, 16 x 20, pastel on Pastelbord
This is my first completed painting of the new year. Lets see, if I recall I started it last summer for demonstrating on at my home studio during Sierra Art Trails open studio event here in the foothills of Yosemite. After Art Trails, I lost interest and put it aside. After my class started up again a couple weeks later in October I assigned my students to paint it and they did a great job. I didn't continue on with my painting because I was turned off by it and had no interest in continuing on with it at this time in fact I turned it over and leaned it against a wall in my studio. I got minor pangs of guilt whenever I noticed it. Something in me felt like it was an uncompleted goal. I felt disappointed in myself but I didn't feel guilty enough. OK now it's the new year what with setting goals, resolutions and all that. I didn't make any, never do anymore. But I did feel that this painting's time had come. With fresh resolve I turned the canvas over and ughhh didn't like my beginning, too dark a pallet, "I know" I said to myself, I'll start over or go over this dark and unappealing beginning with a light and bright version. Since it was Pastelbord I was working on, no problem, the new layer of pastels took over. I had completely covered over the first layer and feeling better about the painting it seemed to go non stop until I finished it a few days later.
Here are my new works done since my last blog completed mostly from their beginnings as demonstrations for my class.
"Stormy Sky Over Oakhurst, 11 x 14, pastel on Pastelbord.
"Scintillation at Hubba Creek, 9 x 11,
pastel on Pastelbord.
"Pastel Juices Flow, 9 x 12, pastel on Wallis Museum paper.

"Sidebar Dance, 8 x 10, pastel on Canson Mi-Teintes Art Board.