Sunday, December 28, 2008

Portrait #5 - Pastel on Sueded Mat Board

I've decided this is the one I will submit to Karin's challenge. Although it really doesn't look like the gal in the photo, this one really appeals to me because it LOOKS like a painting. The first one in the posting "Portrait #1" more closely resembles the model, but it looks more like a PHOTO to me.

This one is about 10" x 12" on white sueded mat board (although the first two photos show it cream). I really like this one. I can't decide if I like this one full size or cropped as in the last photo.

I would really like your input as to which of the 5 different portraits (from the last several posts) you like the best and why? Thanks!

Portrait #4 - 15 Minute Exercise

Here is a quick 15 minute pastel done on my favorite surface - sueded mat board - like working on 'budda'... I like this alot, although it really doesn't look like the model. This is about 4" x 7". This was a warm up exercise to the next entry which turned out pretty good too.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Portrait #3 - Watercolor on Cold Press

Well, here is my attempt at my normal watercolor paper. First, it looked like she had 'helmet head'. It's hard to paint someone with their hair pulled back. Then it turned into mud. In the last photo, I tried to just get wild with the paint, and when it was wet, it was more vibrant. Not a good painting, but I feel every painting session is a learning experience.

Tomorrow I will do one more, in pastel on my favorite sueded mat board, and then make a final decision on which one to submit.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Portrait #2 - Watercolor on Yupo

In this attempt, I used Yupo synthetic paper with watercolors. I have seen some really interesting paintings using this paper and really wanted to give it a try. Hmmmm, well, I was frustrated. I had trouble with the preliminary sketch's pencil line resisting the paint. I had trouble getting the paint thick enough to dry as dark as I'd like. I tried drying the layers, but when I put a new layer on top, it would move/remove the previous layer. I also needed to keep the paper flat as the paint wanted to move all over, so ended up with alot of mud.

In the third photo down, I had added dry watercolor pencils on top to fine tune some areas. In the last photo at the bottom, I used Sharpie black marker to try to give it some more definition.

I don't like this one much. Goes without saying.... I won't be submitting this one to Karin's challenge, but thought it would be fun for the girl in the photo to see my process here.

Portrait #1 - Pastel on Colorfix

My first attempt of the unknown person I was given to paint for the DSDF Portrait Challenge. This was my first time using Colorfix Pastel paper. I chose army green because it was the compliment to orangey skin tone. This is a sanded paper and seemed pretty messy - the pastels seemed to lay on top until I blended them down. I used my finger and now its sore! I will use a paper stump if I use this paper again. I am pretty happy with this one, but since I have several days off until the deadline, I will try some other mediums before I decide which one to submit.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Time off

I've decided to take the winter off from painting classes. Its become so cold and nasty here in Ohio, so very early in the season. I hate to traipse around in the dark, cold, slippery evening to go to class by myself. So I plan to do more stuff on my own. Perhaps I will take some workshops later on. I will continue to work on the Different Strokes challenges, as I am really enjoying these.

Last night, as I sat on my butt in front of the boob-tube, I got out my sketchpad and markers to start working on a plan for the portrait that Karin sent me for the current challenge. I like using the markers as you can't erase and you have to simplify. I have no idea who this gal is, but she is also painting my portrait, so it will be great fun in the end to see what each of us have done.

I did the top right sketch first. Quick and easy. I like it, but it looks nothing like the gal. The next one was the upper left. Looks more like a young Bill Clinton than the young lady in my photo! Sorry!!?! Why are noses so hard to draw??? I tried drawing just a detached nose (in the middle left) good... I then did the lower right. Not bad, but still - that nose!! So then I tried just using a pencil for the lower left. A bit more refined but the eyes are too close together cause I was cramped on space....
I was too chicken to use my new watercolor/sketch journal book for these sketches. Hated to waste the nice watercolor paper. Maybe I need to buy one that is just sketch paper.....Well, it all takes practice and I have plenty of time to work it out. There are several new surfaces (both for watercolor and pastels) that I want to use this time for the final portrait, so I plan on doing multiple paintings and will see which works best. I will post each experiment here and give you a review of the surface.

I do notice that I seem to prefer my work to look more like an illustration instead of a fine art painting. Maybe I need to work harder on that technique.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Different Strokes Painting - Boots

My latest watercolor using Karin's photo of her favorite boots. I think these turned out pretty good! I got some Winsor & Newton paints, and guess quality products really help.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Paintings of the Week - More Sketching with Sharpies

Our task in class last night, again, was to sketch with Sharpies, but we were to draw things that were in front of us in the studio instead of using photographs. Just some fun sketches instead of trying to create masterpieces. Its kinda like coloring with crayons in a coloring book again. Funny how the permanence of the Sharpie ink makes playing easy, instead of pencil lines that fade into the background.

None of these are great pieces of art, but they are fun to look at - nice and loose. My favorite turned out to be the top image. What I like about this one is the violet merging with the burnt sienna and indigo blue. Indigo was one of my favorite pigments, but I think violet might have it beat.

I have noticed a number of the artist blogs I visit show the artist using travel sketch pads filled with watercolor paper. Some use them to journal, but others just like to use pen/ink and pigment for everyday sketching. I purchased my first pad this week, and hope to start using it quite often for quick studies such as these shown in this post. And of course, I will be showing them here.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Pastel - Buddha

My latest pastel using Karin's photo. I planned on painting this over the long weekend, but I just never seemed to get to it. I did this in a rush last night.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Painting of the Week - Water Cans

This week's class work -watercolor. This is a closeup of the water cans shown in my photo of the little girl at Slate Run Metro Park.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Paintings of the Week - Sketching with Sharpies

The task in painting class last night was to sketch quickly with a Sharpie and add some washes of color on top. This is always a fun exercise. You have to not worry too much about details and just go for it. Obviously, some of the proportions are off, but they convey the scene pretty well.

I did these on small scraps - maybe 6" at best - from a piece of watercolor paper that another student had put into the trash. Using a less than pristine piece of paper makes it easier to just let loose and have fun, without worrying about creating a masterpiece.

As always, you can click on the picture to bring it up larger.....

Monday, November 17, 2008


This is my latest entry into Karin's weekly challenge. I used pastels and didn't have the right colors for the right hand side of the painting. I painted this in a square format, but really didn't like much of the right side, so have cropped it. I like it much better now.

I did complete most of it upside down as she suggested, and it wasn't that difficult. I am happy with how it turned out.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Painting of the Week - Fruit

This week's painting class work. I couldn't find anything that interested me in my reference photos, so got out some fruit and took some pictures. I used a wild dish towel under the plate. It had printed fruit also - watermelon and orange. When I was painting the towel under the plate, I thought it might be confusing to the viewer to see a slice of watermelon UNDER the plate, so I lightened the seeds up a bit. Still not sure that the towel reads right. The plate was difficult to achieve with a nice smooth curve using my big brush. I am pleased with how the fruit turned out, although with the foreshortened photo, the front apple seems out of proportion.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


This is my watercolor of this week's Different Strokes challenge. It turned out much 'higher key' in the background than I intended. That's the thing with watercolor - you never really know what will happen until it is completely dry. I think I achieved the look of strong sunlight hitting the figures. I am happy with some subtle highlights that appeared on the legs of the figures to the left. This was a quick painting for me and maybe that's the key to my watercolors - get it done quick, let it mellow overnight, and hopefully it turns into a successful little painting - besides, its only paper and there's always another day to paint.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Painting of the Week - Dinner

This is last night's watercolor painting class effort. There is more I could do to this, but normally what I accomplish in class is enough for me. I consider my classwork as practice and don't try for a masterpiece, but just try to enjoy the process. I prefer the short time frame too, as I get bored working on a piece for days and days.

Monday, November 03, 2008

I tried... but it didn't work - Revised

I really tried to paint Karin's newest photo. I used hot press watercolor paper for the first time. Big mistake. I am not a fan! I had worked on this last night, and promptly put it in the trash. This evening, I wanted to start over fresh with pastel, but just didn't have time, so dug out the watercolor and added some pastel pencil on top. Better, but I am still not too happy with it. Still deciding whether to send it on to Karin.

REVISED - I scanned this on the better scanner at work, and it looks much better, so off to Karin it goes!

Honorable Mention - Pear Pair

I won an Honorable Mention for my pastel "Pear Pair" at the Worthington Area Art League, Autumn show at High Road Gallery, Worthington, Ohio! The gallery was packed full of all kinds of art, so I am very happy that my piece stood out to the juror. His comment:
(REVISED) Juror quote: "Nancy's piece excels because of her use of vibrant, expressive color."

I am very pleased to win this award, especially with that huge amount of competition. This is my first award in painting. In the past, I won many awards for my art quilts, but I am always uncomfortable accepting praise for my work, even though that is something we all strive for.

Here are pics before and after it was framed (sorry for the bad framed shot).

Saturday, November 01, 2008

In Suspense Until Tomorrow

I had a great email last night. One of the organizers of the Worthington Art League November exhibit emailed that I should attend the Artist Reception tomorrow, as one of my entries has won an award at High Road Gallery! If you are in the Columbus area, please stop by and see the show. The exhibit runs until November 25th.

I entered two pastel paintings which were shown a couple months ago on this blog. One was "Pear Pair" and the other was "Crestone Peaks". I will post tomorrow with the results!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Ideas, but you gotta get the studio ready first..

I have an idea how to approach Karin's photo of the week, but first things first. I have recently moved my studio from a large family room downstairs to a tiny room upstairs. The problem with the BIG room was that it felt like a cave. Even though I had lots of artificial light, I only had one east facing window. It just didn't give me the right 'feeling', so I moved my work area upstairs to my smallest bedroom. Its tiny at about 9' x 10', but it has a big window and just feels better. I still use the family room for my matting and framing area, but use the upstairs for the creative work.

Earlier in the week, I made my bi-yearly trek to IKEA and got the rest of the furniture I wanted to finish off the room. I love the adjustable trestle legs under the drawing table top. I also got a great deal in the "AS IS" section of IKEA. I got the aluminum wall shelves for only $1 each! DEAL. These are normally used with an additional piece of glass to make a deeper shelf, but without the glass for only a DOLLAR I thought these were just the thing to display artwork.

I took some shots of the new studio without the flash so you could feel the 'warmth' of the room. Now, if I could bear to mess up the space with art supplies.......

Happy Halloween

Friday, October 24, 2008

Different Stroke Painting of the Week - Cow

FUN! I love to paint cows.
This is the latest entry into Karin's weekly challenge.
This is pastel on velour mat board (my favorite surface),
and is about 6" x 9".

I love the folds of her chest - so surprised I pulled that off! And love her top-knot too.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Painting of the Week - Tree Houses

This is from watercolor class last night. Even though I took the photo used as reference, this turned out to be too 'cute' for me. Still struggling to get the look/style I am hoping for.Here is the reference photo taken at the Dayton's Wegerzyn Garden:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Different Strokes Painting - NYSE

Wow, Karin gave us a real tough subject to work from this week - this picture of the NYSE. I had a hard time deciding on how to tackle this challenge. Finally, I cropped a section of the photo and played with the contrast to get the view below:
I still found it to be very intimidating to even start this painting, so I tried an old trick some teachers use on reluctant students. I turned the page upside down and just tried to paint the shapes, lights, darks, without regard to if they were a guy's head, leg or a computer monitor. Still tough! My first pass, I thought was failing, so I left it to dry for a couple hours. Right before bedtime, I thought I'd look at it to see how it turned out. Mmmm, it had promise! So I added a few more strokes and called it done! It's not as vibrant as the cropped photo, but I think you can feel the anxiety and rush on the NYSE trading floor:

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Plein Air Saturday - Infirmary Mound

Met the plein air group today near Granville Ohio at the Infirmary Mound park. Worked in pastel again. First shown is my work and following is the photo of the scene - then some other shots. The light changed fast today. Probably one of the last days this year to get outside to work.