Saturday, May 30, 2009

Plein Air Saturday - Park of Roses

Today, the plein air group met at Whetstone Park of Roses. It was a lovely day - sunny and about 70 degrees. Unfortunately, we were working in direct sunlight. Hard on the eyes, the working surface and even though I wore my big straw hat, I got way too hot. I much prefer to work in the shade.

We had a lovely young model. She was a high school student who was heading to a dance camp for the summer. We all pitched in some cash to help her with expenses. She said she might like to pose for us again sometime.

The umbrella cast some interesting color onto the dress and her skin. The white dress was challenging with lots of different colors than white.

I decided to work on Colorfix brand sanded pastel paper today. I hadn't liked it in the past, but thought I'd give it another try. I still felt it was difficult for me and it caused alot of dust. I doubt I will use it again.

In general, I feel my composition is good, but I am not too pleased with this. Another learning experience! I like the closeup photo much more than the full view scene.
I took some other photos of her in a different pose which I'll use for future paintings.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Different Stroke Painting of the Week - Farm

'Farm' 8" x 10" Chroma Atelier Interactive acrylics
For the current DSDF challenge.

"Put the brush down, and step away from the painting!" - that's one of my favorite sayings, but rarely do I remember to listen to it! Painting is hard. Period... Pastels are much easier for me.

I decided to use some of the leftover Chroma paints which I saved from the workshop a week ago. They were inside a covered plastic container and still in good shape. I'm still not sold on the paint, but I can't really say its the brand. Its just that I am so rusty working with paint. If I would have had some of the extra mediums which were sampled at the workshop (to slow drying, thicken, etc.), I might have been happier. I don't want to buy any until I decide that I'd like to work in paint more. I have a dozen or so tubes of regular acrylics, so not sure the Chroma would be a good investment until I get more practice with acrylics in general.

I started this painting last night, and wasn't having much luck, so turned off the light. Later, I peeked in and it looked like it had promise. So this morning I went back to work on it. I was still struggling with finding the right brush and tried a palette knife, trying to figure out how to apply the paint. Should be such a basic step, right? Perhaps I was really wanting a thicker application, but I didn't have a thickening medium. - Excuses, excuses....

I kept working on it and decided enough was enough and was just going to quit on it, and perhaps do one in pastel instead. After I returned to the studio from cleanup, it looked pretty good from a distance! I think I might have captured the sunlit sky hitting the rooftops. To me, it looks like a very bright day, with deep shadows formed from high full clouds blocking out some of the fields.

I need to remember to step back and look at my paintings from afar. Too many times, I get so knit-picky, working too closely.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Plein Air Saturday - Inniswood Metro Park

Today, the plein air group met at Inniswood Metro Park. Above, are my two pieces, each 8 x 10, soft pastels on suede mat board.

Instead of uploading a bunch of pics, I decided to try the movie option in Picasa. Below is a slideshow of the park, my scenes, and the other artists' work displayed during our critique session.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bike Ride

I took the bike out for a ride last night along Hoover Reservoir. It was a beautiful evening. I rode about 7 miles.

I snapped a few pics with my cellphone camera, and am amazed how well they turned out! Perhaps you'll see these scenes in future paintings!

Friday, May 15, 2009

New Acrylic Paint Workshop

'Distant Forest' 8 x 10 Acrylic on gessoed foam core board

The Worthington Art League hosted a workshop/demo of the new Chroma Atelier Interactive acrylic paint today. I attended along with about 14 other members. Above is my class work. This is a imaginary scene. I painted on a 8 x 10 piece of foam core coated with gesso, just for the experimentation.

I'm still not sure how to use 'thicker' paint, since I usually use watercolor or pastels, but I think this came out pretty good.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Different Stroke Painting of the Week - Manhattan

"Taxi Time" 5 x 7 Pastel on suede mat board

Here's my entry in Karin's current DSDF challenge of Madison Ave., NYC.

I took Karin's advice and painted small, but I still struggled with the buildings and windows. I loved doing the taxis! Lots of interesting colors.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Plein Air Saturday - Blue Limestone Pk

Today our plein air group met in Delaware Ohio at the Blue Limestone Park. Below is my second painting of the day. It needs a bit more work.
Below is my first painting, followed by a few 'in process' shots.
"Blue Limestone Rocks" 8 x 10 Pastel on suede mat board

The view of the rocks.
Following are pictures taken during our critique time.

More shots of the park.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Homemade Pastel Palette Trays and Storage

I've been reading on the web all the interesting ways pastel artists setup their palette, store and transport their pastels. Because I only recently returned to working with pastels, I've been collecting several different kinds and brands (GADS is that expensive!!). I've been very deliberate about returning each pastel back into its respective spot within the original packaging. (I'm really not THAT organized! hahaha) All the boxes took up a large amount of space on my work surface. I am sure I tended to grab just my favorites instead of picking the best color or hue for the task at hand.

After I recently got my plein air pochade box pastel palette filled, I thought it was time to tackle the studio palette. Here is the before view, taking up most of the left side of the work table. (I'm left handed.)

And below is the 'after' shot. I created several trays from foam core board which is extremely lightweight and easy to work with. I can slide these up to the top of my table, and it leaves me lots of room below to work. I left my pastel pencils in the original tin.

I was surprised how much empty space is left in each bin! I am sure eventually, they will be filled up. I attempted to organize these with the lights on the top and the darks on the bottom. I see looking at the photos that will take more work, but I don't think perfection is that important, since things will get moved around as I work. I'd just like to keep the lights on top to keep the dark dust from them.
I wanted these trays to fit inside an Artbin Super Satchel that I already owned. I thought it would be a nice size to hold everything when I wanted to put them away, and if I went to a class it would be easy to transport. I wanted to stack these and three tall worked out perfect. (My prototype tray turned out a tiny bit too wide and tall, but I can use it for holding my working pile of pastels.)

I took foam core board and created 1" high boxes. I cut a square at 12 3/4". Then cut the side pieces at 3/4" tall, so the trays end up close to 1" tall. I couldn't find my craft glue, so just used some liquid nails from a small tube which was handy. Turned out, this seemed to be a good choice. It grabbed quickly, didn't even require bracing, and setup really fast. I couldn't believe how sturdy these feel.

I thought about putting in dividers but I think I will work with these for awhile before I make up my mind. It will be easy enough to do later.

The glue is a beige instead of white, but that doesn't bother me much. I am sure eventually the boxes won't look so pristine anyway!

To give some cushion, I used thin white foam that is used inside padded shipping envelopes. I tacked it using double sided tape.
Here's a view of three trays stacked inside the Artbin. I might have to add some little handles made from clear packing tape to make them easier to lift each one out.
Here's a closed view. If I was going to take these to a workshop, I would layer some soft foam between and on top to keep the pastels from moving.

I always love to find inexpensive ways to solve a problem. Guess I'm just a cheapskate for some things. Now that I know how easy it is to build things with foam core, I'll have to think about what other ways I can use homemade boxes.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Weekend Update - #2

Today were the receptions for the other two exhibits. The show at Anthem Blue Shield was juried for awards by a former professor at Columbus College of Art and Design. Although I didn't win an award, the juror was nice enough to write down a paragraph about each of our pieces.

For my pastel "Cow" he said: "This is a handsome piece, but I think it would be even better if the piece wasn't quite so cropped."

For my pastel "California Sushi Roll" he said: "I like this piece of work quite a bit. I do think I would have preferred that you would have not cropped the image so much. Also the mat could be a little too strong."

I had matted the Sushi in an orange mat, as I really liked it that way. I know this man prefers white mats on artwork, but I didn't know he would be judging until after I had already framed the piece.

I am most happy with my images cropped tightly. Everyone has their own opinion on that subject!

But I was pleased with his comments even so, since I had heard that when he was an active teacher, he was very hard to please!!

The second reception at High Road Gallery was not judged. By the time I got there, it was clearing out some, but one of my friends said that the place was really packed earlier. Its a very nice exhibit with a wide range of mediums and skills.

Weekend Update - #1

Disappointing, but the Plein Aire event at Infirmary Mound Park on Saturday was a bust. There were a handful of artists and only a few visitors. It turned out to be a beautiful day. Below are my three framed pieces I had in the exhibit. Two pastels and the middle one is the acrylic.

Following are pics of some of the artists. As always, click on any pictures for a larger view.
Jim Glover painting the old building.
Watching Jim paint.
Jim's final painting! WOW Be sure to click on this one and see the final product!

Next week, we will be up in Delaware Ohio at the Blue Limestone Quarry Park.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Pastel - Grand Canyon

Last night I did a quick pastel sketch of the Grand Canyon. I like the digital image much better than my actual sketch. But its all about practice, practice, practice!

'Grand Canyon' 5" x 7" Pastel on suede mat board