Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Zion Spring SOLD in Japan

My painting "Zion Spring" which was accepted into the WAAL Sayama Japan Art Exhibit has SOLD! I am so excited and honored to have one of my paintings purchased by someone Japan! I now have an 'international collector"!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Will That Painting Match My Sofa?

Several of my painting teachers have spoke about how sometimes people purchase art only based on if it matches their decor (or sofa). Well, I have been on a mission to create some artwork for myself that actually DOES go with my decor. I moved into my condo several years ago, and I've been trying to decide on how to accessorize my living room wall but couldn't come up with something interesting. Because this wall is very tall, with the peak of the ceiling in the middle and the left side has a double window, the available wall space is not symmetrical. (There is a similar design in the bedroom.) The width of the wall space for the art from the edge of the window to the right, is 15 foot. I've tried putting just one piece of art on it, but it looks so tiny.
I finally got a great idea this week to place many pieces all the same size in a line to fill up the space. Because I didn't want to buy that many pieces of production art at a local retail store, and I AM an artist, I needed to figure out a plan to make my own. I used to paint lots of watercolor paintings and would frame most in a 16 x 20 black frames. Most of these were still in my storage, so I got the idea to reuse these frames. Although I can cut my own mats, I didn't have enough of one color mat board. To make part of the project easy for me, I decided to buy precut mats in cream.

The next puzzle was to figure out what to paint and in which medium. I decided I wanted a soft flowing design and to use Golden Fine Pumice gel for texture under pastels. I spent most of one day playing with this and had many versions but finally had to give up when it just looked very dark and muddy - so I 'washed' the pastel off.

Overnight, I got the idea to use the same boards and try painting with acrylics. I needed to lighten up the color on the boards and found I was low on acrylic white. I have a habit when shopping in Home Depot, to check out the "Oops" paint, especially the ones in the little 1/2 pint sample cans they price at 62 cents. I usually pick a few up when I can find nice neutral colors. I thought I could use one of these to lighten up my boards but noticed when I pulled out all the little cans, the colors were all just what I was looking for to match some fabrics in living room! Eureka! These colors are very pale cold blue, cream, taupe and greys. The walls in the living room are 'builder's beige' with white trim.

I lined up my five boards on my painting table (I stacked two above the other three to take a photo here, but the design flows from one board to another) and painted a continuous flowing design. While they dried for a few hours, I got the frames cleaned up and tried to get all the hanging wires the same length. Then I had to figure out the spacing on the wall and get all the hanging nails in the right place.

After I got them all hung in order, I am very happy with the project. It turned out exactly the way I envisioned it. Good when that happens!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Studio Work - Pastel Tree Study

I recently received an order for Uart 400 grit sanded pastel paper. I hadn't used this for several years, so was anxious to give it a try. I used an underpainting of dark blue hard pastel dissolved with mineral spirits. I am disappointed in the photo, as it is hard to see the nuances of color. There are many lovely plums which do not seem to show up on my screen. I did like how the paper felt with the pastels.

Edited - one of my online friends helped correct my photo, so below is the better photo.
Pine at the Reservoir, 7.5 x 18, pastel on Uart 400 grit paper

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Painting at the MAC

I met the group to paint at the MAC today. Most of us brought some holiday items to use for the still life paintings. I found a cream colored ceramic 'package with bow' at Goodwill last night at half price, so figured it would be a challenging piece to paint. Boy, was I right! I got to a certain point where I felt I needed to stop, even though it wasn't really finished.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pictures and Links

This photo is from my other blog, An Artist Travels. From my great trip to Zion last spring. While I paint en plein air most of the year, this was the best photo (and scene) I have of me painting.

Leslie Saeta was looking for pics of us working en plein air, or photos of our studios for a chance at a prize in her holiday giveaway. I thought I needed to post a link (above) here to the other blog, since my entry linked to this blog (my general painting blog).

Anyway - new visitors- please take a look at both my blogs. Hope you like my work!

Here is a link to most recent photos (on this blog) of my studio after I painted it this summer. It sure doesn't look this clean right now! LOL

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Studio Work - Pastel

I got a new set of Terry Ludwig pastels this week and wanted to give them a test run tonight. I didn't have many reference photos at hand, so used one which was used for several other paintings. I wanted to work looser and with a brighter palette than the photo.

I intended on taking more process shots, but got side tracked with working on the painting. Below is the photo on the right, with a quick sketch on the left on PastelMat paper.

mid-way through

finished painting, untitled, pastel on PastelMat, approx 5x12"
I love the combination of the deep plums with the greens.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

New Tool and Experiment

Painter Marc Hanson recently talked on his page, about some new gloves he used for painting. I generally hate to wear gloves - even in the winter, but I have been wearing the blue nitrile gloves when I paint with oils to hold the wiping rag in my right hand (I'm left handed). The problem is my hand gets pretty sweaty and if you take them off, it's next to impossible to put them back on, so you have to put on a new one. Marc suggested that these gloves worked well for him:
I found them at my local Do It Best retail hardware store, Roush Hardware. They come in several sizes. I picked the medium (assuming they were men's sizes), as I have long fingers. They fit really well. I thought I would give them a try today even though I planned on working with pastels. Although I generally use "Gloves in a Bottle" barrier lotion when I work in pastels.

These gloves worked GREAT! My hands were very comfortable, the back stretches and breathes and once I got working, I kinda forgot I had them on. Any pastel dust barely stuck to the fingers, or was easy to brush off with a paper towel.

Now on to my painting. Last night was a rainy evening, so I just stayed in and watched a DVD of Ann Templeton, "Abstracting the Landscape in Pastel". I've seen photos of her work before, but it was really nice to see how she worked. I learned much from this video. I loved seeing the broken color that showed through as she worked her way to finish.

I am waiting for two orders of sanded pastel paper to finally come available. There is a big shortage in this paper in the pastel industry. I wanted to work larger, but I only had a few smaller pieces left in my stash. I mounted a piece on foamcore board and let it dry overnight. I was using one of my photos, in black and white, for reference. I wanted to try Ann's technique which I'd hope would loosen up my painting.
 B&W photo shown above and my basic design sketched with a grey NuPastel.
I used hard NuPastels to place big shapes. I have a limited amount of NuPastels so my color choices were probably not the best. I should have searched for some regular hard pastels in better colors/values.
I wet the NuPastel with odorless mineral spirits scrubbed in with a bristle brush and let it dry.
The final painting. There are several areas I really like, but the composition could be stronger. It was a good experiment.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Hurry! Get it Now!

Hurry in to High Road Gallery for the Nifty Gifts sale! You only have today and tomorrow to pickup one (or more!) of my lovely pastel and oil paintings for a great price!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Studio Work - PastelMat

I was trying to get myself out of the recliner last night and decided to just do a quick little pastel. This is about 4x6 and is on PastelMat paper. Love that stuff! Since I'd been using so much sanded or homemade surfaces lately, it took some time to get in the groove on this paper again. Although it holds many layers, you have to paint lightly, but when you do, it rewards you with grabbing the pastel with little dust, and you rarely need a fixative. Like working with 'butter'....

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Reminder - Nifty Gifts opens this weekend!

Just wanted to put in another reminder to visit High Road Gallery and the Nifty Gifts sale. I have 32 pieces of original art for sale, mostly small pastels and a few oils. The gallery is packed full of lots of interesting gifts from many artists! I hope you'll stop by and check it out!

Great pricing on original art!

Open daily all week, from Sunday the 2nd through Saturday the 8th. 
Open late on Tues/Thursday til 7pm.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Last Painting before Back to Work

I wanted to get one more painting in before my mini-vacation was over today and I go back to my full-time job. I decided to do an oil painting and painted a bit bigger than my normal size. This panel was already a wipe out from a failed painting so I thought I'd see if I could paint a keeper. My Bosc pears were on their last legs so I took several photos to get a composition I liked.

I seem to be able to only paint very realistic paintings in oil. Guess I should just go with it! Here are my process shots:

Triple Pears, 11" x 14", oil on canvas panel

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Saturday Studio at the MAC

I painted with my group today in our winter painting quarters at the MAC. Because it was a holiday week, we only had 6 people show up to paint. I took my new pastel setup and it worked great!

I was using a photograph as a reference, but only for a starting point. My final paintings look nothing like the photo. I was using the textured surface, but these don't show it quite as much.

The one below, I was attempting to make it more 'blocky' and a bit more abstract. And the texture was more evident on this one.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

More Texture

More texture pastel paintings. Might get the oils out later this weekend.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Studio Work - Bosc Pear and Pastels

I spent most of the morning in the studio. First, I worked on a painting of a Bosc pear. This was painted on the pumice gel surface. The texture wasn't as evident as some of the other paintings, but I am happy how this turned out.
'Bosc Pear', 8 x 10, pastel on pumice gel surface
I also spent much time organizing my pastel collection so that I could fill my new Heilman carrier. I now can see what additional colors I need to fill-in this collection. This box will never look this clean again!
As I did this, I realized I had a big pile of pastels I never used, so I set those aside to make it easier to find the sticks I preferred. (the photo below shows all my other pastels before I removed those unused pastels and it is very apparent that the whole sticks below are those!).
I also wanted to give a suggestion to pastel users. I like to get the cheap microfiber cleaning cloths from the dollar store to use while I am painting. They are great for wiping the dust from both fingers and pastel sticks. They wash up really easily in the sink with dish soap.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Studio Saturday - Textured Trees

I took the coming week off work to have extra time to play in the studio. I've been looking for a stable, lightweight, thin paper for the application of Golden fine pumice gel for my pastels. I might have found a good surface. I am experimenting using gloss photo printer paper. I have a printer at home, but rarely use it and when I do, it inevitably is either out of ink or the cartridges are clogged and dried out because it has been so long since I printed last. I had several different brands of glossy photo paper that wasn't being used, so I figured since it was meant for a wet application from the ink, it might work for the gel.

Here are a few pieces I worked on this morning, and I am pleased with the results. My texture is apparent and the surface didn't buckle from the gel.
The following are two tiny pieces which I mounted in some small frames that had some nice mats which I found at the thrift store. These were painted as companions, but they work well enough singularly. These will probably be in the Nifty Gifts under Fifty sale in a couple weeks.