Saturday, September 29, 2012

Class Saturday - Cat Tails at Water's Edge

I decided to take another round of classes from my oil painting teacher, Jim Glover. As I drove into the parking lot, there was a 6 point buck deer grazing beside the drive watching me. I wanted to get a photo, and I'd brought my camera, but the memory card was still in the laptop at home. Oh well.... But class went great. It is a small class of four students, so there are lots of individual attention.

I've been trying out numerous paint color combinations from some of the artists I follow online. Today, I used Lori Putnam's very limited palette of Blue Ridge brand paints in ultramarine blue, cad yellow med, and pyrol red. I use Gamblin brand paints, so I substituted Gamblin Perylene red. I liked this combination of colors and was very happy with how my painting turned out!

"Cat Tails at Water's Edge", 8x10 oil on board

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Studio Saturday - Pastel Underpaintings

I continue to do a lot of experimenting with my artwork. But I have to say that I think I am finally to the place where so many of the classes I have taken in the past, have finally come full circle and those skills are useful in the way I work now. I don't have it all figured out, nor at the point that it is easy, but I am more comfortable applying these skills and integrating them all in one painting.

I've recently been watching some DVDs of the artists Albert Handell and Richard McKinley, who both do pastels and oils. Today I was more interesting in the pastels and how they both do underpaintings to begin their pastel paintings. Richard uses two types of paint for this depending on his location; either thin oil paints or watercolors. Both artists use Wallis sanded paper which I disliked because of the technique I was using at the time. I have now changed my mind about this paper! I like it using this technique! Generally, my favorite pastel paper is PastelMat. So today, I decided to try both papers and underpainting techniques.

I started with two similar sized papers with the Wallis paper on the left and the PastelMat on the right. I sketched my scene in pencil. I decided to use a different point of interest in each which I will point out later.
Left is Wallis, right is PastelMat
I used thin oil paint on the Wallis and watercolor on the PastelMat. As you can see, there is quite the difference in the look. 
I left these dry thoroughly, then worked with the pastels on each painting one at a time. On the Pastelmat (shown below on the top), I intended on using the area in the middle top as my center of interest, so I tried to (key word - 'try'!) put more detail and contrast in this area, while leaving the foreground a bit more unresolved.
On the bottom painting is the Wallis paper with oil underpainting. I intended the front left bottom to be my center of interest. 

Although I am pleased with both these paintings, I am surprised that I felt I couldn't leave more of the underpainting showing - instinctively, I felt I needed to cover most of it up. I think on the next one I will try to take more time penciling in the design and be more aggressive with the colors and strength of the underpainting and not cover so much of it up in the end.

When I view these paintings in my photos, I like them both. But in person, I believe the Wallis paper with the oil underpainting is a much better painting. What do you think?

PastelMat with watercolor underpainting

Wallis with oil underpainting

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pastels on Handmade Paper

Recently, I read Karen Margulis' blog and she had tried out a new pastel paper (Shizen) which is handmade in India using recycled cotton. I loved the look so searched the web to find out more about it. It is available at several of the online art supply stores in several color combinations. I was intrigued with the 'natural' color pack which I found at Cheap Joe's. It arrived today and I tore one of the medium grey pieces in half to give it a try.

These will certainly take some getting used will not take many layers. I found some differences in how brands of pastels went down on the surface. If I used really buttery soft pastels too soon, it made it difficult to add anything on top. The brands that worked the best had a bit of pumice in the stick  - such as Townsend Terrages, Unison and Blicks. Some of the Terry Ludwigs worked on top layers but most were too soft. Very hard pastels would not even make a mark.

Below, is my first try on this paper. It holds promise, but will take trial and error to get a good painting.
Karen said she was going to try a coating of clear gesso, so I followed her lead and coated the rest of the half page and will try that another day.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Saturday Plein Air - Pickerington Ponds

What a beautiful day today! It was chilly to start, but I was loving the cool weather. The skies were really pretty today. We met at the Pickerington Ponds Metro Park area. There are several different areas in this park, and our group was spread out. I chose to paint with Sue and Rich over at the naturalist's office overlooking one of the marshes. I finally got to try out my retro-fitted pastel setup. It worked well!

My first painting went pretty quickly. I was using my homemade surface with the Golden Fine Pumice Gel on mat board. I chose this view across the road with the distant right tree line, and the goldenrod in the front left.

I quickly blocked in the design, then smeared it into the surface:

 Then added the final layers on the top. I am very happy with this painting. I finished this one, and it was only 9:30am! Time to do another.

"Hint of Fall", pastel, 6 x 9
I kept my easel in the same position and turned my body to the west. I liked this distant (very distant) view of the taller tree at the water line.

"The Tree Across the Pond", pastel, 5x7

The plein air season in Ohio is quickly winding down. We only plan on 3 more weeks outside. Seems like we just got started!

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Saturday Plein Air - Dragonfly Day Camp

It was a blustery, rainy, cool morning! A few die-hard painters showed up to paint at Highbanks Metro Park, Dragonfly Day Camp area.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Pastel Textures - Long View

'Long View', approx 2.5" x 8", pastel

Yupo not the Answer

I attempted another pastel painting on the coated Yupo paper. This time, the texture gel popped off in spots when I was using a harder pastel. That's one slick paper! No wonder I never used it when I was using watercolors.
Back to mat board!

Pastel Textures - Golden Pastel Ground on Mat Board

Floral paintings are not my forte, but I thought I'd give it a shot with this one. This is, again Golden Pastel Ground,  but on mat board. I think I prefer the Golden Fine Pumice Gel. It gives more of that interesting texture I like.

Sunny Window, 5x7, pastel on Golden Pastel Ground on mat board

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Pastel Textures - Golden Pastel Ground on Yupo

I recently received a sample of Golden's Pastel Ground. This is similar to the Golden Fine Pumice Gel which I like a lot. I have applied the Pastel Ground to a few surfaces and am giving it a try to see which one I like best. The first surface I applied the ground to may be unusual, as it generally is used for watercolors - Yupo synthetic paper of 100% polypropylene. I wanted to try this because it was very stable and flat. I'm not sure if this ground felt much different than the gel, since I used this on Yupo instead of paper or board.

Path, approx 8 x 10, pastel on prepared Yupo


Saturday, September 01, 2012

Saturday Plein Air - Skipping Rock Farm

COOL place today. We painted near Granville Ohio at Skipping Rock Farm. This is the lovely farm of painter Paul Hamilton and his wife and milliner Amy Hamilton.

I was sitting on the dock starting to paint the canoe beside the water lilies in front of the cat tails - and about 9:30 it started pouring rain.. I had to give up. Most of us sat on their lovely porch and enjoyed the rain.

Later, we got to tour his gallery barn, and he did the critique of our pieces in the gallery barn. Then got to go into his wife's millinery studio.  

Of course on the way home the rain was over. I took over 100 photos, but I will only post a few here..