Wednesday, December 31, 2014

On to 2015

I was looking way back on my blog for some photos and I happened to land on this post from the end of 2006. I'm not much of a poem reader, but always liked this one:

New Year Resolve by May Sarton
The time has come
To stop allowing the clutter
To clutter my mind
Like dirty snow,
Shove it off and find
Clear time, clear water.
Time for a change,
Let silence in like a cat
Who has sat at my door
Neither wild nor strange
Hoping for food from my store
And shivering on the mat.
Let silence in.
She will rarely mew,
She will sleep on my bed
And all I have ever been
Either false or true
Will live again in my head.
For it is now or not
As old age silts the stream,
To shove away the clutter,
To untie every knot,
To take the time to dream,
To come back to still water.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

There's a New Girl in Town

After I painted the Mr. Potato Head (PH) playing chess in the painting "Checkmate", I was challenged by my friend Wendy to do a number of PHs in different scenes. I purchased a Mrs. PH and plan on using both in a new painting. I was having trouble deciding on a composition, so thought I would just get a feel for Mrs. by painting her portrait first! I Googled and found that she is called Rachel. I could not find a first name for Mr. though.

"Rachel's Debut", 6x8", oil on OP linen

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happy Holidays!

This painting is going to a new collector soon! Thought I'd use it for my holiday greeting! Hope you all have a wonderful holiday!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

New Products - Pastel Premier and Townsend Thinline

I wanted to give some new pastel products a test today - Pastel Premier 320 grit - Italian Clay color paper and (new to me) Diane Townsend Thinline, "Lights collection" pastels.
I've enjoyed using Townsend Terrages pastels in the past, and wanted to try a thinner version with the Thinline collection. Below are samples of the colors in the collection. I was surprised that it included a black and a dark brown, since it was called a "light collection".
 I began the painting with a quick loose sketch with a grey Nupastel.
The Pastel Premier paper had an aggressive grit of 320, which I felt I needed to get several layers down before I was comfortable with the tooth. I used a vairety of NuPastels, Caran d'ache, and Blicks. Later, the Townsends worked nicely.

I would expect some of the finer grits of the paper to be a bit easier to use, but I wanted to try the clay color which is only available in the 320 grit.

I simplified the distance view to give more sky to the composition:
I'm happy with how this turned out.
"Path View", 6x9, Pastel Premium 320 grit Italian clay paper

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

All about 2014

I was recently thinking about my artistic career in 2014. Although early in the year I was whining about being in one of my winter slumps, it turned out to be a banner year!

Below is my accounting of my accomplishments (I am sure I missed a few minor things and will surely paint a few more paintings before year's end):

Accomplishments for 2014
  • Painted Plein Air - 24 times
  • Sales - 12
  • New Paintings – 51
  • Exhibits – 8
  • Solo Show! – 1
  • Awards – 3) Best of Show, Viewer’s Choice, Honorable Mention
  • Organized an Artist Retreat – 1
  • Gave Presentation – 1
  • Painted in a plein air competition – 1
  • Sold art at Art Fair – 1
  • Attended Workshops – 2
  • Tinkering Projects - 4

Goal for 2015 - take better notes!!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Back in the Studio Sunday - Apple #1

I got a bit looser with this one. I painted on some canvas I had mounted on Gatorboard awhile back. This one went quicker than the vase yesterday. Not sure if it was the subject, the surface texture or being warmed up from yesterday's painting. At any rate, I really like this one! I like the looser strokes.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Back in the Studio Saturday - Vase #1

I was able to spend most of the day in the studio today. It seems like it's been so long since I worked in oils. I needed practice! So I set up a pretty little vase in my still life box and painted on an Ampersand Gessobord.

I planned on including the leaf, but had trouble with painting it and removed it.I tend to use a thin layer of paint, and was attempting to be more generous. I got about halfway done and let it dry a bit while I ran out to the art supply store for a softer brush.

Later, I finished the painting, Please forgive the tiny white sparkles from the light hitting the wet paint:

Monday, December 08, 2014

Open House for my Solo Exhibit

I had a very nice Open House for my solo exhibit at the Innis house in Inniswood Metro Park on Sunday. A steady flow of friends, patrons, and new visitors kept me busy chatting about my artwork. I am happy to report I sold three pieces within the first hour!

The show will be available for viewing until the end of Dec 30th. The Innis house is open everyday except Mondays.
I hung 28 pieces, in pastel and oils. Here's the exhibit without the people:

And this is during the reception. Please forgive the blurry photos, as my friend was trying to get some candid shots using the zoom.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Busy, Busy!

I took this week off work to get a number of things done. First, I did a presentation at one of the local art leagues on Tuesday evening. They asked me to talk about working in pastels - well that is a big subject - so I decided to talk about under paintings for pastels. I did a Powerpoint presentation of some of my past pastel paintings progression shots, and then showed some examples that I created specifically for the presentation. It went well.

On Wednesday, I hung my solo show at Inniswood Metro Park in the Innis House. I was asked a couple years ago to plan on exhibiting in 2014 (they plan ahead!), so I've been preparing for a long time. The exhibit will be open the whole month of December, with an open house on December 7, from 2-4. Please plan on seeing the show!

Yesterday and today, I've been finishing up a new sketchbook pochade setup. I want to get back into using gouache and watercolor in plein air for architectural paintings when I travel. I posted a quickie pochade I made from a checkerboard box on August 17, and mentioned I'd be building a new version soon. I've been following James Gurney for awhile and wanted to build something similar to his rig. Recently, he even highlighted some of his reader's designs, and my checkerboard box was one! Thanks James!

So finally this week, I had time to get the new design worked out and built. I'm pretty happy with it - but we'll see how it works outside in the spring! Below are shots showing the features:

The sketchbook is held to the upright board with rubber bands. The fold-able watercolor palette is held on with rare earth magnets embedded in the horizontal board. The two shiny tins (held in place with magnets) will be used as a palette mixing area with tube gouache or casein paints. A tiny jar for water is on the right, also held in place with magnets. There is a small lip on the lower edge of the horizontal board to keep brushes and pencils from rolling off. (By the way - I am left handed - so have setup to work on the left (backside) of the paper in the sketchbook.)
 Because I like to build projects on a budget, I found an easy way to keep the working angle. Although most of the designs on James' blog used Southco Adjustable torque hinges, I just couldn't see paying $15 for each hinge, while my other supplies were well under $10. So I just used a standard brass continuous hinge, and Bulldog clamps to hold the angle.

 I also added a 1/4" piece of wood behind the hinge area of the upper board to act as a shelf for the sketchbook to rest upon. With the addition of the pencil ledge to the other board, when the rig is folded, it closes nicely..

 The center of the back view of the horizontal board shows the threaded nut for a tripod screw.