Sunday, January 7, 2018

Has this happened to you?

My goal is to paint with abandon - that means without inhibition or restraint. When I am able to do this, creativity flows. I'm not painting for anyone else, not painting with a goal in mind, just painting. During this time I am painting from the heart and I can't wait to get to the easel to see what happens. Are these scenes that I have in my memory? How did they get there?  This morning I came across a video that relates to this and is very interesting to me. Take a look at this.

From the Heart series: Woodland Path, pastel, 13 x 12.5 inches

Friday, January 5, 2018

LOVE the iPhone 8 camera!

Around the middle of December I posted images of three 6x6 oils I thought were done. They weren't. I painted on each of them again and now they really are done because I varnished them today. 

I also took photos with my new iPhone 8 instead of the Panasonic Lumix FZ35 camera I have been using for years for the high resolution shots I need. The resolution of the iPhone 8 is great and the color is soooo much better than my Panasonic.

I have always spent a lot of time adjusting the color to make sure what you see is what you get. It was time consuming. But today, I took a photo of one of these outdoors and all I had to do was lighten it to make the color perfect (I always shoot my photos with a Kodak color bar). The other two I shot at the easel under a mixture of warm and cool lights and the final photo required very little tweaking for correct color. I'm so happy! So, here they are again.

Last Dahlias, oil, 6x6 inches
Peony, oil, 6x6 inches
Begonia, oil, 6x6 inches

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Paintings from the Heart #1

At the beginning of each year I clean out my file cabinets, clean out my flat files and look around the Studio for paintings that aren't my best. First up this year is an 18x24 inch pastel scene of our lake. I loved parts of it but you know how those precious areas convince you to call it done and frame it. Other areas were not great so it needed to go. I never throw paintings away, I just rework them.

The paper is LaCarte so I can't wash it off. I took it outdoors and brushed it off then brushed more off in the studio and vacuumed it.

This is the ghost of the old painting, turned upside down.

I'm not using a reference photo. Instead, I'm letting the ghost image suggest a scene to me. I'll call this reworked series "Paintings from the Heart" because they are imagined or remembered. Paintings from the heart sounds better than paintings from my brain.

A few more minutes of painting brings it to this. In total, this is about 30 minutes of painting. Keep it fast, simple, spontaneous. Painting with abandon.

From the Heart: River, pastel, 14 x 24 inches ©2018 Barbara Benedetti Newton
While I'm on the subject of reworked paintings, following is a link to a page of reworks. The last post was years ago.   Link to reworked paintings

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year 2018

December 31, 2017
Black Diamond, Washington

Dear Subscribers and Followers,
THANK YOU for your support and interest in my art during 2017. You motivate and inspire me. Wishing you a wonderful new year - may all your dreams come true.

With warm regards,

Some thoughts on 2018

Friday, December 29, 2017

Art Goals for 2018

I'm looking at my end-of-2016 post from last year and I'm not going to repeat how quickly the year went by (but it did!). As always at this time of year, I'm setting art goals but I notice that my life priorities are changing and my art goals are becoming less important each year. As I view art images and posts from artists I admire, I see myself of years past. I feel happy for them and proud of them but they no longer motivate me to paint (well, there are a couple of them that make me want to run to the easel). I love this time of my life. In 2018 I'll be more discerning about my art commitments both in showing my work and in teaching/mentoring.

My ART goals for 2018

1. Work with other artists to further their success
This goal was #6 for 2016 and #4 for 2017 and I am a little surprised to see it as my top priority for 2018. I have been working with a new local art group, Black Diamond Arts Alliance, and have high hopes for their success. Also, I will continue as the Plein Air Washington Artists (PAWA) Critique Group leader for our area. I have also offered to host the newly created Black Diamond Critique Group several times a year. In 2018 I'll try a new form of mentoring: Open Studio Sessions.

2. My online presence
This year I added online opportunities to network, show and sell my work. I have two websites now. My original website is unchanged with archived work going back to my fashion illustration days. My NEW website is primarily for new work but that may change. Both of these websites are maintained by me which means keeping them current is high on my list of priorities.

3. Paint larger to support my galleries and publishers
For the past few years I have been painting smaller for online sales through Daily Paintworks, Etsy, eBay. That has been fun. Then, I signed with a couple print publishers and had to quickly paint new, larger work for them for better reproduction. Soon it will be time to submit new work to them. Now that I have limited my brick-and-mortar galleries to three, these larger paintings will go to galleries. Fulfilling my commitment to rotate work at galleries is a good motivator to paint daily.

4. Author another book?
I added this goal for 2018 with a question mark because it has been high on my list for years but not anymore. This year I contributed art to several books as well as completing a commissioned painting for a book cover. Right now I'm not motivated to write a book about my art but maybe that will change.

And of course, I must add this to my list: ""This, or something better, now manifests for me in totally satisfying and harmonious ways, for the highest good of all concerned."

Sitting down to make this list of 2018 art goals was a bit of a chore this year but I know it is good for me to commit (to myself) in writing. It gives me focus and a plan. Without a plan the days and weeks would fly by and I would have missed an opportunity to grow and improve my art. Thanks to all who have followed my work this year. Let's keep in touch! Wishing you a happy and healthy 2018, Barbara

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Artisan Overnight Bread Recipe

Overnight Artisan Bread
3 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. yeast

1. In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients by hand until a sticky dough forms. Cover with a cloth and let rest overnight (12-18 hours) at room temperature.

2. Using well floured hands, turn dough out onto a floured surfaced and shape into a disc. Wrap loosely in plastic wrap or a cloth (preferable) and set aside while preheating the oven.

3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place dutch oven (I used a Le Creuset) or pot in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. (use no oil or grease, bread will not stick to pot).

4. Remove pot carefully and place dough inside. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

5. Remove lid and bake for additional 15 minutes.

6. Let cool on cutting board or rack after baking time is over.

Eat all or part depending on how your painting day went.

Friday, December 15, 2017

3-up calling it quits

I awoke before 5 AM enthused to get back to my easel. Note: If I had left that painting as it was last night instead of painting over a large part of it, I would not have wanted to get out of bed.

Another motivator was a Artisan overnight bread recipe I tried for the first time. Hot bread for breakfast! The danger was, if my painting hadn't gone well today, this loaf would probably be gone by now. But, I'm satisfied with my 3-up and will put them away and look at them again after Christmas.

Overnight Artisan Bread. YUM.

2017-12-15 Peonies, oil, 6x6 inches
2017-12-15 Dahlias, oil, 6x6 inches
2017-12-15 Begonia, oil, 6x6 inches

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Today's hour at the easel

Painted for a while and then I had to scrape it off.

Painted for a while longer, then I had to paint over it so I can sleep tonight. Tomorrow is another day, another hour at the easel. I am posting these so you will know that (if this has happened to you) this stuff happens to me too.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Today's hour at the easel

Busy day today but I promised myself I would spend one hour at the easel before moving on to other things. Here's what happened in an hour. Not done with this but getting there and feel I accomplished more in 1 hour today than I did yesterday after 6 hours. Getting back in the painting groove at this time of year isn't easy. Try painting 1 hour - take a before and after shot of your work and a before and after note of  your attitude.

Once-a month Open Studio in 2018
Three-hour session on a weekday in my Black Diamond, WA Studio with a mid-session break for muffins and tea while I demo. Hmmm...I'm thinking about it. Email me if you would like a list of tentative dates and cost. Barbara Newton at Comcast dot net

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Spinning my wheels

I'm finally getting back to the easel. Warming up with these three little florals in oil.

By noon I had wiped the center image off several times and was pretty frustrated. Cleaned my palette and took the dog for a walk.

Spent the afternoon painting on these again with the focus on the center one. Late in the afternoon I switched to painting the one on the right and am happy with the progress on it. It isn't easy for me to get going again when I haven't painted for awhile. Lots of experimentation and spinning my wheels. For success and peace of mind I will return to the easel again tomorrow morning with an attitude adjustment.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Gouache under pastel

You may remember my October post about painting a scene for a new cookbook. I'm at it again, this time for the cover. I'm painting from the author's reference photo of Kalaloch, Washington but I changed the time of day to sunset.
Photo by Lynn Adams
I love using gouache as an underpainting for pastel because it dries matte and looks like pastel.
The paper is UArt 600 grit.
Lynn's Kalaloch, pastel, 10 x 9 inches
Mock-up for new book about Olympics
Once-a month Open Studio in 2018
Three-hour session on a weekday in my Black Diamond, WA Studio with a mid-session break for muffins and tea while I demo. Hmmm...I'm thinking about it. Email me if you would like a list of tentative dates and cost. Barbara Newton at Comcast dot net

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Rethinking teaching...again

My final Private Session for the year was introduction to oil painting with Reneé. After reviewing supplies, we painted together for a few hours. Fun! We worked from my reference photo and painted a high-key and a low key version of the same scene.
Reneé painting in oil for the first time.
My two 80% complete paintings from the session with Reneé.
I'm always trying to find balance in my life and I know I paint best when I feel like painting - which isn't all the time. Recently I have started knitting again and find it the perfect activity for the hours when I have run out of creative energy. And soon, it will be time to garden again  - yay!

In 2016, I taught a 3-day fully-booked workshop for the NWPS. Very fun but more than I want to do again.

In 2017, I taught private sessions geared specifically for each student. I spent weeks before the session thinking about how I could best assist and advise and I was pleased with each day of mentoring but now I'm thinking about the best way I can connect with artists in 2018.

I'm starting to think Open Studio. I've never been to one or held one but I'm envisioning up to 4 students working in my Studio for a few hours on a weekday on their own project, in the medium of their choice. I would circulate each 1/2 hour to help/advise each student. I think this would start out as a one-day-a-month event. The part I like is that other than cleaning my house and making muffins and tea for students, there wouldn't be any preparation because each student would be working on what they brought. 

Hmmm...I'm thinking about it. Email me if you would like to be on my mailing list about this. Barbara Newton at Comcast dot Net. My Studio is in Black Diamond, WA.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Sanding, Flowers 3-up

Remember those small oil paintings I couldn't resist painting over in my November 10th post? What I really should have done is sand them first then paint but I'm sanding now and I actually like the effect.

Here we go again, another 3-up of 6x6 inch panels.
First pass of color: White, Cad Red Light, Alizarin Crimson and Chromium Green Oxide 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A new venue for me

As you know, I'm a big fan of the DailyPaintworks site and have had work there for 6 years. In an effort to expand my online presence, I now have work included in the Daily Art Show. There I am, fourth column from left, nine rows down. See today's painting.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Test Case and New Website

Last Saturday I was a "test case" for a live feed of a Northwest Pastel Society meeting. I gave a presentation on Online Presence for Artists. I just watched the video which, as I understand it, is available only to NWPS members on their Facebook page, NPS Meeting. I am happy to know it appears more coherent than it felt to me at the time. Here are a couple screen shots.

In preparation for this presentation, I have been working on my own online presence and have finally done something with my FASO membership. Take a look. Let me know what you think. The business of art is time consuming but necessary.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Fresh starts

I love this time of year because it is when I look around the studio for stuff that bugs me.

I found eleven canvas panels and gessobords with either bad oil paintings or paintings in progress that I am never going to go back to. I mixed Burnt Sienna and Titanium White and gave each of them an obliteration. Then, I came across a pastel that was never resolved. I took it outside and brushed off the lower half and began again. I'll leave it on the easel and look at it for awhile before I work on it more. I feel better.

Ravensdale Walk before
Ravensdale Walk revisited, in progress

Friday, November 3, 2017

Artists in Pastel

Yesterday I came across a very nice site that posted my work in early 2010. I am happy to be included and just updated my info there. If you are a pastel artist, you may want to check it out. Beautiful work by many, many pastel artists - I think you'll see your favorites there. Artists in Pastel

My previous post was about two pieces I will have in the Randy Higbee Gallery 6" Squared Exhibition. Here is a link where you can see all the oils and acrylics in the show.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

6" Squared

Years ago I had pastel paintings in the Randy Higbee 6" Squared Exhibition and Sale in Costa Mesa, CA. Then, I got busy selling my small work online and forgot about it. But, this year I'll be back. I'm happy to post that the two pieces I entered have been accepted. The show runs December 2, 2017 to January 14, 2018.

Monday's Child, acrylic, 6x6 inches
Blue Bowl, oil, 6x6 inches

Friday, October 27, 2017

Another breakthrough

Another acrylic breakthrough...well, every acrylic painting that survives in my studio is a breakthrough because I am so at odds with that medium. This was the best experience yet. No water, just medium mixed with the paint. The process was actually enjoyable and I'm pleased with the result. And, I finally got back to the three small oils that have been on my easel for weeks. One of the three survived.
Monday's Child, Acrylic, 6x6 inches.  2017
Blue Bowl, oil, 6x6 inches. 2017

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Paradise Altered

My last post was about a painting I created for a specific venue - a new cookbook. In that post I mentioned a previous cookbook by the same author. Today the author let me know that she is doing a little revision work on the first book and do I have any paintings of Mount Rainier. Well, yes I do - I have painted Mount Rainier once. The painting titled "April in Paradise" has been hanging at my sister's home for years (I guess I gave it to her). For those who aren't familiar with Washington, Paradise is a visitor site near Mount Rainier and it was April when we visited. Below is the image I am submitting for the book Beauty and Bounty, Mount Rainier by Lynn Adams.

Paradise 2017, pastel 8x8 inches
What luck that it is the square format that she needs. Ha! It wasn't. But since I have a high resolution image of the painting and PhotoShop Elements it has become what is needed. Below is what the original painting that hangs on my sister's wall, looks like.

April in Paradise 2008, pastel, 16 x 11 inches
I cropped a little off the top, pulled the sides out a fraction and distorted the lower half (foreshortened it) to a square format. I hold the copyright so I can do this. This is one way to recycle your old paintings that hang on your family walls. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Log Cabin Resort

"Log Cabin Resort," 2017 pastel, 8x8 inches

A couple weeks ago I received an email from Lynn Adams, author of Beauty and Bounty, Mount Rainier. She is working on a new cookbook focusing on Olympic National Park and Olympic Coastal Cuisine. She saw my work online and wondered if I had any paintings of the area. Nope. But the project caught my attention (my first child was born in Forks, Washington) so I was happy to try a painting from one of her photos.

Reference photo by Lynn Adams
I knew the format of the upcoming book would be square so I selected a square portion of a landscape shot. You have to look closely but the cabins are in the square.

Lynn Adams and my painting for her next book, Beauty and Bounty, A Celebration of Olympic National Park and Olympic Coastal Cuisine
Ms Adams spent many summers at her grandmother's farm on Whidbey Island crabbing, picking berries and shelling peas. Trips to Washington's National Parks were always included in the summer fun. 'We stayed in the rustic cabins at Sol Duc Hot Springs took in the views from Hurricane Ridge and hiked through the mossy Hot Rain Forest.'

The author is an enthusiastic home cook who studied at the Bon Vivant School of Cooking in Seattle. She resides in Sammamish, Washington with her husband and two children. The book is a road trip through the National Park via paintings by local artists that capture the beauty and essence of our national treasure. Along the way you will find recipes of the rich bounty from farms, orchards and waters of the Northwest. Publication date is early 2018, available on Amazon and at gift stores throughout Puget Sound.

Thanks for including my work, Lynn!