Saturday, August 31, 2013

step 3 - define the big shapes

Step 3-Define Volume
I live in an area where the sky is often overcast.  I love these neutral and gray skies, which are made up of many colors.  For this sky, I will push the color toward a light yellow. I apply the pastel quite firmly to cover the colorful area of ​​the ghost picture.  Later, I will return to the sky with the same color, but the color values are strengthened.  With yellow ocher, I place the path, the road, which gives movement to the image.  It is also the narrative element of this tableau, since the story I want to tell will reflect the path I choose to follow. 

See step 4 tomorrow... 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

step 2 - simplify the subject

Step 2-Simplify the Subject
My landscapes are my impressions of a place, not a copy of it.  I do not want to paint every leaf and every blade of grass.  I am more concerned with the emotion of a place than into the realism.  I allow myself to move a tree, create a path. The observation is a starting point, and you have to play on interesting elements of the design to tell a story.  From the moment when my values ​​are defined, I use a flat brush (size 10) that I soaked in a solution of 91% Isopropanol (which dries faster and alters the paper less) to establish large shapes of the composition. I always use old brushes, because the sandpaper tends to damage them.

See step 3 tomorrow...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

if you don't read french...

 Follow Your Heart  |  pastel  |  10.5 x 12 inches

 This is a reference photo of the scene at Point Defiance Park, Tacoma, Washington.

My painting, Follow Your Heart, was the subject of a recent article for Pratique des Arts magazine. A huge thank you to my nephew Hunter for translating the article into English so I could read it. Over the next few days, I will be posting the painting steps here for you. 

Step 1-Working from a Ghost Image
To reuse the paper from a previous pastel panting, I remove the pastel from its frame and brush the pastel off, or if it is a paper that tolerates water such as Wallis, I wash the pastel off. This cleaning will leave a ghost image that is trace color for the foundation of my future painting.  Inspiration can come from stains that remain after washing the surface.

See step 2 tomorrow...

Monday, August 19, 2013

life changes

It's official. My husband and I finally own property on the lake where we have been looking for many years. With this dream coming into reality, I'll be stepping back a little from my art commitments for awhile. It was so long coming that I want to give it priority for my time and energy. 

if you read french...

I am honored to be included in the No. 111 edition of the French magazine, Pratique des Arts! Of course, I don't speak or read French but I love the way the article looks. If you read French, enjoy.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


All together now...the nine small pastels from this summer. They are for review first by a collector of my work then some or all will be posted on my Daily Paintworks Gallery in the fall.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

week end

I'm ending the week with "Windmist," pastel,  7.5 x 7 inches. I think that will be the last of these small paintings for a while. The vegetable garden has turned into a jungle and is calling me to weed it.

lush life

This little painting took a lot of work, trial and error, patience and perseverance - a metaphor for life. For my lush life, I am enjoying a can of Coca Cola - I gave up buying it years ago but may start again for my golden years.  "Lush Life," pastel, 7.5x7.5 inches

Friday, August 9, 2013

spinning my wheels

Every once in a while I have a day of "spinning my wheels."

To me, a good day is a productive day. That's a problem. I know that a day of paint on, wipe off is a lesson day and one I won't have to repeat if I pay attention. But chasing the illusive vision for a painting then losing it time and time again is frustrating. The "believe in yourself" advice I give to students is not useful at this point. I finally walk away singing my painting theme song, The Gambler, (a song written by Don Schlitz and recorded by American country music artist Kenny Rogers)

You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, Know when to walk away, know when to run.

Above are the three "wheel-spinners" from yesterday. Before I begin, I'll have a talk with myself about each one. What (if anything) do I like about it as well as what has to go? Is there a story worth telling in this scene? What is the mood? Today, I'll try to listen carefully to each painting and be thoughtful in my response.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

the same but different

Same colors but in different combinations and amounts. This is Afternoon Passage, pastel, 7.5 x 7.5 inches.

backlit, tree-lined memories

To continue my post of yesterday, a backlit tree-lined hilltop has emerged. Apparently there are many backlit scenes in my memory.
"Fond Memories," pastel, 7.5 x 7.5 inches

Monday, August 5, 2013

mind's eye painting

You may know that I have a habit of washing off pastel paintings and reworking them from the ghost-image up. This time, I cut up an old painting to make four small paintings.

I love the color palette of the original painting but to use those colors, I have to find the actual pastel sticks again. It's trial and error by sampling color on a piece of white paper. When I have a color match, the pastel stick goes into a small container. The next step is to brush off as much of the color as possible from the original painting. This leaves a ghost-image.

I have no idea where the reference photo is for this scene of our driveway but I am spending these weeks painting from memory so I don't need it. The scene that I paint from my mind's eye may look quite different from the driveway or the ghost-image.

I have blogged a little about memory or mind's eye painting and will continue to do so but my friend Tom Weinkle saved me a lot of typing with his clearly written post today (August 4) about planning a painting. The way I am painting now is one step further away from planning. It is more about discovery.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

my new pal?

Here's a shot of my new plein air pal...the Pastel Porter. It arrived yesterday (an award from the recent PSWC show). I had a chance to chat with the creator at the IAPS Convention about his entire product line. This Jumbo Junior size looks like a great way to transport pastels for plein air work. I look forward to trying it!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

one fine day

The days following my Landscape Impressions workshop were spent with my two grandsons (ages 11 and 13) to make a busy, fun summer week. I have finally had some time to reflect on the workshop and on each student and what I hope I contributed to their art journey. This morning I received a very nice email.

'I loved the workshop.  I finally figured out what your paintings remind me of: haiku poetry.  They are a fleeting, perfect moment that was experienced held forever in mind's eye!!' 

What a nice thought. I will keep that in mind when I am in the middle of a painting challenge.

One of the most important things I took away from the workshop is the need to believe.  Believe in yourself; believe your work is evolving at exactly the right pace for you. Of course, it is difficult for your work to evolve if you don't paint. Paint every day.

Wishing each of you One Fine Day. (above, pastel, 7.5 x 7.5 inches)