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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Kim's Workshop

My first workshop was one day, given by Kim Lordier. Her subject was how to achieve glowing light. She had three demos of the various direction of light. Here I "attempted" to do the same picture she did in the "back lit" demo, using her photo reference. Of course, mine did not come out anywhere near like hers! But it was a good lesson, and I think I'm getting the idea.
We had the option of using her photos for studying the other two directions of light, but I brought one of my own that showed side lighting. It also had a path in it, which I need help with, and I got some good hints. I enjoyed the workshop very much, and I was pleased the subject was about light, as it is something I was wanting to learn.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Colorful Cactus

I'm back from my pastel workshops. Tomorrow I can post about it, and post my work done there. But for now, here is a substitute post: This pastel was done when I was just starting out with it - in 2006. I have to thank my daughter for getting me a box of soft pastels for a gift. This was done on black paper (with no grit). It was done quickly and...I still like it! I like the freshness of it. It is very "happy" looking. It now belongs to my daughter - it was her favorite and I had it framed for her and presented it to her for her birthday a couple of years ago.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Slide Mountain Scene

I went to Margot Schulzke's class today. I had some great feedback on my Canyon Shadows painting from last week from Margot and some of my fellow students. Margot made a few suggestions which I made note of. I began a new work today in class of a cottage. I only have the darks underpainting (roadmap of my composition) done, and I'm not going to post it because I'm getting ready to leave for the Bay Area. So, I'll post an older couple of paintings instead. Last spring I started pastel painting en plein air for the first time. It is really hard!!! My goal was to do a little painting (about 9x6) in an hour. Later (after I aquired more pastels in more subtle shades) I did a larger one in the "studio" (which is really the kitchen counter), using my little painting and photographs as a reference. Here are those pictures. This is the view from the sand dunes of Washoe Lake, looking up at Slide Mountain. The spring snow is still there on the northern slopes, the willows are still russett colored from the freezing temperatures of winter, and the sage is starting to get fresh blue-green foliage.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I'm going out-of-town

I'm not going to be able to post much for the next week. I'm going to some out-of-town pastel painting classes and staying with my Mom. Although she has internet, she has dial-up (aol), combined with an older computer with not enough memory. I've tried looking at my e-mails from there and it was slower than a turtle swiming in peanut butter. But, I'm creating some draft posts, using older paintings. I might be able to post them while I'm there (but don't hold your breath!).

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Resting Cheetah in Watercolor and also in Pastel

Ok, I have done the Resting Cheetah in pastel (previously posted), and today I finished a watercolor version. I'm curious which one you like better?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Gone Riding....

One has to take advantage of the weather when it is good. So, I've gone riding to Washoe Lake with my buddy Casey.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Canyon Shadow

All the while I was painting this, I was thinking I didn't know what in the heck I was doing. My hand was a loose cannon with a mind of its own. My mind kept saying "OMG, you just messed that up, you should have left it alone!" I do like this one, however; some things came out exactly as I had planned...but I want to do it again. I'm sure the second time I'll have more of a plan, and I will have studied the rocks and understand them better. In the meantime, I'll take this one to class next week and get some feedback on it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Painted Desert and Canyon Trip Memories

I'm back at Margot Schulzke's pastel class, and this is my first layer done in class. There will be more red in this painting. I think this picture was taken in Bryce Canyon. We got there early in the morning. That is the best time to see it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

May the Luck 'O the Irish...

Happy St. Patrick's Day! In that respect, I think of sheep and Irish Fisherman's sweaters. Since I didn't get to paint yesterday (obsessed with assembling tax papers...hoping for that pot 'o gold of a refund), I share with you an older painting I did of a cute sheep in someone's yard in Mendocino, California. This sheep followed me all along the fence, (wanting food? his picture taken?). He or she was so cute. It was years ago, and since then I've gotten into spinning sheep's fleece into yarn and knitting wonderful things for myself and loved ones. Most recently I've even made 3-dimensional felted sheep. I guess you could say I've been smitten by the critters.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

He's not so orange anymore!

I'm done. I like the way you can build up highlights in pastel. Can't do that in watercolor the same way. I think I'll do this same picture in watercolor. See which is best. Maybe I'll have a poll and have people vote which they like better....

In Progress: Resting Cheetah in Pastel

Yes, I know! This cat is orange! Why? Well, because he needs a base color of the right value before I layer over the real color. At this stage of the game I am just trying to block in values and shapes and indicate where the light hits the objects. I departed from watercolor for this project. I wanted to try this black pastel gritted paper. I thought it would produce dramatic results. Funny thing is, my darkest darks (like the blue and purple in the tree) look lighter and I hate to resort to black pastel. It is "so dead" looking. So, if you want to see if I can pull off this painting, stay tuned. For now, I'm taking a break. I need to think this over!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

This is going to be a challenge

The resting cheetah....hmmm, this is going to be more challenging. It's the termite mound he is nestled in. How to make it lumpy and smooth, and read as a termite mound??? It's kinda like a mini moonscape. And the textured tree in the background. How to make it all fit together and not take away from the cheetah....

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sitting Cheetah

Finished! We were thrilled to see a cheetah on two of our drives in South Africa at Mala Mala Camp (near Kruger). They are beautiful animals.

One Spot at a Time

I faded early yesterday - right after dinner! So I didn't post my new painting-in-progress. So here it is! I'm looking forward to continuing on it this afternoon.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Rabbit on the Rug

I probably won't get to paint today, so I'll share an older pastel I did of my bunny. Today I'm helping out a 4-H Rabbit Club, assembling angora yarn I spun from this bunny, printing photos of things you can make out of it, and knitting sample swatches for their Share-Fair - What You Can Do With Rabbits. So, now you know about my little hobby on the side.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Zebra Reflection

As I was starting this, I wasn't sure if it would come out, but at the end it started coming together. And I'm glad. This was a peaceful morning at the edge of the Linyanti Swamp in Botswana. Herds of elephants, impala and zebra were quietly grazing on the green grass at the water.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Zebras and Horses

Yesterday I finally felt well enough to go visit my horse. I haven't visited him since we went to Mexico, and it was very reassuring to see him doing just fine, just the way I left him: hairy, happy and begging for cookies. This is probably why I chose to do this zebra picture on the mind. I now do sketches or value studies before painting in watercolor. The pastel classes emphasize this, so, I'll do it for everything now. It is also giving me some time to figure out how I will do this painting and practice the animal so I don't struggle with it later. So why not do my horse? I already did a few years ago. I did this for myself to memorialize my favorite horse buddy. For those of you who get the Arabian Horse Magazine, you may recognize this picture of years ago. I admit it - I used the cover of the magazine to help me with the pose and tack, but turned a grey horse into my own chestnut guy and changed the color of the tack. I no longer use other people's photos, as it is plagiarism, but I was a student at the time, and this was for myself. After losing a previous horse suddenly, I realized how important is is for me to paint my own animal to remember all the good times we had, long after they are gone.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Sea Turtle

I had fun doing this painting. And I'm so happy how it came out. Watercolor has fun techniques. I used a liquid mask with a tooth pick to do the white foam and scale lines. It is always a pleasant surprise when you pull it off and it saved the white or light colors. We visit these young sea turtles at the Mauna Lani Hotel on the Big Island whenever we are there. They raise them as little turtles in their pond and then release them when they are older. They stay around for years. They have sea grass to eat right there, and they love to bask on the beach. You can swim with them and visit them as long as you do not touch them.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Lily Pond

Finished this one today. I used four new paints I just bought. I just loved them: Daniel Smith's Quinacridone Red, Ultramarine Turquoise, Quinacridone Coral and Moonglow. The last one was really fun. It has two colors in it - one floats to the top while drying, the other seeps into the paper below. So they separate in interesting patterns. I used it a lot for the dark water.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Waterlily in Watercolor

I've started. Yeah! I've added a few more fish this time. I would love to have a fish pond. I love Koi. They are such friendly fish, probably because they love to eat. I'll do more work on it tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I'm Thinking "Series" of Paintings...

This is a little pastel I did last summer from a photo I took. I still like the design enough to do another one, only this time in watercolor. I'm curious how different or how similar it may come out. I've drawn the picture on the watercolor paper and will start painting it tomorrow. Last night I came down with a bug, and today I couldn't stand at an easle very I did a lot of "painting" in my head while lying down!!! I came up with soooo many great ideas for paintings, I could see the design and color in my mind's eye, and then, I'd roll over and groan....if only I could get up and do it!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Playing Catch-Up

Tomorrow I WILL paint!!! While we were in Cancun, I must admit, it was a struggle to use the internet there. I don't know what the problem was with their wireless signal, but it was an on-again, off-again (and very frustrating) AND grumpy-making situation. So the last day I didn't pay for the day, and I didn't paint. So THERE! The trip home was a very, very long day. These first few days at home were crazy. But I'm ready now! The car is fixed, my hair is done, I had my physical check-up, I re-stocked the house with food, did the laundry...