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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"View From the Point" pastel painting

11 x 14 pastel on board

I finished this painting today.  This one was challenging for me.  Not only was it complicated, but I had to portray a sense of distance.  In the artsy world, this is called "atmospheric perspective".  As I painted, I would remember  the words of my instructors on how to do this.  In a nutshell, the farther away the objects, the less intense the colors are and they appear bluer and also less detail and contrast.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Travel stories, paintings, and meeting other artists while on a trip

When we travel, sometimes there is great subject matter to paint every where you turn.  There isn't enough time to paint everything you see, so we take many digital pictures that we can use for information in our studio paintings.  Here is one I am working on right now (about half done) - from a trip through Southern Utah last summer:

But sometimes in your travels, you are in a city or rural area with fences, or a resort surrounded by golf courses, and you don't know where to go to paint or take pictures.  I recently found myself in that situation and I contacted another artist blogger, Becky Joy, in Phoenix, Arizona before our trip there.  Becky is an accomplished and talented plein air oil painter, who I have followed for a year.  See her website at and take a look at her beautiful paintings. 

Becky was gracious and friendly when I contacted her.  We got together to paint in a scenic natural desert area on the outskirts of town that I would never have found.  I appreciated her taking the time to paint with me....and I couldn't resist purchasing a couple of her small oil paintings.

Now, we have another trip coming up.  We will be going to Oahu, Hawaii for a week.  Thank goodness for internet!  Almost all art organizations have websites.  I contacted the Hawaii Pastel Society, asking if there were any paint-outs during our stay.  The president/artist wrote back and invited me to paint with her group.  So, it will be another great trip, with comraderie of fellow artists!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A new painting almost will be called "Among the Rocks"

14 x 11 pastel on board

I started this painting with a watercolor underpainting.  I've been working on this for the last several days.  Trying to go slow and thoughtful.  I also do a few strokes of pastel and then step back about 10 feet frequently.  I am going to think about it and view it for a few days before putting on the final touches.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Winter Show Results from the Sierra Pastel Society!!!!

"Koi Ripples" won Best of Show
 I have an announcement!  Two of my paintings won awards in the Sierra Pastel Society's Winter Show!  The judge was Craig Mitchell, a very distinguished and accomplished artist, whose work I admire.  I am sooooo flattered and humbled at the same time!

"Winter Meditation" won Award of Excellence in the Signature Status division
 Since I live quite a ways from the show location (Placerville, California), my friend, Kathy, sent me a clipping from the local paper in which some of the paintings (Koi Ripples included) were printed in color.  This is the first time I've had a painting printed in a newspaper!

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the members of Sierra Pastel Society who do all the work putting on their shows.  It is because of these hard-working, "can-do" folks that make these shows happen for us all.  I only wish I lived close enough to help.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"The Gift" a pastel painting

This painting is not just another poinsetta painting for the holidays.  It is a reminder to me that life is a gift.  We must live life to the fullest, love to the deepest, and not take this time on earth for granted ... because it can be gone in an instant.

This painting is dedicated to a wonderful artist by the name of Reiko.  I did not know her well, but her watercolors were incredibly beautiful and her cheerful personality warmed the hearts of those in her presence, myself included.  She was a giving artist and shared her knowledge with her students.  I only wish I had gotten around to taking one of her classes.  She will be deeply missed  by many in the art community.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Re-working a painting - "Quiet Finale" pastel painting

The new re-worked version
 I painted this almost a year ago.  I posted it on (an on-line artist's community).  This is where you can ask for critiques and comments of other artists.  One artist gave a very good comment that I agreed with after she pointed it out.  So for months, I didn't know how I wanted to go about correcting it.

Today, I wanted to frame it to take it to the show, but I wanted to re-work the weak area pointed out to me.  It came to me how to accomplish it.  There are several methods of removing pastel, but the one that works for me is canned air with a tube in the nozzle.  I blew off the error (outside of the house!) and then re-applied pastel in a way that changed the foreground by eliminating too many rocks in a row with equadistance between them (very repetitious and boring).

So, here is the re-worked version, and I think the composition works much better.  So, I'll frame it now....

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"Winter Meditation" pastel painting

I've been busy in the studio lately!

11 x 14 pastel on board
I just finished this painting today and it will go to a Sierra Pastel Society Show next week.  I may not have time to paint a second painting, but will try.  In the meantime, I have selected 2 other paintings I did in the last 2 years and will frame them to go. 

I have an announcement!  My painting "Watching the Stream" won Award of Excellence in last month's Sierra Pastel Society's Signature Show!  I am so astonished, as this was my first signature show and the competition is strong.  

"Watching the Stream"

Monday, November 21, 2011

"Melons and Silver" is done! Woo-hoo!

11 x 14 watercolor on 400lb Arches coldpress
 It feels so good to finally finish a project that had to be set aside for a long time...
Thank you Anne Abgott for a wonderful workshop and sharing your techniques.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Picking up where I left off...

It has been a year since I took the watercolor workshop from Anne Abgott.  It was a wonderful workshop.  The last day we had only half-day to start this painting.  We were all given color and black and white photographs to work from, and Anne gave a demonstration on painting the melons and the silver and cup.  None of us got much done, and I really wanted to finish this.  I re-read my notes from the workshop, and re-studied her book "Daring Color" to refresh my memory on her technique.  It is fun to do watercolor again!  And I'm enjoying working in my studio at my drafting table that was in storage for 4 years.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I can see colors on a cloudy day!

8 x 10 pastel on peach LaCarte plein air
 Today it was cloudy and overcast all day.  At first I thought it would make for boring scenery and lower my inspiration to paint - the sky casting a grey muted light over the landscape - making it seem grayer than it would be in bright sunlight and turquoise sky.  But once I set up and picked my scene, I was happy I could gaze at it longer than on a sunny day.  It was not blinding me.  No bright light was bouncing off the rocks, plants, leaves, soil - which obliterates the colors of these things.  The longer I gazed, the more richer the colors became.  It was one of those ah-ha moments.  I won't be discouraged by grey skies again.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Inventing the sky

There were more "assignments" our teacher, Richard McKinley, gave us at a workshop a few years ago.  One was to paint the same painting with different lighting and atmosphere.  So, I did that here.  I looked at my field study from the other day of the desert buttes and invented a southwestern sunset sky.  This was fun.  I got to use colors from my pallette that are different from what I'm used to. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Painting from a plein air field study

8 x 10 pastel on pale olive green LaCarte
 The other day I painted out in the field, but wasn't happy with what I did.  I'm painting plants I am unfamiliar with, and experimenting with the pastels how to paint a "whispy" tree.  So today I did a new painting, using the other painting and my photo displayed on my laptop for reference.  Teachers have said this is a good thing to do - to paint from your sketches or field studies.  It really frees you up to experiment - I changed the format from portrait to landscape, I moved trees, rocks and the path.  I got the wispy tree better this time.  I think this painting is a little bit better, but I still see things here I could improve on.  I can see the benefit of this type of work.  I should do this more often.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hiking and painting in the desert

8 x 10 pastel on tan LaCarte
 This is a quick plein air of really neat desert park - Lost Dutchman State Park, AZ

Monday, November 7, 2011

A small and quick study of clouds in pastel

This little painting is 5 x 7 inches - about the size of a postcard.  I love the way clouds hang over the top of mountains.  Pastel is fun to work with while doing clouds.  You can get your fingers in it and smear it around, or tap it or push it into the paper.  I used peach colored LaCarte paper.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Plein Air field study - "Sonoran Fall" pastel painting

10 x 8 pastel on brown LaCarte
OK, I've spent way too much time on the house.  Now, back to painting with a capital "P"!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Per your is the decor I have been designing and making

Since you asked, Kira, here are some pictures:  I hope the painters out there following aren't thinking I have given up painting for home decor!  It is just a thing you do once in 10 or 20 years!

The professional drapes were the starting point

I made 3 small pillows with left-over fabric from the drapes

I made a cover for the comforter with discount fabric

I bought gold fabric for the back of this euro sham so I can turn it over when I want just gold
I got a wooden screen at an import store, painted it brown, then stapled fabric on the back
Now, the only thing missing in our room is a painting (or two) over the bed!!!!  Yes, that is on my agenda now! 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I can't believe how long it's been since I've posted...

No, I didn't fall off the face of the earth!  Blame it on getting settled in a new home.  We had a drapery specialist install some window coverings.  This is very helpful in a new house in a neighborhood!!!!  Anyway, with this new fabric, color and look in our master notice all your old bedding...yuck!  Doesn't go at all.  So, I dug out my sewing machine and got discounted fabrics and trims that blended, and even used the left-overs from the drapery makers.  Voila!  New duvet cover, new euro pillows, new decorator pillows, new room divider screen to hide my yoga mats and equipment in the corner.  Soooo, I've been artistic, but in another way....

Then, I've also traded my artist beret for a "Miss Fix-it" hard hat (or painter's kerchief).  I've been cleaning, painting, repairing and other stuff at the little house we were in before - getting it ready to sell.

Then, I needed to frame 3 pastel paintings to go to the Sierra Pastel Society Signature Show!  Just finished framing yesterday!  I'm all ready to take them now.

But, oh!  How I've missed working and painting in my new little studio!  I brought out a watercolor painting I started in a workshop a year ago.  I'd really like to see if I can pick up where I left off.  I'd like to do that this week.  I hope to post pictures of my progress.  Hopefully our computer will last a little bit longer.  It was beginning to sound like a dying cow.  A computer guy said to open it up and use a blower or vacuum to get the dust out of the fan.  It is quieter, but it still makes strange noices.  And our monitor has lines going up and down, and more have added to the streaks.  And my memory card reader that I use to download photos is on the blink.  Gosh!  Isn't it amazing how dependent we are on all these gadgets???? 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"Too Pretty to Eat" watersoluable pencil art

I finished this today.  I did this totally with watersoluable color pencils.  I used the dry pencils on top for the finishing touches.  I had fun with this and was very impressed with how the pencils cooperated!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

"Dancing in the Light" pastel painting

14 x 11 pastel on toned board
I've been working on this one on and off for about a week.  I took the photo a year ago when the rabbit brush was in bloom.  But I never had the chance to paint it until now.  And right now the rabbit brush is in bloom again.  Time flies...

Progress report: vegetable basket

I am coming along with this drawing.  I am also working on a pastel painting and I will post that next time.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Vegetable basket progress

Here is the up-date on the veggies.  So far, I've only used waterbased pencils.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Painting on the Plane

Thanks to a smooth flight, I was able to work on this.  I think watersoluable pencils and water reservoir brush work great on a plane! 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

"Vines and Moss" pastel painting

12 x 9 pastel
The big old oak trees here are amazing.  I only painted a small portion of one.  Their limbs are massive, and spread out like an octopus.  The moss hangs down all around.  Ferns grow on the top of branches.  All kinds of vines grow up the trees. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Work in progress - pastel painting

This is something I am working on.  This is spanish moss and a trumpet vine and moss growing on the old oak trees. 

Most of the day we were out and about.  Here is a picture of an alligator we saw:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"North Channel" pastel painting

I began this painting with a watercolor underpainting on white Kitty Wallis paper (see below).  This was a lovely view from the North Beach area of Hilton Head Island Sea Pines area. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Iguana - watercolor and colored pencil

I had planned on renting a bicycle this morning and going for a ride while my husband was golfing, but vacation laziness set in.  So, I worked on this Iguana drawing instead. 

Here are some pictures of the lighthouse at Harbour Town, and the spanish moss growing on the trees here.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Lizard phobia? Painting on a plane...

After giving up so much art time to moving into a new house, I vowed to paint every day on our vacation, including on the plane.  I took my favorite sketchbook, photo references, watercolor pencils, and water container brush in my carry-on. 

Isn't it interesting when the passenger next to you tries to ignore you?  You go through 3 or more hours, never saying a word or exchanging a glance.  This young guy read his book and figited the entire time I worked on this iguana.  Every now and then he would sneak a glance at my drawing.  Either his book was creepy, violent, or suspenseful, OR, he had lizard phobia, because he gnawed on his fingernails for 2 hours straight, pulled at his shirt neckline, flung his arm out (kink in elbow?).  Once I went to reading my book, he played with his I-phone and finally seemed relaxed and calm....

The first day of our visit, we walked around and explored Harbour Town, Hilton Head Island, on the coast of South Carolina.  It is very, very warm and humid - very different from the hot and dry climate of home.  Here is the sunset from Harbour Town.

The next morning, we woke to rain.  It is from a hurricane off the Gulf of Mexico.  So we stayed in and I added watercolor to my Iguana.  The rain has now stopped, so we will go out and explore some more.

In case you are wondering, we saw these iguanas along the riverbank trees in Costa Rica.  It was mating season and the males turn from green to bright orange.  They are interesting creatures - lots of scales and spikes and detail - for my detail fix.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"Watching the Stream" pastel painting

I turned on The Magic Flute and sang along while I finished this.  It is funny, I was doing the dashes and dots of the white water to the music.  Then, after that song, I realized I overdid the dots and dashes!  So I had to go over them with color of the stream bed. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Trying to get back into painting little by little

For the last 2 mornings I have dabbled with this painting.  This was the one I started while at the Albert Handell workshop - the one where I blocked in the watercolor underpainting and then was visited by two large dogs, so I stopped.  It is good to be painting again!  But, after a month of not painting, I feel slow as a turtle, deciding what to do and with what color.

Pixie was sooo happy I was in her area of the house, that she was scampering all around my feet and the easle, jumping in the air doing bunny binkies.  Poor bun, she has been so lonly back there with my working all day, every day in other parts of the house.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Oh, my goodness! Signature Status!

I just got word that I was granted "Signature Status" for the Sierra Pastel Society!  I am soooo flattered!

Some may be scratching their heads saying "what does that mean?"  Certain art societies have a system like this where if you are a member and have a) placed in a certain number of society shows, or b) your work was submitted to the society and voted ....  In the pastel societies - signature status makes me eligible to be in a pastel show exclusively for the signature members. 

This means - I better get busy in my new studio, because a signature show is coming up and I need to have something to take in a month!!!!!  Yikes!  (Gasp!)  Calm down!  Deep breath, exhale slooooow.  Tune out the tractors in the backyard moving boulders and dirt around....just missing the house.  Ignore the carpenter in the bedroom putting up crown moulding.  Don't answer the phone - it is probably the landscaper asking more questions.  Let the second guy figure out how to fix the pergola that went in wrong and crooked.  Hide from the mason who is putting in the barbecue......

Think art....beautiful

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Recent pictures of my art studio

I am so anxious for things to settle down so I can use my new studio!  But details, deliveries, repairs to furniture that got damaged in the move, window coverings and drapes, landscapers, and the like, have interferred with my time!  I clearly need a window covering of some kind in that big window.  The sun comes right in and it is hot and bright.  Time to take measurements and bring out the sewing machine!

Here are some recent pictures of my studio - complete with studio bunny, checking out the new digs.  That is Pixie and she loves to run around her room and the studio.  The white bunny on the chair - that is actually a puppet!

The little dresser with mirror I just could not part with - so it has a new use - storing art supplies.

Monday, August 8, 2011

If you paint outside, they will come....

Um, are those sugar cubes in that box per chance....?

Thank you Ida, for taking pictures of me and my fans! I must have been so flustered with all the attention I got (at one time all three muzzles were sniffing at my box), that I did a poor painting.  So, below, behold my sky and foreground grasses!  (The rest are bold edits by Bill, which made it look a lot better!)

"Sierra Valley View"

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Painting at the Stream's Edge

"Stream's Edge"
I really like painting streams now!  It is very fun, and I think I have developed a method.  HOWEVER, as I progressed up the page, I was getting PRETTY tired of painting all those dang rocks!!!!  Enough is enough!  So I left it a little unfinished Bill's dismay.  He gave me a hard time about that!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Learning to work with a different paper

"Indian Paintbrush on the Ledge"
Another thing I struggled with to learn - was to use different paper than I'm used to.  This is Canson "Twilight" colored paper.  I just need to pile on the lighter pastels because my paintings come out too dark.  Again, after the sun moved, I found myself being blinded by reflected light in front of me, blinding me.  I realized it a little late.  Better late than never.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Hike down to the Falls

"The Falls"
One day we hiked down a steep ravine on the Pacific Crest Trail to a waterfall.  It was VERY LOUD!  This is my attempt to do the water, but I didn't finish it as you can see from the sketched in rocks.  I learned something this day.  I learned about how the light reflects off the rocky walls of the canyon and how it blinded me.  I could no longer see what I was doing.  Now I know what I SHOULD have done.  I should have turned my easle 180 degrees around and stood on the other side so my back was to the "back-lighting".  Lesson learned....

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Alpine Lake Scene

"Salmon Lake"
One day we went to a little lake to paint.  We were all told to bring our swimsuits if we wished.  So I did and I enjoyed the cool, refreshing waters since I wilt in the summer sun and heat.  Afterwards, I sat in the shade and used the back hatch of my Subaru as a desk and sat in my folding chair in my wet swimsuit and did this painting.  My plan was to do more bold "light" areas (the grassy areas cascading down the slope).  I think I succeeded, but compared to others, mine still looked pale and wimpy.  Another thing I've learned by watching Bill, is using the edge or the flat side of Terry Ludwig pastels to suggest light on the granite rocks.  He does it so well ---- maybe with practise....

Wednesday, August 3, 2011