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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pastel Painting on Suede Matboard

"Courtyard Niche" 10 x 8 pastel
Some time ago, a framer was selling a box full of suede matboard cutouts for $1.00 each.  I bought about 15 of them.  They were all various colors and all 8 x 10. 

Today I pulled out a mauve colored one and painted this.  Nice thing to do on a cold winter's day with snow and ice all around. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Time For Drawing

My daughter is starting to ask me to babysit her baby!  Yay!  We live so close that I can come over for a couple of hours while she goes to yoga class, etc.  Yesterday he was awake and I played with him, changed him, fed him.  Today - he napped while I was there!  I brought my sketchbook and watercolor pencils and photograph and began this drawing while keeping an eye on the little guy.

I have only used watercolor pencils so far.  Tomorrow I will begin to use watercolor over it to give more shape, shadow, color.  This is a picture of a beautiful, ancient California Incense Cedar tree.  There was wolf lichen (a chartreus green lichen) growing on the trunk and dead lower branches.  I saw it last summer while at Richard McKinley's workshop in Hope Valley.  This tree was at 9,000 feet on the Carson Pass.  It had the most amazing trunk and it looked mighty old!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

"Quiet Finale" pastel painting

Palm trees sway in the gentle breeze.  The ocean calms and swishes the broken coral and lava rock around the beach.  The lava rock peaks out over the gentle waves.  We drink it in and wait for the elusive green flash ....  (memoirs of vacation days in Hawaii)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Dreaming of Hawaii ..... warm, sand, sun, gentle breezes ....

Here is the beginning of a pastel painting.  I've never done a sunset before.  We have lots of nice photographs, but, unless you are a camera guru, they never come out like you saw it.  So, today, while I am glum from several days of snow falling, I am dreaming ... and remembering .... and painting ....

Thursday, February 17, 2011

When this painting is done I will call it "Koi Swirl"

This painting is almost done.  I'm taking a break.  It is snowing outside and my feet are cold!  Maybe I'll light a fire in the fireplace!

I've been working on this mixed media painting for a week now.  Some folks at Wet Canvas in the Colored Pencil Forum really liked my previous Koi Pond painting and wanted me to do a WIP (work in progress) post to describe my process.  I just finished posting about 10 pictures of this painting in progress there.  If you would like to see it, go to .  You don't have to join to visit and look.  Go to the list of forums and look for Colored Pencils.  Then, click on Colored Pencils again in the short list on the left.  My entry is called "WIP of another Koi Pond" (or something like that).

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Visit to The Irvine Museum (California Impressionists' Paintings)

Edgar Payne "The Sierra Divide" (detail)
We just got home from a week in Southern California for vacation.  I'm busy doing all those "when you get home" things, so I'm unable to paint right now.  But I want to share my visit to a fine art museum that I recommend to art lovers who can get there to see it.  It is called The Irvine Museum, and it is dedicated to the preservation and display of California art of the Impressionist Period (1890-1930).  Here is a link to their website for more information:

The Irvine Museum is the best collection of California Impressionistic work there is (that I know of anyway).  Many of the artists were plein air painters as well.  I bought the museum book entitled "Selections From the Irvine Museum".  I took photos of a few pages in this book to show you a few paintings that we saw in person.  This museum is fantastic, and amazingly, it is free.  They change their show 2 or 3 times a year, and they have about 3,000 works to pull from to show in the museum.  The show we saw was a traveling show (traveled around the U.S.) and now was back home. 

Edgar Payne "Sycamore in Autumn" (detail)

Hanson Puthuff "Mystical Hills" (detail)

Guy Rose "Point Lobos" (detail)

Matteo Sandona "In Her Kimono" (detail)

Edgar Payne "Wine Boats" (detail)

Arthur Rider "The Spanish Boat" (detail)

Paul Lauritz "Poinsettias" (detail)

John Gamble "Santa Barbara Landscape" (detail)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The same cactus - in a different medium

We went to the beach today, so I didn't get to finish my pastel.  But, when we got back I finished my sketchbook version of the same painting.  I have been working on this sketch all along - in the evenings when the light was too dim to work on the pastel. 

This version was done with watercolor pencils and watercolor. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Now it is working better!

Oh, yes, this is MUCH better.  Now, I'll put it away until tomorrow ... sun is getting low and I can't see it as well.

Do-Overs are allowed!

In my previous painting I forgot a very important teaching "you have to make the cake before you ice it" (quoted from Richard McKinley).  I did not establish the correct values and as I progressed I realized I was trying to adjust and it didn't work well.

So, I put the painting away, and brought out another paper.  Here is my second go at it...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Trying to capture sun on cactus in pastel

Here I am starting a new pastel from photos I took in Palm Desert.  I was enchanted by the low morning light hitting the Cholla cactus, creating a soft-looking halo against a dark background.  Although it looked soft - beware!  Cholla is covered with barbed needles you don't want to meet! 

I sure hope I can pull off this painting - I've been thinking about it for days (and even at night when I'm trying to go to sleep!)  You know you are in a creative mood when you get obscessed and excited about starting a painting and the blank paper doesn't intimidate you!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

"Koi Pond" colored pencils and watercolor painting

12 x 9 colored pencil and watercolor

I actually liked the painting in the last post.  When I started adding to it today, I thought I blew it.  I lifted out some of the watercolor paint and blotted it with a paper towel and let it dry.  It left interesting textures.  So then I went in with Prismacolor colored pencils and used the textures as a guide as I did some negative painting.  The result is kind of abstract, yet it is still recognizable.  So, I leave it up to the viewer to see what they see - is it reflection of the sky and trees, or is it under the water?  Have fun!  Decide for yourself!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"Koi Pond" in progress - colored pencils and watercolor

I sure like to pick complicated subjects!  I guess I'm drawn to the challenge.  There are many layers in a pond - the surface reflection of what is above, the surface where the lilypads float and the fish break the water, the depth of the water and the layers of fish above other fish, and the bottom of the pond (if seen).  Then, there are the objects around the pond - in this case - the reeds in the foreground. 

I am having fun with this - I don't know how it will turn out, and that is OK with me.  For me, this painting is about the journey.