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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Liebster Award

I just got the Liebster Award from my blogger and art friend, Ti-Igra, from Ukraine!  Thank you Ira!  Ira and I have been friends from the beginning of my blog - over 3 years ago!  I have enjoyed following her art career and seeing the amazing things she draws, paints and does with Corel Painter on the computer.  Thank you Ira, you are my favorite too!

The Liebster Award is given to blogs that have less than 200 followers and deserve to be seen by more people.  (Liebster in German means favorite).  When you get this award, you do the following:
1.  Thank the person who gave you this award and link back to his/her blog.
2. Introduce 3-5 favorite blogs and comment on their blogs to say why they get this award.

My awards go to:

Linda Roth  - Linda and I have been best friends since we were about 5 years old.  She has been an artist longer than I, and she is the one who introduced me to pastels.  You can see her beautiful landscapes on her blog.

Ida - Ida is a talented watercolor artist who is now enjoying pastel like I am.  She impresses me by going outside and plein air painting on a regular basis!  She has a LOT of enthusiasm and tells all about her art in her blog.  She does beautiful landscapes, and she does wonderful horses and riders as well.

Susanna  - Susanna is from Switzerland and paints birds and animals in pastel.  Her paintings are delicate and lovely.  A must see!!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

"Feeding Time" pastel painting

9 x 12

I finished this today.  This was a lot of fun.  I challenged myself with attempting the water ripples.  Certain parts of them were highly reflective in the photograph, and many of them were soft and almost invisible.  Next time I will paint fish on a larger surface.  The reflections were hard to do small.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

It's all about design - the start of a new painting

in progress

I've been entering some art shows lately.  Some of my art friends suggested I enter my "Koi Ripples" in some big shows.  Unfortunately, the rules are they must have been painted within the last two years.  "Koi Ripples" was painted 3 years ago now.  (My, how time flies!).

That painting was so much fun to paint, and since it was so well received, I've decided to do a different one with the same technique.  I am using a terracotta colored La Carte paper.  This color is nice for the fish which are predominately orange.

When going through my photos of koi ponds, I spent a few hours looking for a good basic design.  The fish had to be in an interesting arrangement and there had to be interesting negative spaces.  A big bonus was interesting color patterns in the fish.  A very important factor I look for is contrast (really dark areas, some medium values and some very light value areas).  These are all design elements which can make a painting powerful if done well.

It is very rare that a photograph is perfect.  I do a lot of cropping variations in photoshop until I hit on a composition I like.  Sometimes it is a very small section of the photograph.  

Monday, February 20, 2012

"Sunset on the Canyon" pastel over watercolor on Arches paper

full size watercolor sheet

Every other day I did a little on this painting, and would put it over the fireplace for a day or two to analyze.  The challenge for me was 1) painting large, and 2) doing pastel on Arches 150 lb cold press paper with a watercolor painting on it (not much grit for the pastel to stick to); and 3) the paper had warped areas from the previous watercolor.

How I dealt with this was to tape it all the way around to the work board, and being more careful when applying pastel.  You can't do big swipes across the paper when it is warped!  So I had to do shorter and more carefully placed strokes.  This can lead to tightness, but, oh, well.  You can't have everything!

I supposed there are some areas I could tidy up a bit, but I signed it (because I'm done with it!)  I'm generally very happy with this experiment.  The complexity of expansive canyons is not easy.  My hand and eye got lost in those canyons just like I probably would have in real life hiking them!  I think it was a good exercise that I will benefit from when I do future canyon paintings.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What do I have to lose?

After looking at the big watercolor of the canyon above our fireplace, I brought it down to work on again.  I realized a couple of things....

I didn't save any white paper (oh my!);
I created mud by painting complimentary colors over each other (OMG!)
and I roughed up the paper a little by scrubbing (ick!)

Since the colors were dead looking, I thought it would be fun to do pastel over it to see if I could jazz it up a bit. Above is just the lower portion of the painting.  I'm adding in the stream in the canyon (which I flooded like it was full of water when it was a trickle!).

Working large is a difference concept for me.  So, this time, I think I'll take it back to the fireplace to inspect at each stage of my work as it progresses.

Monday, February 13, 2012

"Canyon Walls" pastel painting

11 x 14

I finished this one today.  Wow, this one really charged me up!  I forced myself to go slow and I worked a little at a time and then would go across the room and sit down and view it and analyze what I had done and what area to move to next.  I would go to bed thinking about it, wake up thinking about it.  I am happy with it.  I think by moving slowly I was able to take my vision and carefully place it on the board.  Sometimes it is fun to work fast and spontaneously, but sometimes when you want your values right, your warms and cools right, your complimentary colors right, I need to go slow.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pastels are calling me!

Well, I put my "in progress" watercolor canyon painting on the mantle to analyze it.  My husband and I both agree it looks better up close than from across the room.  The mantle is high, and viewing it is going to be from a distance.  It just isn't working right now.  Maybe I'll start over on the back side of the paper.  But for now....the pastels are calling!  The watercolor project fueled the desire to paint a different scene I photographed on that trip to Moab, Utah.

I started with a watercolor underpainting.  Now I am adding pastel.  You can still see the watercolor areas on the right side and bottom.  I want to go slow with this and be sensitive to the watercolor shapes that did their own thing...rather than trying to copy the photo exactly.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The largest watercolor I've tried....

Oh, boy!  A big painting - whole sheet of Arches 150 cold press.  I don't think I've ever done a full-sheet before.  It barely fits on my work table, and then, on the largest board on my easel!

I'm taking a little break from pastel to see if I can pull this off.  It is to go in a frame we already had a nice, but dated, poster in.  We looked at that poster enough years.  And it will go over the fireplace.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

"Temple Fish" pastel - finished

9 x 12 pastel on sanded paper

Well, how's this for a splash of color!  I finished this painting today. I do want to do more paintings of fish, and I'd like to improve and better the outcome, but I had fun nonetheless.

I entered Richeson 75 Landscape show, and my painting "Watching the Stream" was not a finalist (in which case you must ship your paintings to their gallery in the MidWest), but it did make the "meritorious" selection.  I am very happy.  This is the first time I entered one of their juried shows.  My painting will be printed in their catelogue, along with 100 other meritorious paintings.  I ordered the catelogue - they print a hardbound book.  I'm looking forward to receiving it.