Sunday, January 31, 2010

More Floral Studies

I'm having a ball! The workshop I'm taking has energized me so much and has given me the chance to take some time off from two other large pieces that are taking much longer than I thought to finish. I have also been having fun preparing my own pastel surfaces with the colors I like.

The tulips were my first study from yesterday's workshop. I purposely used the busy fabric because the colors reflected those of the tulips and the vase, but also because I wanted to force myself not to give much detail to the background.

After the tulips, the daffodils seemed like a piece of cake but those flowers are difficult to paint if one starts with the brightest yellow. I had to tone them down by adding pale greens and lavender to the shaded areas.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Small Floral Studies

I'm taking a 3-Saturday floral workshop with Mary Padgett, a local artists who paints gorgeous flowers. While I have taken two other workshops with her before, this time around I wanted to concentrate on mark making and color.

One of the things we covered in the first class was the importance of the paper color to better enhance the subject. To that end we prepared several sheets of watercolor paper using Golden's Acrylic Ground for Pastels, mixed with acrylics or Micaceous Iron Oxide (this one produces a shiny, dark gray surface with great tooth). While the prepared paper was drying, I had time for two small studies, both done on Uart paper. The first one (top), was well thought, and I purposely didn't do any blending with my fingers. The second one (lilies) was more for the purpose of handling complementary colors, and it was done in a hurry.

Today, I painted two more, using two of the papers I prepared: orange for the sunflower, and yellow-orange for the daisies. Each was done in about half an hour. More time than that and I would have started blending. For next class, we were promised some spring flowers...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sidewalk Garden, 8"x 10"

I think I'm finally done with this painting. It had been sitting on a small easel in my studio, and while I was taking a break from a larger painting, I decided to finish it. A small bush by the focal area needed to go; then, a few tweaks here and there, and that was it.

It was a very challenging piece since I wanted to represent midday conditions, with light reflecting from different angles. This meant using different colors from the ones I'm used to, and because it was also a busy scene, I had to be careful and not give too much detail to the foreground.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Fog at McCauley Mt, Adirondacks, 12" x 9"

Last October, I was invited to participate in a two-weekend plein air paint out and auction to support the Arts Center at Old Forge. The only day I was able to participate turned out to be drizzly and foggy. We were given some locations to choose from, so I headed for McCauley Mt. since I had never been there. I had to work from the back of my van because the drizzle had turned into rain. Half an hour into my painting, the sun came out, and a little later hordes of people started to head for the chair lifts to enjoy the great fall colors. I had good time talking to a group of Amish or Mennonite women who showed interest in what I was doing and seemed fascinated by the pastel sticks.

When I considered the painting done, I headed to another location to start another scene. I ended up donating my second painting because although I liked the first one more, I knew it was not quite right yet.

At home, I did several changes to the painting, and still was not satisfied with the results. Finally, I realized what the problem was. The change in weather conditions at the time, had made me change colors in the middle of my work, and mentally, I was fighting with what I wanted to represent. After serious consideration, I decided to paint what had struck me the most, which was the fog coming down the mountain.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunrays, 7 1/2" x 19" (tweaked)

This is as it stands on my easel, after some good ideas from Wet Canvas members. I'm much happier with this. If I were to paint sun rays like these again, I would probably work on Wallis or Uart paper (this is Colourfix). The key is to use fixative and let it dry completely before attempting the sun rays. I dragged a TLudwig pastel for the rays and then, pressing hard, I slid my finger from where the ray peaks to the ground to achieve the hazy effect. I wiped my finger (as it can still catch pigment from the fixed layer underneath) and proceeded with the other rays.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sunrays, 7 1/2" x 19"

This painting started as a procrastination piece when I was in the midst of serious house cleaning these past holidays. I think I'm done with it, but will let it rest for a while as I'm sure I'll find something to tweak.

In my family, we call sunbeams through clouds "the glory" because it's so awe inspiring.

Monday, January 4, 2010

2009 in review

2009 was a great year for me: I participated in my first national competition and won and award, had more sales than the previous year, and made some interesting connections. But one thing I learned is that you need to spend time getting out there and promoting yourself.
Also, two of my large paintings have new homes, which has given me the encouragement to continue working in a larger format.

My studio is clean and rearranged so it looks spacious. Now if I could only overcome this artist block...

Corn Field at Noon, 19" x 27" SOLD

Indecision at the Flower Farm, 19" x 27" SOLD