In case you are wondering!

Just in case you are wondering why I haven't posted anything new for this week...here comes the excuse....I've been busy working on entering shows and setting up my new computer. My new computer is just like my old one, but I have a few glitches I still need to iron out. So the story goes. I feel rusty not having painted anything. I hope to post something new probably by the end of next week, so stay tuned!


Dune Path (study), 6x6

"Dune Path, study" 6x6" Pastel on sanded paper

As I sit in my cold studio this morning, I long for much warmer days. Even thought the sun is out, and spring is on it's way...I still linger for the heat of the sun, wearing shorts and tank tops, painting plein air and sipping a frosty drink. Sounds like I just took a mental vacation. This little painting reminds me of the times at the beach at Greyhound Rock, CA. where we'd go as a family to romp in the waves and play hide and seek in the grassy dunes. Always returning home with a suburn and sand to wash off. Oh, those were fun days!

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Harvest Glow, 24x24

Every year, I re-evaluate what I've done and where I want to go with my work. It's a yearly exercise that has moved me forward at a comfortable pace. Sometimes, but not always, I have to re-adjust my goals mid-year. Then to top it off, I write down one word or phrase that encapsulates my yearly goal. Do you write your goals out for the year?

One of my written goals for this year is to create a series of 12 large farm scenes in a variety of seasons and time of day. I had previously painted and posted "Color Field" which I am very satisfied with and plan to keep for my own personal enjoyment. "Harvest Glow" is the same point of view as "Color Field" from the family farmhouse. You can see the similarities in both paintings, however I may re-align the trees a bit from painting to painting to add variety to the series. In the sky I used a variety of colors and inspirations to create this completely made up sky. No, it's not from any particular photo resource, except for the layout of this farm scene. So you may say I'm using some creative license on this one.

As always, I like to show the work in progress (WIP) of my larger, more elaborate work for those visitors who are curios about how I do it. Enjoy!

Before I apply any medium, I will lightly sketch with pastel pencils and mark my guidelines for the piece. This is a road map of sorts and is always being readjusted as I move along in the piece. As always, I paint an underpainting. I use Createx Pure Pigment paints for this first step. I wanted a glowing feel to the finished piece so I used very vivid, warm colors of orange and red-orange. I cover all of the white Wallis paper so no little specks of white peek through.

Figuring out the values of the sky is what I tend to work on first. This is simply because it is the most distant element of the painting and I'd like it to be "layered" as I go along. I also began with the dark tree line as well to help establish my darkest values too.

Adding more colors to the distant sky including the light, fluffy drifts above. Throughout the painting process I ended up reworking the clouds quite a bit since these were imaginary and had nothing to go by.

I'm working at a fast pace now, moving from ground to sky to distant hills and back again. I'm thinking of putting a little of that cool purple in the field and sky to help hold the piece together.

Quieting down now, my work becomes focused on detail and mood. I ask myself many questions at this point near the finishing point. Does the distant view between the break in the trees draw too much attention? Does the eye move through the piece? Do I have good value and color contrast, yet united in scope? Your thoughts are encouraged.


"Pause for Reeds, study" 6x6

"Pause for Reeds" study, 6x6" Pastel on sanded paper

Working on the subject of water is always like coming back home from an exhausting trip. It's such a peaceful subject to work on, with all it's qualities calling out to be painted; calm, cool, and relaxing. This is another small study, only 6x6" that just takes an afternoon to work out. These little studies give me the satisfaction of finishing a piece as my family schedule demands. At the time, taking on pastel as my medium was almost dictated by my life with small children, but I'm telling you now that I'll probably die working in pastels. Pastels are so quick to work with, letting me rework without regret. Instantly you have color! And no wait! How could anyone not want to work in pastels? Yeah, I've heard that they are messy, but so is oil! And even more, no mixing either! But what has sold me on pastels was the brilliant color it holds. Dripping with saturated pigment, sometimes diluted with a shade lighter, but the color just makes me drool. I've said it once while discussing with other artists about a piece that makes me drool, "I could LICK it!" The looks I get from those who don't know me well enough..."Ahh," I say to you, "try them and you'll see!" Delicious color, ahhh!


I got "hung" at City Hall!

"Dinghies at Rest" 6x6" Pastel on sanded paper

I got hung at City Hall! No, not with a noose! Although there are probably a few people who'd like to see that one! My work was hung today at Beaverton City Hall in the offices of Mayor Denny Doyle. This was a spur of the moment opportunity, and I was prepared for such an event. So this morning I went down with 16 of my pieces and hung them up. Tomorrow, I will return to hang 3 more larger pieces in the foyer of that building. Location is listed on the right in my "Upcoming Events" section for time and dates.

Here is a new piece that I'd call a "study" only because it's such a small piece. I like working on these small 6x6" studies because they give me the opportunity to see if the piece works before committing to a large work. Not only that, they are fast to paint! Although my previous post was just that; a large, somewhat-experimental piece, I'm not disappointed with the outcome. I probably should have done a study first because the gold leaf was such a messy process. Oh well....anyway, this little one has a nice composition. I've used a predominantly cool palette here with just a smudge of complimentary orange. Enjoy!