Early Vines, 9x12

"Early Vines" 9x12" Pastel on sanded paper

I've been in a funk. And I think I know what it is. Every time around the end of August and into September, I'm occupied with my kids going back to school. It's not school that makes me in a funk. Don't get me wrong here, I'm going to enjoy the extra time it allows me! But, it's the pre-school meetings, filling out the permission forms, activity registrations, and volunteer sign-ups! And then there is the paperwork for a few shows that I am preparing for! Tedious paperwork! I thought when I left corporate life there wasn't going to be much of that paperwork! It's the tedious paperwork that makes me feel stale and in a funk.

A couple of weeks ago my student came over and she wanted me to work though a painting from start to finish. As time flew by, I had to stop half way into the work till our next meeting. And so this is the finished piece. This was a lesson on warm under paintings. Most of my landscapes start with a warm under painting, and this one was screaming bright! Warm under paintings can always be cooled down, but with a cool under-painting the piece has challenges warming up. Not sure why this is, but it is.


Cultus Lake Light 12x16

"Cultus Lake Light" 12x16" Pastel on sanded paper

I've been gone for a while on vacation...having fun. My family and I took a week long trip to the Central Oregon area and stayed in a cabin just outside of LaPine, Oregon....close to the Cascade Lakes Highway. This part of the nation offers some truly spectacular mountain views, lava caves, fishing, scenic lakes, white water rafting, hiking, and just pure air! One of our day trips was spent at Cultus Lake and while the kids fished and swam in the water, I painted my heart out! I've painted this lake before and this time I had a viewpoint of the marina with the boats at rest. And...add a Carona beer besides my pochade box along with my painting buddy Gretha, (who met up with us for a day) and you could say I was in heaven!

If you haven't guessed by now...I'm the one sitting. No, I'm not a beer drinker, but the heat of the day only gave me more of that funny feeling than usual. Hence the BIG smile! I guess I'm a lightweight.


Recycling Pastel Chips, Rolling Your Own

Every summer, when the weather is warm and dry, I gather my leftover pastel chips and re-roll some new ones. This is a great way to recycle those small bits that are hard to handle and are great colors, but you just don't want to part with. I also collect the pastel dust that gathers in a tray beneath my easel too. There is a way to save this awesome pigment from the trash! So what I do is gather them into groups of the same colors and values. I don't get too picky here, because no chip goes to waste if it doesn't fit any one category of color. Here is my tray of chips that I've spent through over the year.

What you'll need:
Paper towels
non-cerated knives (just a couple of them)
spray bottle with distilled water
latex or rubber gloves
ziploc baggies
spoon or mortar and pestal to grind down the chips

I've divided them into color groups onto another tray.

Next, I place one of the color groups into a ziplock baggie to keep everything together as well as clean on my hands. I begin to crush the chips with a mortor and pestal or you can use the back side of a large spoon. You will want to get all the chips smashed into a dusty pile within the baggie.

I then have a spay bottle of distilled water that I spray into the baggie of dust, being careful to not let the dust raise from the baggie. I begin to smush and kneed it into a paste, trying to crush the remaining tiny chips.

I've pulled some of the pigment paste from the baggie. If too much water was added, you can use a paper towel to absorb the watery paste. The pigment sticks together quite well, so don't worry.

I begin to roll it and fold it with my gloved hands. This is the fun part because it's like rolling playdough! Roll it until all the pigment has no hard chips and all the color has mixed evenly. Be careful not to touch your face or anything; use your paper towels to pick up things with your gloved hands. Almost done....

Here is what I came up with. As you can guess, I have taken some of my recycled piles of color and added some additional Wallis Pastel pigment to the mix to give me a greater range of colors. The yellow one was not originally a recycled color...it was made from the pure Wallis Pigment...hence the intensity of color.

Now you can roll and recycle your chips!


Plein Air Painters of Oregon Annual Show

"Edge of Summer" 11x14" Pastel on sanded paper

"Dahlias In Cornelius" 9x12" Pastel on sanded paper

On any given day, those on the web and use email for much of their communications...like I know you do....get emails like there are flies on poop! Yes, I know that sounds harsh, but really, we get these emails and some go unopened for a week before we know what we have. This goes for me especially. Like today, I finally opened one up that looked like it could be spam, but not sure of the sender, however the subject line seemed legit. "Congratulations on your paintings!" Hmmm....thank goodness it didn't get dumped in the trash because it was a notice that my work "Dahlias In Cornelius" and "Edge of Summer" was accepted into the Plein Air Painters of Oregon's Annual show. These two pieces will be hanging with a total of 40 works painted plein air and the subject is purely Oregon. WOOHOOO! Can you tell I'm excited!

Here's the details...
"Celebration Oregon!" Plein Air Exhibition
In honor of Oregon's 150th birthday
October 1-31, 2009
Bend, Oregon
Cindy Briggs, juror.


Mt. Tabor Firs, 12x9

"Tabor Firs" 9x12" Pastel on sanded paper Sold

The final day of the Mt. Tabor Celebration was another hot one, reaching temps around 100 degrees. My friend Gretha Lindwood and I demonstrated pastel painting over by the artist's tent. Above is my piece from the demo on Sunday and I'm really liking the final results.
I began with a bright orange under painting of pastel and turpenoid. Then blocking in cool and warm colors, I built up the composition and finished off with minor details of branches and highlights on the ground.

This paint out was organized by artist Shawn Demarest and hosted by Muse Art & Design. For such a grass roots beginning, they did a great job and I think this will be a new event to attend in the years to come. What started out to be a small 2-day paint out, ended up to be a gathering of around 40 plein air artists during the entire week. I sincerely appreciate the effort Shawn put into this idea and making it happen with such grace.