New events and Mandarin Cuties, 12x12

'Mandarin Cuties' 12x12" Acrylic on canvas

Back in the studio after a small Spring Break and I'm so glad to be rested and ready to work. Upon return to my regular routine, I was greeted by 2 acceptance notices; Randy Higbee's 6" Squared show in Costa Mesa, and the Trilogy 2011 Winemakers Dinner and Quick Draw event at the Allison Resort in Newberg Oregon.

The online buzz about submitting art to Randy Higbee's 6x6" show went viral, so viral that he had 1,200 submissions for a show that hosts 300 pieces of art. I'm glad to be included for the second time around, and will be sending 'Passing Point' and 'So. Cal Sentry' down to Costa Mesa for a beautiful frame and a great show. Info on the dates are listed in the 'Upcoming Events' column to the right.

A yearly event, The Allison Resort and Spa hosts a Winemaker's Dinner and Quick Draw with 18 artists from the Northwest area. We begin painting in the afternoon and complete the piece with a beautiful frame before dinner. Then the excitement gets going with the finished pieces on the auction block. Contrast and color are my focus for this event plus a little wine sipping and making new friendships with other artists and collectors. Fun should be had by all!

Today I had my young art student over for her lesson, and while she worked on her piece I finished this piece (above) that I had started last week. It was nice to come back to it with fresh eyes. I kept thinking of those elusive 'lost and found' edges as well as getting some of that internal glow that oranges have. Not sure if I got it, but hey, I'm happy with it. Acrylic is really hard, but it's a nice break from pastels and I'm finding it fun. I somehow found my way with the canvas with a few struggles with the glazing of the paint and trying to keep loose. I'd love to hear what you think of this because I may consider working with acrylic or oils for additional support to my pastel work. What do you think?

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Challeging paintings, Entering Spring, 24x24

Entering Spring, 24x24" Pastel on sanded paper

I think paintings have their inherent personalities. Sometimes a painting just practically paints itself, while others simply fight the whole way through to the trash. Most are somewhere in the middle. This one painting was just a challenge to paint. I had started this one last year and then put it away after the plein air season hit. I finally decided to pull it out of moth ball storage and finish it because it belongs in a series that will hang in a show this coming May at American Art Co. It originally had a barn in the field, but it looked so contrived, that I just decided to wash it off with a hose. I also believe this one was so difficult to paint because I made no preliminary sketches or value studies and then just hit the easel running. And running I did all the way up hill. Augh!
Anyway, I'm thrilled it's done and I'm actually pleased with the outcome. Next time, break out the sketch book wouldja, Brenda?

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Revisiting: Reflections On Blue, 21x30

'Reflections On Blue' (revisited) 21x30" Pastel on sanded paper

There are times when a painting just sits and never goes out to show off. I have had this painting (below) for some time and decided I just wanted to foof it up a bit, adding some looseness to the water, softening edges, changing the composition...like everything was so wrong! I still kept most of the image intact, but it now has a new and improved face. Below is the original painting that I foofed with. See if you can tell what's changed. Better? I think so. Although it's not a general rule for me to pull a painting from the comfort of it's frame and rework it after, say 10 years, but hey why not? I usually just move it and get on with the new stuff. This revised piece will be up for live auction at the Portland Waterfront Marriot for the Mt. Hood Community College Foundation dinner and auction. Info for this event is listed in the 'Upcoming Events' section to the right.

'Reflections On Water' (first time around)

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Expanding the mind, Tea Cup and Cherries, 12x12

'Tea Cup and Cherries' 12x12" Acrylic

I thought I'd try something different and work with acrylic! I know, I'm a pure hearted pastelist who favors the dusty fingered method. But recently I read that artists should try new mediums every so often to spice things up a bit. So, on Sunday I had a new student (11 year old) over for a lesson and she wanted to work with acrylics for a class project in school. Even though I'm not an acrylic painter, the knowledge of how to create is still intact and transfers well. So we jumped into the medium with a new sense of adventure.

I noticed the acrylic was very slippery, and I was awkward using a paintbrush. This 'extension' of my fingers made a distinct discord with me and at times I just had to have my fingers into the action, like smearing and smudging where the acrylic was mis-applied. There was definitely not as much forgiveness as pastel. Well, anyway, I've painted and posted this image a dozen times over and probably will continue to paint it because it has a nice combination of warm and cool colors. It also made it easy to repaint because I only had to think about the medium and not the image as much. In the end the acrylic wasn't so bad. I've been flirting with oils , but I think I'll try to master the brush a bit more before investing in another medium.

Image source: Wetcanvas