Goal writing + Plein Air Magazine Interview

"West Vineyard View" 11x14", Pastel  ┬ęBrenda Boylan

For those of you who read my blog may or may not know that each year I make it a point to write my goals down in the beginning of each year.  I've been doing this since 2000 and I can honestly say that it is the best way to create your life and actually make it happen. Goal writing can be personal and very uncomfortable the very first time writing them down.  Sometimes my direction changes a bit along the way, but for the most part it is consistent with my ultimate goals as an artist.  This year started out pretty good because one of my goals (#2  Get published in a magazine) is about to happen!  Give me the chills or call it good karma, writing goals down on a piece of paper really works.  What happens is the act of writing them down and the subconscious work hand in had to move you towards that goal.  I never write lofty goals down, only the attainable ones make the list.  No more than five to six goals per year and each goal outlined with the small steps to make it happen.  Somehow, it happens more than not and by golly this one did!

So the good news is Plein Air Magazine has found my work worthy of notice (including this piece above) and I'm thrilled to be included in such a magazine.  Look for the April/May Issue on the newsstands this coming March about my pastel painting process and more.  Oh, and I must mention my friend Thomas J. Kitts, whom I paint with here in Portland, is taking the stage too with Plein Air Magazine.

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Date secured for Pastel Punch! workshop in Portland

Time to get another Pastel Punch workshop scheduled for those of you who want to learn about pastel or wishing how to push your pastel work to another level.  I've secured a location and date to be held March 30~April 1st, 2012 at Sowa Studios in St. Johns, Portland.  This beautiful artist's studio has great natural lighting and mood, plenty of room to paint, and a small cafe' in the building for a cup of Joe.  I will be teaching my method of painting and there will be plenty of reference material for you to practice with, stretching your confidence and encouraging you on.  I will also be diving into the mystery and method of framing pastels, (provided the majority of students wish) and wrapping up with an encouraging critique.  We work fast and cover a lot of material in this workshop.  There is room for only 10 students in this class with a minimum of 6 to start.  For more details, click here.

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First Impressions

"Sitting Still", 10x8" o/c

Today I joined up with a number of painting friends to paint a live model, but today was different than any other. I stepped out of my comfort zone and brought my brand new pochade box with brand new oils, instead of the ol' familiar box-O-rocks pastels. I think I did OK with all the uncomfortable, bumbling around with paint brushes and solvent. Gosh it was frustrating at first, but let me share what I learned today about painting with oils (reminder, this is coming from a dusty fingered artist's perception)

1. Always wear old clothing or an apron because no matter how careful you are, oil paint is like a magnet and somehow finds it's way with you.

2. Mixing oils takes a millennium, compared to the spontaneous pick and peck of pastels. Ok, I admit, I got a little help from an experienced oily friend with a few colors, but once I got the brain thinking 'color wheel' I began to enjoy the process.

3. This is NOT finger painting! I found myself wanting to smear, wipe, or blend directly with my fingers. No tactile relationships allowed here.

4. Being patient. No room for espresso pastels while learning to paint with oil. I discovered that it will probably take a lifetime to understand the complexities of oil painting. A very humbling feeling.

5. Remembering the child within. Once I decided that today was NOT a day to make a nice painting and impress my peers, but rather a day of discovering oil, then I was able to move forward faster. After all, it's supposed to be fun. But wait! Did I write the word "faster"? Yup, It's not espresso, but relaxing and having fun made for better learnig AND a nice first impression of oil painting.

Here I am, feeling clumbsy, with my brand new never seen the light of day pochade box!
Thanks Celeste Bergin for the photo!

Updated 1/14/12


Trusting myself with oil

"Unwavering Stream", 24x36" o/c  ┬ęBrenda Boylan

Over the past year, I have had many discussions and thoughts about rediscovering painting with oils as a means of discovery and possibly expanding my work.  When I was a very young artist, I had impromptu lessons in oil painting from my neighbor Robert Guise, who at the time was 76 years old and grumpy as grit.  He believed in me and showed me the artist's life.  I  continued to play and practiced with the medium up until I was in college and into my young adulthood.  But when I found pastel, back in 1994, I was so hooked that I packed the oily stuff away and never looked back.  A big part of this decision to switch was because I had started a family and the thought of oil medium and turpentine spilling or getting into young hands was not a picture I wanted in my family album.  Pastel is spontaneous, forgiving, and if you have to stop quickly for some reason, (like a baby waking from a nap) you can just wash your hands and go!  No turps and solvents, oils drying, ruining brushes before I can find time to clean them, to stop me from my family duties.  So pastel it was!

A lot of time has passed and I'm ready to explore oil again as a complement to my pastel work, but I admit, I am doing this with a ton of apprehension.  I'm trusting myself that failure and growth are part of the journey, willing to explore and learn as I enter back into the world of oils.  So, please, join me in my journey as I grow into the medium.  And to all you lovers of pastel, I'm not abandoning my joy of the dusty medium, just complimenting it.  Happy new year!

Above:  A large piece I did in waaaay back in 1988.  Woah!