Breaking it Down: Painting update

No title yet, (cropped) Pastel    

Here is a small peek (cropped) of the large piece I started last week.  You know, the one with the wild underpainting?  Yeah, it's not looking so "wild" anymore. 

Can you see the orange under painting peeking through?

I've come to a stop with the piece, resting and regrouping to see if it needs any adjustments before I call it finished.  My process of working on a piece takes several stages of which I thought I would briefly share.  
  • Composition and Idea identified: This is where you want to keep the viewer subliminally attracted to your work by having a focal point, a good lead in, and a path from which to explore the work. Also known at the Armature of a work. A few little thumbnails are in order here and then lightly sketched onto the painting surface.
  • Underpainting:  I like using wild complimentary colors at this stage. Sometimes you can limit your under painting to just one hue by aligning its' values with the shapes to create a founding structure of the composition.
  • Blocking In:  This is the ugly stage of each piece. This is where you paint in the large, loose shapes of the subject that are value based of the dominant color, working from dark to light in any given area.
  • Defining the Idea Further:  This is where a bit of meditation or lifted feelings begin to surface on the piece. At this point you work the idea out to it's intended message.
  • The Stewing Stage/Finishing:  This is where the piece is at now (above).  I've set it aside to "brew and stew" for a bit so I can discover any areas that need correction. Sometimes you can take a photo of it and then look at it in it's reverse stage on my monitor. You can also do this with a mirror, but I prefer the computer screen. There is usually something screaming out where you may need to adjust. Look at the proportions/dimensions, value, what's in light, what's in shade, edges, and mark making.  Also, be very careful not to over work a piece at this stage.  For me, at this point my foot rests on my brakes, ready to scream, as I know that I can easily kill a piece by overworking it.
    All these steps are summarized but for a more in depth lesson on the pastel process, I will be offering a workshop in February.... listed to the right--->
So hopefully I will finish this piece off after a few days of "stewing" before I call it done as the kids are off for two weeks.  That means there will be little or close to no painting over the Christmas break.  Certainly, I wish to start fresh for the new year.

All my best,

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Dexter #3, 6x6

"Dexter #3" 6x6" Oil

It's been a difficult day with all the tragedy in the news, I nearly felt guilty for painting today.  But painting was the only sanity I had to help me escape the talk online and on the news channels.  Here is my escape..."Dexter #3" a fun little portrait of Dexter the pencil sharpener with his sidekick to keep him company.  Dexter kind of looks a bit like R2D2, don't you think?

The other day, I visited Artists Helping Artists.  Have you heard of them?  It is an online radio broadcast by Leslie Saeta who offers discussions on how to market artwork and other very helpful topics for artists.  Leslie lists several shows from which to listen to and so I clicked on the topic "How to Create an Insanely Popular Blog".  With all the great suggestions I hope to change out a few things to make my blog more "sticky".  I started off with playing around with my Blogger layout and a few other bits here and there. So with that, I'm going to make the effort to give my blog some extra attention this coming year.  If you have a blog, what do you do to create interest and dialogue?  Is it the art, or the story? Do tell!

Stay safe and hug your loved ones more often.

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Under-painting "sneak peek"

Crazy and bold under-painting 24x24"

Nobody ever really gets to see the first stages of my work and so I thought I'd share a sneak peek into my work process. When I start out a pastel piece, I gravitate to the extreme compliments of the intended final colors. I know, you are probably thinking it looks like a throwback to the 60's. Can you hear "Yellow Submarine" playing in the background? Yeah right... but I degress. 

It reminds me of a conversation I had while painting on location at the Plein Air Convention earlier this year with a very famous artist (no name to protect the innocent).  Just as I was finishing up my LOUD under-painting, he approached my easel and conferred that I "Should really consider a better color....something like Burnt Sienna or Earth Red."  Honestly, I think he was right in his own mind, but I LOVE color.  It's really crazy of me to put such harsh pigment under a piece, but for some reason I do and humbly, the painting seems to turn out. Now, as I was working on this one tonight, it was singing to me in perfect harmony. I could see the influences of my oil painting escapades coming through onto the pastel paper.  Bold strokes. Loose marks with confidence.  I'm having fun. I hear music on my panel and I am happy. Can you imagine this one done?

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Weekend recap

A portion of the display of my work at Caswell Gallery

Coming down from a very busy weekend of holiday art events and I'm beginning to consider that I need a vacation from myself.  I had 5 events on the calender from Thursday to Sunday but I only made 3 of them and I'm feeling pretty tired, but very happy.  On Thursday, the Caswell Gallery VIP and quick draw event with artist Michael Orwick was a lot of fun. Caswell hosted their past clients to a fun evening of food, music and a quick draw/silent auction of our works created within about an hour. 

Artist Michael Orwick and myself preparing to paint a quick one.

Finished painting, sold painting, happy artist.

 Finished work ...  (Can't remember the title) 10x8" Oil  Sold

Then on Friday, Caswell Gallery had their First Friday Art Opening. I had a competing event at Art Elements Gallery that same evening, but I opted to return back to Caswell due to the following of customers and the amount of work hung. Thanks to all those who showed up to the First Friday opening, you made my evening!
Cathedral Park Place Holiday Sale

Then back at it again on Saturday morning for The Cathedral Park Place Holiday Sale.  I had several beautiful works for sale at reduced prices.  The paintings are framed in a style that I no longer employ and it is just too expensive to replace them for my future shows, so I have reduced the prices.  Here are just few of the pieces remaining for sale with FREE shipping in the Continental US.

Today I'm headed into the studio to work on a few pieces and then off to pick up the kids. No vacation plans yet, but perhaps a nap would help.

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Count them...4, and "Turp, Bestine & Phalo"

"Turp, Bestine, & Phalo" 6x6" Oil, $300.

This is a long post, so don't tell me I didn't warn you...

The Christmas season is in full swing and with that artists love to make small, affordable works for those who want a little something special. Many galleries have found this to be a great time to present small works of art that are priced to sell. Perhaps it's our way of providing someone the opportunity to consider collecting a small jewel for the very first time. Above, I offer this fresh off the easel piece of traditional artist supplies.  I plucked these little models off of the shelf of Kat's Studio 30, and painted them with such enjoyment.  They remind me of my days as a design student in college, as we used Bestine a lot. It was a solvent that graphic designers used for getting the gummy stuff off of their mock-ups and paste-up advertisements.  Yes, it's old school here, but definitely good feelings went into this one. In this piece I have worked in some interesting textures, lost and found edges, and the simple triangle composition.  This one is offered directly through me, so email through this blog if you are interested.

This season I have 4, yes four, opportunities to show my work, two of which are offering small works.  

My favorite one to participate in and I am pleased as punch to be selected into the 6" Squared show hosted annually by Randy Higbee Gallery.   Randy selects 500 or more works of art from a plethora of well known artists from across the nation. All are incredible, all are 6x6".  Randy does a great job of getting them all framed and up on the walls for their opening on Dec as well as providing a very easy way to purchase online.  All are framed in his beautiful frames.  These works below are offered in this frame HERE.  Here is the opening announcement  for the Randy Higbee Gallery in Costa Mesa  

And here are the goods....

"Adiri Vines" 6x6, Oil  
$300. Click to buy HERE

"Adiri Vines" 6x6, Oil  

And then......

And then there is the "Good Things, Small Packages" show at Art Elements Gallery.  I posted these cuties before, but I'm including them again. There will be 6 small 6x6" pastel pieces being shown in this gallery for this holiday show. These particular pieces have been recluse and enjoyed by many in my home, but hidden from public.  I have decided to offer these special pieces for this gallery from special request from Art Elements as they asked for small pieces in pastel that were priced to sell for the season. This gallery rests in the center of Oregon's Wine Country, Newberg, OR.  Here are the selections that will be offered:

"Lemons in Red Bowl" 6x6" Pastel $250

"Sometimes Being Sour has its Privileges" 6x6" Pastel  $250

"Blue Plate, Orange" 6x6" Pastel  $250

"Duet" 6x6" Pastel  $250

"Staged Zest" 6x6" Pastel  $250

These pieces will be offered through the gallery for this month only,. You can easily purchase them by calling (503) 487-6141.

And again, there is MORE!  Yes, more...

I will be showing at the 20th anniversary Gala opening at Caswell Gallery this coming Friday, Dec 7th. I will have 18 pieces up on the walls, some of which will have their first debut.  I am really excited for this show, as these pieces offer a very different side of my art making. Here are a few...

"She Wore Red" 10x8" Oil $620

'Urban Posts"  14x11" Oil  $780

"The Gates of ESCO" 12x9" Oil  $675

And finally the fourth "A Special Offering" of art...

A one shot deal. Better known as a "Pop Up" show, I will be offering several pastels at drastically reduced prices at Kat Sowa's Studio 30 on Saturday, Dec 8th. My works will be offered in this Pop Up Show at a discounted price.  Nothing is wrong with them, they are all beautiful works of art but, only because I am currently framing my work in a different frame style, it would take too much time and money for me to reframe them all. So, I've opted to release them at drastic prices.  This is a one time event.  

So that's the run down.  I do hope I didn't lose you in this long, shameless plug of self promotion as it's been a wild ride this year and it's all finally coming to a head. I feel like I've been spinning plates again, but realistically, I think I wouldn't have it any other way.  

All my best to you.