A bit of SSP (aka Shameless Self Promotion)

"NW 23rd at Johnson" 8x10, Oil

Last year, the Plein Air Convention was first launched and was widely attended by plein air artists from across the globe. When I first heard of it, I longed to go but reasoned it was not worth the expense. As the date drew closer, I became more convinced that I must go and gathered my gear and set out with some like minded artists. I'm forever grateful that I did because of the inspiration and friends I made there is still strong and growing.  I am honored and excited to be included as a Demonstrating Field Artist for this years event and lineup.  Imagine learning and painting alongside artists Kathleen DunphyKen Auster, Scott Christiansen, Kim Lordier,  Ned Mueller, Camille Przewodek, and so many other talented artists too many to list? I strongly encourage you to attend if you can figure out how to make it a reality. The event will be held April 10~14th in the beautiful California coastal town of Monterey.

Above is a plein air painting (unfinished) from last fall and I'm not sure if I had ever posted it before. Looking at it now, it reminds me of the warm, dry weather we had and the fun I had with the other artists as we painted and chatted along. There were several pedestrians around, curious about art being created on the spot. Not a common sight for the general public to see, but if you are ever do catch us about, do stop by and say "Hi."

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Workshop Schedule , Feb 8-10 and Sept 20-22

"Cafe' Seating" 13x8.5" Pastel

I'm excited to be offering two pastel workshops this year and have listed them below. For those "out of town'ers" who would rather not drive the distance each day, I would gladly recommend a few hotels during your workshop experience. Just let me know if you need help.

Pastel Punch!

(a few spots left)

Learn the secrets of this intensely expressive and colorful medium in an artistic environment. This 3 day workshop will be held in the beautiful Sequia Gallery & Studios in downtown Hillsboro.  Designed for all artistic levels who want to learn what it takes to make knock-out pastel paintings.  Drawing skills are recommended and you will have photo references as well as still lifes sets (your choice) for each lesson. Students can expect to work a variety of exercises stressing the unique qualities of pastel while concentrating on composition, value, and color theory, as well as pastel safety and framing. Students will stretch their creativity with the given exercizes and are not expected to complete a finished work in class. 

Sequoia Gallery
136 SE 3rd
Hillsboro Oregon 97123
United States

Call Sequoia to register at (503) 693-0401
Download Supply List HERE
Registration through Sequoia Gallery

This workshop will be for those beginning to advanced students who desire an intensive pastel experience both in the studio and en plein air. The first two days will be in the studio working on important key points of pastel with given exercises stressing composition, mark making, values, and color theory plus a whole lot more. On the final day, weather permitting, we will venture outdoors (TBD) to put into practice what you have learned in the studio. Brenda will teach you how to be effective in the field, simplifing pastel supplies, what to look for in the scene, and other factors the plein air experience brings. Brenda has participated in several competitive plein air festivals on the west coast and has been selected to be a Demonstrating Field Artist at the Plein Air Convention in Monterey, CA in April, 2013.

2185 SW Park Place
Portland Oregon 97205
United States

For more information call Brenda at (503)702-2403
Download Registration Form HERE
Download Supply List HERE

Pastel Punch!

Now in the planning stages, The Emerald Valley Art Center will be hosting this 3-day workshop in March of 2014. Also, If you would like to have me teach in your area I am currently looking for sponsors. Please contact me if you would like to make this a reality.

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She's Not Perfect (nude), 16x12

"She's Not Perfect" 16 x 12" Pastel

"She's Not Perfect" (cropped)

A few years back, I think it was fall of 2011, I went out with a few artists to a shoreline on the Columbia River Gorge that is best known for it's nudity (Rooster Rock). No, I did not paint in the nude, but I'm sure some other artist has done it before. We went out with a model to paint her in the open view of the Gorge. It was beautiful out, but not warm enough to have our model pose in the water as was our intention. Regardless, this is one of two I painted in a 3 hour period, this one being the more colorful of the two. It was one of those modeling sessions that everything was just flowing...including the time. Swept up in the experience, I forgot to pick up my kids from school and we were an hour out of town!  It was one of those "pedal to the metal" days, but so much fun. "She's Not Perfect" is just that, proportions are off, but I still love this piece and will probably study it's colors for some time. I used an orange under-painting and modified it with neutralized colors. Hope you enjoy her.

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Approaching Fog, Winter's Neutral Command, Pastel Punch Workshop

"Approaching Fog" 16x12" Pastel

This past week I gave a pastel demonstration at Sequoia Gallery to a group of 15 students on my pastel painting process. The focus of this particular demo was the use of a dry under-painting. Most of my works are started with a wet underpainting of pastel and turpenoid, or pastel and alcohol. Both have their benefits and disadvantages. However, with the dry method, you can use a pastel to block in the under laying colors and then brush it out to with a paper towel to completely cover the paper surface. This is great because the paper is dry and you can immediately begin working your idea out with waiting for the surface to dry. The disadvantage of this method is that the pastel dust gets EVERYWHERE! Anyway, this painting is from a photo source from which which I had painted plein air last summer. The sun was rising and the low lying fog was glimmering in the early rays of light, casting a soft rose light upon all that was in it's ray.  

This demo was a teaser for my upcoming Pastel Punch Workshop this coming February 8~10th at Sequoia Gallery. For details on the workshop, visit my website HERE.  Class size is limited to 10 students, so register soon to avoid wait listing.

"Winter's Neutral Command" 8x10" Oil

Gratefully, it has been unusually sunny for the past 5 days here which has caused the temps to be pretty c c c c o l d.  It was hard not to notice the cooler colors and provocative long shadows of winter. Being the fair weathered plein air artist that I am, I had to try just this once to paint out in the frosty weather to to see what I thought of it. With winter painting you can expect to wear layers and layers of clothing. Standing in a spot with direct sunlight can be a problem for your eyes and palette, but it sure makes for a warmer experience. By the end of the painting session, the temps had risen to a near 31 degrees and so I was comfortable removing my woolen caps. The water had a beautiful thin layer of ice and for the first time I was able to witness the unusual sight of a goose "walking on water".
This is one of two plein air studies I worked on and honestly, I'm not sure if I am truly satisfied with it. Even though the sun was out, I think these winter colors are dull and boring...unlike my first impression of the day. I suppose I love color more than anything in a work of art. Perhaps I should try this cold weather painting a few more times to get a true evaluation of the colors of winter before giving it such a harsh criticism. Either that, or stay indoors with a space heater and a cup of tea and honey.

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Grandma's Best, 6x6

"Grandma's Best" 6x6" Oil

When I was a newlywed, I inherited a few of my Grandma's (RIP) collection of teacups. At the time I thought they were cute, useless little things and then proceeded to put them up in the cabinet to keep for another day. As I have matured over the years I have come to appreciate them a whole lot more. I think of them a lot like collecting fine art. I wonder what each teacup and saucer's 'story' is and how my Grandma acquired each one. Were they gifts from special friends or collected from her many road trips with Grandpa after the harvest? (they were farmers in Oregon) As I continue to explore oil painting to enhance my pastel work, painting small studies keeps things simple for this dual medium artist. They are small enough for a short session at Studio 30, big enough to call it "work". I wish my Grandma could see this piece as I'm sure she would be happy to see her collection appreciated ever so much. It is my way of telling her "I love you".

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Woven Hills of Adiri, 24x24 and New Year notes

"Woven Hills of Adiri" 24x24" Pastel

Here is the finished piece I posted about last week. It took me a few more days to finally call it complete, stalled by Christmas and New Years guests, parties, presents, and much needed sleep. But the vacation is over and now it's back to work, out and about and in the studio. I am looking forward to it all. Part of my goals include more adventures, teaching more workshops, and perhaps add a few new galleries in the mix. 

Today I went over to Kat's "Studio 30" in Saint John's to paint a still life. Kat's Studio is a very warm and welcoming place that offers several painting opportunities for artists.  Celeste Bergin posts work from the paint-out sessions held every Friday at Studio 30 on the Alla Prima Portland Blog. Today I worked on a still life, but I think I still have a few marks to make on it before calling it good. 

"Jelly Jar" 6x6" Oil

Oils have been a lot of fun and I love learning new things every time I pick up a paintbrush. Today's effort I used a palette knife for 70% of this piece. Can you tell?

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