Favell Museum recap

This past weekend I zipped on down to The Favell Museum with fellow artist Michael Orwick for the opening at the Favell Art Museum's Invitational Art show. The museum's intention was to help promote the museum and it's reach to the region and beyond, broadening it's scope of art and art awareness in the area. They had invited about 30 artists from the Oregon and Northern California region to show and share their talents with the patrons of Klamath County. Some very interesting lectures were given throughout the weekend as well as a few demonstrations of the artists work.

From Which the River Flows West, 14x11" Oil

Here is my demo at the museum. Funny, I should have demonstrated pastels because that was what I had on display at the museum. Ooops! Anyway, I was prepared to paint plein air but the weather turned wet, so we moved the demonstration inside. Because of the switch, I ended up working from a black and white photo that Michael Orwick lent me.

My demonstration in the lower level to a crowd of onlookers, including a cameraman with a mic.

The museum was packed with visitors throughout the opening weekend.

My display wall. Lf to Rt: Passing Point, Rio on Soquel, Crossing the Perch, and Lily Dance, 24x24" on Wallis sanded paper.

On the evening of the opening reception all of the artists were in attendance, well, all except one. That says a lot for the museum as it does the caliber of the artists. The event was festive with music, h'our'deuvres, and many, many patrons of the arts. The artwork was displayed on both the main floor and the lower floor with panache. 

Being a pastelist, I have always wanted to attend the IAPS Convention and had often wanted to meet other pastel artists who are well known for their masterful work. Here is Dawn Emerson, PSA, and Ilene Gienger-Stanfield PSA, who were in attendance at the Favell.

Me with fellow pastel artists Dawn Emerson, and Ilene Gienger-Stanfield

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Pastels Inside & Out Workshop recap

This past weekend I taught my pastel workshop in Portland, Oregon at the Oregon Society of Artists to a handful of very engaged students. My focus was to share everything I know about pastels, and then have my students give them a try outdoors painting en plein air.

Preparing for a workshop takes much thought and preparation, so much so that I found myself waking up in the middle of the night coming up with new ways to teach my lessons. That's when all the best ideas come, in the middle of the night, right? A few weeks before the workshop, I called upon my favorite vendor Terry Ludwig Pastels to see if I could get a few pastel samples for my students.  He generously sent me these two boxes and we divided them up equally for each student. What a treat! The rectangle shaped pastels on the right apparently didn't quite make the "color match" for his colorful sets, yet they still have the wonderful consistency and texture I've come to expect. The box on the left are neutral mixtures that were hand rolled and made into unique shapes with small notes of creativity written on top. I especially like the heart shaped ones. Thank you Terry!

I also went to the Wallis Sanded Paper warehouse and picked up a big pile of paper for my students to use just in case they needed more. For three days we discussed everything pastels:  the nature of pastels, how to keep the studio dust free and safe, studying values in art, mounting pastel paper, storing finished pieces, shipping, the complicated job of framing pastels, colorful underpainting techniques, modifying colors, mark making, color theory, and composition. Some points of the lessons could easily translate over to other mediums, but are so valuable for all artists.  

A simple way to "catch" the pastel dust at your easel. Use a 2" wide strip of masking tape and tape it to the bottom of your easel. When finished painting, just gently roll up and dispose.

Having a "cropping tool" is one of my essential tools in the studio that I use over and over again to rearrange the composition of my source images.

The one point I wanted to drive home with my students was the importance of values and understanding how to see them. Before each lesson the students sketched with pencils their preliminary images, squinting their eyes a lot to simplify information.  They referred to their color wheels and value finders to aid in the process. We then created value studies using our colorful pastels to train the eyes, helping them fine tune and become aware of values for better painting. 

Here are couple of quick sketches of my students work prior painting to help them find and group three or four values in their work.

Here is my demonstration on values. I used 10 sticks of pastel ranging from dark to light (2 for each color block) in a 4-value sketch. See sketch above.

We then worked on mark-making, the one distinction that pastel excels at than any other medium.  Notice a common theme?

Because of the pace of the workshop, I demonstrated several pieces showing the major point of the lesson, but never completely finishing any of them because I wanted the students to get right down to working.  One of the lessons was on under painting with alcohol and then again another with Gamsol. For the Gamsol underpainting, we first lightly scumbled pastel in value blocks and then washed the scumbled pastel with the dispenser. We used a hand held blow dryer to hasten in the drying process.

Blocking in the under painting with one hue then washed with Gamsol.

My demonstration (incomplete)

A quick demo on color modification (incomplete)

Some student work:

Students value studies.  As my first pastel teacher Kitty Wallis once told me, 
"Values do all the work, color gets all the glory".

You have to be flexible with teaching workshops, as they do take on a life of their own. On the final day of the workshop it rained a typical Portland rain, so I changed up the schedule and demonstrated a plein air piece looking outside the large window overlooking turn of the century homes.  We discussed the challenges of painting plein air with pastels, and then went on to complete our works. We wrapped up the workshop with a group critique and we went home full of new ideas. 

I want to thank the Oregon Society of Artists for asking me to hold a workshop at their facility. They are very easy to work with and provided me with a facilitator, Michael to aid in opening, setting up, and closing of the building.

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ART Elements video, Favell Museum Invitation

A quick video on "Why we paint plein air"

This is the last week of the Willamette Plein Air Showcase at ART Elements Gallery in the wine country of Newberg, OR. If you have not visited this show, you should!  It's such a great treat to see the work, with four individual perspectives by artists Don Bishop, Romona Youngquist, Michael Orwick and myself. I hear that the Willamette Valley is much like the rural areas of France, but without the passport, so perhaps a Sunday drive out along with some wine tasting is in order. So come on out and see why we love to paint this region called the Great Northwest before the show closes on September 21st.

Somehow I got on somebody's radar.  I don't know how, but a while back I was asked if I would like to be included in an Invitational Show along with a selection of West Coast artists at the Favell Museum.  Are you kidding me? Of course I would!  I would be delighted to hang my work in a Museum's Invitational Art Show and Sale.  Feeling kinda special here now I guess cuz I'll get to hang with some of my friends, Don Precthel, Theresa Andreas O'Leary, Michael Orwick, Michael Gibbons, and fellow pastelists Dawn Emerson and Ilene Geinger-Stanfield.  The museum will host a 2-day opening with a variety of activities and lectures to launch the month long show. For the opening, I will be demonstrating a plein air painting on the Klamath River just outside of the Museum walls on Sunday, Sept 29th.  Perhaps you may be in the area to stop by the show?

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Painting Alleys + Award from PNWPA

"Oakland Alley" 14x11" Oil

As part of what I'd call my "juggling life series", I continue with a small breather at home to regroup and gather my thoughts, and to tidy up my studio. Last week I drove to Roseburg to judge the Umpqua Plein Air held by the Umpqua Valley Arts Association. While I had my share of duties for the event, they also gave me ample time to paint. My first duty was to give an opening "pep talk" after the artist dinner, so I chatted about "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" of plein air painting. It was a humor filled discussion along with audience participation. 

For my first chance out to paint, I took a drive north to Oakland to paint the historic downtown. (image above) The locals were wondering just why I would paint an ugly alley instead of one of the cute storefronts. Perhas it's just artistic license?

But before my trip down to Roseburg, I stopped off in Creswell, OR to paint the only scenic alley in that area. 

"Crewell Alley' 14x11" Oil

As seen from my easel

Have you ever had the final say on art? 
It's not easy. I think there is a bit of uncertainty with judging as well as a bit of artistic weight to what  a judget brings to the table. In an effort to be fair, I used a list of criteria that I assembled to aid in my judging, hoping to eliminate any personal favorites, regardless of the painter's style. 

Painting at Henry Vineyards

While in Roseburg, I got word that one of my pieces, "Forgotten Rail" won Second Place at the Pacific Northwest Plein Air in Hood River!  I sure wish I could have been there for the Opening but it's kind of hard to be in two places at one time. The list of winners is not posted yet, but you can check HERE in the meantime.
Lookie! A red ribbon!

Next on the agenda is my workshop held September 20-22. It will focus on Everything pastel for the beginner to the intermediate pastel painter.  It should be info packed and we will head outdoors on the last day to try out plein air with pastels. For info on the workshop, go HERE

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Crazy Schedule

This past week or so I feel like I've been spinning a lot of plates much like a clown in the circus. Thankfully I haven't dropped one yet, but it has been tiring at times. The tempo started off with getting my daughter off to college for her first year out on her own. I do miss her (shhhs, don't tell her) as well as the rest of us still around at home.  We also had two trips to the emergency room along with a group show opening in Newberg. Life has been very interesting to put it mildly.

Moving my daughter into her dorm room.

A few months ago my newest gallery, ART Elements, has asked a few of their artists, who paint en plein air, if they wanted to have a plein air show. Artists Don Bishop, Romona Youngquist and Michael Orwick and I worked out in the field a lot creating beautiful works for this show as well as time put in creating larger pieces from a few of our plein air studies. The gallery put in hours of effort into the advertising (Southwest Artist and American Art Collector) as well as video clips to promote the event...and what a reception we had!  The best thing was that it looks so fabulous hanging together.

Happy artists Don Bishop, Romona Youngquist, Me, and Michael Orwick standing outside of ART Elements gallery after the opening of the show. 

We were so happy with the reception, can you see how "giddy" we are? The crowd was thick and so many wonderful compliments. You've got to check it out if you are in the area.

The reception was a full house

Each of us had a chance to talk about our art and what we did to make the show. Here is a Youtube clip of my "artist talk".

Then up bright and early at 4:45 am drive the beautiful 70 minute journey down the Gorge to Hood River to paint in the Pacific Northwest Plein Air event with 35 other juried artists. I had planned to catch the sunrise at the Hood River Marina, but my painting was a "wiper".  

Here was the awe inspiring view looking west at the marina.

Grabbed a coffee then off to the 8:30 am Artists orientation at the Gorge White House. For my next caffeine induced work, I headed a hundred yards east of the house towards the other side of the tracks to paint the Fruit Depot.

"Forgotten Rail" 14x11" Oil

Then after dinner we headed on downtown to do a bit of nocturne painting of the shop windows with the Labor Day revelers out in full force. The fun part about painting in the city is the onlookers who have never witnessed painters on the street. Perhaps it may have been their first time ever seeing such a scene. I returned home after midnight and then back out to Hood River for a second day. By now I am getting fatigued, but I still mustered up the energy to paint with a group of artists who planned a model in the flowers, much like a Sorolla or Monet kind of day. I can't say much for my piece again, because I stood in the direct sun and became pretty fatigued. I made it home after dinner hour, showered and headed straight to bed for a solid night of rest.

Tomorrow I'm headed down to Roseburg, OR to judge the Umpqua Plein Air event. I have been told it is very organized and such a picturesque place. This will be my first, of two judging opportunities planned, and I will be offering up a talk for the participants (hopefully entertaining). 

There are more plates to spin, so do stay tuned. I will mention that I have a Pastel Inside and Out workshop scheduled for September 20-22 at the Oregon Society of Artists. The focus will be on beginning to intermediate student abilities with color, mark-making, and value structures. 

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