Wednesday, April 9, 2014

the end...aqua afternoon

"Aqua Afternoon" is the last of the small framed paintings in my studio. This frame is gold and a little smaller at 5.75 x 7.5 inches. The painting is 2.75 x 4.25 inches. See it with the magnifier at Daily Paintworks. Sold

Thursday, April 3, 2014

beach path number 2

A scene from the Washington coast. Click to enlarge or visit my gallery at Daily Paintworks to use the magnifier on this little painting. 
Beach Path Number 2, pastel, image 2.75x4.75, framed 6x8 inches Sold
The kitchen is a good place to hang these very small paintings.

Friday, March 28, 2014

woodland light

While I was in the mood for blue with Bramble Blue, I painted another scene with the same color palette. 

Woodland Light, pastel, image 2.75x4.75, framed 6x8 inches. Sold

Monday, March 24, 2014

next up: Bramble Blue

Last week, I began "refreshing" a half dozen small framed paintings for the auction at Daily Paintworks. I love this little painting, especially the dappling created by an experimental vinegar/water spray. Click the image to enlarge.

Bramble Blue, pastel, image 2.75 x 4.75 inches, framed size 6 x 8 inches Sold

Friday, March 21, 2014

review of my work

What a treat to wake up to the Seattle Times newspaper review about my work! I don't know writer Nancy Worssam but she seems to understand my goals as a painter... Yay! Read the entire review here.

A review of “Paintings About Trees,” comprising works by Barbara Benedetti Newton, Monte Shelton and Darin Clark, at Jeffrey Moose Gallery through Saturday, May 3, 2014.

The landscapes by Barbara Benedetti Newton are suffused with gossamer colors. Newton began as a colored-pencil artist, won numerous prizes and became a well-known teacher and writer about the form. She then began experimenting in pastels and more recently in oils. In these media, too, she has won numerous prizes and become a known authority, masterfully capturing the diffused light of the Northwest.

The pastel and oil landscapes on exhibit are impressionist renderings. For some pastels she adds moisture to achieve a wash that gives the works a diaphanous quality. Yet within these works she often includes hard-edged elements more precisely rendered.

There’s a lovely gauziness in her oils, too, where shapes and colors flow into one another. In these paintings she plays with the paint, sometimes feathering it out, at other times carefully defining each element of the landscape. Look for the bursts of color in many of the paintings, bursts like subtle fireworks that are powerfully effective.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

meadow wind

Brushed off another little painting today and reworked it.
A new look for Meadow Wind.
Meadow Wind, pastel, 2.75 x 4.75 inches, frame size 6x8 inches Sold
Back into the frame and on to the Daily Paintworks Auction. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Today I cleaned out underneath the counter next to my pastel easel. Still on the counter are my pastel boxes with covers (in front) and Terry Ludwig pastels in boxes further back. Along the wall are the  7x7 inch pastels that haven't sold on Daily Paintworks. They are matted now awaiting frames so they can go on to a gallery. Look at that nice empty space! That is where I have stored metal frames (empty and with glass and mat) and they will probably go back there once I have taken inventory.

But, I also found this box of small pastel paintings in metal frames with off white mat. My goal is to move as few items as possible to the new house so I will be selling these. I took the first one out of the frame, freshened it up with additional pastel, put it back into the frame and will post it on Daily Paintworks. The goal is to find new homes for these.
Treeline, pastel, image 2.75x4.75 inches, framed 6x8 inches Sold

Thursday, March 6, 2014

oil paint organization

I love seeing photos of other artists' studios - especially the really famous oil painters. Most photos show a pile of crinkled oil paint tubes. I tried drove me nuts. I like to be able to find the color I want quickly. My husband, Retired Guy aka Mr. Cheerful and Agreeable hot-glued dividers of gator board into an old shallow drawer so my tubes can stand semi-upright showing their labels. The larger 150 ml tubes are prone in the last space. Now I can find each color without digging through a pile.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

on the easel March 4, 2014

I'm at it again...reworking areas that bug me in completed paintings. Two years ago this month, I completed Northwest Rain Dance. It went on to a major show (no award) and to my Oregon gallery (no sale). When I brought it home last month, I fell in love with it again, BUT...

Something about it was bothering me. Today I unframed it and reworked the skyline (I remember trying to make the skyline look like the reference photo. So much for reference photos!) I also added some detail work in the lichens and softened the lichens in the middle background. With the new, lively, dancing skyline, I like the way the more solid evenly divided trees and shoreline ribbon-shape goes across the back until it meets the delicate light lichens at the right. Much better.

Falling In Love Again  |  pastel  |  19 x 14 inches

Saturday, March 1, 2014


Yesterday I met with my long-time critique group and took my pastel-in-progress with me for their input. I've written about them in the past - here is a link to my 2008 post and another link to my post about them in 2011. Our group has been together for almost 20 years and I value their opinions on art and life and their friendship.

Most times I receive advice about making an area darker or lighter, changing a shape or a color. Yesterday, I was encouraged to knock back a bright spot (a one finger 3 second smudge - done!) and then stop! Leave it alone, call it done, move on.

So, here it is, "The Signature of All Things," pastel, 15 x 18.5 inches. Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

on the easel Feb 26, 2014

So far, so good. I'm content with the progress of this painting. I won't be painting on it again until I have time to do it justice.

If I know I won't be able to get back to a painting for a while, it is much better to leave it in a state that pleases me rather than in the middle of a problem that will annoy me every time I look at it.

Below is a photo of it in the foundation stage. I washed off an old painting and applied a black acrylic foundation for value and composition. Pastel is applied on top of the acrylic. I posted this with additional text on February 15th.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

path of Destiny

My small color studies are simplified versions of a larger painting. I don't include the detail work seen in the 18x18 inch finished painting.  In this case, my color study also has a simplified path for the viewer. Seems like I have been painting "Destiny" forever! I'm calling it done. You can see a larger image of the finished painting here.

Monday, February 17, 2014

destiny color study again

The second color study for "Destiny," this time 6x6 inches, oil, and different scene. I'm starting to wonder if a painting titled Destiny is meant to be painted forever.

For purchase information and the magnifier, click here.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

suggesting the scene

The start of two projects in the studio tonight using black or white acrylic paint to suggest the scene for oil or pastel work. You can read more about this process in my book, Pastel Drawing on pages 138 & 139.

At the top, two gallon jugs of water for washing out acrylic, one white, one black.

In front of the jugs are three 6x6 panels with a little reference photo to their left. The photo is my painting, "The Tender Hour." In the coming weeks, I'm going to give myself a refresher course on color and color temperature by painting in oil on the three little panels - basically the same scene on each. The panel at far left was black so I used white acrylic to suggest the scene, the other two are white so I used black acrylic. The acrylic "scene suggestion" layer will get covered with oil paint.

Foremost in the photo is a pastel painting from a couple years ago that I washed off and to the left of it, is a reference photo of the scene I plan to paint. The pastel surface is Wallis mounted on archival foam core. I suggested the scene on the Wallis with black acrylic paint. I'll use pastel on top of that.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

destiny - back and forth

Art imitates life? On January 23rd I posted a photos of "Destiny" on the easel along with my small color study. A week later, I began changing the colors. One more week, the post of February 5th, brought Destiny to where it is now.

I like the top third a lot but I am lost on the rest so I'm painting another small color study, this time in oil, 6x6 inches. I will take my time solving problems with this little painting and try to remember that back and forth is just how life is sometimes.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

news and links

We made a quick trip trip to Portland, Oregon to rotate art and pick up substrates for larger oils. Stayed at a great Bed & Breakfast. More info and links.

We're working on the recipe for a healthy, gluten-free muffin. Our first try was surprisingly good.
Our muffin recipe.

Great news! My pastel painting, Cedar River, will be part of the Umpqua College, Roseburg, Oregon permanent collection. Thanks to Northwest Pastel Society for posting this Call for Artists last year.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

on the easel Feb. 5, 2014

"Destiny," 18 x 18 inch oil is still on the easel. Busy with other things, I hope to get back to it soon.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

on the easel January 29, 2014

 My day in the studio started with the oil painting on the right. This is the painting that followed Color Study for Destiny, sold a couple days ago from my Daily Paintworks Gallery. If you look at my previous post on this blog, you'll see that it has changed from my original intent, probably because I shipped the color study to its new home and didn't have it for reference.

I got this far today on Destiny and decided to quit because I got lost with the color and needed a break. I like the values but the colors need more thought. I went for a dog walk in the rain then back to the studio to look for a pastel to work on so I would leave Destiny alone. I selected the painting on the left, Byway for Another Day, unframed it, and realized there were my color answers for Destiny!

The backstory on Byway for Another Day: I painted it in an Elizabeth Mowry workshop in 2011. She paused by my easel many times throughout the day when I was working on Byway but commented on it only when I asked her about yellow. 'I would choose a quiet yellow,' she advised. Good advice of course!

I love the painting but I have not loved the plein-air frame I chose for it and I now realize that all the roundy shapes in the top third need more wildness - I was more conservative 3 years ago. I'll make that change today and re-frame with an off-white mat to give it more breathing room in a simple walnut frame. Then, back to Destiny with Byway as my color study!

Later post: Here is the new and improved version of Byway. Reworked the top third and the left side, cropped to nearly square format.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

on the easel today

I'm a fan of painting every day but sometimes life happens and it's impossible. For me, the next best thing is selecting one day a week as a paint-for-sure day.  In my case it is Wednesdays. Here is what is on the easel this week.

5x7 inch pastel color study for Destiny. click here for purchase information and magnifier

18 x 18 oil, tentatively titled Destiny. I is about 40% complete but really, who can say how far it has to go? I just hope I know when to stop.

Monday, January 20, 2014

thinking pink

A Simple Truth: Trust  |  pastel  |  12 x 12 inches
click here for the magnifier

The Backstory:
There are two parts to this backstory - the composition and the painting surface.

First, about the surface. Three years ago I prepared a couple dozen pink painting surfaces. You can read about how I did it in this editorial I wrote for the Northwest Pastel Society. After using a few, I put them away in my flat file. Last week, I started thinking pink and pulled one out and began painting A Simple Truth: Trust.

Secondly, about the composition. Last week I rotated art at my galleries and brought home a small oil. I liked the scene but not the color/mood so I threw it in my studio garbage can, found the painting image in my computer, printed it out in grayscale and attached it to my easel, next to my "think pink" ground. I transferred the composition onto my ground with a white pastel pencil (note the X through the ref photo and the pink surface - this helps me get everything in the right quadrant). By the time I finished the painting, the bottom half had been wiped off several times until I changed the angle of the road. Much better.

Saturday, January 18, 2014


Woodland   |  oil  |  7 x 5 inches
A wooded scene of light play among the trees. Oil painting in muted violet, cobalt and rosso veneto, handmade oil color by Williamsburg.  Click here for purchase information and the magnifier.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

deck of art cards

Long ago, I created an art database in FileMaker Pro and the format hasn't changed much over the years. Quick, efficient and organized, but not the same as having a hard-copy of the image in my hands. So, I keep a deck of art cards, each about 2 x 3 inches. These are printed from the information in my data base and include the image, title and art number as well as gallery notes that tell me if the painting has been in one of my galleries.

When it is art-rotation time, I spread the cards on the table in my studio to select a new body of work. Using this process, it is easy to see if the images compliment each other. In this photo, work that is at my studio and available is grouped on the right side of the table. The number of pieces there should reassure me that I can take that painting sabbatical I am supposed to be on but these foggy winter days make me want to paint.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

sitka meadow again

Sitka Meadow  |  pastel  |  13 x 13 inches

Several years ago I painted "Sitka Meadow." It received a Third Place Award at a well-known show and then went on to three of my galleries. I loved it then, I love it still, but apparently no one else does because it is back in my studio again. I have a couple more places to show it, then it will move into my Artist's Collection. This week I used it as reference for a new oil painting, shown below.

Sitka Meadow II  |  oil  |  18 x 18 inches

In the first few days of this new painting, the composition was pretty much the same as the original, then "Sitka Meadow II" took off in a new direction. Different color and composition. I'm very happy with it and I hope it finds a new home on its show and gallery travels.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

along bordeaux road

After the dinner dishes were done last night, I came back into the studio and began painting for an upcoming small works show at State of the Arts Gallery, Olympia, WA. This one is TINY at only 3.5 x 5 inches. To paint that small with abandon and expressive strokes, I started with a surface about one inch larger all the way around.  Using a mat with a 3.5 x 5 inch window, I selected the best view of the scene.

Near Olympia, there is a road called Bordeaux. We did a photo shoot there several years ago and the scenes linger in my mind.

Friday, January 10, 2014


Wishing you a peaceful day. "Simple Truth: Respite," 7x5 inches, oil on Gessobord® sold

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A Simple Truth

I'm starting 2014 with the simple truth in my painting. I will try to hold that thought all year to create paintings for the viewer to contribute their memories and emotions without interference from me. "A Simple Truth" is oil on Gessobord, 7 x 5 inches, unframed. For purchase information, click here.

Friday, January 3, 2014

the past revisited

I would like to name this painting "Through Mama's Eyes" because the reference photo (top) was taken by my mother years ago. It appears to be flooding in our home town, Auburn, Washington. Instead, it is the more generic, "The Past Revisited,"  16 x 20 oil.

Mama's photos were usually blurry and sometimes only a black spec in a sky of blue. That would have been either a distant hot air balloon or a distant plane piloted by one of her grandsons. She had a need to record facts, events and weather, first through her written journals then through photos. I guess I inherited that gene from her.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

a few thoughts...

I have a few thoughts for the new year...

About my blogs - At the beginning of my 7th year of blogging,  I send my heartfelt thanks to you, my visitors and subscribers. Communicating with others is important to me. This Art Journal blog will continue to be visuals of my work in process, tips and tricks. Last year I created a new blog about being an artist. Occasionally I will include links to that blog for additional thoughts or the backstory on a subject.

About selling work online -  I have been selling small unframed paintings, at special prices, on Daily Paintworks since 2011.  Again, THANK YOU to all, world-wide, who have given my art loving homes. Last year, I also began posting work on Etsy. Both sites offer affordable art - I have added to my own collection this way. In the coming year, I will introduce paintings on DPW through the auction with a Buy It Now option. If a painting doesn't sell, it will go to my Etsy store at an increased price. After a time on Etsy, I'll frame it and take it to one of my brick-and-mortar galleries for in-person viewing. Most galleries work on 50% commission so the price will reflect that. Each of these three venues have different audiences.

About social acceptance - I figured out how to paint just for myself without considering my social acceptance concerns! For the next few months, I am going to push myself out of my comfort zone by painting a new subject in oil (I am most comfortable working in pastel). The subject will be the interior of our home of 25 years. The paintings may be so bad that I won't post them on my blogs and they won't be for sale. I'm working now on a painting of the upstairs bathroom sink. By spring, I should have a collection of scenes from our home to hang in our new house.

About moving furniture - I love moving furniture. I have reclaimed my studio as a working space after Christmas and New Year's Eve gatherings. My oil easel is in a new location with color-corrected fluorescent (cool) and daylight (cool or warm depending upon the season) while the pastel easel remains under gallery lighting (warm) . I'm trying to decide what to do about lighting in the new studio. If any of you have studio lighting opinions, I'd love to hear them.

About REVERT TO DRAFT - DO NOT select this option as I just did. After a thoughtful and well written post, I just accidentally deleted 95% of it. Revert to draft is NOT the same as going back to the last save! As a result, you're getting second-hand text from my memory. Sorry.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Monday, December 30, 2013

a favorite from 2013

As I look back on my work of 2013, one of my favorites is "Ambiance," a 6x6 inch pastel now available online at my Daily Paintworks Gallery. sold

Saturday, December 21, 2013

warming it up

I put my iPad in a cello sleeve to protect it from paint spatters. Today I added a Transparent Oxide Red + Cobalt glaze over the Viridian + Cobalt foundation to begin to warm up the painting. I'll need to set it aside for several days to dry before more glazing. Time to paint is over anyway because here comes Christmas!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

a very bad photo

Each year at this time, I rearrange the studio furniture to make additional space for our Christmas Eve family gathering. Here is a photo of my new compact painting area. In the foreground is my Hughes easel for oil and behind it is my pastel area - old Mabef easel with Artist's Air filter system.

I just started a new painting based on a reference photo my mother took years ago. Isn't that about the worst reference photo you've ever seen? My best guess about the scene is that there was some flooding from the Green River and my ever-curious mother drove around Auburn, Washington and took photos with her ancient little camera. More about that on my Golden Years blog.

Monday, December 16, 2013

together on the easel

Here is the pastel color study with the work-in-progress oil painting.

The finished painting, Day by Day, oil, 16x20 inches can be seen here. Go here to see the small pastel color study with the magnifier.