Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Back to the block in

Remember the block in from my February Open Studio? It was a demo about how to take an old painting that had not been varnished and start again. After many days of tax preparation, I finally got back to it today. Thought I'd post it now in case I wipe the whole thing off. Scroll to the bottom to see it about 85% done.

This is the block in. Next comes a lot of value work.

About 85% complete or I might wipe it all off...
Happy painting to you.

Friday, February 16, 2018

February Open Studio

All ready for my first Open Studio Session 2018. 
Thank you Bertha, Susan and Pat for a fun day!

Open Studio Sessions 2018
This is my 30 minute demo. How to paint over an old oil painting that has not been varnished. Block-in for a new flower painting. Glad the old one is gone and hopeful for this one...I'll let you know what happens.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Water Mixable Oils?

Yesterday I had a conversation with my friend Kay about how important it is (to both of us) that we enjoy the process of creating. Maybe that is why I still haven't bonded with acrylics...I'm just not a fan of the process of painting with that medium.

But, I've been curious about water mixable oils for a long time and today I finally blocked in three little florals using that medium in the limited colors I have. I was skeptical but I have to admit the application feels like traditional oil and they perform similarly. Most noticeable is the clean-up. It is wonderfully easy. I'll order a few more colors (I need a cool red and a cool blue), then continue on these 6x6 paintings and will let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Thinking of Spring...

...and the paintings I need for two upcoming shows.

One more old painting bites the dust. I unframed 2009 "Silver Lining" and brushed it off leaving just the ghost. The ground is gessoed gatorboard that I textured with a brush (in 2009). Today I repainted the surface using many of the same colors but this time, instead of a landscape, it is a flower painting.
Here is the finished painting. Scroll down to see the steps.

Peonies, pastel, 13x 13 inches

Friday, January 26, 2018

Taxes and Reworks

This week I've been doing tax preparation so not much painting but the last four pastels have been reworks of old paintings. The color palette of the new painting is much the same as the old one but that's about it. Here are four examples of work from 2009 and how I repainted them earlier this month.




Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The ghost and the finished painting

Many of my paintings are reworks. To start with a ghost image is my favorite thing to do. This one was an abstract painting from 2009. The paper is Wallis. I brushed it off, hosed it off and turned it upside down to begin. I set my old iPhone on a tripod beside me and began to make a video of the process of re painting this one. After a couple minutes I heard a beep and the iPhone (poor old thing) was out of memory. So, no video but below is the finished painting.

Wild Cherries, pastel, 11.25 x 11 inches

Monday, January 22, 2018

Chain of Events with video

This is Chain of Events, pastel, 11 x 11 inches. It was painted over the ghost image of a painting of the same name from 2009.  Here is a short video showing part of the process.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Has this happened to you?

My goal is to paint with abandon - that means without inhibition or restraint. When I am able to do this, creativity flows. I'm not painting for anyone else, not painting with a goal in mind, just painting. During this time I am painting from the heart and I can't wait to get to the easel to see what happens. Are these scenes that I have in my memory? How did they get there?  This morning I came across a video that relates to this and is very interesting to me. Take a look at this.

From the Heart series: Woodland Path, pastel, 13 x 12.5 inches

Friday, January 5, 2018

LOVE the iPhone 8 camera!

Around the middle of December I posted images of three 6x6 oils I thought were done. They weren't. I painted on each of them again and now they really are done because I varnished them today. 

I also took photos with my new iPhone 8 instead of the Panasonic Lumix FZ35 camera I have been using for years for the high resolution shots I need. The resolution of the iPhone 8 is great and the color is soooo much better than my Panasonic.

I have always spent a lot of time adjusting the color to make sure what you see is what you get. It was time consuming. But today, I took a photo of one of these outdoors and all I had to do was lighten it to make the color perfect (I always shoot my photos with a Kodak color bar). The other two I shot at the easel under a mixture of warm and cool lights and the final photo required very little tweaking for correct color. I'm so happy! So, here they are again.

Last Dahlias, oil, 6x6 inches
Peony, oil, 6x6 inches
Begonia, oil, 6x6 inches

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Paintings from the Heart #1

At the beginning of each year I clean out my file cabinets, clean out my flat files and look around the Studio for paintings that aren't my best. First up this year is an 18x24 inch pastel scene of our lake. I loved parts of it but you know how those precious areas convince you to call it done and frame it. Other areas were not great so it needed to go. I never throw paintings away, I just rework them.

The paper is LaCarte so I can't wash it off. I took it outdoors and brushed it off then brushed more off in the studio and vacuumed it.

This is the ghost of the old painting, turned upside down.

I'm not using a reference photo. Instead, I'm letting the ghost image suggest a scene to me. I'll call this reworked series "Paintings from the Heart" because they are imagined or remembered. Paintings from the heart sounds better than paintings from my brain.

A few more minutes of painting brings it to this. In total, this is about 30 minutes of painting. Keep it fast, simple, spontaneous. Painting with abandon.

From the Heart: River, pastel, 14 x 24 inches ©2018 Barbara Benedetti Newton
While I'm on the subject of reworked paintings, following is a link to a page of reworks. The last post was years ago.   Link to reworked paintings

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year 2018

December 31, 2017
Black Diamond, Washington

Dear Subscribers and Followers,
THANK YOU for your support and interest in my art during 2017. You motivate and inspire me. Wishing you a wonderful new year - may all your dreams come true.

With warm regards,

Some thoughts on 2018

Friday, December 29, 2017

Art Goals for 2018

I'm looking at my end-of-2016 post from last year and I'm not going to repeat how quickly the year went by (but it did!). As always at this time of year, I'm setting art goals but I notice that my life priorities are changing and my art goals are becoming less important each year. As I view art images and posts from artists I admire, I see myself of years past. I feel happy for them and proud of them but they no longer motivate me to paint (well, there are a couple of them that make me want to run to the easel). I love this time of my life. In 2018 I'll be more discerning about my art commitments both in showing my work and in teaching/mentoring.

My ART goals for 2018

1. Work with other artists to further their success
This goal was #6 for 2016 and #4 for 2017 and I am a little surprised to see it as my top priority for 2018. I have been working with a new local art group, Black Diamond Arts Alliance, and have high hopes for their success. Also, I will continue as the Plein Air Washington Artists (PAWA) Critique Group leader for our area. I have also offered to host the newly created Black Diamond Critique Group several times a year. In 2018 I'll try a new form of mentoring: Open Studio Sessions.

2. My online presence
This year I added online opportunities to network, show and sell my work. I have two websites now. My original website is unchanged with archived work going back to my fashion illustration days. My NEW website is primarily for new work but that may change. Both of these websites are maintained by me which means keeping them current is high on my list of priorities.

3. Paint larger to support my galleries and publishers
For the past few years I have been painting smaller for online sales through Daily Paintworks, Etsy, eBay. That has been fun. Then, I signed with a couple print publishers and had to quickly paint new, larger work for them for better reproduction. Soon it will be time to submit new work to them. Now that I have limited my brick-and-mortar galleries to three, these larger paintings will go to galleries. Fulfilling my commitment to rotate work at galleries is a good motivator to paint daily.

4. Author another book?
I added this goal for 2018 with a question mark because it has been high on my list for years but not anymore. This year I contributed art to several books as well as completing a commissioned painting for a book cover. Right now I'm not motivated to write a book about my art but maybe that will change.

And of course, I must add this to my list: ""This, or something better, now manifests for me in totally satisfying and harmonious ways, for the highest good of all concerned."

Sitting down to make this list of 2018 art goals was a bit of a chore this year but I know it is good for me to commit (to myself) in writing. It gives me focus and a plan. Without a plan the days and weeks would fly by and I would have missed an opportunity to grow and improve my art. Thanks to all who have followed my work this year. Let's keep in touch! Wishing you a happy and healthy 2018, Barbara

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Artisan Overnight Bread Recipe

Overnight Artisan Bread
3 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. yeast

1. In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients by hand until a sticky dough forms. Cover with a cloth and let rest overnight (12-18 hours) at room temperature.

2. Using well floured hands, turn dough out onto a floured surfaced and shape into a disc. Wrap loosely in plastic wrap or a cloth (preferable) and set aside while preheating the oven.

3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place dutch oven (I used a Le Creuset) or pot in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. (use no oil or grease, bread will not stick to pot).

4. Remove pot carefully and place dough inside. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

5. Remove lid and bake for additional 15 minutes.

6. Let cool on cutting board or rack after baking time is over.

Eat all or part depending on how your painting day went.

Friday, December 15, 2017

3-up calling it quits

I awoke before 5 AM enthused to get back to my easel. Note: If I had left that painting as it was last night instead of painting over a large part of it, I would not have wanted to get out of bed.

Another motivator was a Artisan overnight bread recipe I tried for the first time. Hot bread for breakfast! The danger was, if my painting hadn't gone well today, this loaf would probably be gone by now. But, I'm satisfied with my 3-up and will put them away and look at them again after Christmas.

Overnight Artisan Bread. YUM.

2017-12-15 Peonies, oil, 6x6 inches
2017-12-15 Dahlias, oil, 6x6 inches
2017-12-15 Begonia, oil, 6x6 inches

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Today's hour at the easel

Painted for a while and then I had to scrape it off.

Painted for a while longer, then I had to paint over it so I can sleep tonight. Tomorrow is another day, another hour at the easel. I am posting these so you will know that (if this has happened to you) this stuff happens to me too.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Today's hour at the easel

Busy day today but I promised myself I would spend one hour at the easel before moving on to other things. Here's what happened in an hour. Not done with this but getting there and feel I accomplished more in 1 hour today than I did yesterday after 6 hours. Getting back in the painting groove at this time of year isn't easy. Try painting 1 hour - take a before and after shot of your work and a before and after note of  your attitude.

Once-a month Open Studio in 2018
Three-hour session on a weekday in my Black Diamond, WA Studio with a mid-session break for muffins and tea while I demo. Hmmm...I'm thinking about it. Email me if you would like a list of tentative dates and cost. Barbara Newton at Comcast dot net

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Spinning my wheels

I'm finally getting back to the easel. Warming up with these three little florals in oil.

By noon I had wiped the center image off several times and was pretty frustrated. Cleaned my palette and took the dog for a walk.

Spent the afternoon painting on these again with the focus on the center one. Late in the afternoon I switched to painting the one on the right and am happy with the progress on it. It isn't easy for me to get going again when I haven't painted for awhile. Lots of experimentation and spinning my wheels. For success and peace of mind I will return to the easel again tomorrow morning with an attitude adjustment.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Gouache under pastel

You may remember my October post about painting a scene for a new cookbook. I'm at it again, this time for the cover. I'm painting from the author's reference photo of Kalaloch, Washington but I changed the time of day to sunset.
Photo by Lynn Adams
I love using gouache as an underpainting for pastel because it dries matte and looks like pastel.
The paper is UArt 600 grit.
Lynn's Kalaloch, pastel, 10 x 9 inches
Mock-up for new book about Olympics
Once-a month Open Studio in 2018
Three-hour session on a weekday in my Black Diamond, WA Studio with a mid-session break for muffins and tea while I demo. Hmmm...I'm thinking about it. Email me if you would like a list of tentative dates and cost. Barbara Newton at Comcast dot net

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Rethinking teaching...again

My final Private Session for the year was introduction to oil painting with Reneé. After reviewing supplies, we painted together for a few hours. Fun! We worked from my reference photo and painted a high-key and a low key version of the same scene.
Reneé painting in oil for the first time.
My two 80% complete paintings from the session with Reneé.
I'm always trying to find balance in my life and I know I paint best when I feel like painting - which isn't all the time. Recently I have started knitting again and find it the perfect activity for the hours when I have run out of creative energy. And soon, it will be time to garden again  - yay!

In 2016, I taught a 3-day fully-booked workshop for the NWPS. Very fun but more than I want to do again.

In 2017, I taught private sessions geared specifically for each student. I spent weeks before the session thinking about how I could best assist and advise and I was pleased with each day of mentoring but now I'm thinking about the best way I can connect with artists in 2018.

I'm starting to think Open Studio. I've never been to one or held one but I'm envisioning up to 4 students working in my Studio for a few hours on a weekday on their own project, in the medium of their choice. I would circulate each 1/2 hour to help/advise each student. I think this would start out as a one-day-a-month event. The part I like is that other than cleaning my house and making muffins and tea for students, there wouldn't be any preparation because each student would be working on what they brought. 

Hmmm...I'm thinking about it. Email me if you would like to be on my mailing list about this. Barbara Newton at Comcast dot Net. My Studio is in Black Diamond, WA.