Monday, September 26, 2016

Photo Reference Rainbow Hill

In response to yesterday's post, I have received requests to see the reference photo. This is a photo we used in my July Studio Landscape Workshop and it is not an easy scene to paint. How much detail? Where is the focus? How does the viewer travel within this painting? All the colors of the rainbow - what to include, what to leave out, how far to push a color?

Photo Reference for Rainbow Hill, ©2015 Barbara Benedetti Newton

Rainbow Hill, pastel, 6.5 x 4.25 inches ©2016 Barbara Benedetti Newton
Yesterday I posted it as 7x5 inches but when I removed it from the backing board on my easel I realized it was not that size.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Paint with me - Rainbow Hill

At our Friday afternoon painting group I started a paint-along-with-me with another artist. This limited me to the colors and only hard pastels that she had. By the time I got home I was losing interest in the piece so I brushed it off and began again.

Rainbow Hill, pastel, 7x5 inches

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Rock Creek Series: #2 - Texture

Rock Creek Series: #2, pastel, 7x5 inches
I've been working with alcohol mist for texture. Click image to enlarge.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Rock Creek Series: #3 - Painterly

Rock Creek Series: #3, pastel, 7x5 inches
Brushing the pastel off as well as smashing and moving the medium with a plastic spatula gives a painterly look.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Defining my process

Photo Reference for Rock Creek Series
Rock Creek at Abrams Road, pastel, 6x4 inches image
My challenge today was to paint from a reference photo and try to stick as close to the scene as
possible. Not easy after painting all week without a reference.

In the middle of this challenge, it occurred to me that I have developed a somewhat unique approach to pastel painting based on my need to enjoy the process of creating.

I have painted in pastel for many years; I know the medium very well and occasionally I become a little bored with the "traditional" pastel painting techniques. When that happens, I switch to another medium OR figure out new, challenging ways to approach pastel.

My current technique is to brush a painting off - sometimes repeatedly. Depending upon the surface, this gives various effects. I also push pastel around with brushes, Colour Shapers and flexible spatula tools. This week I've also spent a few days exploring alcohol mist.  Changing-up the usual process of working with pastel keeps me engaged and inspired. Brushing pastel off began as an act of desperation when a painting wasn't working but it has become my process. Many times the pastel is moved around so much it loses the attributes of a dry medium and begins to take on the look of oil paint. I will be posted more about my technique in the future.

Each post on this blog that is some sort of pastel tip or trick is labeled with HOW TO PASTEL. If you click on the HOW TO PASTEL label at the bottom of this post, all the tips will come up. There are nearly 100 posts that have some sort of pastel instruction. Some may be useful to you. Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Drama Queen

Drama Queen, pastel, 5x7 inches
Fall is in the air and I feel like I am back in school as I prepare for my workshop next week. I'm contemplating the lesson flow for the 3 days we'll be together. It was much easier when I taught all the time and had a 3-ring binder for each workshop. I'm reinventing the wheel but it is challenging and fun.

I'm painting without reference photos until the end of the month. This one, Drama Queen, began with a reference photo last week but it became boring and I got stuck until I put the photo away, brushed most off and began again. Scene of a tree across the lake from us.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

My Blue Heaven

My Blue Heaven, pastel
Yesterday I was reviewing all posts on this blog looking for HOW TO PASTEL tips and tricks and I accidentally hit the "publish" button on a post from years ago. Here is the completed painting.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Pratiques des Arts Special Landscape Issue

I am very happy to have my work included in the 2016 Pratiques des Arts Special Landscape Issue!

Roberts Road, pastel, 13 x 13 inches,
at American Art Company, Tacoma, WA
Winter Sunrise, pastel, 5x7 inches, available for international purchase sold

Thursday, September 1, 2016

another goodbye

This is an acrylic wash over a painting that never made it to framing. The painting below had a nice part in the middle but nothing else so after trying to add a foreground (which didn't work), I had to say goodbye.  I wiped the whole thing off and applied a blue acrylic wash. Hopefully I'll have a better incarnation of it to post tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Kodak Color Bar

If you are wondering what the little color bar is that appeared in each of the paintings in my last post, here it is. I shoot all my work with this color bar included in the photo to help me adjust to correct color. I left it included, as well as NOT cropping to the art, for the images I sent to the Publisher for their approval. 

FYI - I have posted an August Update to my Golden Years Blog.

Monday, August 22, 2016

August Project Update

Golden Afternoon
Since my last post I've been working on my August Project - seven new paintings based on seven old paintings.

The challenge was to capture the essence of what the Publisher saw in the original painting that prompted them to add it to their list of favorites. At the beginning of this project, I thought it would be interesting (to me) to change the medium. As an example, the painting above was originally an oil, this time I painted in pastel. But, the deadline changed and I didn't have the luxury of working in oil because it takes time to dry. The process of RE-painting wasn't as much fun as creating something new but also involved less angst because decisions about color, technique and style had already been made in the original paintings.

If you follow my work you know that since moving to my new smaller studio, I paint primarily in small format for sale on Etsy and DailyPaintworks. By painting small, I can keep prices affordable and move work out of my studio on a regular basis. But, small paintings simply aren't big enough to be photographed at the high resolution needed for larger reproduction. The seven new paintings range in size from 16 x 20 inches to 25 x 25 inches.

The amount of detail to include in each painting was tempting. My small paintings have less detail simply because they are small, usually quick and loose. In fact, one of my challenges is to translate the freedom of my small work to a larger format. I could use some giant pastels! But, when eyeing a passage of color that is the same size as the entire small 6 x 6 inch painting, I am tempted to give it a little dash or spatter of color or additional attention to a stroke. I may go into some of these paintings and do that later. For now, I consider them complete and I can move on to focus on my September Workshop for the Northwest Pastel Society.

Ruby's Canada

A Bright Tomorrow

Frame of Mind

December Rain

Lake Morning

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

From oil to pastel

Golden Afternoon (again) in progress, 24 x 24 inches,  8-9-16
I have painted this scene before. This time I'm using a photo of my previous oil painting, Golden Afternoon, oil, 20 x 20 inches, (sold) for my reference. Though the scene is recognizable, a different medium changes the texture and interpretation. I'm having fun painting large again in pastel!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

My August Project

July workshops are complete (what fun!), my retrospective show is hung and future art commitments are scheduled for September.

My project for the month of August is to repaint seven old paintings that have been selected by an art print publisher. Of the seven, two are in my Collection of the Artist but are too small for reproduction so they must be painted again in a larger format. The other paintings have been sold so I printed out color copies to work from as my reference to repaint them.

Several are in oil so my studio has been rearranged to accommodate 24 x 24 inch panels for priming. I'm also working one or two of the paintings in pastel. The paintings will not be duplicates because my stroke and interpretation has grown in the years since they were painted.

On another subject, you may have read posts about my separation of office from studio when we moved. My little office is upstairs with big iMac and file cabinets. But, I find I need a surface to write on and an internet connection IN my studio. I set up a mini office along one wall. Now my life is a continuation of going between left brain and right brain instead of an intentional separation. I like it better.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

My Retrospective Show Online

Thanks, Sue Anne for suggesting an online version of the 18 piece retrospective show I just hung. There is a link in the sidebar or click here.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Retrospective at Covington City Hall

Yesterday Jay and I hung 18 paintings at the Covington City Hall. These are colored pencil and mixed media (watercolor with colored pencil).

Watercolor, wc with colored pencil and two small oils from my workshop several years ago with Qiang Huang. I'll be spending August working in oil then back to pastel in September to get ready for my three day Pastel Workshop for Northwest Pastel Society.

We hung pastel landscapes in Council Chambers along with two oil still lifes. The most challenging part of putting together this Retrospective Show was gathering up all the paintings. I wanted to show work from each era of my painting life: colored pencil, then watercolor with colored pencil, then watercolor alone, then pastel and finally oil. Paintings are on view at Covington City Hall, Covington, WA for the month of August. It's convenient to show so close to home!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Fear of Black

I was recently reminded about fear of black. During my workshops, when I asked students to use a black pastel, some froze, reluctant to reach for that color. It prompted conversations about being taught an art RULE about not using black paint. I do remember giving consideration to that theory in the past by mixing black, enhancing black, etc.

We accidentally hit upon a solution when Sue Anne selected black paper for her afternoon pastel painting. No need to apply black, it's already there! She created a colorful little painting on Canson Mi-Teintes TOUCH with the first step being her color adjustment of the original reference photo. Thanks, Sue Anne for your good work!

Sue Anne's original reference photo
Color adjusted reference photo is on left, finished painting on right, both atop Canson Mi-Teintes BLACK

Landscape, pastel on black, 7 x 5 inches, SueAnne Sullivan 2016

Monday, July 18, 2016

Three Radishes Study

Three Radishes, pastel, 5x7 inches

This is the study I painted in preparation for last week's Still Life in Pastel Workshop here in my Studio. I limited myself to NuPastels and the exact colors that my students would have. I supplied the paper so we would all have the same experience: Pastelmat, color Buttercup. It was a very successful subject for them, see their paintings in my July 14th post on this blog.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Student Landscapes

Today we painted landscapes! Thanks to Sue Anne, Laura, ReneƩ and Joan for your beautiful work. Two of these students had never worked in pastel before. It was my pleasure to introduce them to this medium.

Photo by Sue Anne Sullivan

Thursday, July 14, 2016

First Student Successes

A great first workshop in my new Studio. Still Life in Pastel. Limited to four students: Sue Anne, Laura, Kay and ReneƩ each painted along with me in our quest for beautiful radishes. We worked on Buttercup Pastelmat with hard and soft pastels. Sensitivity to stroke and fearless red was our goal. Goal accomplished everyone! Click on image to enlarge.

Photo by Sue Anne Sullivan

Monday, June 27, 2016

Painting with ghosts - join me!

I hope I got someone's attention with that post heading. I need a few more students in my September 30 - October 2 Pastel Workshop. For a few hours we will be painting with ghosts (images). So fun, so freeing! Here's what I mean:

Today I came across this pastel painting in my studio storage. It must be 10 years old...I can remember several different rooms where it hung in our previous house. I liked it. I still like it but not enough to hang it. So, I took it outside and brushed it off with a stiff house-paint brush. That left a ghost of the previous painting.
Turned it upside down and pondered it for a couple seconds, used similar colors and started in.

The opportunity in painting with a ghost is NOT using a reference photo. Let the ghost and your intuition guide you. Very soon into your strokes you'll begin to visualize what might be.

Sometimes you don't know if you're done until you photograph it and look at it on the computer screen. Sort of like not being able to see the forest for the trees. Seeing it on your display gives new perspective. At this point I made more changes. Now I'm done. See the finished painting below. I will post it on the auction at Daily Paintworks.

Consider joining me to spend a couple hours painting a ghost of your own in the 3-day workshop I'll be teaching near my home. We'll come here to the lake for lunch, Studio Tour and Super Sale of my Small Paintings. I have a PayPal object that plugs into my iPhone for credit card sales. I look forward to trying it. Email Deb Cepeda at comcast dot net for more into on the workshop.
Toward Evening, pastel, 10 x 8 inches
Click to Bid

Friday, June 24, 2016

Back at the Friday Painting Group

Third week back at my Friday painting group at the local community center. It is a discipline I enjoy. My Soltek easel is set up by the window but under fluorescent lights, a limited number of pastels in the Pastel Porter and my reference photo. This little painting is on Pastelmat and is available for the next three days at auction on Daily Paintworks.

Autumn Creek, pastel, 4.375 x 7 inches Sold