Monday, February 11, 2019

15 minute increments

When I work in pastel, I paint one painting at a time. My favorite method is paint it, photograph it, frame it, move on to the next one.

However, when I work in oil, it is slower for me not just because it is wet but because my color choices are more involved. I can't just reach for pastel stick in the hue closest to the color I am imagining. I have to mix the color, test it, maybe remix. Then, there is that wet thing. I like to let a painting sit for a day or two to dry a little and for me to distance myself emotionally from it so I can see it with fresh eyes.

I have one painting in progress, "Orange." While it is drying and I am thinking about it, I want to start a second still life. Here we go...I gather up objects: A dying flower arrangement, two slightly withered apples found in the refrigerator, a yellow cup, the new Trader Joe's tea towel with blue stripes and a garage sale muted green plate. I arrange these items next to my easel and turn on a spot light as well as the overhead LED track lighting you see reflected in the quartz counter surface. I take a photo of this (there it is, above). Then I crop the photo to the one you see below. That will be my reference to paint from in a couple days when the flowers are really dry and dead.

The photo reference for still life

Color study, pastel mini, 5.5 x 3.5 inches

But, before the flowers shatter and fall, I quickly paint a pastel mini color study to acquaint myself with the subject, color and value choices. I will use this mini pastel as a reference as I paint this still life in oil. The following images were taken in 15 minute increments (I found my timer).

Now I set it aside to dry a little. I look forward to coming back to it in a few days.

Saturday, February 9, 2019


I'm starting on a series of oil still life paintings in preparation for a fall group show. There is a "look" or genre I'm working toward. A maturity of color choices, wisdom in lost (and found) edges and above all, staying true to my vision. Meanwhile, I get distracted by sales and approval. This is the color study I'm using for a larger oil painting. It is fresh, loose and bold. Now my challenge is to translate this to my larger work in oil.

This is how it began. I saw the orange teapot at the Goodwill store and purchased it. I cut a cardboard box up, draped it with blue fabric and put the teapot, a candle and an orange near my oil easel. The photo above shows my first hour of painting. I blocked the objects in thinking this would be a practice piece, never to be seen outside the studio but after one hour of painting I already wanted to see it as a finished piece.

I continued painting and improved the composition by indicating a vase of flowers. This is about 3 hours worth of painting. I could see where I was headed and felt I would get lost without a map to remind me of my vision.

Next I made a map for myself. A mini pastel, 5.5 x 3.3 inches. The paper is so small and the pastel sticks so large in comparison that it was easy to get a loose, spontaneous feeling...exactly what I'm after in my oil work.

This is where I am now. The mini pastel sits on my oil easel next to the 14 x 11 inch oil painting I'm working on. I'm making progress but have a long way to go. Stay tuned...

Monday, January 28, 2019

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Mini-painting, Mini-price

P2019-1-27 Violet Road, pastel 3.5 x 5.5 inches

Available at mini-painting price on DailyPaintworks
Reference photo for P2019-1027 Violet Road

Matted and ready for a 5x7 standard frame. 

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Post gone astray

I started today's post with the intention of showing you my beautiful new set of Terry Ludwig 14 favorite violets and talk about a new series of paintings. But, I got side-tracked when photographing the pastels.

I am a stickler for accurate color representation of my art online. I photograph every piece of art with a Kodak color bar/gray scale and I spent a lot of time adjusting the color, value and saturation until it looks correct to me. I know it always photographs too blue but today I think I figured something out...

The top photo is me comparing the pastel set to my iMac display. As you can see, the display is way too blue. The bottom photo is much closer and actually looked even better in person than this photo does. Here's the Photoshop adjustment I made to get so much closer. Now, in theory, this should work on any photo I take, right? Note: this is the adjustment for my display, yours will be different.


Friday, January 25, 2019

One artist needed

Lovely work today by the artists in my first Mentoring Session of 2019.  

My next session is Friday, February 22nd. One artist had to cancel so I have a work-station open. $55, four hours, four students. Contact me if you're interested. Any medium. Bring your work-in-progress or start a new project. Bring your completed work for one-on-one feedback. Your choice.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

End of week check-In

Four painting stations set up for my first Mentoring Session of 2019. Friday, four hours, four students. Looking forward to it!

It's that time of year when I hose off old pastel paintings to begin again. The smaller painting is pumice/gesso on hardboard panel. The larger painting is Wallis paper mounted on Gatorbord.

Glory Days Revisited, pastel, 5x7
Meadow, pastel, 5x7
Painted a couple and shipped a couple. 

Sunrise, pastel, 5x7
Summer Morning, pastel 7x5

Thursday, January 17, 2019

The steps of Sunrise 1

The lightest spots

This is the time in the painting that I forget to take more photos. Sorry.

Sunrise 1, pastel, 5x7 inches
Sold Thank you J.G. for adding Sunrise to your collection.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The steps of Sentience

I have a collection of scraps of sanded pastel paper. Some is gessoed with vermilion or black.  This month I'm trying to paint a 7x5 inch pastel each morning to use up these scraps. This morning I chose a black ground. I had forgotten how quickly it progresses.

This is the point where I become involved in the process and I forget that I'm supposed to be photographing each step. Sorry.

Sentinence, pastel, 7x5 inches

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

First Painting of 2019

Riverbank at Dawn, pastel, 7x5 inches
This little painting sat on my easel all through the holidays. I finally got back to it today and changed it from big body of water scene to a more intimate river bank scene.  I added the indication of a path that goes back to the glow of the sunrise. Sold

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Art Goals for 2019, back at the easel

Not sure where this one will end up but it's good to be back at the easel after weeks of distraction. I also wrote my art goals today. Happy New Year!  Art Goals for 2019

First pastel for 2019 - in progress

Last Day of 2018

December 31, 2018

At the end of 2017 I wrote that in 2018 I would be more discerning about my art commitments both in showing my work and in teaching/mentoring. I felt ready to paint less, knit and garden more. Retirement was looking good but then some things happened that got me fired up again. 

I was honored to do the walk-through comments on the Award Winners at the 32nd International Association of Pastel Societies Juried Exhibition at American Art Company, Tacoma and I judged the Maple Valley Creative Arts Council Art Festival. 

Another motivator to paint came in the Fall as I hauled empty frames, mats and glass out of hiding places in the studio and began "painting to the frame" - I painted and framed about a dozen pastels in a relatively short amount of time. I also installed a new Walker hanging system in my Studio to accommodate the paintings. I still have a few empty frames (with mat and glass) to go before I change from pastel to oil to fill the frames without glass. 

Walker Display Art System
Another thing that makes me want to paint is the rearrangement (yes, again!) of my Studio. I have finally bonded with this space and it was because I set up a large table for both my Fletcher and Logan mat cutters. Yay!

Big table in my studio
Throughout 2018 I participated in online and gallery shows with some of the art organizations I belong to  - Women Painters of Washington, Pastel Society of the West Coast, Plein Air Washington Artists, Black Diamond Arts Alliance, Oil Painters of America and International Association of Pastel Societies. I was reminded how it feels to be an award winner. 

I was also happy to have six paintings in the  "Natural Instincts" exhibit at Ajoya, Mercer Island and I continue to be represented by Attic Gallery, Camas, American Art Company, Tacoma and  Scott Milo Gallery in Anacortes.

In 2018 I held mentoring sessions in my Black Diamond Studio. Similar to Private Sessions, these mentoring sessions are for 3-4 artists each time. I enjoy sharing what I have learned and will continue Mentoring Sessions in 2019.

Today I was looking at the Editorials I wrote for the Northwest Pastel Society November 2009 through August 2012. I still find them informative and I thought you might too, especially if you are relatively new to pastel. Wishing you a happy and healthy 2019.

Newton Editorial NWPS November 2009

Newton Editorial NWPS February 2010

Newton Editorial NWPS May 2010

Newton Editorial NWPS August 2010

Newton Editorial NWPS November 2010

Newton Editorial NWPS February 2011

Newton Editorial NWPS May 2011

Newton Editorial NWPS August 2011

Newton Editorial NWPS November 2011

Newton Editorial NWPS February 2012

Newton Editorial NWPS May 2012

Newton Editorial NWPS August 2012

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Pacific Northwest Winter Morning 7x5

I'm cleaning out my flat files (again!) and found two 7x5 demo pieces from a workshop a couple years ago. The paper is Pastelmat and it is tough so I brushed them off and began again.

I used a reference photo from a couple winters ago. At that time, I painted this scene in oil and was happy with it. Thanks to M.G. for adding that one to her collection. This time I painted the scene in pastel. The photo above shows the initial block-in for value and the photo below is the completed painting.
Pacific Northwest Winter Morning, pastel, 7x5 inches
©2018 Barbara Benedetti Newton

Saturday, December 1, 2018

50% OFF Sale

Happy December everyone. I just put twelve pastel paintings on SALE at 50% off. Take a look by searching BBNewtonArt on Etsy or my name on Daily Paintworks. Or, just click on the links to either site on the sidebar of this blog. 

Shortly after I posted this I received notice of the first sale of the SALE. Thank you J.S. of Ohio!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Rock Creek Winter Steps

I'm painting over the ghost of a previous painting. White NuPastel and Charcoal stick. 

An oil wash for the water and left it to dry overnight.

Pink and Blue pastel for Step 3

Pink and Blue pastel again but in a lighter value.

Initial block in with pastel

Rock Creek Winter, pastel, 13 x 18 inches