Thursday, August 25, 2011

the value of value

Early one evening over the hot weekend we took a refreshing walk in the shallow part of the Cedar River near our home. Lazy-summer memories of swimming in the Green River as a child came back to me. A magical time involving all the senses.

Back in the studio I wanted a pastel sketch of the river scene in preparation for a larger painting. For me to paint a scene more than once, there has to be some additional challenge or experiment involved or I quickly become bored.

This time I focused on value as I mindfully selected colors based on value first and color second. To help me stay on track, I inserted a piece of slick, non-archival foam core into an unused metal frame and divided it into five values. Then, as I selected and used pastels, I placed them in their appropriate slot on the value palette. Working this way instead of intuitively picking up many many pastels to see which ones work limits the number of pastels I use. I don't know if that is good or bad but I do know it is fewer pastels to clean and put away when the painting is complete and the slick foam core cleans up with a damp wipe.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


This painting is on blue Canson Mi-Teintes paper.  I prefer the "soft" side because I don't want the pattern of the paper to be a part of my painting. Canson Mi-Teintes holds much LESS pastel than my favorite sanded surface, Wallis. There is not much room for playing around with colors and shapes because the tooth of the paper is full before you know it and won't hold any additional color. When I taught workshops, this is the paper I started my students on and using it again was a good exercise for me because I was forced to work slowly and more thoughtfully.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

back to painting

Back to painting and working larger. I hang my Totobobo mask from my light after each painting session so I remember to put it on, as well as turning on my air filter that sits on the counter to the right. This painting-in-progress is on Canson Mi Teintes.

Monday, August 15, 2011

editorial time

These August mornings are beginning to feel like Fall though I hope we are in for an Indian summer. The activities of summer are winding down for me and it is time to get back to painting and the business of art.

For the past 18 months I have had the opportunity to contribute a quarterly editorial to the Northwest Pastel Society website. This month's editorial will be about framing pastels. I thought you might be interested in reading some of the past editorials. You can access them from the NWPS website.

On the homepage, look in the left column for this text and click "editorial." From there, you should be able to access any of the seven editorials that have been posted.

May 2011 Shipping Pastel Art
February 2011 Make Your Own Pastel Surface
November 2010 Commission Work
August 2010 My Workshop Experience
May 2010 Leap of Faith
February 2010 Business of Art
November 2009 Hello