Monday, April 24, 2017

Preparing for oil painting

Before I forget, here is a link of good advice for those of you who want to sell your art.

And, consider this way to get free advice about your work in progress: I am one of the Critique group leaders for Plein Air Painters Washington (PAWA). If you want to join me and others at my studio in Black Diamond, WA, June 8th and September 14th, 10AM - 1:00 PM, we'll be critiquing each others' work. You need to be a PAWA member. 

Now, back to what I really intended to post today.

Each year I switch mediums a couple times. I like to focus on one medium at a time. Last summer I returned to acrylics then it was back to pastel for the remainder of the year and up until now.  Only a couple oil paintings so far this year but now that the garden is well under way I'm looking forward to returning to oil.

Hardboard panels and my special GESSO brush (good quality so no hairs fall out).

Two coats of gesso with dry time between coats. Yay! I'm ready for small studies in oil.

Friday, April 21, 2017

What's on the easel April 22, 2017

On the easel April 22, 2017
Usually I can get projects off my easel by Friday to leave the weekend free from art but this week was an exception. What's on the easel from left to right:

1. 10 x 8 inch oil painting that I started months ago. You can see the reference photo in color peeking out from behind it. The reference photo was taken in January on a frosty sunny morning. I've painted several pastels from the series but only one other oil. I look forward to getting back to this one.

2. 7 x 5 inch pastel painting (with color bar attached). Yesterday the Plein Air Washington Artists Critique Group (PAWA Black Diamond group) met at my Studio and I asked for opinions on several paintings. On one painting I made corrections in pastel as they made suggestions. The painting was improved but the color combination still made me cringe so I wiped it off and began again with a color-wheel in hand.
This is the ghost after wipe-off of the previous image.
High-Key Spring, pastel, 7x5 inches
3. The large white square is a sheet of Fredrix Artist Canvas laid out for four 6 x 6 inch oil paintings. The one I have started here is based on the same reference photo as the first painting but this time in a square format and different palette.

4. The reference photo for the road painting but this time in gray tones to study value. The X drawn on it is a guide that helps me transfer the scene to my painting surface (which also had an X on it).

5. Two new tubes of Daniel Smith oil paint in colors I've never used: Transparent Brown Oxide and Chromium Green Oxide.

Happy Weekend to you.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Demo that became Rejoice

The last Friday of March I did a demo at Maple Valley Community Center (where our Friday Painting Group meets) then took it back to the Studio to finish it. It changed quite a bit!

Rejoice, pastel, 11x18 inches

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Friday, April 7, 2017

What happened to the Six-up?

Four of the six in my last post are complete.
Meadow Road, pastel, 6x6 inches   sold

Carmel Waterway, pastel, 6x6 inches  Available

Spring Creek Afternoon, pastel, 6x6 inches   Available

Nisqually Winter, pastel, 6x6 inches    Available

Monday, March 27, 2017


Weeks ago I had a request from a collector for another 6x6 pastel to hang with her previous purchase. I told her I would be painting more 6x6 inch pastels in March. Um...right. Gardening happened and here we are in the last days of the month. Desperate measures and focus needed.

I cut four 6x6 pieces of Ersta 500 from a larger sheet and was left with two 4x6 remnants. Set up a little cardboard box spray booth (use archival spray), mounted the Ersta on archival foam core. Took the panel with me to my Friday painting group*.

Still smarting from my kaput Ersta experience (see my previous post), I decided to use minimal pastels and let the color of the paper show. I started with vine charcoal, gave it an alcohol spray to set it. On some pieces, the charcoal ran or I brushed it around. Basic first strokes can be seen here on the 4x6 "minis."

Carmel, Step 1

This is what the panel of six looks like now. To be continued...
* Friday, March 31st, 1:30 PM I'll be demonstrating pastel at Maple Valley Community Center. After the demo we'll all paint together, any medium. Join us.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

On the easel today, Twilight II, pastel, 6x6 inches. It began with an oil wash then pastel. I took it to my Friday afternoon painting group and put pastel on and wiped it off for a couple hours. Back in the studio I did the same. Finally, to avoid ripping it up, I punched it up with blue Nupastel, a warm violet Unison and a warm white Terry Ludwig and then I turned it around and walked away believing I would be throwing it away the next time I saw it. But, apparently, absence makes the heart grow fonder because after four days of gardening I'm back in the studio and my first impression is hmmmm....instead of aaarghhh. There might be hope.

3/25/17 The rest of the story... There was hope, then no hope. Back and forth. I finally had to admit that the Ersta 500 paper was kaput (broken and useless; no longer working or effective) and I trashed it.

How this painting on the image to view the videos.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Two From My Book

I just finished packing up seven paintings to deliver to Attic Gallery, Camas, WA. Suddenly there is a big blank space on my Studio wall that makes me want to paint scenes to fill the space. Originally I hung paintings in the studio because of a lack of storage space. I enjoyed them but after just removing seven, I realize the paintings had actually become just wallpaper to me. Two of the paintings were painted for my book, "Pastel Drawing" and are the subjects for page 139. I would like to send them off to a new home. They are both available on my DailyPaintworks Gallery.

Where the Heart Is, pastel, 11 x 8.5 inches

Sunday Walk, pastel, 11 x 8.5 inches

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Checking up on myself

Left, Color Study 6x6 inches                Right, 25x25 inch pastel in progress
Switching my eyes and brain from my 6x6 inch color study to the 25x25 inch pastel on my easel requires stepping back, leaving the room, reentering with my eyes on the easel, etc. Another tool is to photograph the work in progress (shown above on right) and place the photo beside the photo of the color study with both the same size. Now I can see some shapes and compositional signposts I need to correct in the larger painting.

An even more useful look is comparing the two paintings as value only. Without the distraction of color, this comparison is very helpful for composition and directional elements. It's good to check up on myself so I stay on track with what I'm trying to accomplish.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Golden Afternoon III Update

For those of you just tuning in, I am repainting Golden Afternoon II. I'm using my 6x6 color study as my reference (see it to the right of my easel in the photo above).

When I started working on this painting, I shot short videos of each step but soon I got involved in painting and forgot to make more videos. If you would like to see the first five steps, the links to videos are below. Once you watch one video, you should be able to find the others on my YouTube list rather than coming back to these links.

See Step 1 video
First I brush off as much pastel as possible with a cheap "chip brush."

See Step 2 video
I can remove additional pastel, especially in the lightest areas with an alcohol spray and a cotton cloth.

See Step 3 video
I lay in the darkest areas with a dark soft pastel (Terry Ludwig brand)

See Step 4 video
After darks, I apply the lightest areas with a soft light yellow (Terry Ludwig brand)

See Step 5 video
With a hard pastel I lay in yellow areas (NuPastel brand).

OR...This is the link to all five videos in one Playlist.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Gamblin Gamvar

Rock Creek Winter, oil, 8 x 10 inches

The two things on my calendar today are 1) Finish tax prep for meeting with our accountant and 2) Apply the final varnish to my oil painting Rock Creek Winter so I can send it off to its new home. I was dreading spending the day working on taxes in a cloud of varnish fumes but I found a new bottle of Gamblin Gamvar. Nearly odorless and I love the semi-gloss finish. I'm having a cozy rainy/snowy Northwest  day in the studio.

Here is a link to a YouTube Video on how to apply this varnish.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

NYC show

Bells, oil, 6x6 inches
I'm happy to post that my painting, "Bells" is now in NYC at the Prince Street Gallery. It will be shown in the Women Painters Coast to Coast Show - opening reception is March 2 and the show runs to March 25. Available

Monday, February 20, 2017

Homeward Bound 15 years later

Homeward Bound II, pastel, 10 x 8 inches
Last week I was inspired by Facebook's "Throwback Thursday" to compare my first landscape to my most current landscape. Then, to entertain myself I was curious what the 2002 painting - titled "Homeward Bound" would look like if I repainted it today. The result is not as abstracted as I expected (or as I would like) but I'm pleased with it and I can see the maturity in my marks.
You should be able to click on this image to go to YouTube for the video

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The long road home

Morning Creek, pastel, 10 x 8 inches

The Backstory: It was nearly time to leave for my Friday painting group and I wasn't ready to go. I quickly found a reference photo on my computer, opened it in Photoshop, slid the color bar way over to warm and hit print. I grabbed it and a piece of Uart and headed out knowing this was not going to be my favorite way of painting. I like to start with an oil under-painting of a complementary color or a dark value. I do not like to start with a blank piece of light value paper.

Reference photo for Morning Creek
This is my easel, Uart and b/w ref photo. I sketched the scene with a red pastel pencil.
This is the long road home part. It seemed to take forever to get to the place where I would have started if I had applied an oil-wash under-painting before adding any pastel. The scene wasn't inviting when I stuck to the cooler colors in the reference photo, it needed lots of nuanced color to add warmth and depth. But, adding warmth changed it from a spring scene to summer or autumn. Here's a very quick video of me beginning to add some warmth. Link to YouTube Morning Creek Nuance.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

One more time!

Rock Creek Winter, oil, 10 x 8 inches   sold
One more time. I have been painting the streams and creeks in our area and I thought I was done with the Rock Creek - but then I started working in oil instead of pastel and couldn't resist painting this scene. It is available for purchase on my Daily Paintworks Gallery. Oil on hardboard panel, it is wet now but will be ready to ship in about 3 weeks. At that time I'll post it to my other online venues. I like to post available paintings on Daily Paintworks first for fellow-artist collectors.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Another creek, this time in oil

Grinder Creek, oil, 10 x 8 inches

Available now, will ship when dry. See the backstory below.

Last summer I was playing with acrylic paint (again!). Today I found this 10x8 inch panel with the first steps of an acrylic version of my colored pencil painting, "Sweetness and Light." A good surface to paint my first oil of 2017.

I mixed Burnt Sienna and French Ultramarine Blue and began laying in the new painting. After that, it was so fun to be painting in oil again that I forgot to take more photos. Below is the finished painting with the reference photo.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Goodbye Winter?

Rock Creek Winter #4, pastel, 5x7 inches Available
This may be the last of the Winter series of this subject. It is the end of January and it is beginning to feel like Spring! Progression steps of this one are on my FB page as a slide show. See my plein air set up, reference photo and steps below.  Goodbye winter?

I received a question from Diana H. about my set up when working outside the Studio.

1. Easel: My easel is a Soltek that I invested in years ago. Google Soltek easel to learn more about it. It has two built-in compartments. I used to have pastel boxes that fit exactly but now I use some of the foam from my Pastel Porter to hold my pastels in place. At the far left of this photo you'll see more foam pieces that look like little ladders or fences - I can't remember where they came from. I put these on top of the pastels before I close the compartment lids. (I could take the entire Pastel Porter with me but that would be another item to carry.)

2. Reference photo: You can see my reference photo in this shot. I print it out 5x7 (same size as the painting) on glossy paper. The photo is from our neighborhood, early morning a couple weeks ago when it was very cold.

3. Pastels: This portable selection is a mixture of various brands and a warm and cool stick of each hue as well as white. I also take my hard Holbeins and NuPastels with me when painting away from the studo. And, a few pastel pencils (as you can see in yesterday's post).

4. Paper: Still loving Clairefontaine Pastelmat in several colors.

5. Backing board is 1/2" Gatorboard and tape is Dick Blick Artist's tape, white, 3/4".

That's about it. If you have any questions, make a comment on this post and I'll answer on this post.  Steps are below.