Thursday, April 8, 2021

I guess I'm having a sale


"Fall Color," oil on Yupo paper, 9x12 inches

I've been thinking about having a Spring Sale. Today, before I knew what was happening, I put this one on a DPW auction at $45. This was an interesting experiment and was painted after my online workshop with Dutch painter, Roos Schurring. So much fun to paint! It is a textured oil and is ready for a 9x12 inch frame (no glass needed).  I found the process so interesting that I took progression photos. 

Please help me clean my Studio by considering this for your Collection. Take a look at the auction here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Whoo Hoo Rework

Movie Star,  step 2


The Movie Star, step 1

On the easel today...a 24 x 18 inch rework of an old unfinished, unvarnished oil painting. I made a short video of the process.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Reworked Oil Painting


Time After Time, Oil, 18 x 18 inches
©2021 Barbara Benedetti Newton

I am frugal with some things, oil paint is one of them. Looking back, some of my paintings show that frugality. Not a good look. 

I have given myself an attitude adjustment based on two things:

1. My age. I have many tubes of oil paint. If I continue to be frugal about how much I use, they will outlive me. I want to use them up.

2. The addition of cold wax medium instead of my usual liquid medium adds body and volume to my paint and gives my work a more generous look.

Above is the recent rework of a 2014 painting. The original work is shown below. 

Friday, March 19, 2021

Second Try and Book Info

I found another guinea pig painting for my oil and cold wax experimentation. I'm painting over old unvarnished paintings. This one was painted in 2020 and though it achieved the goals I was after at the time, I knew I would want to loosen it up at some point so I didn't apply varnish. 

I began by mixing a more saturated version of the previous background color in oil with the addition of about 50% Dorland's Cold Wax Medium. After application tp the painting with a palette knife, I used the silicone bowl scraper to spread it out leaving some of the previous background color showing through. 

I would like to show you progress photos but once I start mixing color with wax I am aware that the wax begins drying and since I am not adding solvent such as OMS, I try to work quickly. I paint quickly anyway so the process suits me. I finished the painting yesterday and posted it on Instagram. Just before bed I took another look at it and this morning I made adjustments. Once again, a very fun process for me, painting without a brush. See book information below that many of you have requested. 

"Lo and Behold," oil and cold wax, 14 x 11 inches
©2021 Barbara Benedetti Newton

Information from the publishers: More than just a technical guide, this 320-page, fully illustrated book provides comprehensive information for those who are new to cold wax, as well as technical expertise and inspiration to those already using the medium. The authors' advice and experience--along with the work and words of over 100 artists from around the world--will strengthen your work and studio practice, suggest exciting new directions, and support thoughtful self-critique. Rebecca Crowell and Jerry McLaughlin feel strongly that the "why" of using cold wax medium is as important as the “how.” Many of the artists whose work appears in the book speak about collaboration, process, and experimentation. The authors include their own thoughts about these topics, and more. And because readers also want clear information and direction for working with cold wax, large sections of the book are devoted to important practical information, including: materials, detailed lists of supplies, studio setup, illustrated how-to sections, and in-depth discussion of procedures. Book purchasers will also have exclusive access to additional bonus material available online.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Painting with Joy via Bowl Scraper

"Pack Up All My Cares and Woe," oil and cold wax, 10x10 inches
©2021 Barbara Benedetti Newton

Something just happened and I'm not sure I can even explain how it happened. My best guess is that I was open to the idea because the time was right. Now, who makes the right time - me or the Universe - is another question. Anyway...

I have had a jar of Dorland Wax Medium for at least 7 years. I moved it from my previous studio to this one. I used some a couple years ago to glaze a gouache painting so it could be framed without glass. Then, last week, I came across a video of an artist working in oil and cold wax. The work was abstract, I didn't have an instant rapport with the artist and I didn't watch the video to the end. But my notes from the video included info about a comprehensive book on cold wax medium. Rave reviews on the internet about the book. I ordered it. It is a tome, I doubt I will ever read all of it but it carefully and simply laid out information on supplies. I ordered a couple new tools to try the process of adding cold wax to my oil paint. 

Next came a video conversation between the two authors of the cold wax book and the introduction of something I didn't know I even thought about before. Texture. Texture - either visual or literal - as one of the design elements of a painting along with color, value, line and shape. 

In reflecting on my own work I realize I have intuitively been using texture. Paper texture played a major role in my colored pencil work. When I moved on to pastel, I spattered and used broken color to achieve texture both visual and literal as well as silicone tools for textural line work. In oil painting, all texture work has been visual rather than literal, based most likely on my reluctance to be generous with oil paint. But, unbeknownst to me, I was about to embark on an art-changing event by adding wax to my paint.

With no idea where to start or what to paint, I chose an unvarnished oil painting from my 2020 year of working with a mentor. I decided to use the still-life floral image as an underpainting and play around with  oil and cold wax. I read that I should put a little pile of wax on my palette and mix it 50/50 with oil paint using a palette knife. Apply some color to the painting with a palette knife.

OK. Did that. Then, just start painting and probably not with a brush. How about a silicone bowl scraper? It's like a big half circle. 

From that point on, I did everything with the Messermeister! Mixed paint, applied paint, removed paint, made lines, made texture, removed texture. No brush to make familiar marks. An all-new process. Oh so fun! A joy to learn something new. I am going through my inventory now for more old paintings that could use a shot of joyfulness. 

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Color Studies


I've been a little distracted with things like my second COVID vaccine (flu symptoms for about 12 hours, no big deal) but today I got to the easel and back to my 2021 focus on color. Working two-up, I started with Burnt Sienna acrylic to lay in the value pattern using a b/w photo reference.

After the acrylic dried (about a minute!) I could start working in oil paint using color photos as reference. Hue. Value. Temperature. I really meant to stop and take more progress shots but once I started painting I forgot about it. The painting on the left is about 80% complete. I'll try to take more photos of the process when I move on to the second painting. Eventually these little color studies may end up in my new Facebook Shop under the business name, Bina Designs, that I've had since 1988.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

A self-portrait

Sixty years ago I painted a self-portrait in oil paint in my high school art class. It was so traumatic that I didn't touch oil paint again for nearly fifty years, instead reverting to pencil and pen and ink. This week I tried it again and it was so much fun!  I made a few short videos. Scroll to the bottom to see the finished painting and the reference selfie it was painted from. I may add my glasses after it is dry. 

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3 Note the vertical palette.

Self-Portrait oil sketch ©2021 Barbara Benedetti Newton

Several years ago I made quite a few pastel videos. 
If you would like to see them, visit my YouTube Playlist 

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Wednesday at the easel

I'm working on my balanced life and have set aside Wednesdays to paint. This week, I spent Wednesday in a paint-along with Netherlands artist, Roos Schuring. I have been following her work for years. Great fun and her attention to color fits my plan for color study in 2021. Here is my set-up for the paint along. 

You can see the finished painting at Instagram barbarabenedettinewton

One of my goals for the new year is a clean desktop. Sounds simple but by the end of each day I have many different pens, the letter opener, highlighter, and eraser scattered across my desktop. This week I re-purposed an iPad keyboard box into colorful desktop art. 

There are more photos and explanation on my Instagram bbnewtonartstudio page.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

2021 is here!

A couple days ago, when we took the Christmas tree down, Jay left to do errands and I launched into a total revamp of the great room. Regardless of my age, if I can still move furniture, I figure I'm OK. It's a challenge to move everything into adjoining spaces to be able to turn the carpet around. Wear tennis shoes so you don't slip. When Jay came home he snapped this photo of me.

I started thinking about why I rearrange my Studio and home spaces so often. Psychology Today says: "An impact on the environment, whether an imprint or a removal, lifts mood, provides concrete satisfaction, and instills a sense of effectiveness. Inner and outer harmony happen when the pieces are placed in a way that makes sense for you. Think about feng shui: 'What feng shui decorating means is that you create an environment that has the best energy to support the specific activity intended for that space.' (Rodika Tchi) As you rearrange your personal space, you hone your aesthetic and identify what you truly love, want or need. Such specificity brings relief. Research shows that meaningful hand use elevates mood." Hmmm....

Anyway, back to my intended post for this new year. My one question to myself for 2021 is 'How do I want to use my time?' I spend too much time online. Why do I do that? It is because I have created an online world that needs maintenance.
I sell work online through my Daily Paintworks Gallery, my Etsy Shop, my primary website, and PSG SAVOR Gallery and I'm starting to think about e-commerce on Instagram and Facebook. I sell my work to make room in my Studio for more. 

I like sharing what I have learned and seeing what others are doing. Now that I no longer teach in person, I stay connected with others online through Blogs, Instagram and Facebook. Besides this Art Journal Blog, I have a Golden Years blog, a Mill Pond Cottage blog and a Recent Paintings blog. I post to three accounts on Instagram: BarbaraBenedettiNewton (artwork), BBNewtonArtStudio (studio tips) and the new MillPondCottage (creating a life of balance). Facebook: A business page, a personal page, a group page and a page Facebook created for me.

So, how do I (and how do you) want to spend 2021? I'm thinking about it. Happy New Year everyone. 

P.S. I think I fixed my comments section (after the spammer issue) and I welcome your thoughts about how you will be enjoying 2021. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Paint, Plant, Knit


After a couple weeks of Christmas baking, gift delivery and Zoom Christmas gatherings, I'm back in the Studio. Well, this photo is actually outside the studio on a covered porch. I thought it might be interesting or helpful to others to learn how I photograph my artwork. This is a pastel taped to a black rigid board. Beside the painting I have taped a Kodak Color bar. This color bar helps me correct the color in Photoshop Elements after  I AirDrop the photo from my iPhone to my iMac. 

1. I place the painting outdoors in the shade and using my iPhone on Portrait Mode, I take a photo of my painting. In my iPhone I edit the photo by cropping to the black background. I keep the full art image and the color bar in the photo.

2.  I AirDrop the cropped image from my iPhone to my iMac. Open the image with Photoshop Elements and select Enhance from the menu bar. I then select Adjust Lighting, then Shadows/Highlights and lighten shadows to number 12. Based on where I photograph my work, this is nearly always the adjustment that is needed here. 

3. Next, using color adjustments and keeping my eye on the color bar to compare what I see on the screen to the actual color bar in my hand, I adjust the color as needed. Sometimes only a little adjustment is needed but sometimes this step is lengthy. It is very important to me that I represent my work accurately.

4. Once the color is correct, I crop to the image, cutting out the color bar. I resize the image to the correct ratio of the actual painting - sometimes the photo is a little off. Then I save 3 copies. One is full size at 300dpi x 8" wide or high, whichever is longer. The second image is 144dpi x 10" high or wide and the third has a square canvas in black or white added for Instagram. I label the images with a letter for the medium, then the year, month and day, title, size. Here are the labels for the art shown above.




A goal for 2021 is a more balanced life. I will be painting less but gardening more. This is my seed collection harvested from the 2020 flower and vegetable gardens. I also walk around at the end of the growing season with my notebook and make notes about plants that need moving to another location or removing permanently to the compost. After gardening this spot for 6 years, the only thing that ended up being removed permanently were clumps of Shasta Daisys. A few hydrangea bushes will come out in February for a relocate to my daughter's farm on Vashon Island to make room for some new, lower plants.. 

I'll also be knitting again. Forty years ago, in my First-Life, I lived on a 13 acre farm on Vashon Island, Island Farm and Gardens, Rt. 2, Box 176. I worked at K2 Skis, raised two children, bred sheep spent a lot of time at my spinning wheel. Today, I have an attic full of roving and handspun yarn that I hope to get back to in 2021. I'm warming up with a hat for myself of blue wool that I have been knitting for 3 years. It began as a sweater. At about 3/4 completion I decided it was too small so I ripped it all out and rewound the skeins of yarn into balls. I began again with a different sweater pattern and along the way got busy with art and lost interest. Now I am knitting a hat based on the Handspun yarn knit hat pattern I created so many years ago (and calligraphed the directions). Notice I am knitting directly from the previously knit sweater to the hat. This gives it an interesting extra texture to the knit/purl rib pattern I'm working.

Well, that's probably more than you wanted to know...if you got this far. In my interest of a more balanced life for 2021, I have started a new Instagram page titled Mill Pond Cottage. Here is the link if you would like to follow along. It's new. 

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Two paintings accepted

I'm happy to post the news that two of my paintings have been accepted into the Pastel Society of Eastern Canada (Société de Pastel L'est du Canada) for their 25th edition of "Les Pastellistes". There were 500 digital images from 17 countries to consider for this show. Many thanks to the PSEC judges. I am honored to be included. The show will be online December 15, 2020 at

Boat House, pastel, image 17 x 22 inches, 
©2019 Barbara Benedetti Newton

Cedar River Picnic, image 25 x 18 inches,  
©2019 Barbara Benedetti Newton

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Gratitude Attitude

 This week I've been focused on gratitude. One thing I am grateful for is the opportunity to rework paintings that are not quite right. 

Gratitude, pastel, 11x14 inches
I brushed off all of a previous painting except the top three inches. Loved the sky and trees so they survived my rework.

Gratitude #2, 5x7 inches
I think this was a little pastel from my Super Summer Sale that didn't sell. As soon as the sale was over I completely brushed it off down to a ghost indication of color. Six months later, I added some Acryl Gouache to the ghost in these colors but the scene didn't come into being until I started with pastel over the gouache. 

Gratitude #3, 7x5 inches
This little painting of my Studio Garden was a demo piece for the last major workshop I taught in Fall, 2019. I loved lots about this one so only slight changes were made to help direct the viewer's attention.

Gratitude #4, 13 x 17 inches
Now this one has a long history. I painted it the first time in December of 2012 (the image at the bottom of this post) and it appears in my book, Art Answers Pastel Book. In January of 2015 I gave it a major rework with the blue sky (middle photo below) and it went to one of my galleries. It came back home and has hung on my wall for three years. Until this week. Now it has turned into Gratitude #4 and I'm happy. A special note: this is Wallis paper and I think I could probably rework it many more times because the paper is so durable. But I hope I don't have to.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Acryl Gouache

For years, you have listened to me complain that I have too many acrylics and that I have yet to bond with them (no pun intended). Well, I may have just inched forward to a closer relationship with an "acrylic" medium. Acryl Gouache. A compromise between acrylic and gouache.

Traditional gouache is opaque, matte watercolour – so like watercolour it is re-soluble, not water resistant. Acryl Gouache has characteristics of both acrylic and watercolor. It is opaque and matte, quick-drying, water-mixable and water resistant once dry (so multiple layers can be over-painted with no bleeding or streaking). 

I love the matte look of gouache and I love the water-resistant-once-dry attribute of acrylic. I tried Acryl Gouache recently when reworking an old pastel painting. 

This is "Woodland Path," 2018, one of my paintings in my "From the Heart" series - paintings done from memory, no reference photo used. I should mention that the paper is Wallis which can take tons of abuse. When a slight rework using pastel didn't work, I took the painting into the laundry room, held it over the sink and sprayed it with water until all I had was ghost image of the old painting.

I mixed acryl gouache into a dark blue/green color and indicated a new scene based on the little black and white photo reference.

Then using a very light blue (mostly white) I indicated the lightest areas.

Using these colors, I applied pastel over the acryl gouache. 

Backroad, mixed media, 13x12.5 inches
©2020 Barbara Benedetti Newton

I am typing this on Black Friday. Now there is Artist Sunday.

Great sale prices on selected art, go to Barbara's Holiday Sale

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Homemade Pastels

When I cleaned and reorganized my soft pastels, I ended up with a paper plate full of chips and small pieces to grind and roll into new colors.

1. Grind pastel chips using a mortar and pestle.
2. Pour pastel powder onto a surface and mash tiny chunks with a palette knife.
3. Form the powder into a little mountain with a crater in the top.
4. Drop in water and mix into a paste using a palette knife.

5. Form the paste into a sausage and place onto a paper towel and wrap and roll a couple times.
6. Hold each of the two ends of the paper towel and make a see-saw motion, letting the pastel roll across the surface of the paper towel under it's own weight. 
7. Set the paper towel with pastel still on it in a safe place to dry for a few days. 

Viola! New pastel sticks.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone. I have found that it is important to make note of holidays even though this year we can't celebrate as usual. Without holidays, my year becomes a time warp. I need markers of the passing of time. Take a look at special Thanksgiving pricing in my Etsy Shop, BBNewtonART.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Pastel Work-Station Update

 Remember all those pastels I discovered in my Studio? To have them accessible at my pastel work-station, I had to empty out and clean ALL my pastel boxes and even install a new wall shelf on the right side of my easel (thank you Jay!). 

Now I'm in business! The two framed pastel paintings hanging on the wall above my new shelf are awaiting rework. Next week: making my own pastel sticks from chips (see the lower left paper-plate of pastel chips in the photo above).

Update on my Holiday Sale
Yay! All the small oil paintings in my Daily Paintworks Holiday Auction have been shipped to their new homes. Also, three sales from my Etsy Shop BBNewtonArt have shipped. Thank you everyone! The Puget Sound Group of Northwest Artists Holiday Sale is in progress. I have five paintings in that sale (two are framed and ready to give as a gift to yourself or someone else). 

Saturday, November 7, 2020

A Happy Week

A HAPPY WEEK here in the Studio.

The first paintings from My Holiday Sale have been shipped. Thank you to my early-bird purchasers!

I have cleaned and rearranged my Studio. See the changes.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

My three Holiday Sales