Friday, June 18, 2021

Steps of Abandon

If you aren't following me on Instagram and would like to see the finished and progress photos of this painting, go here. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Painting with Abandon


Today Pinterest brought up a tiny thumbnail of a gorgeous painting. I clicked on it to see who painted it and was surprised to see that I did! It was from March of 2016,  titled "Wild," and sold to Sandy D.

"Wild," 5x7 pastel sold

This month I have been working in pastel again after more than a year working in oil. I'm painting for my annual Super Summer Sale and also to enter a few upcoming shows. Once again, I'm striving to paint with abandon and because of that I was interested to read my text from 2016 when I posted "Wild" on my blog.

"Sometimes I push a pastel painting past the point of no return. When the words "labored, contrived, sweet, pretty and cute" come to mind, it is time for me to hose it off (Wallis paper), brush it off (most other papers) or get the baking soda out (Pastelmat).

This painting was a big mess (well, as big a mess as a 5x7 can be). I finally took most of the pastel off and began again with ABANDON. Yay! I'm happy with it now."

And so, with abandon, here is today's painting.

"Bliss," pastel 10x8 inches

Friday, June 11, 2021

On the easel 6/11/2021

I'm working 3-up. One done, two to go. "Overachiever," pastel, 8x8 inches. See the  progress steps below.


Step 4

Step 3

Step 2

Step 1

I started with Paynes Grey acrylic line/gesture sketch

Monday, June 7, 2021

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

...and very attractive frames.

Once upon a time, I purchased inexpensive gold frames online thinking they would be OK. They weren't. A couple weeks ago I bought a can of Satin Black enamel spray paint and fixed them. I love the way they look now.


These two little oils will be in The Puget Sound Group's Summer Online Sale beginning July 1. Good paintings, good prices and very attractive frames. Email me if you want me to send you a link when the sale opens.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

The week in review 5/22/21

Happy Saturday to you, hope you're having a good one. I spent today weeding the garden, followed by an ice pack. 

It's that time of year when I have to return to pastel if I want to have my annual Super Summer Sale. This year I'll be adding small oil paintings done on paper. They actually look like pastels if I substitute my usual 50/50 linseed/OMS (odorless mineral spirits) medium with cold wax. Watch for these in July through my DailyPaintworks Gallery. Select Category view and there will be a special category called Annual Super Summer Sale. This annual event usually sells out.

In one of my recent posts I mentioned that I am returning to mentoring. For now, it will be online only. To begin I'll advise you how to improve your paintings via email. Later in the year, I may add Zoom mentoring and eventually may return to the in-Studio private sessions of the past. I'm getting additional track lighting in the studio this week for more options about how to use the space.

1. Tell me your primary goals (I want to work looser, I want more light in my work) and send jpgs of your paintings and the reference photo for each. 

2. I'll copy the image of your painting, rework using PhotoShop, add text to explain what and why and send it back to you beside your work so you can compare and easily see the suggestions.

Email me if you're interested.

On the easel today is an 18x18 inch pastel rework on sanded paper. After brushing off most of the old pastel painting I used a grayscale photo as my reference to apply thin oil paint with OMS as the medium for the foundation. You may remember me referring to this as an oil-wash but when I say that I get lots of inquiries asking what an oil wash is.

After letting it dry for a couple days I apply pastel on top of the oil wash. I love this process and still consider pastel my primary medium. It is about 90% complete so I'll set it aside and look at it with fresh eyes in a the coming weeks.

I completed the oil painting that was on the easel in my last post. Titled "Verve," it received a very warm welcome on my Instagram page. To those who have emailed me about purchase, it is drying quickly and will be available soon.

"Verve," oil, 24x24 ©2021 Barbara Benedetti Newton


Sunday, May 16, 2021

On the easel 5/16/21


This painting has been in progress for about six months. This week it had another radical change and once again, I'm letting it sit...thinking about it. More to be done to finish it, I'm just not sure exactly what yet.

Friday, May 7, 2021

On the easel, mentoring


If you remember my post of April 13th, here is what happened to that painting since then. I'm still working with the bowl scraper instead of a brush. Sometimes I add cold wax medium, sometimes I don't. For this one I'm using a 50/50 mix of OMS and linseed oil as the medium. I'm letting this dry a little; thinking about what comes next.

MENTORING: I have mentored some of you, both online and in person. With the onset of the pandemic, I put mentoring on hold. I guess I'm back, in some form, due to this great opportunity for you. Note: I'm not the only mentor is this offer! There are others to choose from. 

I’m writing to let you know of a great opportunity through Puget Sound Group of Northwest Artists (PSG). Last month, the membership requirements in this prestigious organization (founded in 1928) were revamped. Membership is now open without a rigorous jury process. PSG meetings are currently by Zoom, we have an online gallery - SAVOR, an upcoming online Summer Sale and our Great Annual NW Art Exhibit in September 2021.

To introduce this change, PSG is offering a FREE critique of eight of your paintings by one of our five mentors.  Join us and schedule your free critique. Here is a link to the Mentor pageIf you have questions about PSG or about the critique, I’m happy to answer them. Happy painting to you! 

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Treasures for You

"Treasures" is on stretched canvas - an unusual ground for me but one most oil painters prefer. I'm offering Treasures for my May Auction at crazy-low pricing in an effort to Spring clean my studio! Please consider it as an addition to your collection. 

"Treasures," Oil, 10x8 inches, unframed
See the Auction

Friday, April 30, 2021

On the easel this week

Thanks to all who have confirmed their name on my email art news list (you would have received an email saying "You are subscribed to Barbara Benedetti Newton Fine Art News"). If you didn't receive that email, send me an email and ask me to put you on the list When I have a request from you, I can add your name manually without a need for another response from you. I usually sent out an art news email only once a month. 

A little recap today of what I've been doing in case you don't follow me on Instagram.

This is "Promises, Promises," pastel, 11.5 x 18 inches.

See a short video of the backstory.

I'm still playing with oil and cold wax medium, this time on oil paper in small format.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021



Reference photo

Yellow means Spring. Last night I painted a 12"x9" Centurion OP Linen panel with Golden Hansa Yellow Acrylic. This morning, with a pastel pencil and an oil based colored pencil, I sketched in the still life. Applied some oil paint using a 50/50 Linseed/Gamsol mix. Wiped color away with a shop towel. More paint applied with a brush, scraped paint off with a silicone tool. Now I’ll let it dry before the next step.

On another subject - my Spring Sale - for small oil paintings that need a new home. Please consider adding one to your collection. Take a look.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Spring Sale Additions


Lime with Apple
7- day Auction

Seven matted mini-prints
Purchase on Etsy Sold, but wait!
I found more in my Studio storage as well as  4 new images.
I'll be making more little packets for Etsy soon.

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.