Wednesday, November 28, 2012

looser strokes

Looser strokes and less detail in this one, "Where the Heart Is," 11 x 8.5 inches. I'm happy to be in my studio these rainy days, letting the vegetable and flower gardens go wild. I'm sure I'll be sorry in the spring.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


This is the finished painting (10.5 x 15 inches) that started with the 5x7 color study in my last post. I was thinking: forgotten orchard, abandoned orchard, orchard memory and oops, a different scene emerged with more focus on the orchard and less focus on the road leading to it.

But, I love the little color study so I'll try again to paint a larger version of that one and will call it "Meadow Road."

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Color study for Orchard Memory

This is the 5x7 inch color study for my next painting, It is available for purchase at the DPW Auction. (sold) "Meadow Road" is the title of this one.

 Below are the four steps for this painting:
1. Black acrylic on tan Ampersand Pastelbord.
2. Light lavender to block in the lightest areas.
3. Trying out a few colors
4. The finished color study.

If this scene looks familiar, it is because earlier this month I posted "Glory Days," a 13x17 inch version of the same scene but in a warmer palette.

Monday, November 19, 2012

a change of focus

When I painted this 7x5 inch color study for a larger painting, my focus was on the hits of sunlight on the path. Because it is small, I work the whole scene at the same time, moving from area to area and perhaps because of this process, my color studies are always more spontaneous and lively than larger work.

For the bigger painting (18x12 inches), I started at the top and by the time I finished the sunlight on the tree trunks and the grass, I began to feel a change of focus. I wanted to keep the viewer's attention further back in the scene and a dappled path would compete with that. But, I went ahead anyway and made a dappled path. Then I removed the dappled path and opted for warmer path color instead. That way, the path comes forward but doesn't compete with the other sun detail.

The 7x5 inch study is currently on auction at Daily Paintworks (sold) and the larger painting, "Sunfall" will be at Cole Gallery, Edmonds, Washington, in February 2013.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

two tips

I finally figured out how to paint from a reference photo on my ipad and still keep it clean. I hang it from the top of my easel and cover the screen with plastic wrap.
When I near the completion of a painting, the pastels and tools I'm using are a dusty, dirty mess. I take a moment to clean pastels and tidy up my work area before putting the finishing touches on a painting.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

four steps

These are the four steps for my 7x5 inch color study for a larger work tentatively titled "Dappled Path."
1. Black acrylic on green Ampersand Pastelbord.
2. Light blue to block in the lightest areas.
3. Trying out a few colors
4. The finished color study.
This is the first step of the larger work (18 x 12 inches) on white Wallis: black Nupastel and a muted purple pastel. I keep the small color study beside me for reference.  If you click to enlarge this image and the value foundation looks very blurry, it is because it really is - there are only a few hard edges or fully saturated areas of color at this stage.

Monday, November 12, 2012

color vs detail

Final value check. In my last post, I spoke of doing something to the "busy" color in the foreground but after looking at this painting for a day, I decided to let the color stay and instead, cut back on the amount of detail I added to the foreground. I also lightened the upper right pasture at the horizon line. I think I'm done with this for now but will look at it for a few days before I frame it.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

90% Value Check

This pastel painting will be 22 x 17 inches. I'm working an extra inch all the way to give me the option of moving it slightly left, right, up or down - however it looks best in the mat.

I'm painting from a gray scale reference photo and am 90% done but the colors in the painting are too busy so I took a photo of the painting and turned it into a gray scale to check the value range. Value looks good to me but I'll lighten the horizon at the right and do something about the busy colors in the foreground (which of course, you can't see in this photo). The last 5% will be detail.

Monday, November 5, 2012

fall glory days

I guess my change of studio wall color is working to help me warm up my painting palette. This is "Glory Days," painted from a gray scale reference photo. I loved the road and the tree but the real subject is the glorious fall color we've been having this year. The surface is Wallis paper, pastel over an oil-wash foundation. 13 x 17 inches.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

cornmeal, plums and violets

Plums and Violets is a colored pencil drawing that was created for my students as an example of working on black paper. It is time to let go of the past so I have posted this on the Daily Paintworks auction along with the white reverse grisaille (underpainting in white pencil) necessary to keep colored pencil bright on a black ground. If you are familiar with my colored pencil work through my book, Colored Pencil Solution Book, or if you work in colored pencil yourself, you will recognize this as my precise work in that medium and the TIME involved in even a small drawing in this technique.

Today we will change our clocks per daylight savings time and replace the batteries in our smoke detectors. For those who work in pastel, it is a good time to change the cornmeal you use to clean your pastels.