Monday, December 30, 2013

a favorite from 2013

As I look back on my work of 2013, one of my favorites is "Ambiance," a 6x6 inch pastel now available online at my Daily Paintworks Gallery. sold

Saturday, December 21, 2013

warming it up

I put my iPad in a cello sleeve to protect it from paint spatters. Today I added a Transparent Oxide Red + Cobalt glaze over the Viridian + Cobalt foundation to begin to warm up the painting. I'll need to set it aside for several days to dry before more glazing. Time to paint is over anyway because here comes Christmas!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

a very bad photo

Each year at this time, I rearrange the studio furniture to make additional space for our Christmas Eve family gathering. Here is a photo of my new compact painting area. In the foreground is my Hughes easel for oil and behind it is my pastel area - old Mabef easel with Artist's Air filter system.

I just started a new painting based on a reference photo my mother took years ago. Isn't that about the worst reference photo you've ever seen? My best guess about the scene is that there was some flooding from the Green River and my ever-curious mother drove around Auburn, Washington and took photos with her ancient little camera. More about that on my Golden Years blog.

Monday, December 16, 2013

together on the easel

Here is the pastel color study with the work-in-progress oil painting.

The finished painting, Day by Day, oil, 16x20 inches can be seen here. Go here to see the small pastel color study with the magnifier.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

6x8 color study for Day by Day

Color Study for Day by Day  |  pastel  |  6x8 inches

The painting process

pastel for oil

My comfort level is working with pastel, not oil paint, so when I began to feel unsure of what to do next to the oil painting I'm working on, I set it aside and painted a small pastel of what the finished oil might look like. I call these little paintings color studies and most end up on my Daily Paintworks Gallery for purchase.

I keep color samples of the pastels I used and cross reference to my Richard Schmid color charts to mix the correct colors for the oil painting.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

no place like home

Another painting done with a painting knife instead of a brush. Yummy thick color.

No Place Like Home  |  oil  |  6 x 7.38 inches sold

Sunday, December 8, 2013

16x20 oil - two more steps

Step 2 (above)  
In my last post, the beginning thoughts for this painting were very faintly roughed in with a pale oil wash. In this photo I have added the darkest darks. 

Now I ask myself, "Is the composition of the darkest value pleasing to me?" 

Step 3 (below) 
I have softened the value transitions. I am not using reference material so I really don't know how the finished scene will look. I'm working by intuition and emotion. Now I will set this aside and do a small pastel color study to guide me in the completion of this 16x20 oil painting. No title comes to mind yet.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

a new easel

It arrived by common carrier in two boxes with excellent protective packaging inside. Yes, it really does go together with just two screws but thankfully, there is also a dvd with step-by-step instructions for set-up.
The long-awaited Hughes Easel. This purchase represents a productive year, a milestone birthday and the hope for a long life! Remember my painting sabbatical? Well, apparently it is paused because I couldn't wait to start an oil painting on this beauty. Made with love and packaged for a safe delivery, I look forward to many years of happiness with my easel, serial number #B797.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

everything old is new again

What do a French Mistress and a wooden wheel have in common? My oil painting taboret! See it HERE.

Monday, December 2, 2013

resting and drying

Well...yes, I'm on a sabbatical but maybe it isn't a painting sabbatical as much as it is a pressure sabbatical. Until we finish our house building project, my galleries will be receiving fewer new works and I won't be entering juried shows. That takes the pressure off for painting larger pieces.

But last week, I came across some small oils from earlier this year that were left in the value foundation stage. And, because I'm taking year-end inventory of art supplies and handling each tube of oil paint in my studio, before I knew it I found myself squeezing out a basic palette and painting on the little foundations. Very fun! They are resting/drying now while I ponder them.

By the way, I'm once again adding work to my Daily Paintworks Gallery.  If a painting doesn't sell within a week on DPW, it is still visible there but I move the sale to my Etsy shop, BBNewtonART. Prices on several pieces at the Etsy shop didn't get updated but they are correct now if you'd like to take another look for an inexpensive gift for yourself or a friend.

 Memory Lane  |  oil  |  7 x 5 inches sold

Friday, November 29, 2013


Last summer I was able to momentarily subdue my frugality and paint thicker in oil. That exercise produced this 8x6 inch painting that was set aside to dry.  Above are two detail shots of the texture (click to enlarge)...yum...I love it. I just took inventory of my tubes of oil paint and though I think oil has a very long 'shelf-life,' what I have on hand really doesn't have to last me the rest of my life. I will try to loosen up and be more generous with it as I was in this piece, "In This Moment," 8x6 inches.
 In This Moment  |  oil  |  8 x 6 inches

Monday, November 25, 2013

take two - this time in oil

Last year at about this time, I painted a 7x5 inch pastel color study for a larger work tentatively titled "Dappled Path." The color study, "CS for Dappled Path" was sold on the Daily Paintworks Auction and went to a new home in Sweden.

By the time I finished the larger painting, it was renamed "Sunfall" and it went to the corporate art collection of the Puget Sound Blood Center in Washington. Then, an art patron expressed interest in having me paint the scene again as "Sunfall II."

Once again, I started with a color study, this time in oil, a little larger (8 x 6 inches), with bolder color and a different mood. Today I came across that color study and I will post it, unframed, on my Daily Paintworks Gallery tonight.

 Color Study for Sunfall II  |  oil  |  8 x 6 inches  sold

sabbatical redefined

Well...yes, I'm on a sabbatical but maybe it isn't a painting sabbatical as much as it is a pressure sabbatical. Until we finish our house building project, I'm giving up painting pressure. My galleries will be receiving fewer new works from me for awhile and I won't be entering juried shows. That takes the pressure off for painting larger pieces.

However, today I came across a few 7x5 inch oils that I started earlier in the year. And, because I'm taking art supply inventory now, I had to handle each tube of oil paint. Before I knew it, I found myself squeezing out a basic palette and PAINTING on one of the little foundations. Very fun!

Though the finished painting is small (7 x 5 inches), I consider it a finished work rather than a sketch or color study for a larger work.

Memory  Lane  |   oil  |   7 x 5 inches

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Juror's Award

Many thanks to juror Casey Klahn for recognition of my work, "All in Due Time" in the Northwest Pastel Society's 2013 Members' Exhibition at the Schack Art Center, Everett, Washingon. The show runs to December 28th.

This is one of the first pieces from my "mind's-eye memory" series; it is especially meaningful to receive an award for this new direction in my work. Congratulations to all the award winners!

Friday, November 22, 2013

while you were gone 7 x 5 oil

Last July we took care of our neighbor's yard while he was away. We mowed the lawn and watered the flowers during what was an exceptionally dry, warm summer here in Washington state. If it had been a usual summer, blooming flowers would have been spoiled by the rain and this little oil painting of his garden would be the only proof of the beauty he missed. "While You Were Gone," oil, 7 x 5 inches. I'm sending it to Auction on Daily Paintworks.  sold

Thursday, November 21, 2013

falling in love again

First, it was pulling out all those old colored pencils, whispering the names and numbers to myself while sorting them, and then letting them go - passing them on to other artists.
Then, yesterday, I selected one colored pencil drawing ("All Things Considered") from garage storage to post on my Daily Paintworks Gallery for sale.

Today, I had the opportunity to enter these three large colored pencil paintings into a local show. I can hardly believe these are mine. Such detail, such CLEAN work. I'm falling in love again with my colored pencil art.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

80 hours? Really?

This small detail is from one of my colored pencil paintings. My technique was slow and tedious. I used a sharp point, light touch and very small circular strokes. It was not unusual to have 80 hours into one painting. Now, when I look at the art from that time, I am very pleased with the work but, all things considered, I don't have 80 hours to spend on one painting so it is a good thing I moved on to a faster medium!

I have to find a new home for this painting before I move to my new studio. To see the whole painting, click here.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

color study for Follow Your Heart

Last summer, when I wrote the article for Pratique des Arts, I painted a color study in oil for the larger pastel painting that was featured in the magazine article. In my rush to complete the article on a short deadline, I set the color study aside and just found it today as I was jumping on the trampoline when my eyes were level with a nearby shelf. I'm sending it to Auction on DailyPaintworks.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


Yes, I'm on a painting sabbatical but this painting has been kicking around the studio for months, framed temporarily until I decided how to resolve it. Today, I spent just a few minutes warming the lights with a yellowy white and added golden fall foliage. Back into the frame, it is titled "November," of course. Pastel, 17.5 x 11.5 inches.

Friday, November 15, 2013

100 artists of the northwest

Well, it was a long time coming but here is the official publicity blurb:  

Whether the economy is slowing down or bubbling, the Northwest region continues to foster a vibrant art scene. Given its wonderful lifestyle and natural beauty, artists love the region.

E. Ashley Rooney's intent in undertaking 100 Artists of the Northwest (Schiffer 2013) was to take a fresh look at the magical and insightful ways in which the area's artists have interpreted life in this region with its urban trendsetters and laid-back nature lovers.   

Barbara Benedetti Newton of Renton, Washington was one of the artists selected for this work. First known as a master of the colored pencil medium, Barbara is currently noteworthy for her impressionistic, abstracted landscapes in pastel.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

other topics

I don't want to lose you as a subscriber or follower of this art journal blog while I am on my painting sabbatical - I'll be back as soon as our building project is completed. During my time away I'll be blogging on topics other than painting on a new blog, Golden Years: an artist's life journal. Please take a look and subscribe if you like it.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Friday, November 8, 2013

while we're on the subject...

While we're on the subject of colored pencils, look what artist Robin's husband made for her pencil storage. It is PVC pipe and each pipe holds 13 pencils. If I were still working in colored pencil, I'd make this! Thanks Robin - wishing you many happy hours of coloring.

BTW, here is a link to some of my colored pencil work.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

my days were numbered

Another time travel experience, this time back to my days as a colored pencil artist and instructor. My need to identify each pencil by color name and number always got a laugh in my workshops: 901 Indigo Blue, 937 Tuscan Red, 996 Black Grape...oh, I love those colors!

It took about 3 hours today but I got all my old pencils sorted and actually felt the urge to USE them. I will keep all my brands of complete sets but would never use all of these in this lifetime. I look forward to passing them on to others to work in this wonderful medium!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

website update

Many thanks to Kay Dewar of Dewar Design for my yearly website update.

The painting on my homepage is "Shades of Summer," a pastel I barely knew. Soon after it was completed, it went to the Northwest Pastel Society Signature Invitational Show at Scott Milo Gallery, Anacortes, Washington and on to a new home. Sometimes that happens and those paintings remain in my memory longer than the ones I have around for years. Kay added selected paintings for a 2013 Archive as well as fashion sketches from 1964. When I look at my work as a retrospective, I'm always a little surprised.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


More studio cleaning: this is a small colored pencil drawing done with a French Gray grisaille (tonal foundation). I taught this technique for to build color upon a neutral base. Available for purchase through my Studio Sales.

Friday, October 11, 2013

looking back (far, far back)

Look what I found in a bottom drawer in the studio. This was the kind of art I was doing 50 years ago. Holy Moly I'm old! Fashion sketches on tracing paper from around the time that I worked as a fashion illustrator for The Bon Marché department store in Seattle.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


A misty ridge of dancing tree forms, "Windmist" is the final painting from the summer of 2013 series. It is available for purchase through my Daily Paintworks Gallery.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

2013 collage

A painting sabbatical doesn't stop the need for the business of art. It is time to have my website updated with the archive of 2013 paintings. I selected 21 from this year and, in the process of sending small images to my web designer, I was struck by the collage effect they made when placed randomly all together.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

making progress

I loved the wildness of the neglected property but to make this place our home we had to clean it up. After the old smelly cabin was gone, we hauled away seven dumpsters of brush, stumps, tires, pipes, concrete, ant hills, bee nests and general garbage.

The lake is in the distance, beyond our car. The line of yellow is straw where the cabin used to be and where the house and studio will be in the future. There is a maple grove, and fruit trees will be planted where I stood to take the bottom photo (a spot that was impassable before the excavator). We're making progress.

Painting Note: the top photo is the reference for my painting Long Time Passing.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

bye bye old smelly

Our new lake property came with a rotting 1928 cabin. We had it demolished a few days ago. Now, on to new house plans and a new studio. Yay!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

from the heart

This summer I painted a dozen small pastel paintings 'from the heart.' No reference photos, just me and my pastel sticks working and playing together to set a mood and tell a story. This is "Afternoon Passage," my first offering from the series, for purchase through Daily Paintworks. Pastel on sanded surface, 7.5 x 7.5 inches, unframed.

Monday, September 9, 2013

looking inward

Two months ago I completed a painting titled "Long Time Passing" and mentioned at that time that I'd share the backstory in the future. The future is now so here is the link to that post as well as a link to the process and below is the backstory.
My husband and I recently purchased lake property. I painted this scene of it when the previous owner first allowed us to walk the land. At that time, the sale was uncertain and turned out to be months away. Overgrown and wild, we looked at it for years as we drove by; to finally own it is a dream come true. I want to make the property and the building of a house and studio there my priority even though that will mean painting less or not at all for awhile.

This new project comes at a time when I was questioning why I paint what I do. I lost interest in painting scenes from reference photos so I threw all my photos out. I began painting what I called "mind's-eye" scenes. They might be from my memory though I don't remember having been in these places. Maybe they are from my heart?

As part of my break from painting,  I rarely log into Facebook these days and I cancelled most of my blog subscriptions because these are sources of painting motivation for me.

Two subscriptions I didn't want to give up are Tom Weinkle and Loriann Signori because these artists provide thought provoking words of wisdom. I may not be painting but I am certainly thinking about painting. Specifically what/how/why I will paint in the future.  I am looking inward.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

attention pastel artists

This is my Pastel Journal magazine collection, 2001 through 2012, complete except for the February 2011 issue (where is it? I have looked everywhere!). There are 69 magazines and 4 guides. It is time for me to pass this collection on to someone else. If you are interested, please email me.

NOTE: I FOUND FEBRUARY 2011! Now there are 70 issues, a complete set!

Friday, September 6, 2013

step 9 - complete with details

Step 9 - Complete with Details
The last step of my work is to add details. I believe that a good painting should be 95% complete before adding details (see above).  Details can never save a mediocre painting.
Before beginning detail work ask yourself if you have a strong composition. Do you have the range of values that is appropriate to the story you want to tell? Once you have a pleasing composition and good value placement, you can review your color. It has been said that value does the work and color gets the glory. It matters less what exact color you use than the value of that color. Any number of colors in the same value range will do the job but some will do it with more vigor than others.

The marks you make for your detail work are very important because these are the strokes the viewer will look at first. For that reason, put detail only in strategic areas to do a job: to lead the eye around the painting or to tell the story. Your detail marks must be confident. Tentative marks of detail have a labored and tense look.
 Follow Your Heart  |  pastel  | 10.5 x 12 inches