Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Happy New Year

Today, at the end of 2015, I am setting goals for the coming year. Perhaps a reflection of my age, I want to spend more time with family and friends and my flower garden. That leaves less time for painting. It has taken awhile for me to figure out the best use of my painting time but I have listed my thoughts below.

1. I find I am no longer as interested in comparing my work to the work of others so I have drastically cut back on entering competitions and exhibits.
2. I am grateful for the opportunity to have been represented for many years by six good galleries but I am now reluctant to use my time traveling to the rotate my work so I have “retired myself” from several of the galleries. 

3. Painting pretty pictures has become less interesting to me. I find myself gravitating to the essence and emotion of a visual story rather than a detailed description of each word/stroke. I know how easily I am drawn back into detail and traditional painting. To maintain my focus of how I might paint in the coming year, I have unsubscribed/quit following the online work of many of my peers.
4. For each new medium there is a learning curve, then a time that is comfortable with enough surprises to keep me on my toes. That is followed by a settling-in and a productive time when I think of it as my primary medium. This period may last for years but eventually I become bored. I seem to need a new challenge and switching to a new medium does that for me. I like to start a new medium with a know subject so it is only the handling of the medium, not the subject of the painting that I struggle with. I plan to try a new medium in 2016.

5. Painting is a solitary business. Teaching satisfies the need for interaction with other artists and I truly enjoyed my twenty years of teaching workshops. The past few years, I have mentored several students in person and online. I’m still interested in doing that in some capacity for those experienced with pastel. Perhaps a Suggestion Session for paintings near completion?

6. Last Fall I saw a notice in our local paper about a painting group at the nearby Community Center; the group turned out to be two people who paint “for fun.” I spent most of the first session asking myself what I was doing painting there, under fluorescent lights, amidst tables of chatting/card playing seniors instead of in my lovely studio. I was uncomfortable at first; it felt like I was giving a demo that no one was interested in. But once I let it go and focused on my work, I found that painting outside the security of my known space made me a more careful painter. Each Friday for several weeks I painted small pastels that I was very pleased with and I became acquainted with the other two artists whose attitude and perseverance I admire. I look forward to continuing the challenge of painting there.

7. One of my long time goals has been to write a book. I thought it would be about my life based on my nearly fifty years of handwritten journals but earlier this year when I began to review them I realized that to get to the happy and funny parts of my life I would have to plow through the sadness and struggle. I didn’t want to revisit those times so I shredded all but a few journals from the early years when my babies were born. I think a better idea for a book is to focus on my art journey illustrated with images. I’m working on it.

My online presence is important to me both as a communication tool and as a retrospective view. I plan to continue posting on my Art Journal and Golden Years blogs. I also will have paintings available for purchase through several online venues. Thanks to all who have followed my work this year. Let’s keep in touch!

Wishing you a wonderful 2016,

Saturday, November 28, 2015


Another version of the tucked-away farmhouse we discovered last summer. "Homestead" is available on my Daily Paintworks Gallery.

Speaking of homesteads, this will be our first Christmas in our new home(stead).  I have NEVER put the tree up this early. Big mess, but I'm done! Love the strange warm to cool light in this photo.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Sky View Afternoon II

Instead of Black Friday shopping, my fun for today was a trip to the Post Office to ship four paintings, thanks to collectors in the US and Canada.

NuPastels on Pastelmat is an especially good combination for paintings that need to be shipped because they are not as fragile as softer pastels on paper with more tooth. I have a few more small pastels to post on my Daily Paintworks Gallery but I have new Rosemary brushes that I'm anxious to try so my next series will be in a wet medium instead of pastel.

Meanwhile, from the Sky View series that has gone on for years now, see Sky View Afternoon II on my Daily Paintworks Gallery.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Water Lilies II

Last August I was painting this view of our noxious weeds (water lilies) and sold the painting to an artist-friend who saw it on my easel. Sometimes, when a painting leaves the studio so quickly, I find myself wanting to spend more time with the scene so I paint it again. Here is Water Lilies II, on its way to my Daily Paintworks Gallery for purchase (where you can also see the first version). Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Dry Spell - the second time around

I don't think I have ever reworked a 6x6 inch pastel before but there's always a first time. I LOVED parts of this painting but not so much on other parts. Much happier with it overall now. Scene of a dry creek bed in the Gold Creek series. Sold

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Four little paintings

These four little pastels will be available for purchase online in the next few days.
Visit Barbara's Gallery on Daily Paintworks.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Inspiration to try harder

October Sunrise, pastel 16.5 x 23.5 inches
I'm getting ready for a group show at Scott Milo Gallery, Anacortes, WA, December and January. I am scheduled to show pastels and I just finished October Sunrise (above) for that show.

Below is the color study for the larger painting. I painted the study last week when I spent a few hours painting with artists at a local Community Center. Since I don't teach classes anymore, I am usually around painters who are quite accomplished. I had forgotten how HARD it is to make a medium do what you want it to when you are less experienced. My heart hurt for them but I was impressed how hard the artists I met at the Community Center work at their art and I think it made me "try harder"  - as my daughter tells my teenage grandsons.

Study for October Sunrise, pastel, 5 x 7 inches

Winners announced

Leavenworth Pine, 17th Annual Pastel 100 Juror's Image
I recently had the honor and pleasure of judging the Abstract and Non-Objective category for the 17th Annual Pastel 100. Winners names have now been posted! I'm especially pleased that my First Place choice in this category was moved up to the Bronze Award. Take a look at the list. Reproductions of all the prizewinning paintings, as well as artist interviews and juror comments will appear in the March/April 2016 issue of Pastel Journal.

Initially, I was surprised to be invited to judge this category. Though my landscapes have become more abstracted I haven't focused on this genre for a few years. I'm grateful the folks at Pastel Journal remembered my Abstract/Non-Objective period about five years ago and my images that were published in the Pastel Journal and other publications. Below are a few of my paintings from that period.

Foreseeable Future, pastel, 11 x 15 inches

Tuesday's Child, pastel, 17 x 24 inches

From the East unto the West, pastel, 13 x 14 inches

Slow Slide Into Pink, pastel, 13 x 14 inches

Out of the Blue, pastel, 11 x 15 inches

Silver Lining, pastel, 11.25 x 11 inches

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Sweet Hush to auction

Tidying up means keeping only what you need and use.

I am (once again) moving to a looser style of painting. Two years ago, the strokes in this painting were loose for me but now the painting style doesn't fit into a current body of work I would, it has to go.

"Sweet Hush" is a 12 x 10 inch oil and is currently framed but I will unframe it and post on my Daily Paintworks auction. It may go for a ridiculously low bid but that is the chance I'll have to take.

And, I may (again) receive emails from other artists concerned that I am selling my work at prices that don't reflect the value. I agree, especially for a piece of this size but I have to let that thought go and instead hope for a new loving home for it.  Sold

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A favorite thing

Continuing with the theme of tidying up and praising a small studio, I spent the day moving stuff around...again. This is my oil painting corner and I have a new favorite thing: a stainless steel 24 x 48 inch work table.

I purchased a second table of the same size for my studio storage room. This table has the shelf moved down to within a few inches of the floor so I have a place to store empty metal frames. It also gives me a 24 x 48 inch flat work surface to work on. Love this table!

Someone requested purchase information. Here is a link to my table.

Monday, October 26, 2015

October 2015 - checking in

The rain has finally started here in Washington state after a record-breaking dry summer. Garden chores are coming to an end and I'm ready to get to work in the Studio after a fun summer. Annie is content to keep track of the yard from her bed in my Studio. Today I painted SourceTek and Masonite panels with Daniel Smith Venetian Red Gesso in preparation for small oil paintings.

My longing to knit again is being satisfied through a gift of lovely hand-dyed yarn from my friend Ruby. (Ruby's)

I love our local library! I'm not very far into this book but it has already inspired me to make some changes in my Studio. In my tidying I came across two oil paintings that need a new home. They'll be going to my Daily Paintworks Gallery for online purchase.

Leavenworth, oil, 10 x 8 inches  Sold

Sub Rosa, oil, 10 x 8 inches Sold

Monday, September 28, 2015

Photo, Study, Painting

Briefly, my process...

Starting with a reference photo, I talk to myself about why I want to paint this scene. This is a photo of Roberts Road in our town of Black Diamond. It is on the route between my Grandma Benedetti's house (she is long gone but the house remains) and the cemetery where she and my aunts and uncles are buried. Now that we have moved to this area, I drive this road often on my way to the post office and library. I have built-in emotion for the scene. I like the way the road dips as it goes over the creek that is bordered by lush foliage of native trees and brush. I like the way the house on the left peeks through. I like the tops of the trees - big and loose. I like the grasses and shadows and most importantly, I can imagine painting this scene. But, I also can easily envision how I might become immersed in detail and include too much detail with small sharp strokes or the spattering I have become so fond of. I know the formula that works: Start with the large shapes and work to the detail but be sensitive and aware of WHEN TO WALK AWAY before it becomes labored and picky.

I'm a big fan of small studies as you may have noticed on my Daily Paintworks Gallery. I use the studies to work out composition, value, color, etc. So before embarking on a 13 x 13 inch finished painting of this scene, I painted a small study and as I write this it is in its final hours on the Daily Paintworks. Sold

I cropped the reference photo scene to a square format and painted (quickly and with abandon) my interpretation of the scene. Got the dip in the road, got the loose, breezy trees, put in an indication of the building. I like it!  I like it so much that Study#2 of this scene is not going to happen so I moved on to my larger painting. The paper of both paintings is my new favorite, Pastelmat but I didn't have a large enough piece of the same color so I chose a warmer hue for the larger painting. Pastelmat doesn't have a deep tooth to hold lots of pastel so I laid in the big dark shapes of the trees with an oil wash. I would love to be able to make the bold strokes of color that appear in the small study but I am limited by the width of my pastel sticks.

Roberts Road, Black Diamond, WA - pastel - 13 x 13 inches
Several things changed in the larger painting - the most obvious is that there is more emphasis on the road instead of on the house. I saw this happening and was OK with it. It is up to each artist to decide what they learned from their study and how closely they choose to follow it in the finished painting. Overall, it has a more finessed look but I stopped myself before including much detail. This painting is scheduled for a show at Scott Milo Gallery, Anacortes, WA in Dec 2015/Jan 2016.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Study #1 for a larger work

I was curious to know if I could do an underpainting on Pastelmat. Seems to work. I used an oil paint wash to tone white Pastelmat.

Study #1, pastel, 6 x 6 inches

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Red Barn - the larger version

Red Barn larger version Step 1
I'm painting for a couple fall/winter gallery shows. This time it is Red Barn again with the little study to guide me. I photocopied the little study and drew guidelines on it to help me transfer the scene to an 11x15 inch format.

Red Barn, pastel, 11 x 15 inches

Monday, September 14, 2015

Red Barn Progression

Red Barn, pastel, 5x7 inches Available   

Red Barn, pastel, 5x7 in virtual frame

Sure Mount

Judy commented on yesterday's post asking what adhesive I use to mount pastel paper to Gatorbord. Here it is. When it arrived, the jug had leaked all over the instruction label so I had to Google how to use it. Can't remember now but I just Googled it and found this information.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Study#2 for Tucked Away

Study#2 - Tucked Away, pastel, 9x6 inches
​As much as I loved the angles of the buildings in Study#1 for Tucked Away, they kept getting in my way as I tried to simplify the scene. I used a vertical format this time to emphasize what the story is about (the "tucked away" house). Different paper, different application of pastel. 9x6 inch image, Wallis mounted on Gatorbord.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

A study challenge in simplification

I have a reference photo of an old farmhouse off the main highway, down a dirt road around a fenced pasture, between outbuildings and suddenly, an uphill driveway to the main house. Definitely "tucked away."

Study - Tucked Away, pastel, 5x7 inches Sold
Love all the angles and planes, reflected color. I will continue simplifying this scene for a larger work.        
My September update