Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year

Creekside, pastel, 5x7 inches    Collection of Paula Parks
My thanks to all subscribers and followers of my blogs:

Art Journal Blog - tips and techniques of pastel and oil; the business of art

Recent Paintings - paintings hot off the easel

Golden Years - an artist's life journal

My Website - contact me, resumé and yearly archives of paintings

I wish you a wonderful New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Art Goals for the New Year

View from the studio: flower garden at rest December 2016
Where did 2016 go? It was the fastest year ever for me. I spent a few hours this morning reading over my goals of last year and making a list for the coming year. Plans change and stuff happens but making a list helps me feel empowered to have the kind of life I want.  What will your list for 2017 look like?

My ART goals for 2017

1. Author another book
Note from last year: One of my long time goals has been to self-publish 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.

2. Improve my online presence
My good friend, artist and web designer Kay Dewar, reinvented my website this year to make it interactive for me. In 2017 I will learn more about Wordpress so I can fully utilize this opportunity to communicate effectively.

3. Evaluate my online sales to increase revenue
Because I no longer want to spend my time rotating art at galleries, I depend upon online and Studio sales. Review and restock my stores at Daily Paintworks, Etsy, and Ebay. Add additional sites if needed.

4. Work with other artists to further their successes
This goal springs from last year's goal to paint for fun with others (goal #6 from last year). Because I am the artist with the most years of painting consistently, I am the default person to ask art questions in our Maple Valley Community Center Painting Group. As our group grows with additional full time artists, my instructor role will diminish. Currently, they are painting for fun, I am there mostly to support them. I do enjoy the discipline of going to the group each Friday afternoon but I will look for new ways to support other artists. Online mentoring? Private Lessons in my Studio?

5. Try new mediums or new techniques.
I look forward to more work in oil in 2017!

6. Bookkeeping: Quarterly 
I used Quarterly Profit and Loss reviews most of 2016 to track my business and simplify quarterly reports to Washington State and yearly to the IRS. Works well, keep it up!

And now, the additional text for opportunities from the Universe: "This, or something better, now manifests for me in totally satisfying and harmonious ways, for the highest good of all concerned."

My online presence is important to me both as a communication tool and as a retrospective view. I plan to continue posting on this Art Journal blog and on my Golden Years blog. Thanks to all who have followed my work this year. Let’s keep in touch!
Wishing you a wonderful 2017,

Friday, December 2, 2016

Pastel on black mat

Pastel on archival black mat today. I forgot how fun it is to save the dark areas to let the paper do the work of the darkest value. Also, a light touch and harder pastels because there isn't much tooth to hold multiple layers of pigment.
Nisqually Reserve, Step 1
Nisqually Reserve, Step 2
Nisqually Reserve, Step 3
Nisqually Reserve, pastel, 7x5 inches  sold

The painting from the video experiments

2016-12-2 Rock Creek Meadow, pastel, 7x5 inches
This is the finished painting shown in my first video clip experiments. I'm still working on it. I'm pretty sure you can always find my videos if you go to and search for Barbara Benedetti Newton. Below is a link to the video of painting of this one until the dog barked and I quit. The video is shown at double speed to make it 4 minutes long. It also makes it look like I am painting very fast. I will post this on Daily Paintworks for sale and will try to include the video.  Rock Creek Meadow Video

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What to do when you are making a painting video

...move your pastels to the right (if you are right-handed). I am known for rearranging furniture and my Studio is especially vulnerable to change so it was no problem when I had to move my pastels from the left side of my easel to the right side so I could reach them when making a painting video.

Here is my current set-up. I have to add another light to eliminate the shadow cast by my hand when painting.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

What to do when you have a wave your new pad of UArt. Glue it to 4ply rag mat.

I ordered this 9x12 pad of UArt 400 grit paper from my usual online art supplier. Must have had a new person in the packaging department because it was bound with stretch wrap so tightly it arrived with a concave bow. I thought I could correct it by stretch wrapping it again in the opposite direction but now it is really confused and has a wave. I will glue it to 4ply rag mat with Sure Mount archival adhesive.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

What to do when you're tired

...of looking at the same painting on your easel for a month. Finish it!

Ravensdale Walk, pastel, 16 x 16 inches
If you would like to see the backstory on this painting, click on my posts of October 6, 2016 and October 21, 2016. Yay! I'm calling it done. Click on the image to enlarge.

Monday, November 7, 2016

What to do when you're done

...with your art commitments for the year. Get a new plan. I could sit on the couch with the dog and contemplate what to do with the foreground of the painting on the easel.

I'm stuck but I don't need this painting for a show until next March. I'll let it sit for awhile because what I really want to do is paint with oil. I have been dreaming (literally) of how to start again. I have a plan.

I'm going back to the basics for subject and color. White Eggs. Simple shape. Minimal color. Nuanced white. White on white. I shot these reference photos yesterday and I'm excited to get started.

I start with an old oil 8x10 inch landscape painting on a SourceTek canvas panel. Using a colored pencil, I sketch placement of three eggs on a plate.
My Caddie Buddy holds my old iPad and the reference photo. I use Titanium White and Ultramarine to obliterate the previous landscape image.
Now, Titanium White and Yellow Ochre.

Three Eggs is in the beginning stages. From here on, I will be paying close attention to adjustments  of white "color" and temperature. I had a happy morning in the Studio. I love oil paint.

What do you do when your painting is too small

Lake Morning Fog, pastel, 6x6 inches
...too small to be reproduced by an art publishing company? You paint it again...larger.

I made a color copy of the original 6x6 inch painting, drew an X over it and also lightly drew an X on a piece of sanded pastel paper. This is how I "eyeballed" the scene to transfer it from 6x6 inches to 20x20 inches.

I worked from the top down keeping the patchwork of colors and shapes as similar as I could to the original painting.
I have become fond of the technique of using a paintbrush to soften edges as needed.

Getting into the hard part but I'm also half done!

NEW Lake Morning, pastel, 19.5 x 19.5 inches
This was a learning experience and a challenge. Same subject and basically the same palette but painting larger is so freeing. Strokes are more expressive because more energy and motion is involved and colors become more lively. Fun!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

What to do when you need color

...start with red. Busy day yesterday and before I knew it, it was time to go to our Friday afternoon painting group. I wanted to work on UArt but prefer working on a colored ground. What to do? Taped a piece of 400 grit UArt to Gatorboard and sprayed it with alcohol. Found an old bottle of Dr. Ph. Martin's HYDRUS Fine Art Watercolor 15H Permanent Red and dropped a little color around on the surface. Took this photo. Smeared the color around with my gloved finger and let it dry. Forgot to take another photo. Packed up and headed off to paint.

Good day of painting with other artists of all levels, all mediums. If you are in the area, join us Fridays, 1 PM, Maple Valley Community Center.
Jenkins Creek, pastel, 7x5 inches

Thursday, November 3, 2016

What do you do when you drop a favorite color

...and you have no idea what color it is so you can replace it?

I sent the image of the broken stick to Dakota Art Pastels to see if they could identify it for me. They made their best guess: Sennelier 478 Purplish Blue Gray. Thank you Dakota!

During my search in the studio for a clue about what this pastel was, I opened my Schmincke box and found the color charts I made when I purchased the set. Also in the Schmincke box I found I had stored duplicates regardless of brand. That is why, when you look a the photo below, it appears labeled colors are broken in half and both halves are in the box. Each papered stick is a separate color. Next time, maybe I'll drop a Schmincke and replacing it will be easier.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Smile at your painting

Toward Evening, pastel, 10 x 8 inches sold
You may remember Toward Evening from my summer post about reworking a painting from a ghost. HOW TO PASTEL. Today is a special day in part because this painting has found it's rightful home. I will be shipping it to L.M. in CT. Many thanks!

I love this painting and I loved the painting it was before it became Toward Evening. With this post I want to remind you to love your work. When a painting on my easel comes together in a pleasing way, I love it because I am bringing into the physical world an impression and emotion that I want to express. With surprise and appreciation for what just happened, I say to myself, "I love that!"

I think this reaction makes my studio a welcoming place for more good things to happen as I paint. And, I believe self-doubt and frowning at your painting-in-progress does not do either of you (you or the painting) any good.

Acknowledge the parts of the painting you love, brush off your labored areas and repaint them. Smile at your painting.


Friday, October 21, 2016

Painting from your iPad

I've been painting from my iPad since 2012. I've used my Soltek easel as a holder, I've attached it to my easel with clamps, and I've set it beside my work on my Hughes easel.

This week I officially retired my original iPad to the Studio to paint from. The holder is called Caddie Buddy and I learned about it from Jude Galbraith. It works great. I have it attached to an old, lightweight camera tripod. The painting I'm working on is the one I started in the workshop a couple weeks ago. See the progress of "September Afternoon" below.

I'm working from the top down and in a square format even though the reference is vertical.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

How to Ship Two Together

Yesterday, I packaged up two small pastel paintings to ship USPS Priority Mail to the East Coast. If you sell your unframed pastels through DailyPaintworks (or similar site) you might be interested in knowing how I do this since it has been a successful shipping method for me for national and international sales.

1. Attach the painting in the center of an 10 x 8 inch backing board using a couple spots of ATG archival tape.

2. Carefully slide the painting into an 8-7/16 x 10-1/4 inch poly sleeve (Impact Images B108).

3. Cut two 9x12 inch pieces of foam core.

4. Remove the protective strip from the flap of the poly sleeve and attach the sleeve (with painting inside) to one piece of foam core. Not show here is a small piece of tape I apply at the bottom edge of the poly sleeve to secure it to the foam core.

5. Cut foam core strips that that will act as a mat (they won't touch the pasteled area) and attach them to the second piece of foam core. When this "lid" is flipped over onto the painting and secured with tape at all four sides, it makes a great protective package. Keep in mind that I work on relatively fine toothed sanded pastel paper and my paintings don't shed much pastel particles/dust. If you work on a coarser tooth with a heavier application of pastel, you may want to eliminate the poly sleeve so nothing touches your pastel in shipment.

To ship two paintings in the same USPS medium flat rate box, I place one painting package on top of the other and bind them together with Duck brand Stretch Wrap. Then bubble wrap for shock protection, then a plastic bag for waterproofing. Air filled "pillows" go into the Med flat rate box then the painting then more air pillows, seal it up, label and mail. Voila!

Friday, October 7, 2016

From the West Unto the East

             From the West Unto the East, pastel, 13 x 14 inches                       ©2009 Barbara Benedetti Newton

Outside the kitchen door of the home my father built, the place I lived with my parents and siblings until I was twenty-one years old, there was an Italian prune tree. My father planted it there. It was one of the constants in my life.

Every September the ripening fruit coupled with the excitement of starting another school year. It was a source of food where I could eat my fill. I learned lessons of patience through eating green, unripe prunes and paying the price. After I left home to attend art school, a visit to my parents, especially at the end of summer, was also a reconnect to our prune tree.

As an adult with a family of my own, Mama saved bags of prunes for us. When my father was in his final days, I gave him a haircut outside in the summer sun beside the prune tree as he listened to me talk about Heaven. A few years after Daddy died, Mama hired someone to cut the prune tree down. I’m still trying to get over it. But, now I know it was the one thing that helped me cut my ties to the house on “M” Street when Mama moved to assisted living. 

A few shoots sprang up from the roots and my husband saved several. For many years Daddy’s prune tree lived on and produced in abundance in my own yard. Four years after my mother passed away, with a Bob Dylan tune in my head; I painted “From the West unto the East.” It is a painting of our prune tree. It is about life and death, change and adjustment. It is about being released or releasing yourself. This painting is in my private collection.

This painting is scheduled to be included in an upcoming book. The publisher asked about the story behind the painting. Thought it might be interesting to you.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

September Afternoon 80% complete

Reference Photo for September Afternoon

This is my Saturday Demo showing students how to begin with the lightest value pastel. The sanded surface is Canson Mi-Tientes TOUCH mid-value color, Sepia.

Next, I applied the darkest value. Now I have the three values - lightest, mid and darkest. It gives me a guide for selecting colors based on value. "Value does the work, color gets the glory." - quote by Richard McKinley I think.

I laid-in a few other colors. At this point I started visiting with each student and the time flew by as we talked about their paintings so I never got back to this in the workshop. Today, nearly a week later, I worked more on it.

Here it is at this moment - about 80% complete. Watch for the finished painting here soon.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Online Show Here, Now!

My pastel workshop for the NWPS is over. What fun and what beautiful work my "students" created.

Thanks to all who joined me and special thanks to the NWPS for asking me to teach and to Deb Cepeda our Workshop Coordinator.

I am honored to have met and shared three days with these artists. Enjoy this online show.
© 2016 Deb Cepeda
© 2016 Robin Charters
© 2016 Laura Deck
© 2016 Barbara DeMott
© 2016 Pat Doyle
© 2016 Jude Galbraith
© 2016 Alejandra Gos
© 2016 Annie Jones
© 2016 Sheryl Kempin
© 2016 Scott Landry
© 2016 Suzanne Masterson
© 2016 Bertha Moore
© 2016 Chris Towne