Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Paint, Plant, Knit


After a couple weeks of Christmas baking, gift delivery and Zoom Christmas gatherings, I'm back in the Studio. Well, this photo is actually outside the studio on a covered porch. I thought it might be interesting or helpful to others to learn how I photograph my artwork. This is a pastel taped to a black rigid board. Beside the painting I have taped a Kodak Color bar. This color bar helps me correct the color in Photoshop Elements after  I AirDrop the photo from my iPhone to my iMac. 

1. I place the painting outdoors in the shade and using my iPhone on Portrait Mode, I take a photo of my painting. In my iPhone I edit the photo by cropping to the black background. I keep the full art image and the color bar in the photo.

2.  I AirDrop the cropped image from my iPhone to my iMac. Open the image with Photoshop Elements and select Enhance from the menu bar. I then select Adjust Lighting, then Shadows/Highlights and lighten shadows to number 12. Based on where I photograph my work, this is nearly always the adjustment that is needed here. 

3. Next, using color adjustments and keeping my eye on the color bar to compare what I see on the screen to the actual color bar in my hand, I adjust the color as needed. Sometimes only a little adjustment is needed but sometimes this step is lengthy. It is very important to me that I represent my work accurately.

4. Once the color is correct, I crop to the image, cutting out the color bar. I resize the image to the correct ratio of the actual painting - sometimes the photo is a little off. Then I save 3 copies. One is full size at 300dpi x 8" wide or high, whichever is longer. The second image is 144dpi x 10" high or wide and the third has a square canvas in black or white added for Instagram. I label the images with a letter for the medium, then the year, month and day, title, size. Here are the labels for the art shown above.




A goal for 2021 is a more balanced life. I will be painting less but gardening more. This is my seed collection harvested from the 2020 flower and vegetable gardens. I also walk around at the end of the growing season with my notebook and make notes about plants that need moving to another location or removing permanently to the compost. After gardening this spot for 6 years, the only thing that ended up being removed permanently were clumps of Shasta Daisys. A few hydrangea bushes will come out in February for a relocate to my daughter's farm on Vashon Island to make room for some new, lower plants.. 

I'll also be knitting again. Forty years ago, in my First-Life, I lived on a 13 acre farm on Vashon Island, Island Farm and Gardens, Rt. 2, Box 176. I worked at K2 Skis, raised two children, bred sheep spent a lot of time at my spinning wheel. Today, I have an attic full of roving and handspun yarn that I hope to get back to in 2021. I'm warming up with a hat for myself of blue wool that I have been knitting for 3 years. It began as a sweater. At about 3/4 completion I decided it was too small so I ripped it all out and rewound the skeins of yarn into balls. I began again with a different sweater pattern and along the way got busy with art and lost interest. Now I am knitting a hat based on the Handspun yarn knit hat pattern I created so many years ago (and calligraphed the directions). Notice I am knitting directly from the previously knit sweater to the hat. This gives it an interesting extra texture to the knit/purl rib pattern I'm working.

Well, that's probably more than you wanted to know...if you got this far. In my interest of a more balanced life for 2021, I have started a new Instagram page titled Mill Pond Cottage. Here is the link if you would like to follow along. It's new. 

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Two paintings accepted

I'm happy to post the news that two of my paintings have been accepted into the Pastel Society of Eastern Canada (Société de Pastel L'est du Canada) for their 25th edition of "Les Pastellistes". There were 500 digital images from 17 countries to consider for this show. Many thanks to the PSEC judges. I am honored to be included. The show will be online December 15, 2020 at https://pastelsec.com

Boat House, pastel, image 17 x 22 inches, 
©2019 Barbara Benedetti Newton

Cedar River Picnic, image 25 x 18 inches,  
©2019 Barbara Benedetti Newton

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Gratitude Attitude

 This week I've been focused on gratitude. One thing I am grateful for is the opportunity to rework paintings that are not quite right. 

Gratitude, pastel, 11x14 inches
I brushed off all of a previous painting except the top three inches. Loved the sky and trees so they survived my rework.

Gratitude #2, 5x7 inches
I think this was a little pastel from my Super Summer Sale that didn't sell. As soon as the sale was over I completely brushed it off down to a ghost indication of color. Six months later, I added some Acryl Gouache to the ghost in these colors but the scene didn't come into being until I started with pastel over the gouache. 

Gratitude #3, 7x5 inches
This little painting of my Studio Garden was a demo piece for the last major workshop I taught in Fall, 2019. I loved lots about this one so only slight changes were made to help direct the viewer's attention.

Gratitude #4, 13 x 17 inches
Now this one has a long history. I painted it the first time in December of 2012 (the image at the bottom of this post) and it appears in my book, Art Answers Pastel Book. In January of 2015 I gave it a major rework with the blue sky (middle photo below) and it went to one of my galleries. It came back home and has hung on my wall for three years. Until this week. Now it has turned into Gratitude #4 and I'm happy. A special note: this is Wallis paper and I think I could probably rework it many more times because the paper is so durable. But I hope I don't have to.