Wednesday, March 19, 2014

First ever portrait

John. Pastel 4x6

Snow flocked pines


Not a dot of actual white. The black is very dark green. The white is really grey, light blue, frosty pink, and the brightest white is actually a creamy yellow. Fun challenge to avoid using pure white. 

Pastel on Canson pastel pad 4x6

Sunday, January 27, 2013

New York in the Rain - Pastel in the Chelsea District

"Chelsea In the Rain"
9" x 12" pastel on sanded board
This is the first creation I have done in a while. It has been so busy that I have only occasionally been able to draw (usually a digital piece on my iPad, usually in the few hours before I nod off, which is much easier than pulling out drawing materials).

On a trip to New York City last October I had the luck of having my camera handy while a drizzly day ensued. The umbrellas I saw as a beautiful punctuation to the streets and braved getting my DSLR wet to get some photos. This is a pastel piece (still learning to use pastel) that took me about 3 different sessions. I am still thinking of some tweaks I'd like to do but don't want it to be otherwise overworked. I have pulled off all the labels on my pastels but there is a mix of brands in there. 

This was also my first homemade pastelboard. I bought some leftover mat board that was uber cheap and used a mixture of sanded (liquid paint like stuff that has sand in it to create a textured surface) primer and a brown paint to make my own paper. Since pastel paper is several dollars per sheet this was a way to keep it less pricey.

I can't recall the exact street but I know we had walked a few blocks up and over from the Flatiron Origins building and were in the Chelsea District, hence the title. 

The blur on the right side is still challenging me. In the original photo it is a partial building side and roof jutting, hence the odd angle. 

Thank you for looking and I would love your comments. Too cartoony? Good contrast? I did enjoy the wet ground and all the colors.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Digital Painting of a Tree Frog

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Ok, so I swore I would never create, much less appreciate a digital drawing. I've come to have a new found respect for them however after finding a huge lack of time and creativity. This was created quite quickly with an awesome program called Paper by 53. 

Using my iPad and a stylus and then just good old fashion drawing methods, I am able to squeeze in a little drawing time when I normally wouldn't care to lug out the art supplies...especially in front of the 2 year old! 

Did you see how long it has been since my last creation? Exactly!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A little change - Watercolor Daisy and Ladybug

Watercolor on Canson 9x12
Just a quick update with a watercolor piece. I realized if I am going to ever attempt plein air painting, I need to get back into my watercolors.

As much as I have fallen in love with the soft glow of pastels, I am not prepared to create a travel box of them and the watercolors come in such a portable, ready to go set! I need to watch some other plein-air soft pastelists and maybe I can put together a small box. I do so need to learn about the greens!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Working again on being more painterly, Continued!

Being more painterly, a lot harder than it looks! 

As you may have already read,  I struggle with creating art that I actually love. I am a left-brained artist; that is, I paint what I see. But I admire those works with those strokes that are soft-edged, flowing, have movement in them and evoke that emotional appeal. 

I have continued to try to work out of my comfort zone and found a reference photo at Wet Canvas that was part of a soft pastel workshop last month. 

This tricycle made me feel young again, and love the timely feel of it. My son also has a very similar red, Radio Flyer tricycle so it reminded me of him. 

I started with the contrast underpainting again, a style I have grabbed hold of fully, and attempted to only "suggest" the lines of the tricycle, the trees, to soften the focus in the background and basically take these last few months of learning this medium and practice all those techniques in one painting! I find the vignette style edging actually draws you in to a "memory" or dreamlike moment, so I kept it. 

I would love to hear your comments, especially those of you who have seen my detailed works. Is it an improvement or does it need something else? 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Monochromatic Sailboat Painting: Creating Contrast With One Color


Sometimes I use internet art-based forums to find challenges that motivate me to try something new. This month's challenge on "Paint My Photo" is to interpret a photo posted by another member with a monochromatic painting. It's a really great site where people freely post their original photography and basically let you create whatever it motivates you to create! Some of the stuff people are willing to share is simply stunning, such as the original to this piece here.

9"x12" Soft Pastel on Pastelmat
"Evening Tranquility"
I found the beautiful photo of a boat moored on a still lake on the site and it has such a terrific mood to it. I had originally planned on painting it with the colors intact, but this challenge seemed to fit well with the general tone of the original leaning towards a blue tint.

The only concern I have is that the cream cast that the paper is creating. I had actually tinted the paper, that is, take one mid-tone blue and swathed it on the entire thing, lightly filling the tooth of the paper so this exact thing wouldn't happen. Perhaps I should have scrubbed it and done another layer. It's very interesting to note that even though I only used 4 shades of blue.. a very dark navy, a normal navy, a midtone blue and a fair sky blue, thanks to the paper and the photograph, it has some interesting grays, creams, and even some violet there in the right corner; I see it!

A little more true to life. 
As I walk away and contemplate it, I like it more and more. But in real life, the cream and violet isn't a true attribute of the painting, as you can see here with this photo of it at an angle, the paper peeking through isn't as vivid in real life.  So what do you think? A happy accident, maybe? I'd love to hear your comments. Maybe next time I skip the underpainting and let the cream do its thing?