Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Some Thoughts on the Season

All of a sudden it is the middle of December, and life has been overtaken by holiday preparations, get-to-gethers, and other year-end commitments. Painting a daily painting just isn't going to happen over these next two weeks, and I have just come to terms with that. Instead, I am trying to carve time out each day, including some studio time, to:

a) Do some "quick fixes" (which often aren't so quick) on paintings that otherwise are done and ready to frame

b) Finish two larger works I begain earlier in the year

c) Advance the marketing projects I want to address come January (ready a portfolio for galleries, find venue for solo show, prepare slides for juried shows/PSA, develop web site/blog for larger works, market giclee prints of larger paintings, ad to obtain local pet portrait commissions).

So I am wishing all a very happy holiday season. I feel very blessed and grateful for all the blessings of my life, and hope that anyone reading this can say the same. The next time I will post here will be when I have something new to show...which might not be until January!!!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Best Friends (Woody and Buzz, Two Yellow Labs) - 9" x 10" Pastel

Everyone who knows me knows that I love dogs, and that I have a Sheltie named Trixie. But if I didn't have a Sheltie, maybe I'd have a Lab...you gotta love 'em! These two handsome guys belong to my friend Lori.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Beautiful Music (Street Performer With Violin, Italy) - 6"x 9" Pastel '

This is a quick study of one of the street musicians I encountered in Venice last summer, who really hammed it up for me (well, it cost me a Euro, but what are vacations for?). One other kind of street performer I loved (but neglected to take a picture of) were the many art students in Florence drawing with chalk in the streets...Botticelli, da Vinci...all the great Italian painters were represented!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Kelly (Wheaton Terrier Dog) - 10 x 10" Pastel

This portrait of a Wheaton Terrier was a commission. The photo was provided by the client, and then I took some liberties with it; improving the background, adding the ball, and adding a slightly different facial expression. I tried to express this dog's personality; Kelly is an adorable, affectionate and energetic dog, always wagging that little tail of hers, bringing you her ball, ready for a game of fetch. I am putting the finishing touches on the painting, and will deliver it tomorrow. I hope they will be happy with it!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Young Girl in Costume - Copyright (or Copywrong!!!)

I won't be posting a daily painting for a few days; I am working on a commission that must be finished this week.

I am posting this because it brings up an interesting copyright issue. This pastel painting is one that I did last year, working from a photo that captured my interest. I loved the girls expression, and the colors in her costume were wonderful to paint. I did not have the photographer's permission to paint this, however...in fact, I don't even know who the photographer is. I just saw it in a magazine and painted it on a whim. I am sure that because of this, I cannot sell it; no matter...it hangs in my home, and I love looking at it.

Do any of you daily painters ever run into this? You see a photo that you did not take, and you do a painting based on it? I see photos all the time that I like, but rarely paint from them because I feel that deep down, it is wrong. But sometimes I will see derivative works in a gallery or artshow based on photos that the artist did not take. I just wonder what the ethics are. Comments, anyone?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Untied (Baseball and Glove) - 8 x 10" Pastel

The subject is my husband's 40 year old baseball glove. Even with the laces coming apart, we still use it!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Johnny Depp - Demo

Being the obsessive compulsive person that I am, I am still thinking about the pastel demo and lesson I will be doing in my son's 7th grade art class. In preparation, I played around with this portrait of J. Depp, stopping after an hour. I chose this subject because the colors and patterns of dark and light are so dramatic; also, I was thinking he might be a fun subject for the kids to watch me demo and/or try to paint themselves. It also works for the purpose of explaining how to look at big shapes, work dark to light, consider values, etc. But I am meeting with the teacher tomorrow, and will see what she thinks of this idea. Maybe it is overambitious...if it comes down to it, we can always do fruit!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Chinese Apple with Vase of Flowers - 8 x 8" Pastel

On Thanksgiving my sister-in-law Beth garnished her turkey platter with a cut pomegranite. This led to a discussion...apparently, the entire world except for me calls this fruit a Chinese Apple! Anyway, thinking about that led to this Chinese inspired still life.
Now, a painting question. What color should the background be? I was (and still am) undecided as to the best color to set off the vase and fruit-- deeper? richer warm brown? deeper cool purply-blue? Or keep as is?!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Demos for 7th Grade Art Class

I am going to be teaching a class on pastels next week in my son's school; these were test demos I did this morning to see what kind of subject lends itself best to a 15 minute demo and illustrates the points I want to cover. I decided to try a few subjects, including a few based on pop culture, which I thought would hold their interest(no boring apples and pears!). The more detailed portraits take longer to do, and could be dissapointing if you don't get a good likeness. I decided that the figure (Jay Z) was the quickest to do, is easy to replicate, and best illustrates the points I plan to make, so I will likely do that one. Then the kids will have a chance to do their own painting...should be fun!

Still Life With Red Peppers (Study) - 12 x 16" Pastel

This was a still life set up in my weekly class. I didn't love the subject but enjoyed the exercise of painting it. I spent a few hours reading a book on painting yesterday, and could see how it influenced my choices as I was painting(Linda Cateura's book on David Leffel).

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Sunflowers - 8 x 10" Pastel

More flowers today. Sunflowers are hard to paint well...makes you really appreciate what Georgia O'Keefe and others have done. The thing that is so beautiful with O'keefe's sunflower, if you take a close look, is the brushwork. Sometimes that feels like a limitation with pastels. I tried to use the side of the stick to create interesting marks, but within the context of the small petals I really couldn't do that. It was hard not to get caught up in each petal, and think in terms of bigger shapes and values. Had fun trying, though.
Well as of tomorrow, I am taking a bit of a vacation. Next post will be in a week. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Purple Flowers (Crocus) - 8 x 10" Pastel

Today was a good day to reflect and regroup. I looked back at what I have been painting lately, and thought about what kind of paintings I like best, and respond to most. Color seemed to be missing, well maybe not color, exactly, but colors I like. And strong patterns of light and shadow, of course. What better antidote than flowers! So thank you, Wet Canvas Image Library (how else could you paint crocus in November). Painting this lifted my mood.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Painted Pony ( Antique Wooden Horse Toy) - 8" x 10" Pastel

I bought this liitle wooden horse at a tag sale...I wish I knew the story behind it. Perhaps someone made it for a child, before the days of plastic Breyer horses? Or maybe it's a decorative item, who knows. It was fun to paint, though!

I always struggle with shadow and background colors, and wasn't thrilled with the paper I used (still waiting for my replacement Wallis paper to arrive). I am satisfied with it, though.

Friday, November 17, 2006

A Pear, and a Story With a Happy Ending

First the story of the pear. I bought three pears with the idea of painting them: a red one, a green one, and a gold one. Ate the red one on the way home from the store, and since I had some metallic gold pastels I had never tried, decided to experiment while painting the gold pear. The metallic and irridescent pastels didn't work out the way I thought...I was expecting an effect like gold leaf, but it was much more subtle. Disappointing, actually. This wasn't the look that I was after.

But something else also happened. I had noticed over the past few days that some new Kitty Wallis paper I was using wasn't holding the pastel the way it normally does. In fact, big chunks were flaking off, making layering impossible. After a few days, I decided to call the company, to see if they had changed their product. I find a phone # online, dial it, and who should answer the phone but Kitty Wallis herself!(it sounded like I woke her out of bed...sorry, Kitty). We talked briefly about the problem I was having, and she explained that I probably received a defective lot, and she would send me replacement paper. I love a company that really stands behind their product, expecially since I had just dealt with a shoe company that wouldn't stand behind their poor product. Anyway, moral of the story: use Kitty Wallis paper (and if you have a problem, go straight to the top)!

Photographing a Painting Under Different Lighting Conditions

I was reading a thread on the Daily Painters Forum, about what lighting to use to photograph a painting for posting on the blog, and decided to experiment. The bottom version is photographed indoors, using the North light coming in through a window in my studio, supplemented by the overhead lighing and an extra light that I use to see what I'm painting, which uses regular lightbulbs. The top version is photographed outdoors in a shaded area. Clearly the indoor one is too warm and very different than the actual painting, but the outdoor one is appearing somewhat cooler and more blue than what I consider the real color(then again, maybe that is my computer monitor). The problem is that lots of times I finish a painting at night, and indoor lighting is the only game in town. Also I am painting under this lighting! What a difference. I think I will look into getting "natural light" indoor lighting for the studio.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Two Boats - 8 x 10" Pastel

Had only a few hours to paint today, which forced me to be fast and pay the most attention to the focal point, less to the other areas. This may have been a good thing! In any case, I wanted to post this by the midnight deadline, my goal is to make it a little more finished tomorrow, without OVERWORKING! (Note: based on photo from Wet Canvas RIL)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Just Like Mike (Nike Sneakers) - 6 x 8" Pastel

My 12 year old son is "just like Mike"...from the ankles down! These are his Air Jordans, lying on the front steps. Don't trip over them on your way in.

I am still waiting for some kind of personal painting style to emerge. Some days my paintings turn out more graphic and bold, like today; other days the result looks more impressionist, like yesterday. I really admire artists who have their own distinctive style. On the daily painters website, there are a few artists whose work I can pick out on any given day without even checking the name. One artist said he aims to be more of a painter than a copyist...that's a good goal, not sure how to get there. I guess just keep at it.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Windy Day (Girl on Beach) - 8 x 10" Pastel

After two days of doing a frustrating stilllife of my own design, I broke down and went to the Wet Canvas Reference Image Library for inspiration. I chose a black and white photo, so that made for a bit of a challenge. I was a little disappointed with the outcome of the face and the stiffness (or maybe the proportions) of the figure; after working on it for quite a while, I was ready for something else, so I painted my son's sneakers instead (see above).

Monday, November 13, 2006

Mutsu Apples (Finished)

I finished this painting this morning, and ended up agreeing with the person who left a comment on the Work in Process version, that the full view was best.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Mutsu Apples (Work in Process)

I am going away for the weekend, and had high hopes of finishing this painting before leaving, but I'm out of time, and will finish it Sunday or Monday. I started out with the entire plate in view (11x14"), but now I may crop it to around 8x8" -- I'm undecided -- just not sure what composition I like better. I guess you are supposed to do thumbnail sketches ahead of time to work out things like composition before you start, but I just dove in and now see that there might be a better way. Also, only the apple on the far left is done(detail shown), the others are only blocked in.

Got the Mutsu apples at a local farm called Salingers, and they are delicious!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Afternoon in Burano Italy, with Bicycle - 12.5 x 16" Pastel (SOLD)

Didn't have time to finish a daily painting today, so I am posting a scene I painted from my summer trip to Italy. Burano is a small island off the coast of Venice where all the buildings are painted different colors, as you see here. Not sure why they do that, but it is incredibly beautiful.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Silk Kimonos - 18 x 24" Pastel

This painting was a nice change of pace. In an attempt to be looser, I decided to paint really BIG for a change, and I wanted a subject with lots of color. I found these silk kimonos in the back of my closet. Oddly enough, this photo makes the center kimono look pink (it is white!), and the overall picture appears darker and less bright than the painting actually is. Not sure why the photo colors aren't true --I'll have to look into that.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Celadon Vase - repost

This wasn't picked up by the daily painters yesterday, so I'm reposting to see if the computer glitch has been worked out.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Celadon Vase with Flowers - 8 x 8" Pastel

After trying to improve the goats all morning and getting a little frustrated, I needed a break, so I decided to set up a still life and try for a looser style. I love celadon pottery, and I have a lot of it-- I bought this little vase in Korea more than 20 years ago. I like this still life; I enjoyed using the shadow box set-up, and using some pretty silk flowers to offset the vase. But I still feel it's too tight...I need to loosen up! AAARGH!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Curiosity (Adorable Goats) - 8x10" Pastel (Before and After )

This painting is for friends who are raising some goats...and as you can see, they are too cute for words. Lisa tells me that she has trouble taking their picture-- they are so curious about the camera that instead of staying still, they come right up to it to see what the heck is going on.

This painting has been fun, and the top photo is the finished painting, the one underneath was an intermediate stage. The funny thing is, I worked on it a long time to get from the almost done stage to the finished painting, and it doesn't look much different. But now I'm happy with it!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Equal Time (Cat in Sunlight) - 8 x 10" Pastel

I have done two paintings of my dog Trixie so far, and only one of my cats. Fair is fair...so today I painted Mooshie. I love the way her profile looks in the light.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Anniversary in Italy- 5 x 7" Pastel

Today is a mini-milestone: I have been doing a painting a day for one month now. I admire the artists who have been at it for many months, and now I know why they keep at it. First of all, this discipline has helped me immensely, looking at other daily art and being inspired by it, trying new things and seeing what works and what doesn't.

But as for today's painting, it was a milestone for a different reason. After two still lifes I decided to do something with figures. This little vignette was from a photo I took in Venice...I really like the way the figures were backlit. But thus far, I have been the queen of literal painting...what I see is what I paint, for the most part. For this painting, I invented the background; it isn't perfect, but I am very happy I was finally able to make that leap creatively. I credit painting daily for that. Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Indoor Picnic With Watermelon - 6 x 9" Pastel

Watermelon is a real treat this time of year, so I bought one of those little melons, cut it up, painted it, then ate it. I really loved painting the pinks of the melon. Too bad it was seedless, because seeds would have added visual interest. I guess I could find some photo reference and add the seeds; maybe I still will.

In my initial set-up there was a knife in the foreground that gave me so much trouble, after several attempts I just took it out. Having a little trouble with still life composition...I think I need to simplify them going forward.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Apples and Honey - 6 x 6" Pastel

Today was another experiment. I made a shadow box similar to the set-up that Peter Yesis uses (one of the other daily painters). I like the way his still lifes have that dark background with lots of lost edges, so I wanted to give it a try. I think I will try a few of these. By the way, the photo came out darker than the actual painting. (I need to figure out how to photograph it more accurately).

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Untitled - Work in Process 16 x 20" Pastel

I'm not sure what I was thinking when I started this. I know I responded to this older couple and their easy comfort together, but I'm not sure it's as compelling to me now as when I started. In any case, I hadn't worked on this painting in a while, so instead of doing a small daily painting I thought I would work a bit on this larger piece. I am trying to work out the figures, and not sure of what to do with the background, either...so it's a challenge!

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Conversation (Artist Wooden Mannequins) 6"x 8" Pastel

So this is what happens at 2am after your daytime painting comes out badly. Well, at least I finally used the mannequins that have been hanging around for the last 30 years.

Too many days in a row of trying to create art with a capital "A"...I need a break. Have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Rose's Rocks - 10x14" Pastel

While walking with my sister-in-law Rose, she admired the rocks that dot the landscape in my neighborhood. I have walked by these rocks for 17 years, and I had never noticed them. Damn, they are nice rocks!

Now there are paintings of rocks, and paintings of rocks. For instance, look at Albert Handell's rocks...things of beauty, every one. Well, I basically suck at landscapes, so maybe I just have to do a lot more of them to get better at it. But you should visit my neighborhood and see these rocks...this painting really doesn't do them justice.

As far as this painting is concerned, now that I look at it I noticed that the trees really detract from the rocks. Maybe tomorrow I'll take them out and repost.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Innocence( Young Girl in Summer) - 8x10" Pastel

This little girl caught my eye, with her summery pink flip flops and breezy walk. I tried to capture her innocence. I love the way her dress caught the breeze, and the sunlight on the figure.

This original is sold, but this painting is available as a giclee print.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Riley - A Dog and His Stick - 8x10" Pastel

Trixie's friend Riley is a real character. He usually watches the world go by from atop a large rock in front of his house. One day when I tried to take his picture on the rock, however, he lost interest right as I was about to snap the photo, bounding off with a big stick that he had gotten from the woods. Later, Riley!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Low Hanging Fruit (Yellow and Blue Still Life With Lemons)- 6" x 10" Pastel

Today I went for the low hanging fruit...literally. After yesterday's painting debacle, where I painted for 5 hours and ripped up the dismal results, today I decided to go back to basics. I set up a simple still life, and just tried to do a quick study with a few complementary colors. Not a masterpiece, but at least I didn't feel like I was all thumbs.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Mona Lisa Smile (Romantic Painting with Statue) - 8x10" Pastel

I enjoyed doing this close up of a sculpted womans face, based on a photo from Wet Canvas. I tried to get the likeness, and also put some life in the color of the stone. With that little smile, she reminds me of the Mona Lisa!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Dark and Stormy Night - 5x7 Pastel

On a rainy night, my son took some pictures out the car window. This is my second nightime scene. The other one came out better. Enough said.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Chianti Classico, Italy - 12x15" Pastel

While in Tuscany I visited Chianti, and it turns out that the rooster is the official symbol of Chianti Classico wine. The rooster symbol adorns every bottle, and I spotted this clay rooster on the rooftop of a little winery there. I wanted to capture the sunbaked feeling of the brick as well as the contrast between the clay and the sky, and the shadow pattern in the roof.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

A Dog's Life - 11x14" Pastel of Sheltie

Trixie just chillin' at the end of the day. Well, if you chased squirrels and chipmunks all day, you'd be tired too! I don't know why these dog paintings are easier then other subjects for me. Then again, I had a great subject, and a great photo reference to work from, which I got on Wet Canvas and adjusted to reflect my own dogs features and markings. It worked.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Guitar Legend - 5x7" Pastel

Who could it be...Steve Vai? Joe Satriani? No, it's Chris, my son's guitar teacher. As for this small study, it's just good practice to paint people once in a while, and this casual pose appealed to me.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Struttin' His Stuff (Rooster and Chicken) - 9x12 Pastel

I went to Muscoot Farm to paint outdoors on a gorgeous day, and the animals were so pretty, but I forgot to bring my camera. I found this photo on Wet Canvas, which satisfied my urge to paint a farm scene. The problem was that the lighting in the photo was very flat...so the painting took a lot of noodling to get an interesting pattern of light and dark. I probably could have pushed the contrasts even more. Doing the painting was instructive. Guess the moral of the story is, remember to bring your camera!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

(Life's Just a ) Bowl of Cherries - 8 x 8" Pastel

Today's painting was experimental. My inspiration was the 6x6" format I've seen on other daily painters' blogs, and the strong graphic style I've been admiring lately. I started with an eye-catching 4x6" photo of cherries from the WetCanvas Photo Reference Library, and did my best to achieve a painterly effect with the pastels in a square format. I think it was successful, but a lot of the credit goes to the photographer. I liked it so much, in fact, I made giclee prints of it!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Girl Reading in Italy - 5x7" Pastel

I traveled to Italy this past summer, and each place was more beautiful than the next. I especially loved Siena. As I wandered the streets, I was captivated by the people I saw, and ended up with more pictures of people than scenery! One of these days, I hope to travel there again.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

I feel pretty?! Cosmetic Case with Make-up - 5x7" Pastel

I have quite an assortment of makeup for someone who rarely wears the stuff! Well, I felt prettier just painting this...how's that for art therapy?