Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sailing (Red and White Sailboat) - 18" x 24" Pastel

No time for a I thought I'd post a larger painting today. This scene was a composite of several different reference photos; one with a really cool sea/sky, another with this very beautiful red and white sail catching the wind, and yet another with the people on the boat deck. The sea/sky reference was in black and white, which freed me up to be very inventive with color, yet still maintain the values in the original photo, and that part of it was pretty successful, I think. I named my little invented boat the "Trixie", after my dog...which is as close as I'll ever come to naming a boat. I'm strictly a landlubber.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Equal Time (Cat Portrait ) - 9 x 12" Pastel

This portrait of my cat Mooshie was sitting in the unframed pile; today I added some finishing touches and framed it, for another silent auction I am donating to. I hope that participating in these charity events leads to some new commissions.. time will tell!
Also, with this painting, I figured out how to photograph something under glass without getting reflections, which is nice to know when you need a photo of something already framed. All I did was position the light source off to the side at a 45 degree angle--I can't remember where I read that, but I tried it and it worked!

Peeled Orange (Study in Pastel) - 8" x 10" Pastel

Just a quick study to try to use up some pastel paper samples I have...second time using it, and it is so toothy, I can't stand it. For instance, note the difference in the grain of the paper between this painting and the cat(above). I guess some pastel artists like when the paper grain is so rough, but I prefer a smoother surface. The great thing about the Wallis paper is despite having a finer texture, it holds lots of layers. Well, I have a bunch more of this sample paper to use up...but I have a feeling it will be three strikes for the the new Richeson paper, and back to Wallis. Loved doing the peeled orange subject, may not be original, but it sure was fun.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Springtime Rider- 16" x 20" Pastel (Plus detail view of Rider)

It was a warm spring day, trees in bloom, when horse and rider come ambling down this path towards me in lovely Bedford, N.Y...A Kodak moment if there ever was one! I painted this a while ago, but a few things had always bothered me about it. I needed to borrow it's frame for something else, and once out of the frame, I decided to fix it up today. Hope you like it!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Winter Landscape

I tried out some new paper today (a free sample of some new Richeson pastel paper, but it was so "toothy" that I really didn't like it). I also tried to do a winter scene from my recent trip out West. I know that when you want to improve at something you must keep practicing...but these landscapes are going to do me in. Now that I see this scene posted, I see that I should really have made the more distant mountains lighter in value, to try and get an atmospheric effect...but I hate the paper so much, I think I will just quit.

Sunday Sketch Class - 25 minute pose

Did a life drawing sketch class today. This is the only sketch that had any "life " to it (what a bad pun!);I wish I had had more time to develop it, but it was only a 25 minute pose.

NOTE:  there appears to be a broken link to the image and it is appears to be gone forever:(

Friday, February 23, 2007

Jeme's Bench - 10" x 12" Pastel

My friend has a lovely little bench tucked away in a clearing under some trees in her yard...the perfect little place to curl up with a book on a lazy summer morning. This is how it would look if she decided to plant an English Garden around it. During our neighborhood "powerwalks", Jeme and I often talk about what other people could to make their property prettier; today I decided to style her little bench.
About the painting itself, I tried something new...I did four thumbnails of different layouts, and I think that really did help me correct some design issues before starting. Landscapes are still not my forte, but this one was fun!

Trixie - Pastel (NFS)

I had done this painting of my dog Trixie a while ago, but had never finished or framed it. Today I added some finishing touches, and then framed it to display at an upcoming silent auction/fundraiser in my community. I am donating a customized pet portrait for the winning bidder's pet, all for a good cause. This one will be displayed as an example, alongside the reference photo that I used. Hope it bids up to a nice amount of money for the Horace Greeley Scholarship Fund!

Better Than Botox (Self-Portrait)

I was away skiing for a week or so--or rather, my family did the ski/snowboard thing, and I brought my sketchbook and pencils. This little self-portrait was so much fun...mainly because whatever nature and the past 50 years etched onto my face, my little kneaded eraser was able to take away! No frown lines, a firmer jawline...cheaper, better, and easier than botox!

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Empanada Lady (with Red Hat) - 5" x 7" Pastel

Saw this lady in a farmer's market on a recent trip to Florida. With this painting I feel like I finally broke out of a rut I've been in; I was going for more color and contrast than was actually in the reference photo, and I am pleased with the way it turned out. I hope to do a few more scenes from that market. By the way, it was 80 degrees and sunny last week down there (as opposed to 20 degrees and chilly up here)--no wonder so many of us Yankees move South!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Fisherman Statue - 7" x 10" Pastel

I had limited time to paint today, which called for a quick painting with little or no set-up...probably a good thing, after the overworked painting I posted yesterday. This is the result, not a masterpiece but good practice and more satisfying than yesterday's effort.

This statue has an interesting history. I bought it about 25 years ago, while wandering some antique shops in Hong Kong. This little figure caught my eye, and I decided that such an interesting and unique statue would be the perfect keepsake from my trip, so I bought it. Turns out, I saw that very same statue in every other "antique" store I went into! It is the Chinese equivalent of a Hallmark store figurine, and there are thousands of them out there...for all I know, you might even have one (but I still like it).

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


I did what I said I wouldn't, the look I liked so much yesterday is sadly gone. Well, as Scarlet famously said, "I shan't think about that today, I'll think about that tomorrow." On that note, I will attempt to fix it...tomorrow.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Landscape Commission WIP

Today I started work on a landscape that I have been commissioned to do. The place is an island in Northern Canada, and specifically a particular rock and tree on that island, that has deep meaning to an individual that I know. The plaques visable on the rock are tributes to this person's grandparents, whose ashes were scattered there. I love the wildness of the place, especially the way the trees grow; they are so windblown but somehow resilient enough to cling to the rocks and root themselves in this unforgiving environment.

I only blocked in the painting and worked a few hours on it today, but I had forgotten how much I like the result when I do an underpainting in complementary colors. I think the key here will be to give an impression of the wildness of the environment, without overworking it. We'll see how it ends up! I plan to finish it this week.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Le Jardin de Roi (Cafe Scene), Tuscan Sunflowers, etc., Giclee Prints

Well, I'm going on a short trip, and won't be able to paint for a while. Just thought I'd post a couple of larger paintings of mine, which are available in giclee prints and were painted in a warmer season, to warm up those cold February days in the Northeast!(Incidentally, the scans all seem to have a blue cast to them...not sure why. I'll have to figure this out on my return.)