Saturday, September 29, 2012

Shaker Fields series

"Evening Fields 1"
"Evening Fields2"
"Evening Fields 3"
"Evening Fields 4"

"Evening Fields 5"
Working in a series allows the artist to explore images and ideas. In this series I'm working with the fields at Shaker Village from a perfect evening in June 2012. It's fun to loosely move around the colors and shapes.

After a terribly hot summer the fields are dried and the color is much more subtle....too subtle for my liking, but weather permitting I"ll be drawing at Shaker Village on October 27 while Shaker Village highlights their work with Nature Conservancy to restore the fields to the natural savannah of central Kentucky.

These new 12"x12" pastels will be available at St. James Court Art Fair Oct. 5-7. My booth is #911 on 3rd Street. Come see the originals and lots more.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pine Mountain State Park

"Pine Mountain Sunset" 8"x12" pastel on sanded paper
When we arrived at Pine Mountain State Park the misty rain had stopped. At dusk, the clouds lifted and the sunset glowed along with the lights of Pineville far below.

The next morning the sun shone on the old growth forest along Honeymoon Fall Trail and I thought, "wouldn't it be fun to create a triptych to emphasize the height of these trees." And so I set up on the edge of the creek. Thank goodness I didn't slip on the rocks and dump my whole set up into the creek. These are quick sketches that will need a bit of tweeking before they're ready for my show.
"Old Growth 3" pastel
"Old Growth 2" pastel
"Old Growth 1" pastel
"Honeymoon Falls" 12"x8"

Southeastern Kentucky received 4 inches of rain the day before we arrived, otherwise Honeymoon Falls would be dry since we've had a very dry summer. I've never been happy with any of my drawings of rocks but thanks to the influence of Albert Handell I approached this drawing with more confidence. Sometimes its best to not overdo a piece. Pick the correct color and stroke it on there.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

"Dale Hollow Cove" correcting

"Dale Hollow Cove" 8"x12" plein air pastel

"Dale Hollow Cove" correcting

"Dale Hollow Cove" final

This morning a dear friend and fellow artist dropped by my studio and I showed her some of my new "State Park" plein air pastels along with some of the larger studio pieces. When I asked her what she thought of "Dale Hollow Cove" she commented that she liked it but the bank on the left side seemed to be a problem. I also had stared at that part of the pastel wondering what was wrong and not having the nerve start making changes. Another set of eyes can be so helpful when you have a problem area with one of your pieces of artwork.

After Holly left, I thought "yes, she's right: so here I go."

I love how easy it is to change pastels on sanded paper by just rubbing the offending area with a paper towel.

The bottom image is the final, corrected image. I think the composition is better now that the offending bank isn't competing for attention with the bright green tree and reflection. One star and the rest supporting actors.

What do you think?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Morning vision - Greenbo Lake

"Greenbo Morning" 8"x12" pastel on sanded paper
Heavy moisture from last nights' rain gave atmospheric depth to the morning landscape at Greenbo Lake. "Greenbo Morning" is more closely aligned with what I saw at the lake this morning.
"Morning Lake Feelings" 8" x 12" pastel
"Morning Lake Feelings" is what I FELT this morning as I sat in my kayak and absorbed the stillness of the morning. I've said before that my challenge as a plein air painter is to interpret what I see in the landscape and not just try to copy. I waffle back and forth with each outing.
Wolf Kahn, one of my favorite contemporary artist, said to approach each painting as if you know nothing, so as I attempt to explain the landscape through pastels I try to figure out my focus. This morning I kept repeating, "how do I feel about this place?"
"Lake Shore" 8" x 12"
So back to the waffling. This scene is close to what I saw, but I was drawn to the scene because of the beginning of autumn touching the forest. I like this time of year. Later in fall when the forest is screaming with brilliant color, it's hard to keep my drawing from looking like a cheap persian rug -- way too many colors. Right now, autumn is more subtle.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Floating along on Greenbo Lake

I'm visiting Greenbo Lake State Park in Greenup, KY and floating along the lake in my kayak art boat. It's a bit tight quarters but nothing like it to feel the quiet, gentle movement of the lake. "Peaceful" is an understatement, especially with all the hubbub of life this month.

But before breakfast I hiked out to a cove area to watch the sunrise and record the colors in pastel.
Early morning colors are especially tricky. It seems the longer I work on the piece, the more colorful I make it and then I look away and then back again. Now I see the colors differently once again. I think your eyes adjust to the hazy colors. I'm going out tomorrow morning to try again.
"Morning Cove" 8"x12" pastel on Wallis sanded paper
It was time to hike back to the lodge for breakfast but the sun suddenly topped the ridge and illuminated  the woods behind me. So I sketched a quick drawing to try to capture the feeling of sunlight on the pine  trees along the trail. This one isn't even close to being finished but it may never be because I think it says enough.
"Pines along the Trail" 12"x8" sketch
After breakfast my husband drove me over to the boat ramp and helped me launch the kayak stuffed with all my pastels, paper, drawing board, water and lunch. Plus, my camera and the constant iPhone. Yes, I can get service on the lake which is great for posting my art activities on Facebook but awful when a junk call disrupts the quiet of the lake.
"Cove and boat dock" 8"x12" pastel on sanded pastel paper
The hillside is showing some color which connects it visually with the orange colors at the distant boat dock. I'm going back tomorrow morning to draw just the cove with the reflective colors. This drawing has too many points of interest and needs simplifying which is always a challenge for me especially when working en plein aire. So much information in full view!
"Greenbo Lake shore" 8"x12" pastel on sanded paper
Clouds began to gather and grow. I wonder if I should be heading towards the fishing dock.