Friday, November 19, 2010

Grand Opening of my New Studio

Busy fall. I've opened a second studio at Artists Attic, at Victorian Square, 4th floor, 401 W. Main Street, Lexington, KY. Gallery Hop is tonight from 5 - 8. Come see my new space. I'll also continue to work in my home studio - knowing where my latest art supplies and reference photos are located is good practice for the brain.

Compositional challenges are also good practice for the brain. Here are 2 new pastels from Shaker Village.

The first one "Shaker Home Fall" is a more traditional composition with the point of interest in the top 1/3 of the picture plane, however the house is facing out of the picture plane. So I decided to try another approach.

My second drawing is "Shaker Home with White Fence." This composition is unusual because I allowed the fence to run diagonally through the picture plane, dividing the image but allowing the house to face into the picture. This scene is what I actually observed and decided to see if it would work as a dynamic composition. Sometimes it is necessary to break the usual compositional rules and try something that may or may not work. 

What do you think? Which image do you like better. 

Both pieces will be on view at my new studio in Artists Attic.
Come down tonight for Gallery Hop and check it out.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What's the Common Denominator?

"Adam's Barn"    pastel    16" x 20"    $575

These two images at first glance may not seem to have much in common and yes, sometimes I think my images are very divergent, but what do they have in common? Color. I love color and try to push the color farther than what my eyes see. My favorite artist in Lexington is Carolyn Hisel and Carolyn taught me in a Lexington Art League workshop to choose colors with my heart not my eyes.

"Monteccheillo, Italy"   pastel   14"x11"   $245

Both of these pastels will be shown at my final art fair of the season - KYMarket:Spotlight Lexington at Triangle Park. The show is in conjunction with the World Equestrian Games that are being held for 17 days at the Kentucky Horse Park. Downtown Lexington is having numerous cultural offerings including art, music and drama during the 17 days of the WEG. Come on down and see my newest pieces and the celebration of color at Triangle Park Oct. 7-10 10 am - 6 pm each day.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Olympic National Park

"Hiking Among Giants"   12"x8"   pastel
"Hiking Among Giants" is my studio drawing of my husband hiking while on our vacation at Olympic National Park. This piece is 12" x 8" but needs to be very large to help convey the size of these enormous and beautiful trees.

I think sometimes it just takes a photograph to convey the details but I plan on trying this one again. The next time I draw this image the hiker will be even smaller and contrast of light and darks stronger. A good reference photo can be used more than once and offer multiple possibilities for new drawings. I could focus on just a section of the image, or change the composition to a horizontal instead of vertical. The artist needs to keep in mind what was the inspiration for taking the photograph in the first place. 

"Glenn on Pony Bridge Trail, Lake Quinault, WA

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill Again

Yes, I really love this place and the atmosphere is one of quiet contemplation where everyone is friendly and I feel completely safe when out hiking and drawing alone. Some of my pieces during the latest trip were quick studies of the clouds especially with the sound of thunder in the distance I knew I may have to make a run for the car.

My en plein air trip lasted from 9:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and I started to run out of sanded paper. I've always told my students not to use just plain white paper but the 20 minute hike back to the car to get more paper was not appealing especially in 90 degree heat
Well, why not try the white sketchbook paper. It won't be a big loss if it doesn't work and I was pleasantly surprised.

In last month's blog I told you about taking photos of the completed pieces while I was still out in the field to show my customers. Yes, the customers were interested and the first 2 pieces I sold were from the Shakertown trip with the photos of the completed pieces along with the scenes.

Next week I'll have some photographs of Olympic National Park with the most glorious trees I've ever seen. 

Friday, July 2, 2010

En Plein Air Images

While trying to explain to a friend what en plein air means, Lynn said, "Oh, I get it. It means dragging all your s_ _ t outside with you." Yep, that just about explains it. And when I go drawing in the woods my day pack is filled with pastels, board, paper, pencils, sketch book, paper towels, baby wipes, rubbing alcohol, a paint brush, camera, drinking water, my lunch and  camera. I also take a stool and easel. whew! I recently met Bill Fletcher who told me he uses a real backpack which makes the load seem so much lighter and has lots of room for various items.
I also take bug spray. The woods are full of mosquitoes, flies, ticks and chiggers. Unfortunately, the bug spray doesn't work on chiggers. If anyone out there reading this blog has a great way to keep the chiggers at bay, please let me know. I'm chewed to pieces and am determined that those nasty bugs will not keep me from the woods.
But I digress from the reason for this evenings musings.
As I draw on location I've started taking photographs of my completed piece on location so the actual location is visible along with my drawing. I'm printing this image and attaching it to the framed piece of art work to show my customers the landscape that inspired the piece they find interesting.
I'll be showing 3 new drawings from my Shakertown series with the attached photos at the Crescent Hill Art Fair this weekend. I'll let you know next week what reaction I get from my customers. I hope they love the idea and the story.

Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill

Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill is also known as Shakertown, on Rt. 68 twenty-four miles from Lexington. These 40 miles of gorgeous hiking, biking and horseback riding trails will be my summer destination for plein air painting.
To help support wildlife the Kentucky Department of Natural Resources and Nature Conservancy are transforming into wildflower habitat some of the acres of fields which were farmed by the Shaker community in the late 1880's. 
This June has been the 6th hottest June on record in Lexington and very humid. I've stayed in my studio preparing new work for the 3 art fairs that I participated in but finally a wonderful Canadian high swoop down through Kentucky and brought cooler fresher air. 
Off I went to Shakertown and what a surprise to see the wonderful wildflower field full of black-eyed Susans, pink coneflowers and little white daisies.
"Wildflower Field 1" is from Tuesday morning and "Wildflower Field 4" was created on Wednesday morning by my alter-ego the one that loves abstracts.
I guess that goes back to my Pisces nature of 2 fish and two (or more) different approaches. The first piece was created on Kitty Wallis sanded paper Belgium Mist color and the second one was created on Uart sanded paper 400 grit with an orange acrylic wash.

I'm off to another art fair, Crescent Hill Art Fair in Louisville at 301 Peterson Ave. which is off Grindstead Drive. Come see some of my new plein air pieces.

Friday, June 25, 2010

On Location and Studio Work

If you have been reading my blog you'll know that I've been working recently in on location/plein air which means I drag all my pastels, paper, easel and lunch out on location to actively observe the natural world.

In May my husband and I visited a quiet state park in northeast Kentucky, Greenbo State Park. I loved the pristine environment, the lively all-day bird calls in the forest that surrounds the lake and the amphibians swimming across the lake - yep, snakes! We rented a little runabout boat the first day and I did some sketching from the boat as my husband fished.

The next morning I took my pastels to the lake to watch the sunrise and record the changing light and atmosphere. These sketches are small because the light and foggy atmosphere were changing so quickly.

When I returned to my studio I looked at the plein air work from my trip and realized that yes, this is what I saw at the time. It's a fairly accurate depiction of the scene but was it what I was feeling as I sat on the bank of the lake and watched the lovely sunrise, felt the mixture of early morning coolness and the warmth of the rising sun.

I decided to make a series of pastels based on the plein air experience but with more interpretation of how it felt to be there and not necessarily how it looked.

This piece is called "Greenbo Sunrise" matted and framed 12"x16". I feel like it says more about the experience.

Now my conflict continues, which is quite natural for a Pisces.  Do I continue to stuggle with capturing that moment in time and focus on plein air pieces or do I use my plein air/on location pieces as a record of that moment and reference for more interpretive studio pieces? This is where I'd like to clone myself so I could be at both places. For now the struggle will continue, I'll do both as the weather permits and enjoy the challenge.

I'll be showing "Greenbo Sunrise" at Francisco's Farm Art Fair in Midway, KY this weekend, June 26 & 27. If you're in the area drop by booth #24 and say hi.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

May Flowers

"White Peonies"    12"x16"    matted and framed $285

May provides so many opportunities for on location work. Each evening I check the weather report to see if the sun will be shining and if I need to get more pastel paper ready and snack food located. 

I'm finding plein air work invigorating but also nerve wracking. Often I feel like I need to be in two places at once - outdoors capturing that single moment in time and indoors attending to art business or studio work. But if the sun is shining I usually chose outdoors since capturing so many beautiful places is a fleeting endeavor.

One of my newest pieces is of white peonies at the Henry Clay Estate - Ashland, here in Lexington, KY. By working on location I can feel the fragile beauty of these flowers and see the details, but capturing details is not my purpose with this work. I want to create the feeling of energy and the fragility of these flowers. I chose quick strokes, a limited color palette and the simple gray background of the paper.

I'll be showing this piece and many other new drawings at the Broad Ripple Art Fair in Indianapolis, IN May 15 & 16.

Along with the pull of on location artwork I am also participating in a public art project called Horse Mania. 76 artists have been chosen to decorate full size fiberglass horses which will be shown around the Lexington, KY area starting in July, through the World Equestrian Games and then auction off in November.

My accepted idea is "SAW(yier)HORSE which is a tribute to Paul Sawyier, a locally famous watercolor artist from the 1900s. I reproduced 7 of his paintings on the horse and as a special treat to the small children, I hid various amphibians, snakes and animals on the underneath parts of the horse. Little children are always looking under things and I think they'll find it fun to see a snake on the belly of the horse as well a wide-eyed mouse etc. The image on the blog is the beginning of my project which has taken 3 weeks to complete.

In my next blog I'll show you the completed piece. Stay tuned!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spring Time at Raven Run

Spring has finally come to Kentucky and it has been beautiful. The winter was colder than usual and stayed until mid March but when spring came it arrived all at once with most of the flowering trees blooming at the same time - redbuds, weeping cherry trees, and saucer and star magnolias.
"FLOWER BOWL" 8"X12"   pastel    $185 matted

In April the woodland flowers were abundant because we had a very wet summer and fall in 2009 which hydrated the forest floor. I've been packing my pastels and paper into my daypack and dragging my easel into the forest at Raven Run Nature Park in southeast Fayette County where the wildflowers are incredible. Blooming with purple, blues and lavenders are blue-eyed Mary's, native delphinium, phlox and in the damper areas are yellow wood poppies.
I continue to be amazed at the difference between my reference photographs and the drawing that I produce on location. I'm always disappointed with the photo when I print it at home but at least I have to make any small additions to the plein air drawing.
Here is the photograph from the same site as the pastel "Flower Bowl" 

 I'll be showing new work at Cherokee Triangle Art Fair on Cherokee Parkway, booth 206 in Louisville KY April 24 & 25. Come see the new pieces from my on location adventures.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Winter Thawing

Winter is thawing, I promise. The temperature was 33 degrees when I went out to do this drawing of "Dogwood Creek Winter Thaw." See the little turfs of green sticking through the snow! 

As I set up to work the sky was still overcast and the scene was flat but I've drawn this spot before and knew it would have good color if the sun would shine for just a short time. So I worked in the initial drawing with my purple conte pastel pencil and also started adding the shapes and basic colors.

Then the sun shone for just the right amount of time to help me determine the blues, purples and cream colors as the late afternoon sun illuminated the scene.

I'll have this piece framed as a 16" x 20" at Kentucky Crafted the Market at the Louisville Fair and Expo Center March 6 & 7. Come see me in booth #310.

Redbud Festival Spring Art Fair

Winter is a good time to work in the studio while keeping an eye on the falling snow flakes. If the sun comes out this afternoon I'll be headed outside for some plein air pastelling, but in the mean time I work in my studio.

"Rocker and Quilt" was created for the Redbud Festival at Union College in Barboursville, KY April 9 & 10 which I'll be the "Feature Artist."

In anticipation of all the beautiful quilts that will be exhibited at the show I added a design from one of the quilt artist to my grandmother's quilt pattern and draped it over a handmade rocker that I bought at Cincinnati's Summerfair.

I'm also trying a new blog design in an effort to keep the copy coordinated with the images. Technology is not my thing anymore. I left my middle management position in the promotion department at the herald-leader in 2001 and I still miss the day to day contact with the really good graphic designers in our department.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bundled up

I'm bundled up for an afternoon of drawing outdoors. Cold is cold and even though this day was warmer than last week, my toes were aching from the cold after only 45 minutes. I think it's because I sit so quietly with only my right hand moving.

But working outdoors especially in the wintertime is invigorating. I am tired of being indoors and I've always loved snow. Plus the camera does a lousy job of capturing the nuances of color that you find in the winter landscape which makes working only from reference photos disappointing. That's why I'm looking forward to a sunny but cold day tomorrow for one more day of plein air pastelling before the snow melts away.

Look for my newest pieces at Kentucky Crafted the Market in Louisville, KY at the Kentucky State Fair and Expo center March 6 & 7.

Winter Challenges

Wintertime use to mean lots of quiet work time in my studio without the distraction of the lure of the outdoors, but now that I'm crazy over plein air pastelling the winter has presented a new challenge. 

We've had a nice amount of snow in Kentucky, 4-5 inches and new snow every few days to refresh the landscapes, but it's been cold! I consider daytime temperature of 20 degrees to be pretty cold especially to drag all my drawing equipment outdoors to work on new pieces.

But with the help of my husbands toe and hand warmers and lots of layers of clothing off I went to the park close to my house. I used my biking glove on my drawing hand because the fingers are cutout of the glove and I put a nice warm winter glove on the other hand but oddly the drawing hand remained warmer because I was moving it and the other hand was not so lucky since it was holding my drawing board still.
The top image is "Dogwood Creek Morning Light" and the bottom image is "Creek in Afternoon Light." Each sketch took about 30 minutes and I took reference photos to help me complete the pieces indoors.