Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 17 "Pisgah Pike"

Pisgah Pike is part of the Kentucky Scenic Highway system. It runs from Versailles Road through to Frankfort Pike and is truly a beautiful country road. 
My favorite spot is this corner beside the Pisgah Presbyterian Church. I've photographed and drawn it many time including this newest one first using an oil wash on the sanded paper before applying the pastel. 
"Pisgah Corner Early Morning"   8" x 12"   $285

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day 16 Corrections

Sunday is the day of rest, but pastels are so quick that I can make a correction in 15 minutes - that's not work. If the medium was oil paints-that would be another issue. The cloud pastel needed correcting.
I added color to the left side of the cloud and soften the top left corner which was too similar to the bottom of the cloud. And I took out the rainbow and added a few more lighter reflections in the water. I have to be careful with changes because too much can take the energy out of the piece.
"Magic Cloud"

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 15 Olympia National Park

Following full disclosure principles, I have to admit I didn't create this pastel today because I taught a pastel workshop at Artists Attic-BTW a really fun group of people who produced some amazing pieces. So I didn't have time to create my "Pastel A Day" today, but this piece was created this past week. 
Some of the steps to create the workshop image, "Knob Meadow Evening" are posted in my pastel lessons blog at
And if you're reading my facebook page you'll see that my buddy and amazing writer/poet, Tanya Tyler, has composed a couple of poems to accompany some of my drawings, but not this yet. :-)
"Olympia National Park's Hoh River"   8" x 12"   pastel on textured pastel paper

Friday, January 28, 2011

Day 14 Magic Clouds

When I worked as a graphic designer more times than I like to remember, typos or graphic problems didn't show up until the piece was printed. Ugh! 
So as I look at today's piece after photographing it, I think, "why did I make the classic mistake of putting the cloud smack dab in the the middle of the drawing?" As my students often say when asked that same question, "Because that's the way it was in the photograph." I'm suppose to know better, but there it is! Too bad because I like the effect I got by doing an oil wash first on Uart sanded paper and then applying the pastel. This will be a good candidate for a redo.
"Magic Cloud"  8" x 12" pastel on sanded Uart paper
And the next time I"ll leave out the rainbow which is next to impossible to draw with pigment - rainbows are pure light!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day 13 "Sunset"

Snow again! I long for the summer days of drifting in my kayak at Jacobson Park in Lexington. "Sunset" is from a photograph that I took from the kayak which is why the horizon line is low and flat. The cloud was so beautiful and dramatic that there was no need to manipulate the colors for the pastel drawing. 
"Sunset"     8" x 12"     pastel     $285

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 12 Olympia National Park

Continuing the travelogue of my 2010 trips is a waterfall from Olympia National Park in Washington. This park is one of our nation's largest national parks and the landscape ranges from 6,000 ft. Hurricane Ridge to the Hoh River Valley temperate rain forest to the Pacific coast. My family and I throughly enjoyed our July visit.
"Olympia National Park"   7.5" x 10.5"   pastel  $245

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 11 West Virginia

 "Art gives you the ability to travel someplace without going anyplace." unknown
Today I'm traveling through my reference photos to West Virginia in search of an image to produce a step by step printout for my pastel workshop on Saturday at Artists Attic. "Knob Meadow Evening" is the highest point on the Marshall farm in Mingo, West Virginia and when I stand on the knob it's feels like the opening sequence of "The Sound of Music."
"Knob Meadow Evening"          8" x 12"           pastel           $285

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 10

Sunday was a day of rest, but I'm back at the Pastel a Day and have changed direction. Back to the local images - this one is Pisgah Pike in Fayette County or maybe it's Woodford County in the late afternoon summer. (Kentucky has 120 counties so where am I now?) I'm interested in the fence shadows as it weaves along the side of the road. Shadows follow the movement of the land.
"Bluegrass Fences"    8" x 12"   pastel   $285 framed I view the image on the screen I see another awkward intersection of lines where the fence shadows meet the dominate tree on the right. This will have to be changed. Painting is all about shapes. In realism and impressionism those shapes are recognizable items but the shape must be considered as a design element before considering its descriptive purpose. Shapes contribute to the composition and the composition is paramount in building a strong painting.


The marvel of pastel is how easily it can be reworked. When I make the sanded paper using the pastel primer by Art Spectrum if I need to correct an area and wish to regain the underpainting color and texture, I use baby wipes to remove the pastel layers. Baby wipes don't leave a residue and dry very quickly. I now have an almost pristine piece of the paper to rework an area.
"Tuscan Farmland"     15" x 35" pastel      $850
"Tuscan Farmland" was created in October after I returned from my trip to Italy and before I had cataract surgery. Now I can see purple much better and OMG the sky has got to go! My attention goes directly to the lavender purple in the sky. While I'm reworking I think the intersection of the trees in the left 1/3 of the picture is awkward. Too many lines coming together.
"Tuscan Farmland" redo
I also simplified the field to the right of the farmhouse, connected the blue in the shadows to the mountain color in the background. The changes may seem subtle but I'm much happier with it.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day 8 Italian Air Space 4

My intention was to create one last pastel in this series and concentrate on the colors that I feel represent the joy I felt when I was in Italy. It is a magical country and I absorbed as much as I could by drawing every minute I could squeeze in. I came home with 30 drawings in various degrees of completion. I admit I was possessed - a drawing maniac, and I'd love to go back to feel the degrees of the country without my artistic maniac approach. But in reality that probably won't happen. I seem to engage with the world through the lens of my camera for reference photos or through my sketchbook and pastels. I can't turn it off. Oh well, just go with it until I wear out!
"Italian Air Space 4"     8" x 12" pastel on sanded pastel paper
Back to my intention with this drawing. I was not successful. These are not my favorite colors and they do not represent my joy. Try again. I do like the texture of the paper and tried to create this one very quickly as to not fill up the texture of the paper.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 7 Italian Air Space 3

Trying LaCarte paper for a different texture for the "Italian Air Space" series. It's amazing how just a specific paper can create a very distinct look and feel when applying the pastel.
"Italian Air Space 3"      7" x 10"      pastel        $145

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 6

Here's the follow-up to yesterday's drawing. I'm enjoying these arial images and may run with it for awhile. I've taken some more photos from over I just have to find them.
"Italian Air Space 2"     8" x 12"    pastel   $285

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"Italian Air Space"

Day 5 didn't go as planned and the Tuscany village is still in the works but I completed "Italian Air Space 1" Don't give me grief about how fast I work. This one was already 1/2 finished  and I like walking into my studio with a 1/2 finished piece on the easel. It's much easier to get excited about finishing something than being faced with that blank piece of paper. I almost always try to plan what I'll work on the next day to avoid the "white paper syndrome, which plagues writers and artists.
"Italian Air Space"      8" x12"     pastel      $285
This piece is on sanded pastel paper which was created using Art Spectrum's terra cotta colored pastel primer. I use an cheap brush so I can get all those textured marks.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"Casa Laurey Lavender"

Day 4 has one more entry to the "Casa Laurey" series. This time I'm suggesting, without drawing individual plants, fields of lavender. This will be the last of the "Casa Laurey" series but I'm thinking about an Italian village on the hill for the next series. All of Tuscan hilltowns that we visited were indeed on the hill, built there for protection and to allow all of the surrounding land to be used for farming.
"Casa Laurey Lavender"    7" x 10"    pastel

Monday, January 17, 2011

"Casa Laurey" Day 3

So here we are at Day 3 and I'm continuing the "Casa Laurey" series. I like working in a series to see how far I can push the color and keep the concept in tact. This first image is actually the 1st of the series and you can see that it's closer to reality with the soft sky color and the tan of the plowed September fields. Full reality would dictate the field color to be a warm gray clay color, but that's just too.... hum.....gray for me.
"Casa Laurey #1" 7" x 10" pastel

Today's image is another of the Casa Laurey series with the addition of sunflowers which bloom is late July. Since I was in Tuscany in September this is my imaginary version of what an overwhelming field of lovely Tuscan yellow could be.
"Casa Laurey's Sunflowers" 7" x 10" pastel

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day 2 for Pastel A Day

"Casa d'Laurey" is the second of my Italian series for "Pastel a Day" This house can be seen from the Val d'Orcia in Tuscany and I named it after my favorite tour guide - Laurey Masterton. Laurey was instrumental in organizing the trip that I and my 5 pastelling buddies took to Italy in September.
"Casa d'Laurey" 10"x7" pastel
You will notice a difference in texture between Day 1 pastel and Day 2. Day 1 is on a sanded pastel paper created by painting pastel primer on to museum board using a cheap student grade brush. I use this brush because I want the rough strokes to show. If I use a sponge brush the texture would be very fine, similar to the sanded texture of Day 2 pastel. Day 2 pastel was created on Sennelier's LaCarte sanded paper which has a very fine sanded texture and will have a smoother look to the final piece.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pastel a Day

Yes, it's the old New Years Resolution time - only 15 days late. I woke up this morning determined to refocused on new pastels for the coming 2011 art fair season. In November I moved part of my studio to Artists' Attic in Victoria Square at 401 W. Main, Lexington, KY and I've been having lots of fun experimenting with oils and new directions for some pastels. But now it's time to get back to more serious work. Goals always help. So my goal for the next 60 days - the number of days before KYCrafted The Market at the Fairgrounds in Louisville is 1 pastel per day. And I'm going to post each new pastel every single day. Bets on how long before I miss a day?
Here's the first entry for my 2011 "Pastel A Day" adventure.
"Val d'Orcia Farmland" 8"x12" pastel

Just in case you're curious about some of the new oils, here's one that will be part of the Artists' Attic "Off the Wall" in studio exhibit. Reception at Gallery Hop Friday night February 18.
"Florence Tourist Morning" 40" x 30" oil

See you tomorrow!