Monday, February 28, 2011

Day 45 "Cumberland Island Beach house"

"An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day." Henry David Thoreau
My trip to Cumberland Island was like an early morning walk; a blessing for the whole day except for the no-see-um bugs. :-)
This the the beach house or ferry house at Plum Orchard. The round structure is more resistant to hurricane winds and I wonder if they knew that when they built it in the 1930s.
I love the light and shadow cast on the gravel road by the live oaks covered with moss. The island had a special light that permeated everything.
"Cumberland Island" 8" x 12" on Uart paper with an oil wash underpainting

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Day 44 "morning Mist Valley Head"

The Academy Awards are on and you're probably watching them. Go "Kings Speech"
Here's my "Pastel for the Day".
"Morning Mist Valley Head"
I wanted to capture that high key coloring of the haze from a humid summer morning. 
"Morning Mist Valley Head"

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Day 43 "Buckeye Meadow Evening"

"Buckeye Meadow Evening" was created on Uart sanded pastel paper with an underpainting washed into the sanded paper using alcohol - rubbing not drinking.
My Tuesday evening class is exploring different underpainting styles. The first lesson was using thin oil wash. Now we're working with the alcohol wash. 
Step 1 involved drawing the initial shapes and then adding a light coat of pastels  according to value. Prussian blue in the shadow area and orange in the sunny spots. This allows you to see the composition in simple shapes and colors with time to adjust if needed.

Step 2 shows the underpainting after I applied the alcohol. There's also a bit of pastel in the sky and distant mountains. 

And here's the finished step. The underpainting is covered and I'd like to develop the technique of leaving some of the underpainting showing. Maybe the next one!
"Buckeye Meadow Evening" 8"x12" on Uart sanded paper with alcohol wash then pastel

Friday, February 25, 2011

Day 42 "Plum Orchard Sunshine"

I'm returning again to sunny Cumberland Island, GA. The October sunlight was strong and warm but had the slant of late fall which creates good shadows even in the middle of the day.
These gray February days in Lexington are getting very boring and I'm longing for spring so I can get outside and do some on location drawings.
"Plum Orchard's Sunshine" 12" x 8" on Wallis Belgium Mist sanded paper

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 41 "Plum Orchard"

"It's never to late to be what you might have been." George Elliott
Plum Orchard is a beautiful mansion once belonging to the Carnegie family on Cumberland Island, GA which is now a National Seashore. We visited the island in October and stayed with a friend who was volunteering for 2 months with the Park Service. It's a wonderful, pristine island full of sunlight and dramatic shadows. No vehicles are allowed except for the Park Service and the island is free of the commercialization of the other Georgia Islands. Thanks for a great adventure, Deb.
This drawing is probably the best one I've done since starting this project. I knew what I wanted to capture and why when I took the photograph. Then I carefully composed it in the camera before snapping. The tiny digital camera screen is a big help to see the composition and contrast of your photo which translates into a good drawing. 
I think I'll keep this one and maybe turn it into an oil painting.
"Plum Orchard" 12"x8" on Wallis Belgium Mist sanded paper

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day 40 "Meadow Morning"

"Pray for Peace." me
As I listen to reports of violence against the citizens of Libya by Gadhafi it's hard to write about art when other happenings are so horrible. It reminds me of being an art student in 1970 and asking my teacher, "what is the relevance of painting a nude when soldiers are dying in Vietnam?" She said, "You have to answer that for yourself."
Art is my solace, comforter and a window from my soul to the world and from the world into my soul.
God created this beautiful world; mankind is slowly destroying it and my heart weeps. 
I try to put peace and beauty foremost in my work to bring that feeling of peace to myself and others. We whiz through life at top speed but we need to slow down, breathe and look around us. Notice light coming through the trees, the color of the grasses as the sun sets, how blue is the sky in autumn, there's purple in the shadows.
"Meadow Morning" 8"x12" pastel on Uart paper with an oil wash as the underpainting

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 39 "Quinault River Edge"

"True life is lived when tiny changes occur." Leo Tolstoy
Trying "Quinault River's Edge" by following the photoshop improvement of the previous pastel. It seems to have too many points of interest. I need to decide what's the most important part and emphasize that with value change.
I think I need to take out some of the pines and make the sunlit strip more interesting, soften the light blue color of the bleached out fallen logs.
My students and I have observed that a finished pastel drawing seems to improve when we wrap a piece of wax paper over the drawing for safe transportation home. I think the wax paper reduces the details and the large masses are emphasized. Glassine paper is a safer paper for wrapping a pastel, but wax paper is convenient. Just don't use wax paper on a drawing in the summer when the heat of a car can melt the wax onto your drawing.
"Quinault River's Edge" 8" x 12" on Wallis Belgium Mist sanded paper

Monday, February 21, 2011

Day 38 "Goofy Chew"

Sometimes I get bored with landscapes and switch to fun animal portraits that border on cartoons. The day I attended the Louisville Zoo the giraffes were enjoying the warm summer sun and seemed to be posing for my camera shots. I've used this reference photo about 4 times and each time I get a little bit different look for "Goofy."
"Goofy Chew" 12" x 8" on LaCarte sanded paper

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Day 37 "Quinault River"

"There is a wideness in God's mercy, like a wideness of the sea," hymn
"Quinault River" is a study and as it is now, definitely not complete. I think the lower left corner has some merit and could become the drawing - dropping the other details. Working from photographs has the drawback of having too much information and it's easy to fall into the lull of copying the photograph instead of using it as reference to compose a much better image.
"Quinault River, WA" 12" x 8" on Uart sanded paper with an oil wash
"Quinault River" detail

If I use this lower part, the light green strip of sunlight would have to be moved away from the middle of the image but I do think it shows promise.
"Quinault River 3"
In Photoshop Elements I moved the green strip of sunlight, added a few more logs and upright tree trunks. I think "Quinault River 3" will work better.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Day 36 "Today's Demo"

I'm too tired to find a good quote for today's blog.
Last night was the Gallery Hop and it was a resounding success with over 500 visitors - more than Artist's Attic normally gets. It was a beautifully warm evening especially after a miserable winter and everyone was out and about.
Then today I taught my workshop from 9-4 which was also a great class, but now I"m beat.
Here's the demo from today. I took the drawing that I posted yesterday and we redrew it in class - everyone follows along which may sound very uncreative but it's a great way to instruct on the basics of how to deal with the material.
I also asked my repeating students who took my beginners class in January to find their favorite artist in Pastel Journal Magazine and explain to the class what drew (ha-ha) them to this work. That gave them something to do while I explained the basics of soft pastels and textured paper to the beginners and it was a great way to introduce other artists' work to the class and the magic of expressive pastel.
You'll notice that this "Buckeye Meadow" is loose and incomplete but it's more important for me to help my students than to have a totally finished piece at the end of the day.
"Buckeye Meadow 2"

Friday, February 18, 2011

Day 35 "Buckeye Meadow Demo"

Tomorrow afternoon's demonstration at my workshop will be "Buckeye Meadow." I've drawn this favorite meadow many times with many different color combinations which I think shows that a good composition can take many forms and remain interesting. (Those little colored dots on the bottom of the drawing are part of the demo-not part of the final piece :-)
Now I'm off to Artists Attic to get ready for tonight's Gallery Hop and our "Off the Wall" exhibit. Artists Attic has 22 studio spaces and the artists challenged themselves this winter to create some fresh, different and experimental pieces for this Hop. I'll post my 2 oils from the show tomorrow.
"Buckeye Meadow demo"  8" x 12" on sanded LaCarte paper

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Day 34 "Edge Of The Woods" demos

I'm teaching my second beginners pastel class on Saturday at Artists Attic. In the first lesson I want the students to learn to handle the materials and have fun with color.
"Edge of the Woods" will be the first lesson and I've created the image in 3 different color scenarios to show how color can produce a mood. It can be expressionistic instead of always realistic.
What moods do you see in the 3 versions?
"Edge of the Woods1" 7" x 10" on LaCarte sanded paper
"Edge of the Woods 2"
"Edge of the Woods 3"

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Day 33 "Tuscan Hilltown"

My vacation to Tuscany with 5 fellow artists was a treasure-trove of images to draw. 
To create this scene I used an oil wash technique which is taught by Richard McKinley, whom I think is a terrific, creative artist. I always try to get the oil wash as interesting as Richard McKinley's but I fall short of the effort and in the end, cover up almost all of the wash with pastel.
"Tuscan Hilltown" 12" x 8" Uart sanded paper with an oil wash
I'm including a close-up of the olive grove which I think is the better part of the drawing. It's looser and I like the soft colors. You can see some of the wash effect on the lower trees.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Day 32 "Silvercreek"

Silvercreek is one of those magical little creeks in West Virginia that feels like it's the birthplace of a mighty river - which, in a way, it is. These tributaries from the side of Cheat Mountain combine to make Tygart River which empties into the Mongahela - to the Ohio at Pittsburgh and onto the Mississippi.
Silvercreek is so clean and pristine. The low afternoon light keeps the forest dark but illuminates the sides of the trees as they hug the creek bank.
"Silvercreek" 12" x 8" on Wallis sanded paper

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day 31 "I Love Mts." rally

"I Love Mountains" rally today!
The I LOVE MOUNTAINS rally protesting Mountain Top Removal was held on the step of the Capitol in Frankfort today. This is my rally sign and here's the back of the sign. Not my best paintings but most heartfelt and appreciated by many in the crowd.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Day 30 "Spring Trail"

It is so time for spring. I actually like snow but this year has been too cold along with our frequent but shallow amounts of snow to go out to do any plein air drawing. Yes, I said shallow - we've had only 4 inches at a time and I like big, thick, sticky snows....o.k. I'm crazy.
I've returned to spring 2010 photos from Raven Run and the Blue-Eyed Mary flowers that blanket the forest floor
This drawing was done on Wallis Belgium Mist paper with an underpainting of pastel washed with alcohol.
"Spring Trail of Blue-Eyed Marys"  8" x 12"

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Day 29 "Lake Crescent, WA"

"Art is a technique of communication. The image is the most complete technique of all communication." Claus Oldenburg
Blues, purples, pinks and a touch of red. Colors that relate to each other on the color wheel produce a peaceful response. These kayakers added a nice point of interest to a very quiet scene. 
This piece is on Wallis Belgium Mist sanded paper with an oil wash of blue in the sky and the rest was a dark mauve. I'd love to get this underpainting technique developed so I could leave some of the oil wash showing like Richard McKinley's work which I admire greatly.
"Lake Crescent, WA" 8" x 12" pastel on Wallis paper

Friday, February 11, 2011

Day 28 UK Emergency

Artists have no excuse for boredom. As long as we have some form of paper, subjects surround us. 
This week I had some time while waiting for some friends outside of the UK Emergency entrance. (It was business-not an emergency) I needed a distraction from the blink, blink of my car emergency blinkers as I waited in a "No Parking" zone. An old napkin in the console and an ink pen provided my distraction.
I liked my sketch of the Emergency Room entrance but could I turn it into a pastel without a reference photo for details and color?
Well, here's my attempt. Good start but could be much better as a plein air drawing, however 25 degree weather prevents that.
"UK Emergency"  8" x 12" on Wallis Belgium Mist sanded paper

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day 27 "Peaceful Morning Swim"

The reference photo for "Peaceful Morning Swim" was taken from my kayak which gives the viewer the feeling of sitting on the water along with the ducks. This drawing was created with a very thin oil wash applied over the Wallis Belgium Mist sanded paper. The oil wash seems to give an added depth to the image.
"Peaceful Morning Swim" 8" x 12" on Wallis sanded paper

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Day 26 "Pisgah Pike Evening"

Pisgah Pike is one of my favorite country roads in the central Ky area. This image is the corner next to the Pisgah Presbyterian Church in the evening as the shadows begin to envelope the landscape. I created this drawing to go with "Bluegrass Fences-Day 10" for my friend Terri.
"Pisgah Pike Evening" 7" x 10" pastel on textured pastel paper

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day 25 The missing dog

"The Sheep Herders Pasture" is from my trip to Italy (the big art) and the missing dog was a Great Pyrenees. We stopped beside this pasture to photograph the herd of sheep and noticed the large white dog standing guard over the sheep - just one big dog. I called out to the dog, "hey doggie doggie, aren't you pretty" and at that point he charged after the car and then 5 other dogs appeared from the herd of white fluffy sheep and started chasing the car. "Let's get out of HERE, Laurey."
In my photograph I loved the light and shadow plus the house in the background but placing the one white dog in the foreground would command too much attention. So that's the story of the "missing dog."
"Sheep Herders Pasture" 8" x 12" on Wallis sanded paper

Monday, February 7, 2011

Day 24 "Elkhorn Creek"

"Harry's Law" is on (my new favorite TV show) so let's make this quick.  I'm drawn (ha-ha) to this image because I love the backlighting effect. It wasn't that pronounced in the reference photo but I increased the effect in the drawing because I remember it that way.
"Elkhorn Creek Backlighting3" 8" x 12" pastel on Uart paper with oil wash for underpainting

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Day 23 "Corn Rows"

This design seems disconnected from the more realistic landscapes. My artist friend, Pat Lawrence, and I are creating images for a show and "Corn Rows 2" will be part of that exploratory show.
"Corn Rows 2"
 Pat and I assign ourselves subjects for the show and the first subject was "Chickens," although mine are apparently roosters.
"The Flock"

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Day 22

"The painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through." Jackson Pollock
Today was my demonstration day at Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea which is a fun experience. Gwen Heffner organizers the event and produces great PR plus they treat me to lunch and pay a small stipend for me to work on new pieces and talk to visitors.
"Pisgah Pike Fall" was completed at the Artisan Center today. Looks like I need to finish the left side.
"Pisgah Pike Fall" 8" x 12" pastel on LaCarte sanded pastel paper
Now back to yesterday's problem child. When I'm frustrated with a piece sometimes I crop it tighter to focus on the point of interest. Maybe "Grassy Springs1" should be a 6"x6".
"Grassy Springs 1.5"  6" x6"

Friday, February 4, 2011

Day 21

Isn't this fun. Today you get to see another failure and hopefully a "save". (Jan. 28-Day 14 was the other problem pastel in need of changes and Jan. 30 Day 16 was the correction)
Here's "Grassy Springs" and "Grassy Springs Sunset". Which do you think is the failure?

"Grassy Springs"   8" x 12" pastel on LaCarte sanded paper

"Grassy Springs Sunset"   8" x 12"  pastel on Wallis sanded paper

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Day 20 Browns

"That painter who has no doubts will achieve little." Leonardo da Vinci
I don't work with browns very much but in search of other color combinations that convey light and shadow in this hayfield, I decided to try warmer colors in the shadow area which may occur on a very warm summer evening.
"Knob Meadow Browns"   8" x 12" pastel on Wallis sanded paper

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 19 "Knob Meadow"

"Blessed are those who see beauty in humble places where others see nothing." Camille Pissaro
What is the color of sunshine or the color of shadows? Each is dependent upon one another and as long as the value is correct the colors can vary greatly.
"Knob Meadow Evening" was a demonstration piece that I created for my Saturday beginners pastel class at Artists Attic, but when I looked at the piece today, it was much too dark. I've lighten the colors and added some lavender.

"Knob Meadow Evening" demo    8" x 12" pastel

For the next piece in the series I experimented with color choices using more purple in the shadows and warm tans, oranges, gold and yellows in the sunshine areas. These colors are more expressionistic. And I left out the gate so the viewers eye can explore the foreground.
"Knob Meadow Evening Too"  8" x 12" pastel on LaCarte paper

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day 18 "The Way Home" demo

"The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls" - Piccaso
 "The Way Home" is a demonstration piece for my weekly pastel class for adults. Each time I create this piece for a class demo I change it and this time I increased the sunlight in the foreground and eliminated a shadow and tree area in the foreground  to focus the eye on the shaded gate area.
"The Way Home" demo   8" x 12"   pastel on LaCarte sanded paper    $185