Saturday, January 28, 2012

Mingo Flats demo

In the second of a series of Saturday workshop I demonstrated "Mingo Flats Road". First, the students were asked to study the reference photo and see how I manipulated the image to create a better composition.
Here's the reference photo, the sketch and the final pastel created for the step by step demo.
I chose to move the large trees and the house back into the middle ground closer to the background to give room to the mountain and create a sense of the largeness of the mountain.
However, I strayed from the value study of the sketch by making both trees the same value. If I stayed true to the value sketch the tree on the left side of the road would have appeared even further back into the picture plane. And in the value sketch the further back mountain looks as if a storm has darken it with the foreground still in sunlight.
I may have to try this again and I do like the telephone poles - also eliminated from the final piece.
"Mingo Flats Road" 8" x 12" demo on LaCarte sanded paper

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"End of the Day"

"An artist's world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep." Paul Strand
As you know I love working at Shaker Village Pleasant Hill, KY. Last fall I snapped the photograph for this scene and after looking at it often I've finally decided to take it on. I'm interested in the evening light at the end of the day and how it plays along the edges of the horses and buggy driver with the dark barn in the background producing a perfect contrast to the light.
This piece will be in my one person show at Artists Attic in February 2013. My goal is to produce at least 2 new pieces per month along with the pieces I have to create for the art fair circuit this year. That's why I'm starting now!
"End of the Day" 18" x 24" pastel on Wallis sanded paper

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mingo Road color studies

"No great artist ever sees things as they really are." Oscar Wilde
For my next workshop I'll be demonstrating "Mingo Road Maple" and today I created some color studies of the scene as well as small b/w pencil studies of values.
I"ve started the final piece and will post the steps tomorrow. Can you guess which one I"ll chose ? Kind of an easy question when you see which one I work on the longest.
The upper left was a complementary red/green study and the top right was a orange/blue study but the photo looks more red than orange.
The lower left image was an orange/blue complementary study with more subtle exploration of blues.
"Mingo Road Maple" color studies

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Mariposa Grove

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." Henry David Thoreau
Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park contains a beautiful grove of hugh Giant Sequoias trees and it's easy to understand why the Native Americans worshipped here.
The museum cabin sits at the top of the mountain which is a 2 miles hike up but well worth the trip. 
I included the cabin to give scale to the trees. The October sun was illuminating the tops of the giants but the forest floor was sinking into shadow.
"Mariposa Grove" 12"x8" pastel on LaCarte sanded paper

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Passages Evening Light

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."  Henry David Thoreau
The last 20 minutes of evening light can produce startling color and contrast. "Passages - Evening Light" is about that last few minutes when the orange colored sun flashes the landscape with brilliant color.
"Passages - Evening Light" 8" x 12" pastel on Wallis sanded paper

Friday, January 20, 2012

Llama fun

"You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." Mark Twain
Winter doldrums. Time for some fun. 
I've been reading Ian Roberts' book on composition and Marla Bagetta's article on thumbnail sketches and color studies which I'm trying to apply to my pastel landscapes. But all that studying can be tiresome and Gallery B's next group show is "Animals" so I created 3 funny llama portraits to submit to the show. I'll let you know if all 3 are accepted. These llamas belong to an artists friend, Debbie Westerfield, who creates the most original clay pieces and the llamas' goofy attitude seem to reflect her wonderful imagination.
"Mahelia Too" 14"x11" pastel on sanded paper made with pastel primer
"Smilin" 14" x 11" pastel on sanded paper created with pastel primer
"Suki" 14"x11" pastel on sanded paper created with pastel primer

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dogwood Creek oil painting

"Don't be an art critic, but paint, there lies salvation." Paul Cezanne
I belong to the Plein Air Painters of the Bluegrass and since it's difficult to  plein air paint in Kentucky in the wintertime, the group gathers at Artists Attic for a paint in.
A couple of years ago in the middle of a very cold winter I was tired of pastelling in the studio so I put on all the clothes I could find plus foot and hand warmer and brave the cold and snow to work for about 45 minutes on some plein air pastels. Here is the image from February 2010.
Well, I also took photographs and used one to work on this oil painting this week in the warmth of the studio at Artists Attic.
As much as I enjoy working in oil I still prefer the soft edge and color control that I have with pastels, and no drying time!

"February Freeze" 7" x 10" plein air pastel

"Dogwood Creek Winter" 11"x14" oil

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pleasant Valley steps

"The position of the artist is humble. He is essentially a channel." Piet Mondrian
I had the students in my pastel workshop at Artists Attic create two images in one day. Yes, I had them working hard. :-)
The afternoon project was "Pleasant Valley" and here are the steps for that project. I've created images of this valley before but this time I wanted to emphasize the mowing lines in the field as a compositional element that leads the viewer's eye from foreground back to the shed and house area which is the point of interest.
As in the "Water House" demo, the little dots at the top of the image a for teaching purposes and will be matted off when the piece is framed.
"Pleasant Valley Evening" 8" x 12" on LaCarte sanded paper

Monday, January 16, 2012

Waterhouse demo steps

"He who has imagination without learning has wings but no feet."  Joseph Joubert
My first winter Pastel Workshop was last Saturday and I had 14 terrific students who worked so hard and created some really terrific drawings. I'm syked about having another workshop which will be Jan. 28.
Here are the "steps" for the "Water House" demonstration. I start the class with a less complicated image so the students can concentrate on layering colors over colors, focus on using the side of the pastel, and learn much pressure will create different thicknesses of the application.
If you'd like to create your own "Water House" using my steps, go for it!
Tomorrow I'll post the steps for the landscape demo that we all drew in the afternoon.
Draw basic shapes
Add shadows with indigo and denote sunny area with yellow orange
Layer in local color but keep it dark so the next layer will have something to play against.
The last layers of color are the lightest, like drawing with sunshine

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Waterhouse Shaker Village

"What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter." Henri Matisse
This quote reminds me of Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill, a truly lovely place. I love drawing there - it's so peaceful. The waterhouse is one of my favorite buildings and I've drawn it many time which is why I thought it would be fun to use it for the demonstration for my pastel workshop on Saturday. I'll post the "step by step" tomorrow.
If you remember my drawing of the waterhouse from last year you'll notice that this version is stylized as more of a children's book illustration than a realistic drawing. It's fun to change subject matter and make it your own. The little colored dots at the top of the drawing are part of the instructional demo for my class but I like the dots, so maybe I'll expand the dots all the way across the top and bottom.
"Waterhouse" 12"x8" on sanded pastel paper

Monday, January 9, 2012

Winter Scene oil painting

"Sometimes imagination pounces; mostly it sleeps soundly in the corner, purring."  Terri Guillemets
I attended a wonderful oil painting workshop conducted by Dan McGrath at Artists' Attic this past Saturday.
Here's the finished 8"x10" oil from the day of work. I started another one but it's only 1/2 finished and not "ready for prime time" yet.
I"m also going to try this scene in pastels. Bet it'll be better than this -- hope so, but the class was great fun to share time with other artists and be the student instead of the teacher.
"Dogwood Creek - winter morning" 8"x10" oil

Sunday, January 8, 2012

"The longer you look at an object, the more abstract it becomes, and, ironically, the more real." Lucian Freud
The three biggies for a successful painting are 1) Composition  2) Color  3) Content
Today I worked controlling a mood through color choices.
The first of "Frank's Sheds" is suppose to convey a bright sunny morning with an upbeat mood using analagous colors of blue/green/yellow/orange range.
In the second one I tried to convey a quiet, hazy, thoughtful mood by using grayed colors in a split-complement color combination of blue/purple and a gray-green and a bit of accent color pink.

"Frank's Sheds 1" 12" x 8" on LaCarte sanded paper

"Frank's Sheds 2" 12" x 8" on LaCarte sanded paper

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Going Down to Mingo

"If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint." Edward Hopper
Today I attended a "Winter Images" oil painting workshop with Dan McGrath held at Artists' Attic in Lexington, KY. Wow, that was a powerful workshop and Dan's a great teacher.
But because I was painting in oils all day, I don't have a "Pastel A Day" to post.
Instead I'll post an image of the piece I have donated to the Living Arts and Science Center's fundraiser which will be held at Big Ass Fan's home office on February 11.
"Going Down to Mingo" 16" x 24" framed pastel to be auctioned at LASC fundraiser

Friday, January 6, 2012

Pleasant Valley demonstration

"You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus."  - Mark Twain
I'll be teaching a pastel workshop at Artists' Attic next weekend. In preparation for the class I create an image in advance and take digital photos to provide a step by step hand-out for the class. This is the landscape image for the class.
"Pleasant Valley demo" 8"x12" on LaCarte sanded paper

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Pisgah Pike Sketches

"Don't expect anything original from an echo."  -Author Unknown
Funny quote. Here are the black and white thumbnail sketches that I drew to explore the composition. Then I created color thumbnails, actually about 3" x 5", sketches to explore color relationships.
Notice that in the final pieces, which I posted in last night's blog, I left out the telephone pole. It was too dominate as an element and took the viewer's attention away from the road.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Pisgah Pike - Three Studies

"He who has imagination without learning has wings but no feet."  -Joseph Joubert
"The well laid plans of mice and men." I don't know who said that but it explains my "Pastel a Day" concept falling flat after just one day. So tonight I'm posting 3 images to make up for my laziness last night.

I recently watched a wonderful video by Colleen Howe who talks about preplanning your pastel and we all know how important thumbnail studies are but so few of us do them. These 3 pastels were created after I did color thumbnails which are creatively freeing. As an artists you have only time invested because no one is going to see them, so you can be more free to experiment with color. I actually like the little studies even more than these 3 but I'll have to post the studies tomorrow.

Which one do you like better?

"Pisgah Pike 3" pastel on Wallis sanded paper
"Pisgah Pike 2" 8" x 11" pastel on Wallis sanded paper
"Pisgah Pike 1" 8" x 12" pastel on sanded paper

Monday, January 2, 2012

55 days of New Pastels

"Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life" Pablo Picasso
I've used this quote before but I love it so much that it's a good start for my next run at "Pastel a Day".  For the next 55 days, which is how many days I have before "Kentucky Crafted The Market", I'll create and post a pastel each day. I did 60 days last winter and it was a great motivator to explore and produce.
This is a scene from Shaker Village which I have reworked again because it seemed too dark when I showed it at the last art fair. Sometimes it takes framing a piece and then standing back and just looking at it for awhile to make decisions about it's future. Too many times I've overworked a piece to be disappointed that I filled up the texture of this paper which I create using Art Spectrum's pastel primer. The great thing about this paper is that if I overwork the paper I can wipe off the too heavy application of pastel with a baby wipe and go all the way back to the color pastel primer and then start more carefully adding layers of color.
"Shaker Fields Dusk 1" 16"x20" matted on sanded paper created with pastel primer