Category: Process Studies

Two new pastels

Title:   Coast Sentinels


Size:  approx 10-1/2 X  13-1/2

I thought I’d make the work of getting pastels completed and ready for hanging on Thursday by including some process shots of the last one.   I think it’s been awhile since I’ve done this.   Anyway, as you can see, this is a scene of Eucalyptus trees on a cliff overlooking the pacific.   This is not an uncommon site in Southern California, believe me.  Once people started planting the Eucalyptus, they just couldn’t stop.  Like the also prevalent Palm Tree, the Eucalyptus is not native to the area, but you would never know it.  I think they actually fit the landscape here even better than the Palms, but that’s just my opinion.

Title:  Texas Spring


Size:  9 X 12

Just as the hills around Southern California are blanketed with carpets of poppies and Purple Lupine in the spring, so Texas is blessed with meadows of Blue Bonnets.

I may not get all the new pastels up on Thursday (I have plenty framed and ready from the Spring Art Show!), but if not, I will go in and exchange them when they are done.  I’m trying hard to meet the deadline of mid-day on Thursday, but I’d rather be happy with the paintings than put them up before they are ready.  I’ll be in this location for two months, so …who knows?   I may even exchange some more.

Please enjoy and remember that comments are always welcome.

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Birches Framed

Well, I finally made the mat and frame decisions.  They look a little darker here in the photo than in real life.    Now, I just have to move on to finishing my watercolor! Saturday is looming.

I think this will be fun, if not profitable.   We’ll see.  It is different than having a presence in an outdoor art show where you know the people coming buy are there for art.  This will be families from all over the area coming to the Fiesta to have fun.   Now, if I can just stay away from the food booths………

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Birches – Ready for Framing

Sometimes the urge to change “just one more thing” has to be controlled.  I’m hoping to call this one finished……although I may work a little more on the shadows on the bottom. They seemed alright until I made some distinctive changes up higher and not they aren’t reading quite as I’d like.   Or maybe they do.  Until I get a pastel under glass, it’s just a short trip to the easel!


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Birches – Step Two

I didn’t get as much done as I had planned today, but here is step two in the pastel process.  Hopefully, I can finish tonight….  I keep looking at the calendar and the 8th is  closing in quickly for the Pan American Fiesta’s Arts and Crafts Show!

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Birches in Pastel

I thought I would do another process entry….what the heck?  The show is only 9 (or is it 8?) days away.  I don’t mean to complain (just explain), but I have a terrible time with migraines and the past few days have been “no work” days.  Not that I consider painting work….perhaps I should call them “no artwork” days.  The winds let up a little this evening, so I jumped into a new painting.   I’ve seen so many paintings of birches that I’m just making this up as I go along.  It seems to me that in the past several years all artists have to complete a painting of birches, a painting of a pear or pears and and an empty row boat at a dock.  My first impulse has been….”no way!”, but that’s just my Irish speaking.  I may not have one of each for the show, but I will at least have the birches.  These are done in pastel, as you can see, and I decided to use a warm rusty pastel paper.  Eventual size will be 8 X 10.

I expect to finish tomorrow (maybe I can outfox the winds and start early, what do you think?) at which time I’ll post more of the process.

Enjoy….and remember, all comments are more than welcome!

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Shih Tzu in Pastel

I decided it was time to show another painting process.  I plan on having some animal and children’s portraits in my booth at the Pan American Fiesta Arts & Crafts Show and will be soliciting commissioned portraits.  It will be interesting to see what happens.  You can never tell when you enter an outdoor show like this whether there are any buyers coming through or just lookers.  I don’t mind lookers…..I do it too!

Above is the original photograph that I worked from. It was rather small, about 2″ high.

First, I  lightly draw the subject (today I used a regular lead pencil, but usually I use a pastel pencil), then put in the basic color or colors.  I like to get the eyes completed or close to complete at the beginning.  If they aren’t right, it’s nearly impossible to catch a likeness.

Here you can see some of the layers of colors I used.  It is easier to control pastel dust and smears by working from the top down at each stage.  I see that the left ear is a little short, but that’s easily fixed.  I think the eyes show the tilt of the head well.   Now on to the finish.

All done and ready for framing.  I’ve chosen a plain golden wood frame that picks up the colors in the dog’s coat.  I’ve surrounded the drawing with white pastel both to pop the figure out of the background as well as cover any errant smears or marks around the figure and pull the top of the head down slightly.  I usually like to use color for backgrounds, but I’m happy with white for this fellow.  Unfortunately, this may not show as well in the photo, but you see the white strokes when your standing near the painting.

By the way, this is not one of my Shih Tzus, but it could be.  He looks very much like my female, Bishi.  Looks like I’ll be painting them soon…….they are very sensitive dogs, you know!

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Merry Christmas!


The Poinsettias seem especially nice this year.  I can’t imagine Christmas without them.  Here’s one from my diningroom table.  The painting process is below:


Here is my last minute set up….we’re all in a holiday rush, right?  I took a picture of the plant and stood it on my table easel to paint from.  It was easier tonight than trying to set up lighting and painting the actual plant.  As you can see, for this watercolor I’m painting each petal and leaf individually wet-in-wet.  I decided not to take the time to paint a background, although I may go back and do that later.


This shot show the Winsor Newton travel set I’m always referring to as well as my  5.5 X 8.5 drawing pad.  You may be able to tell that I tape 3 of the edges down to the pack to keep the paper from buckling while the paper is wet.


And here’s the final version.    I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and I’ll see you with lots of work in 2010…….(although, I should say with lots of fun!).  Peace to you all.   Jan

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Week Two – Second Painting


This is another type of veriation that I’ll be exploring in the challenge to do 100 paintings.  My pastels tend to look soft and, some might say, mushy.  But I like the almost water color effect that I get manipulating the pastel.  In this case, the largest amount of pastel was applied with individual strokes. Sometimes, pastelists will use a vertical stroke…..I don’t think I’ve ever seen any with purely horizontal!   I was so into this picture that I ran over my 30 minute limit and took 45 minutes…..but I think I’ll keep it anyway. Otherwise, it fit the remaining categories of same picture and size (5 X 7)  I’ve now completed 5 paintings in my quest for 100.  I hope you enjoy this one!  Do you think I like color?

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No. 4 Completed

4-challenge-orange mountail Yes, I’m still playing around with weird color combinations!  This Facebook Challenge has been a lot of fun and it’s getting to be more comfortable with different pastels.  For those who are reading this for the first time, this is a challenge to complete 100 paintings using the same design, the same size and within a chosed time limit  (in my case 30 minutes).  There are three more below in the thread that constitute Week One….and this is the first for the Second Week.  If you are a Facebook member, you’ll find this in the Events under the name First Annual Autumn Painting Challenge.

I think I enjoyed painting the blue one the other day, but this is weirdly satisfying.  I may go back, however to using more colors in a more natural way for awhile.  Haven’t decided….maybe tomorrow!

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Challenge Painting No. 2


Most of the artists have mentioned that they found themselves reaching for the same pastels for the same area in many of the pastels they did.  The idea really is to try everything, even if you don’t like the result, you now what those colors look like together….some were surprised at what they tried and liked.  So, I purposely went as far away from the original as I could get.   Ah, success…’s so bad, it’s almost hypnotic!    But, once again, it was definitely FUN!

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