Posts Tagged ‘trees’

100 Pastels – 2 More!

Two more closer to the goal!  These are number 16 & 17, so it’s still going to be awhile before I can present the entire group of 100…..but my aim is to complete them in early 2011….not too bad.

I also thought I’d show you the painting that was the original…so to speak.  I completed this 11 X 14 about 2 years ago.  I was never happy with it, particularly the trees and their overall shape.  But everytime I went to change it, I hesitated completely removing the trees and starting again….which is what I should have done.

I’ve now come to just accept it as is.  Time to move on.   But you can see from the photo, that I used this painting as the basis of the 100 pastel challenge design.   I added a layer of hills and reduced the size of the trees, in effect pulling back the point of reference as though looking from a greater distance.

As I showed in earlier posts, the first step after deciding the size and the time limit for working on each painting was to draw the main features knowing that part of the process would probably include changing some of the angles, etc.  The main goal, of course, was to complete 100 completely different paintings, forcing me to choose colors that I wouldn’t normally use.  It’s a great way to see how these choices work or don’t work.   It’s been fun just doing the first 17, but it’s going to really be a push to come up with another 83 and make them all different.

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Blue Lagoon (Again) – Pastel

Well, I’ve been working on some other paintings, but this one was still bothering me.  I kept looking at the plant growing in the sand at the bottom of the painting and it kept looking like a 4-legged alien creature lying there in all it’s glory.

So, I filled in the areas between the “branches” and “Voila!” I felt so much better.  Check below to see the “before” version.

I think this one I’m going to mat, frame and call DONE!    Look for new stuff in the next couple of days…….well, maybe right after turkey day!

Enjoy!     (And if you feel like it, you can tell me if you like this version better than the last!)

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Blue Lagoon – Pastel

11″ X 14″ Pastel on watercolor paper; mostly Sennlier, Girault, Art Spectrum and Terry Ludwigs.

I believe I started this painting two years ago.  Got down just below the lagoon and couldn’t decided what I wanted it to look like.  I’ve been doing more and more landscapes from memory (?) or imagination, so if there’s anything that you can’t find the botanical name for……..I’ll make one up.

I put so many layers on the paper that I had to actually remove some to change color in certain areas.  This would have been the perfect piece to use my newly found method of painting the first layer of pastel on, but since I had started in the pre-water method, I felt compelled to stay with it.

I was sorry I had made that decision when I got to the bottom, but I just chugged on through.  I can certainly see how setting up your forms with pastel then going over with water (or alcohol)  saves frustration with working on certain surfaces.  I’m going to move onto the more textured boards, etc. , next since I’ve been reading comments as to how many layers you can actually put on before the board just closes shop!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this.  Remember, comments are always welcome.

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Mountain Path

On October 22nd, I took a demonstration class with Brenda Matson at the Arts & Materials Expo.  That  is held yearly in at the Pasadena, CA  Convention Center.  I try to take at least one half or full day class each year just to keep up with various teachers, products and approaches.

Brenda was demonstrating a method of pastel painting that has become more and more popular each year and that is using a underpainting and then finishing off with pastel.  I have read articles about artists using watercolor as the basis of the painting, but typically what is being done is drawing in a lose manner with pastels and then brushing them into the surface of the paper with either water or acetone (we used nail polish remover!). Some artists (like Brenda) change the color of the washes to approximate what she wants as a background.  Others, just use a dark brown or other color to indicate the darker areas in the finished painting.

Unlike some pastel artists that keep the painted background very loose, Brenda starts at the top of the painting and pretty much completes sections as she moves down by brushing in the pastel, waiting for it to dry and then going back over with her next layer of colors.  She works down from wet to dry to the bottom of the painting.  Brenda had a collection of photos she took in Maine this year and she used a seascape for her demonstration.

Once we saw how the brushing of the color into the surface simplified the next layer or layers, we were on our own. And I jumped into my usual way of working all over the scene….although I always start with the sky as well.   Not only was this the first time I had painted a pastel over a “painted” surface, but it was also the first time I used heavy grit paper.  I typically use Canson’s Mi Tientes, so this was truly like working on sand paper!

I have some other stock that I will be using to experiment with this process. Some companies have been producing boards with this surface, making handling and framing much easier than thinner paper.   The only problem is that since you are wetting the surface, it has to be at least of watercolor paper strength, so my Canson’s won’t really work.  Fortunately, there are more and more heavy, gritty papers being produced.

There have been many articles in the national magazines with discussions of creating your own rough surface by painting a layer of acrylic gesso with sand added onto heavy paper or boards.    In that case, you not only have created a surface that can hold many layers of pastel (a drawback of Canson’s paper), but you can even include brushstrokes as a way of adding texture.

This is definitely a process that I’ll be experimenting with as time goes on.


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100 Challenge nos. 10 & 11

Wow! it’s been awhile since I posted.  I didn’t realize how busy this fall was going to be.  It seems like every art organization and art magazines have competitions going on.  My local guild here in Lakewood will be holding their annual Fall Show this coming weekend.  I have 3 pastels that need to be matted and framed tomorrow.  I was hoping to get a fourth…perhaps a watercolor….done and turned in Thursday evening, but……………

This weekend is also the annual Art Learning and Product Expo being held in Pasadena.  I’ve signed up for a class Friday morning with Brenda Madson and I’m really looking forward to the new products, demonstrations and classes going on through Sunday.

The two paintings above are, of course, for my 100 paintings challenge…..where I’m determined to complete 100 pastels of the same approximate scene and size (5 X 7),  but done in 100 different color ways, etc.  I’ve even changed some of the background mountains into distant trees just for a kick.

My eventual goal will be a photo of all 100 paintings for a poster……..however, at this rate, I’m not sure if I won’t be having to come down in spirit to finish!     Never fear…after this month’s full plate of competitions, I’m going to set a schedule and GET THIS DONE!

Oh, and I just received my first official, written rejection letter from the Californian Art Club’s exhibition in conjunction with the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce.  The “rejected” painting is just below and called “Above the Arroyo”.   I am going to frame this for posterity… certainly shows I’m trying!


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Pastel for Pasadena Exhibition

Titled:  Above the Arroyo

This is a 9 X 12 soft pastel on Canson’s Mi Tientes, using primarily Unisons.

This is my entry into the most recent call for exhibition submissions by the California Art Club.  This is in conjunction with the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce.  Accepted paintings will be on display the SouthPas ArtFest  2010 from October 20 through November 13 at the SoPas Gallery, located at 1121 Mission Street, South Pasadena, CA.

The paintings were to be of South Pasadena and/or the Arroyo.  Unfortunately, the leaves haven’t really been changing a lot in the Arroyo and I wasn’t drawn to anything in particular, but this scene along the road that traverses the top of the Arroyo caught my eye.

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One Hundred pastels….almost

Over a year ago, I decided to join a group of artists on the website, Wet Canvas, and commit to completing 100 pastels of the same scene, same size.   Well, I started off with a bang and then, as usual, got side-tracked.   I’ve decided to back to the commitment and see if it’s possible for me to do this….after all there are many artists out there that have done it…..not all in pastel, some in watercolor, oil, etc.    Anyway, here are the first 8….count ‘em…..8 done as of this evening.   You’ve seen 6 of them earlier in the blog, but I’ve decided to shoot then in groups rather than one by one.   Enjoy  Oh, yes, they are all 5 X 7″ using various soft pastels.

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Coast Sentinels — at last!

Well, after several sessions contemplating colors, shapes, etc.,…..everything I go through before I decide if I’m done or not….I think I am.


Approx 13 X 10-1/2


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Thinking of Eucalyptus

I’m still unsure of the trees, so I’ve been cleaning my room (I’d love to call it a studio, but that would be stretching it a bit) and just letting the painting simmer.  When I hit spots like this and I work on through, I end up sorry I rushed it………so, here’s what my painting looks like while waiting to be finished.   I know there is a photo of a cute, little dog sitting on the table easel along with a photo of local trees.  That’s Pango.  I think we are now officially attached at the hip or someplace else.  He had a bad ear infection a few weeks ago and it appears the medicine prescribed by our vet caused Bishi to go almost completely deaf.  He has always stuck by my side, but now there is an air of insecurity as well.    No….he didn’t put the photo there to remind me to watch for him….I just like to look at his photos when I’m working on other things.  Which currently is a reorganization of the material in this room.  I expect that when I’m finished and everything is in apple-pie order, I’ll be ready to finish the painting as well.

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Coast Sentinels Step Two

Well, it’s been awhile since I last posted.  Unfortunately, I pinched a nerve in my neck and haven’t been able to sit OR stand at an easel for awhile.   If you scroll down to before the post regarding the display at the bank,  you’ll see the first step in this study.  Hopefully, I’ll get it finished in the next day or two and move on.

I hope you enjoy!

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