March, 2011

Yep! I did it! 100 Pastel Challenge is 50% complete as of today.

I know I just said in my last blog that I was going to give this a little rest and move on to some watercolors waiting in the wings, but I just couldn’t stop so close to a significant milestone.  And, to add to the “excitement”, I decided that each of the last four would be done with pastels I had purchased, but never used.  After all, this is supposed to be a learning experience, right?

So, here we go:  #47  This was done with a new set of Senneliers….yum!


#48  This one was done with a set of Jack Richeson.  They turned out to be student quality (my bad…I didn’t read the label well enough and they were on sale), I found them hard as rocks and very, very difficult to work with.   They could be used as an underpainting, using water or acetate to spread them out and get into the valleys, but, frankly, the lack of color permanency is enough to make me junk them.

This is #49 (almost there) done with a set of Blick.  They were acceptable, but I still prefer Unisons.

Ta-da!   This is # 50 and done with a set of Faber-Castels.  I’d rank them somewhere between Jack Richeson and Blick.

So, the challenge is halfway done and I am indeed going to put away the pastels for awhile!

I hope you have been enjoying this little adventure!

100 Pastel Challenge Nos. 43 & 44

Here’s number 43 in my quest to complete 100 pastels.

And here’s number 44!   I’m almost half way there!!!




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100 Pastel Challenge Nos. 41 & 42

Yes, yes, yes……here are pastels 41 & 42 in my quest to paint 100 pastels. Rules:  same size  5 X 7, completed in 30 minutes and different from the previous 40.   I’m beginning to think I really will succeed in getting the 100 done.   BUT, I won’t decide how I’ll celebrate until after number 75!


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MiniPix – leaf

Here’s a small leaf I collected on my walk yesterday.  Believe me, you can never tell the time of year in L.A. from the flora and fauna……….this was lying near my madly blooming tulips, freezias and Purple Iris…..can’t tell if it is Spring or Fall sometimes.

I’m doing all the MiniPix on 5″ X 5″ paper.  This is a watercolor, of course.


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100 Pastel Challenge -38, 39 & 40

Somewhere in all my moving (I’m converting a room into a studio), I believe I’ve miscounted in my identification of the paintings.  I’ve had a few fall off the boards they are lightly affixed to and I didn’t notice right away.  At this point, I can say that I now have 40 individual paintings on boards in the room, so please ignore any previous identifications.   Hopefully, I can clear up some of the confusion in the room and keep a correct count as I go along.  But, ( whatever the numbers I’ve reported in previous posts), the above three photos are nos. 38, 39 and 40.   I’m getting anxious to at least hit the half-way mark soon.  I’m doing other paintings in between…..I have no idea how long it would take working day and night to complete 100….I’m limited to 30 minutes per painting, but then there’s all the other stuff……cutting pastel paper to size, taking photographs….not to mention eating and sleeping occasionally.  I think some of the Wet Canvas pastel painters that accepted this challenge  last year were probably smart enough to keep their designs simpler.

Anyway, I hope you are enjoying the challenge (and don’t mind the confusion!)

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Flower Decopage

I thought I would post something entirely different today.  What follows is how to turn a plain cardboard box into a beautiful flowered wastebasket (or storage box….whatever you find useful)   Several years ago, I cut flowers from several old magazines and glued them to empty file folder boxes.  I have used them for storing special fabric.

The process is very easy. You just cut out flowers or scenes from magazine before tossing them.  (I usually pass older magazines onto the Senior’s Center, but once in awhile I’ll use one up on a project like this).

Below is a file folder that has been covered with flowers cut from various magazines.

Today, I decided to transform an 8″ square, 36″ high cardboard box that sits next to my computer and work table because I’m so lacking in space, the tall, thin box was a great use of space.

I cut various photos of flowers from a Good Housekeeping magazine to begin the transformation.  From what I’ve done so far, I’ll probably use up two more magazines….depending, of course, on how many flower photos are in each one.   I cut them out with scissors, curving in and around them to make the  overlapping shapes more interesting.

Then, I turn each piece over and cover the edge all around with glue stick, adding  some lines of glue inside the shape for the best attachment.  The entire box will be sprayed or brushed with lacquer at the very end, so you don’t have to cover the entire back of each cut out,  but it is important to make sure all the edges are glued down well.

This is the way I begin by wrapping some of the larger cut outs around the corner of what I’m decorating.

Here is a picture of how the overlapping of photos creates a sea of flowers, rather than an identifiable scene.

Here’s what two nearly finished sides look like.  Once I’ve finished the sides, I might cover the bottom in the same way or just use plain paper.  The top edge can either end flush with the cardboard, or wrap the flowered paper over the edge, glue down and then reinforce with tape, if you wish.    The last step is to spray all the outside surfaces with lacquer.    Voila… have a beautiful container and have recycled the colorful contents of one or more magazines!

Good Luck!

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100 Pastel Challenge 39 & 40

I “believe” these are numbers 39 & 40, but it looks like I’ll have to gather my boards they are mounted on and check the count again……they could be 38 and 39.    Oh, well, I guess the only important number is 100…………..wouldn’t it be awful if I miss-counted and did 101 by mistake?

Enjoy please!

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More Almost Daily Sketches

Two more 3″ X 5″ sketches done with Micron Pen on sketchbook pad I carry with me all the time.   My motto is:   when in doubt,  draw plants and flowers.


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The following are the steps before completing my latest pastel.  It is a 9 X 12 on La Carte Pastel Card using mostly Unisons.   This is the first pastel I’ve done on any surface besides Canson and watercolor paper.  I think I have found a new friend….it was a lot of fun working on this surface!

I enlarged a photo of Shatze and taped it to the top of my table easel.  I know a lot of people use their computer screens. Perhaps that will be the next step I take.   Anyway, here is the drawing done in a reddish brown  Nupastel.

I don’t usually do the background first, but when I saw how brilliant the colors were showing on this paper (card?), I felt better about working on the cat with some area of comparison.  I didn’t want the background to over-power the cat, but I still wanted to include the delightful colors in the what I think is a blanket over the back of the couch.

I was fairly happy with the face at this stage, although later I could tell I had painted the nose just a bit too long and so corrected it by scraping off pastel and repainting.  But that wasn’t until the rest of the picture was completed.   I’m sure we all go in and make “corrections” after we’ve covered the surface.  But, I think that faces on people and animals are of primary importance. If the face isn’t right, it’s not the right cat!

I think this is where I discovered the nose, plus a few little picky items to correct.

And here I call it done.   (Unless something else jumps out at me after letting it rest a day or two.


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Name That Cat Contest!

Yes, that’s right….a contest!   The first person who can identify the cat in the 9 X 12 pastel painting wins the original work!   You can either add a comment to this post, or send the name via email to:     Good Luck!

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