Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pastel Demos at SE Conference Workshops

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Both images 9.5"x7" on board
Here are the finished soft pastel demonstrations I did for high school students on Tuesday for the SE Iowa Art Conference held in Mt. Pleasant, IA.
I've actually downloaded these images backwards.....the pear was done during the morning session and the apple was the demo for the afternoon group.
After showing the students how I approach a simple still life, they picked objects to create paintings of their own.  In the 2 1/2 hour workshop time span, all students finished their works and took them home with mat, ready to frame. 
I really enjoyed the day sharing creative energy with like minded people.  Even the teachers that stopped to see how the students were doing seemed caught up in the positive vibes of the room.  I hope I'll be asked to do this again.  It was a lot of fun!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Colourfix Primer Experiments

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"Sunshine through the Window" 9.5"x 7"  soft pastel on primed canvas
So, here's the painting from working at my home computer monitor .  I'm experimenting with Art Spectrum Colourfix Primer and this picture was created on Master Touch primed canvas. 
One coat of the colourfix primer applied.....and there's enough "tooth" that I easily layered colors here.  When done, turned over the work and tapped the back to knock off any loose pigment.  Very little came off.  Yes, I'm very pleased!  I think the only time I'll ever have to use fixative spray will be when creating on Mi Tentes Canson paper. 
So the next surface I've applied this primer to is 140 lb. watercolor paper. 
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"Bowl of Freshness"  7"x9.5"  soft pastel
The texture of the cold press watercolor paper dominates here.  You can barely see brush strokes made from applying the colourfix primer.

Now.....on foamboard.......
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"Immortalized"  9.5"x7"  soft pastel on board
Brush strokes applying the primer are very clear on this smooth surface.  I really like the affect.  You can clearly see this in the highlighted area of the bowl.

These were objects at a fellow artists home (Marybeth Heikes, watercolorist )  These were sitting back in a corner of her studio bookshelves...drawing me in to their mystery.  The pottery piece with brushes were almost all hidden in shadow.  It was a
"What's this" moment when looking around for something to paint.  (I believe they were placed there so the Heikes's indoor cats wouldn't mess with the brushes....they have 4 BIG and curious place is sacred.)

Marybeth says the cats try and help her paint almost every time she's at her watercolor table.  If she walks away for a second...they'll be laying on  fresh paint or licking from the water brush container.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


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Just had to share.....I have 2 Wonderful workspaces set up with floor easels in our home.  Usually pastels at one and oils at the other.  So, here I am using one of my table easels I usually reserve for students at workshops.... 
I spent this morning looking through photos I've taken and the short of it....they look better on the computer monitor.  Gotta love the versatility of setting up pastels ANYWHERE....covered the keyboard and here we go.  I have Pandora playing my dance club music and I'm in my zone.
Happy~ Happy~Happy!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Finished commission

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Here is the final work "Mason House Inn" Bentonsport, IA.  24"x36"  Oil
I left the image here on the easel instead of cropping.....otherwise the sides would've looked off.  I shot the picture at a bit of an angle to cut down the glare of the oil paint.  The center of the painting  is lighter then the sides as well.  It's just not my best at taking a picture of a picture.  That's something for me to work on.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

#5 - Mason House Inn

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Here I've darkened the road and started working on the shadow side of the main building. The toned canvas really pops out here.   Yes, there's quite a bit to do yet on the front of the brick ....shutters to add and fine tune the windows.    I have some tweaking to do in the road as well.  I think the foreground is done.  I added strokes here and there that look like blades of grass.
The next image will be the final work.  I'm anxious to see it all pulled together.

Friday, March 8, 2013

#4 Mason House Inn

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I've established the road out front of the Inn and created a grassy area on the other side.  Also added more in the treeline and Caboose area.  Deeper grays and light brown will be added to the road.  It is currently a gravel road, but I imagine back in the day, it was all packed dirt.
I'm saving what I consider the hard part for last....the brick and windows.  I'm not using a ruler to create straight lines...this is all freehand.  To me, it makes for a more interesting piece, not a duplicate of a photograph. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

#3 of Mason House Inn

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Added some shadows here and there and working more darks in.  I take several breaks from having brush on canvas.  I step back and study the composition/color/value often as I progress on a work.  More tomorrow..........

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

#2 of art commission

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Here I'm progressing in the treeline behind the building. The time of year is Fall and there are so many lush colors in the trees.  I've also added the hotest highlighted area in the work.
Tomorrow #3

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Here's the beginning....

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Oil 24"x36"
This is the beginning of a commission I'm working on.  I started this a month ago.  I thought I'd share each step along the way .  Here's Day #1.  Check back tomorrow for #2.
As you can see here....I usually tone my canvas instead of painting directly on a fresh white surface.  I tend to like using light red too.  Just something about red to me.  It's gotta be somewhere in my work.
Next step is transfering a light drawing from a sheet of paper where I work out details.  Most the time I like to just us oils and place contour lines to start.  When working on a project like this, I need to have a more precise placement of objects in the image.