Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Madonna and Chicks

Madonna and Chicks
12 x 9
Art Spectrum Sanded Paper in Terra Cotta

This is Madonna and her Chicks, and I don't mean the "Material Girl" with a bunch of her dancers. No, this is something much more fluffy and quiet. This is another one of my friend Gaynor's chickens. This lovely hen just seems so content, or maybe she is just worn out. Anyway, this was too lovely it just begged to be painted. 

I started this one on Art Spectrum Sanded Paper in Terra Cotta. I sketched it in, then underpainted with Pan Pastels. From there, it's my usual combination of soft pastels. I did do some editing and added the top of what I would have expected the photo to be. I had another reference photo where Madonna's tail feathers were showing. I hope you enjoy her as much as I enjoyed painting her. Thank you again to Gaynor!







Monday, October 27, 2014

The Handful

The Handful
Pastel on UArt Sanded Paper
7 x 6

A Handful. First I had to figure out how to spell it! Was it 'hand full', 'handfull'? No, Miriam Webster on line spells it 'handful'. Well - that's great, but what really is a handful? 


hand·ful

 noun \ˈhan(d)-ˌfl\
: an amount that you can hold in your hand
: a small amount or number
: someone or something that is difficult to control

How about all of the above!? That's what this little guy is - an amount you can hold in your hand, small, and potentially difficult to control - as in "those kids are a handful!" This little handful is a chick that belonged to my friend Gaynor. I couldn't resist.



Friday, October 24, 2014

Got Chips?

Got Chips?
9 x 12
Art Spectrum Sanded Paper
Price $150
The road to Big Bend National Park is a long flat road. Fortunately, there is a lovely place to stop along the way - The Caverns of Sonora. The guided walk through the caverns takes about an hour. While waiting for your group to go through, you can have a snack and look around the gift shop. We went outside with our respective bags of chips and sodas. We opened the bag and suddenly we had some new friends - peacocks! They heard those bags rustle and it was like a dinner bell. They were pretty insistent and seemed to prefer the spicy chips. Here's a peahen and peacock inquiring "Got Chips?"

I did this piece on Art Spectrum Burnt Umber paper. After a sketch in, I underpainted with Pan Pastels. I finished out with a combination of Terry Ludwig, Sennelier, NuPastel and some Great American. If you look closely at the source photo there is a third peacock peeking out from behind the hen. I may do this piece again and include him too.






Sketch in  and start of Underpainting

Completed Underpainting



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Los Gallos Hermanos

Los Gallos Hermanos
12 x 9
Pastel on Art Spectrum Sanded Paper
Price: $150

SOLD
I am thrilled to share that this painting SOLD in less than 24 hours!

Allow me to introduce you to the Rooster Brothers - or Los Gallos Hermanos. The name of course made me laugh - but credit for this play on pop culture names goes to Rick. Those of you who watched "Breaking Bad" will understand.

These guys are done on Art Spectrum "Leaf Green Dark" sanded Paper in with a mix of Sennelier, Terry Ludwig and NuPastels. The best part is that the tail feathers in the photo have iridescent purples, blues and greens. Clearly this called for the Sennelier iridescent pastels. It's a shame I can't get those sparkles in the photo. This one has to be seen in person to really appreciate it. I opted to alter the rooster in the background a bit. In the photo he is competing for attention (and moving). I decided to push him a bit to the back so the front guy can take a bow. I like this one so much, I may do another one and change up the colors a bit.


Fire Wheels

Fire Wheels
7 x 5
Pastel on UArt Paper
In Texas, some call these flowers "Indian Blanket". Many years ago (I won't say how many), I went to Southwest Texas State University (now known as Texas State University). There was a building named after this flower's scientific name - Gaillardia. I remember when I learned it was named after the flower. Only now do I have the realization that the flowers ARE the school colors - Maroon and Gold. When I was naming this painting, I looked up Gaillardia to see how to spell it. I searched by "Indian Blanket" and also learned these flowers are called "Fire Wheel".  I decided I liked the fire reference and anyway, one wouldn't want to confuse these with Indian Paintbrush which blooms in the spring.

I spied these guys up in Utah on my trip there in September. During the painting process, I got to practice more blending on these guys, using my fingers to blend the yellow into the red. Such happy little flowers - they made me smile - in real life and on paper.



Monday, October 20, 2014

Lemon and Apple Reflection

Lemon and Apple Reflection
7 x 5
Pastel on Canson Paper
Here's another installment from the results of my weekend workshop with Enid Wood. We focused on blending with various tools This one uses the finger cot, pipe insulation, and vine charcoal. I also got to practice reflections. Enid was also kind enough to let me use some of her Unison yellows as well as her Diane Townsend Terrages pastels. Enid was kind enough to say this piece was delicious...and we talked about the use of the word in the UK. I think the UK Unison pastels made it extra yummy!! Those were some buttery pastels. Thanks again Enid for a wonderful and educational time! I look forward to next month's workshop! 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Green Pear on Pink Napkin

Green Pear on Pink Napkin
5.5 x 5.25
Pastel on Canson Paper
Autumn and the bounty of her fruits - including pears. Autumn includes my favorite holidays - Halloween and Thanksgiving. It also means it's time for me to change out the dishes to fall dishes - the Wedgewood Quince pattern which includes pears. They were my mom's dishes.  Gratitude is in the air.

I am grateful that I had the opportunity this weekend to attend the CTPS monthly meeting and also a workshop with award winning painter Enid Wood on the same day. I was disappointed to miss the first workshop in the series because I was in Utah (so still doing good stuff!). Yesterday's workshop was on blending. Enid brought some lovely pears for us to paint. We practiced blending with our fingers, fingers covered in a finger cot, pipe insulation, brushes, vine charcoal and hard pastels. This little piece has some blending with fingers with finger cot, pipe insulation and also vine charcoal. I have to say I am most impressed with the finger cots...they don't lift the pastel! I'll be going to the drug store to buy some of those!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Way Home

The Way Home
9 x 12
UArt Paper
Not For Sale
Tomorrow, Oct 8th would have been my Dad's 100th birthday. He passed away at the age of 98 in April of 2013. Though clearly the day one loses a parent is a sad day, I can honestly say, for me, that day was also a very special gift. I was truly guided by a Divine Spirit that day.

I woke that morning in April, made my coffee and sat down for my morning meditation and journaling. The first words on the page were "I hope all is well. I don't know where that thought came from." I decided I was going to pack up some things and go to the other side of town and work from my Dad's nursing home . I just felt I needed to be with him. Dad had a little cough, though Hospice didn't think it to be life threatening.  I had to be at my sisters that evening for dinner anyway, so might as well get over to that side of town.  

I sat with my Dad for the day. I had the blessing to feed him lunch. He napped off and on, but at one point, looked at his hand as if wondering what it was. I put lotion on his hands, rubbed his feet, fluffed pillows, etc. The aide had come by a couple of times to take him to shower, but said she would return later since I was there and he was dozing. As it got quiet in the afternoon, I worked a little on a painting I had started the day before. At about 4pm, Dad was suddenly on an urgent mission to get up and said "Let's go, Let's go Home". I helped him sit on the side of bed. The aide showed up the 3rd time to take him to bathe, so it was perfect timing. We put him in his wheelchair, I gave him a kiss on the forehead and off he went for a bath. I went to my sisters for our family dinner. All four siblings plus a niece and nephew were there too. About 7:45 pm, my north side siblings and I left for the long drive home. On the way home, the family received a call that my father had passed away. How amazing that we were all together at dinner when it happened.

Clearly, a guardian angel spoke to me that morning and sent me to be with my father. I spent his last day on earth with him, holding his hand and tending to him. In the days that followed, I realized the significance of what I had been painting. A path in the forest - a red dirt path leading to what appears to be a bright meadow beyond. Many Native American tribes had a belief in walking the right path of life - a red road. This is a prayer by Black Elk of the Lakota tribe:


"Hear me, four quarters of the world--a relative I am! 
Give me the strength  to walk the soft earth, a relative to all that is!
Give me the eyes to see and  the strength to understand, that I may be like you. 
With your power only can I  face the winds.

Great  Spirit, Great Spirit, my Grandfather, 
all over the earth the  faces of living things are all alike. 
With tenderness have these come up out of  the ground. 
Look upon  these faces of children without number and with children in their arms, 
that they may face the wind and walk the good road to the day of quiet.
 This is my prayer; hear me!"

 "Black Elk's Prayer for All  Life"*


How fitting that I was drawing a red road as my father prepared to walk his own road to the day of quiet. I miss you Daddy and always will...until I walk my last road. Happy 100th birthday.

* Black Elk, a widely known medicine man of the Oglala Lakota people (1863–1950), believed he had an obligation to "help to bring my people back into the sacred hoop, that they might again walk the red road in a sacred manner pleasing to the powers of the universe that are one power."[2] (Source: Wikipedia)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Another Day for Scarlett

Another Day for Scarlet
7 x 5
UArt Paper
Price: $45
I'm working to get back to painting regularly after what seems a very long hiatus. It's been about a month since I've painted regularly. I've worked on a few small things off and on as well as one larger piece - which I'm still not happy with. I've just been in a general funk. I've learned that when I've been in away from the easel, I forget my basics. I also remember what Karen Margulis said in her blog about expecting that the first painting of a session is a warm up and may be a dud. Once you expect that, you get it over with and move on. 

Today, my warm up was a male cardinal. He's a dud, but I like him as a subject, so he will get another chance. Then I did this female. I wondered what to name her. Naming paintings is challenging some days. Sometimes, I use a rhyming dictionary website which also pulls up a thesaurus - just to give me ideas. I looked up cardinal and the word scarlet came up. I thought it only fitting a female cardinal be named Scarlett! Then the line from "Gone with the Wind" came to mind - "...After all...tomorrow is another day." The full line is "Home. I'll go home. And I'll think of some way to get him back. After all...tomorrow is another day." The resource photo for this piece was taken in the morning, a new day. The male cardinal will get his due later. Clearly, he'll be named Rhett - and I'm thinking along the lines of "Frankly my Dear..."