Thursday, December 31, 2015

Texas Winecups

Texas Winecups
7 x 5
Pastel on Pastel Premier Sanded Paper

I'm continuing with my studies of botanical drawing. My Wendy Hollender book arrived earlier than expected along with many of my general drawing tools (Tombow pencils, erasers, eraser shield). I am most pleased with the Da Vinci goat hair drafting brush because it is sooooo soft. They must have bleached/treated the goat hair. 

Today, I practiced more sticks, and various geometric shapes, cup and cone. (I had already collected sticks and practiced a couple last night). I'm using natural light from the window, and the shadows have  gap between the stick and shadow since they are not flush to the surface. I got frustrated with that. Once I had enough of sticks and shapes, I proceeded into these Texas Winecups. I felt very stiff. Knowing what's "right" and wanting to do what is in my soul was a battle. All the best artists know the rules, they just knowingly break them as needed or desired.

I used some old watercolor pencils today vs pastel pencils. My colored pencils and proper paper will arrive next week - after the holidays - bummer. So, I'm going to draw anyway. 









Monday, December 28, 2015

Sweet Cream Spike


Sweet Cream Spike
18.75 x 28.75
Pastel on Mi Teintes Board in Tobacco

Sometimes, life is circular. That's the beauty of aging, we begin to see those patterns. Patterns of lessons presenting themselves over and over again. We live in a spiritual classroom. Painting is a classroom for me. There, I learn not only lessons in art, but lessons about myself. 

I had been painting smaller paintings for some time, and just felt the need to spread out and do something larger. I searched my cactus photos and found a squat view of my little cream spike agave. I proceeded to paint on a tobacco (Brown) colored board. As I began working up a background, I decided I needed to vary the color. Instead of rust colored (like Aloe Sunset), I decided to opt for something more lively, so I picked up a magenta and a melon orange. As I stepped away from the painting, I realized, I'd come full circle. Two years ago, around this time, I painted Venti Agave with Cream. So similar - yes, the same subject, different orientation and crop. However, try as I might, it's a similar background. May be, a little brighter, but still the same. I suppose that is the lesson - that green and orange together are just nice. Period. And....I need to explore other pleasing harmonies.



Value sketch on Tobacco board - start of Rust Background

New "Brighter" background
on Sweet Cream Spike


Aloe Sunset with a "Rust" background

Venti Agave with Cream


Sunday, December 27, 2015

You can Tone a Spoon - but you can't Tune a Fish


Drawing Classes
Based on
Botanical Drawing in Color
by Wendy Hollender

I've been looking for something to energize my artistic journey. Usually, that means it's time to learn something new. I took a couple of watercolor classes over 15 years ago (with Gale Gassiot), and of course I've taken many pastel classes with different instructors (Enid Wood, Mike Beeman, Albert Handell and Sally Strand). What I've not done is drawing classes per se. I didn't take art in college, and retrospectively, I wish I had. 

When I was at the Wild Ideas event at the Wildflower Center earlier this month, one of the other artists (or a patron) shared that some virtual/distance botanical drawing classes were coming up this year with Wendy Hollender. I draw/paint alot of plants, so this opportunity sounds like it's right up my alley. Virtual classes done on my time work well with my work travel. I checked out her videos, website, and ordered her book. Though the class is for colored pencils, I think there will be alot of crossover to pastels. I downloaded the list of supplies from the website. Last night, I ordered the supplies (thank you Dick Blick). Last night and today, I decided to do some "Look Inside" reading of the book I ordered on Amazon. From that reading, this is what I've done today. I've learned alot - and I think I'm going to take the class. 

By the way, do you know to what Band/Album I'm referring in my title?

Value Scale and Toning a Spoon
Big A$$ Lemon
(NOT from our Meyer Lemon Tree)

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Paintbrush

Paintbrush
7 x 5
Pastel on Pastel Premier Sanded Paper
Gouache Underpaint

Continuing in the theme of gouache underpainting. I need to get some progress photos so I can share the process with you. This is also more in the Texas Wildflowers series. I am getting wildflowers and native plants ready for the Artists and Artisans event at the Wildflower Center in March. 

Last month, I did some work on pastel premier and wasn't that thrilled with it. Now, that I'm underpainting, I'm appreciating it a bit more. 

I liked this painting so much, I did it again on Arches watercolor paper. This was definitely a departure for me- in baby steps. The watercolor paper had a much rougher tooth and was difficult for me to work with - much less detail than I prefer. I have to say, I'm starting to like the fine toothed Pastel Premier.


Gouache Underpaint
Arches Watercolor Cold Pressed


Paintbrush Array
12 x 9
Pastel on Arches Watercolor Paper

Friday, December 25, 2015

Purple Horsemint

Purple Horsemint
7 x 5
Pastel on Pastel Premier Sanded Paper
Underpainted with Gouache
 
It's time to start doing something different. My sister got herself a couple of gouache paint sets and loaned me one. I decided to try them as an underpainting technique. So far, I'm liking it. It's forcing me to a looser style. I'm going to do a few more of these.

These are a couple of horsemint flowers from over the summer. I looked up the name Horsemint to be sure I had the correct common name for this flower. I learned it's also called Lemon Bee Balm. Hmm - I like that name. It's time to start doing some wildlflower paintings to get ready for the Artists and Artisan show at the Wildflower Center in March.





Thursday, December 24, 2015

Jolly Green Agave

,
Jolly Green Agave
7 x 5
Pastel on Pastel Premier Sanded Paper

It may be shorts and flip flops this Christmas in Texas - at least for the next 2 days. I'm okay with it - as I'm not much for cold or snow. Christmas is a state of mind anyway. 

As you can imagine, I have alot of Agave in my yard. They serve as not only garden friends, but inspiration for my paintings. This year, I finally did something I've always wanted to do - decorate my agave. I found some shatterproof ornaments. It took about 150 to decorate the big boys. Yank off the little hanger doo-dahs and place the ornament over the thorn. All at once, you have safe and festive agave. Here's a few pics of some of the "jesters". This painting became my Christmas card this year! 

I wish you all a peaceful and blessed Christmas eve and Day!









Thursday, December 10, 2015

Standing Pears

Standing Pears
9 x 12
Pastel on Wallis Sanded Paper
I worked on this one Wednesday night after dinner. It's another version of the petite pears at a different angle. I really "needed" to paint that night. I needed to go elsewhere in my mind - to the quiet place that painting takes me. I think the repitition of pattern and the simplity of this painting were important for me. 

Here's a few progress shots and the resource photo. 






Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Poppy Garden

Poppy Garden
19 x 25
Pastel on Sennelier La Carte Sanded Paper
Here's a big something I did back in late October. I couldn't share it until after Nov 20th when the deadline passed for the event to which I was submitting the piece. I've not heard back about the entry and not sure when I will as the details are not on the website.

These red poppies are inspired by my memory of my mom's red poppies and some silk poppies I have in the house. I did several passes of these for this final piece. The large piece is pretty powerful in real life. I hope the judges like it.


Monday, December 7, 2015

Petite Pear Parade

Petite Pear Parade
7 x 5
Pastel on Pastel Premier Sanded Paper

The Fall show season is officially closed for me. I did my last show over the weekend and spent today unpacking, straightening, cleaning and finally relaxing. Relaxing for me means painting. I went to the store many days ago and picked up some fruit and it's been sitting in the refrigerator waiting until I had time to do some still life work from life.

These are some tiny little petite pears. I took them into my studio and set them on a navy blue towel until I could figure out where to set them up. Well, they were set exactly where they needed to be - on blue. The yellow green, red and oranges of the pears were delightful against the blue. So - there they stayed in the afternoon light. I lined them up and was quite fascinated with the shadows they cast on each other. 


Here's the "warm up" pear painting and the second "Petite Pears". I think I will do them again on Wallis or UArt paper. I've decided I'm not that crazy about white Pastel Premier paper. Too finely toothed. Fills too quickly.






Thursday, December 3, 2015

Skyflower

Skyflower
7 x 5
Pastel on Pastel Premier Sanded Paper
Here's another of my paintings from Monday. It was seriously good to get back to painting. Truly it was exercise I really needed. This is Skyflower, also called Duranta. One of my favorite flowers. So unique and delicate with the white outlines around each petal.

I've been so focused on my full time job and my weekend show schedule, that my time to paint had dwindled. Painting has reminded me that it's also time to do some physical self care as well. I've let my exercise program slip over the last two months. It appears the two (painting exercise and physical exercise) may be related! I've made it a point to get to yoga the last 2 days - what a difference it has made already!!! Why is it so hard sometimes to do the things we know are good for us?



Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Desert Willow

Desert Willow
7 x 5
Pastel on Pastel Premier Sanded Paper
Back to painting small. It's like exercise, daily painting. I did two paintings today (I had the day off). The first one will need to be reworked - it was definitely a warm up. Sometimes, I feel like I've for forgotten my painting skills. For a period of time this past summer, and perhaps last winter, I had the opportunity to paint almost daily. I am hoping with show season ending and winter setting in, that I will have time to paint again. I'm really looking forward to that time. 

Here's my resource photo of this flower - Desert Willow. In the summer when they bloom, the fawns come by in the  mornings and eat the fallen blooms. Sweet treats to start the day.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Totem Chicks

Totem Chicks
18 x 12
Pastel on UArt Sanded Paper

Wow. It's good to be back at the easel again. It's been a very busy month with shows and a vacation since my last post. I started this painting 3 weeks ago and I was finally able to get back to it this weekend. I was so grateful to be able to spend time painting and took two sessions to finish up this piece up slowly and methodically.  I was like a man who had been lost in the desert without water. I drank greedily and was reluctant to put it down at the end of the first day. There is just something about painting that brings me peace and quenches the creativity inside of me. When I'm unable to find time to paint, I feel like a part of me is missing. Today, I am complete.

The inspiration for this painting came from my cousin Sandra's potted Echevaria (also known as hens and chicks). I was intrigued with the light and color of this arrangement. I was also fascinated with the pattern of circles in the leaves of the little succulents and the repeating circles with the three plants and the pot in which they were held. The extra feature that I struggled with was the woodgrain. I decided to tackle it and see how it went. Here's the photo inspiration and a few progress shots.










Saturday, October 31, 2015

Hello Sunny

Hello Sunny
19.5 x 25.5
Pastel on Sennelier LaCarte
Hello Again! After far too long!!! I am finishing up a painting I started last weekend. These sunny sunflowers are just what is needed today. It's been a busy month and a half getting ready for art shows that have been postponed due to weather. Up and down, round and round. Last week, the Wimberley Alive show was postponed due to heavy rains. Again, this weekend, more rain. I was supposed to be in New Mexico today for the opening of the Pastel Society of New Mexico show in Albuquerque. The rain was so bad yesterday at the airport in Austin - 14 inches in less than 24 hours. The control tower flooded. I cancelled my flight yesterday because I knew the airport would be a zoo today with people trying to rebook. Travel for fun reasons shouldn't be stressful. So, I made an executive decision. I'm glad I did, because the flight got cancelled anyway.

Thankfully, we are safe though some family homes are flooded. We always need the rain in Texas, just preferably not in one day. Sometimes, we don't get to tailor our wishes.

I'll be sharing some more paintings soon! Thank you as always for your love and support and kindness. Shares are always welcome!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Grand Evening Joy

Grand Evening Joy
10 x 19.5
Pastel on Sennelier LeCarte

Continuing in the theme of different, I haven't done a landscape in months, many months. The resource photo for this painting was taken by my sister in law when she and my brother were visiting the Grand Canyon this year. The image had such a quiet feeling, a serenity. It has been calling me for a very long time. I think the land is calling me. I need a trip to West Texas, Arizona, or New Mexico - soon.

Today was a beautiful day in Texas - mild and clear, so I knew this was the work to be done today. I cropped the image so the painting would be more about the water and reflection vs having the land right at the horizontal center. I used Sennelier LaCarte paper. I think I would like to revisit this painting again....like I'd like to be in this environment in reality.



Saturday, September 12, 2015

Poppy Pair

Poppy Pair
9 x 6
Pastel on UArt 500 Sanded Paper
Just a little doodle today. I'm needed some color. I've been doing so many cacti and birds, I needed a diversion. I'm exploring poppies. I did a series of poppies about this time last year after a visit to New Mexico in the early summer (see the blog post here). I'm exploring the colors of red in light and shadow, and other color harmonies. These are actually a painting of some silk flowers since poppies aren't blooming right now. I changed the colors based on the memory of poppies my mom used to plant and an experience I had of a field of wild poppies so many years ago, and so far away. I did another red flower earlier this year that I saw in Central Market, but I don't think it was a poppy afterall. I'll have to change the name of my painting Poppy Pulchritude. That post of Poppy Pulchritude also included a pic of me in that poppy field in that long ago and far away place. So, that's all I have to say about that.