Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Some Storage and Framing Tips for Pastel

Quick Set Up
When painting plein air it is important to have a simple and quick set up so you can capture the scene and light before there are too many changes in the scene,  Pastel is a dry pigment which makes this easy.

Since this is a dry pigment care must be taken to cover and secure the painting in transport.  I usually tape the pastel paper to a solid
backing.  Then when I am ready to travel I can use the more expensive glassine paper secured snuggly over the pastel painting but I have also found that I can use the deli paper secured with tape or clips on small paintings.  Sam's Club has a great deli  paper which is not waxy that works well for me.  Once the painting is covered securely you can stack other secured paintings on top of each for storage.  The main concern is to avoid smearing the pastel but I have had no problems transporting the paintings and storing them until time for framing,

Pastel paintings do need to be framed under glass and with off sets to protect the painting.  Clear off sets can be used to separate the space between the painting and the glass.  Using the clear off sets, the painting does not require a mat.  If you are using other types of off sets such as matte board or foam core, a mat will be needed.

There is some controversy in framing with glass placed and tightly sealed against the pastel. This is seen in some areas of the country where there is little humidity and less chance of mold growth under the glass.  I have tried this technique with no problems arising but I watched the surfaces for well over a year to see how successful this technique in framing could be used.

It is nice to have some options to use when framing pastels without mats  but you should be aware of problems that can arise.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Getting Ready for Painting those Spring Flowers

Our painting group is getting ready for a "Spring Sensations" art show at 2nd Helpings Gallery and
Don't Call Me A Weed
that means getting some of those spring flowers on canvas. We will be painting at 2nd Helpings during the opening reception on April 8th from 1 PM until 3 PM.  Stop in to see us.  Our "Spring Sensations" will be up from April 4 through June 30th.

While some of the spring beauties are showing off with their spring colors the weather turned a bit cooler this last week and, trying to recover from the "winter bugs"  I decided it would be in my best
interest to stay indoors and paint some of those beauties I had captured with my camera last
summer.  Good practice for the days when we do get out to paint.

Sometimes the blooms \of the common weeds in the area make some of the floral beauties just found on the roadside.  Lots of choices for painting during the spring and summer months.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Returning to an Old Love

On of the first painting love affairs I had was to use the soft pastels for plein air painting.  I was so fortunate to have painted with a great group of artists in Coastal North Carolina both in studio and plein air.  Our main medium at that time was soft pastels which were easily portable and great for creating plein air scenes without delay so it was easy to capture the light before there were changes.

Plein Air Painting in February
After moving away, I found that there were fewer artists in my new area that painted with pastels, and favored the use of oils and acrylics over pastels especially for plein air painting. Unfortunately I also found that
sometimes the medium was misunderstood by artists, framers and the general public.  Too many people looked at the almost pure pigment and disgraced it by calling it chalk!

Soft pastels can render unique effects that can not be achieved by other mediums although most pastel artists may determine that oil comes the closest to obtaining that presentation.

Pastels provide immediate gratification with color and paint application.
There is a down side to the soft pastel use...primarily in storage to prevent  damage to the painting and special considerations for framing which is under glass and with off sets to preserve the art.

Easy transport of paints for plein air.

I have also found that I can adapt my pastel painting from the plein air setting use as an "underpainting" if I decide I do not want to frame under glass. While this turn the painting into a mixed media rather than a pure pastel, it gives me options on what works best for a particular painting.

In later blogs I will share information I received when I attended
multiple workshops and IAPS Convention about the pastel painting and framing .

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Sometimes You Can't Wait for Spring

By the calendar it is still very much winter but when the temperatures reach the 70's, there are trees budding and flowers blooming it is a real early spring like  weather treat.  Although the colors are not as vivid as it will be when full bloom occurs, it is interesting to see the colors of late winter.
Judy gave me a call and we ventured out to some lovely fields in Botetourt County
to paint and enjoy the warm weather.

Judy is working with acrylic and painting 2 panels.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Playing with the Paints

I was between painting projects, but had a little bit of time before moving on to other chores, so I decided to play with some of the gelli plate papers I had worked with recently.  I picked up one that I thought probably had no use except as collage.  The colors were a mix of splotches of black, white and red which had been applied in no order on the sheet.  Honestly that may have been one of those
"catch the color sheets"!

After looking at it for a while, trying to decide whether to toss it or try it.......I decided I could always toss it after I tried it if it was a lost cause.

I had been thinking about working on a "critter" painting, using a reference from some photo's I had saved.  In looking through the stack of critters, I came across one of the sheep photographs I had taken on a trip some time ago.

Looking at the red, white and black mess of colors on my paper.....I started to see wool...sheep...
and they started to talk to me.  Using the negative painting technique carved out two rather strange sheep critters.  It was a fun exercise and I decided they were a fun piece to keep!
What do you think?  I call it "No Black Sheep Here"

What ever you do.....enjoy it.  Life is to short not to have a bit of fun!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Expanding the Good Parts of a Painting

During the winter  it is not always the best time visually to find those "wonderful scenes" to paint because everything looks gray or the weather is just not suitable for plein air painting.  I like to take some of the time to look at  paintings that I already had started/or had made a very simplistic to determine if I was still happy with the outcome or did I want to rework the piece.
While "A Path to the Clouds" suited my mood and I liked the
simplicity and cloud movement,
The Color of Sunset
after studying it a bit and remembering some lovely sites where I
had painted, I decided to let the painting talk to me.
Yes, it did talk to me, let me use some of the 
wonderful color of the original painting
as an underpainting....but it
changed course and was a 
delight to see the transformation
into another work of art!

Never give up on a painting or
fall too in love with something
that just might become better
than the original start of the painting.
A Path to the clouds

Monday, January 30, 2017

Creative Partner Support

This past week Goose Creek owners, Patrick and Mitchell, hosted a meeting of the creative partners
who participate in the Bedford gallery activities.  Over the 7 years that Goose Creek Gallery has been in Bedford  Mitchell and Patrick have been strong supporters of downtown Bedford businesses, the artists and art events in the area fostering the appreciation of creative opportunities for the community.

Welcoming through either the front or back door!
It is always a pleasure to sneak in the back door to say hello when we are in Bedford, check out all the beautiful art offerings and chat with the owners and visitors in  the

It is always exciting to see some of the creative ideas that the guys have for framing any and everything.

Be sure to drop in...they are at the end of Depot Street just a block from the court house.  It will make your day.