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