Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Last post of May....Blue ribbon winner

May ended with a bang, so to speak.  A pastel painting I entered in a local group show won first place in the pastel category.  I was thrilled.  I was also thrilled over the large turnout for the Reception for the Show...I am also the Publicity person for the group so it was great to see the fruits of my labors with such a large turnout.
This painting was one of the ones I did in Snow Hill during the Snow Hill paint out.  It was the first day I was out painting and we passed these bushes on the road...we drove down the road and I asked my husband to turn around so I could look at these one more time....sometimes your subject just screams to be painted.
Well May was a good, productive month.....looking forward to June.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It wassss warm and sunny today....

It's been a rainy week.  Today started out damp, but the the sun came out.  John and I were able to get our walk in this morning, he's trying to help me get the strength back in my ankle.  I've been doing much better, standing at the easel is getting less painful than it was last year. 

  I was by the Connectquot River....when I first got there, the sun was out....but as Long Island is prone to do, the mist rolled in and there went the sun, pffft, gone.....I had walked over to the river with my gear....looked in the one direction and it did nothing for me...I almost turned to look for another place to paint when I turned around and saw these trees standing firm against the mist.   What clinched it was a bald eagle landing in the tree to the right of these.  (Yes, It was an eagle, I know the difference between and eagle and an osprey and there were osprey flying overhead as well..)

I tried a few things that Stan mentioned in his workshop, like a limited palette....I did this painting with 5 pastels, plus I used some other tricks I learned, which you could learn too, if you take his workshop.  :-)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Another Night Painting

None of my cameras seem to be able to handle the dark up close....There are three photos here, the close up shot of the night painting, the "on Location" photo of my red rock painting, and the two side by side so that you can see how really dark the 2nd one is.

I tried to portray the vague feel that you have when you are looking at something when it is dark.  It's fun to try new things and I am enjoying painting night scenes.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Night Painting

My daughter's 16th birthday is tomorrow but we promised to take her shopping for her birthday TODAY....We did the shopping, decorated the house, picked up things for her celebration, then went to dinner and celebrated her day...so this wasn't a day I could get out to paint plein air.  To compensate....I had a study that I did in the workshop last week that wasn't anything special.    It was on the 2nd day of the workshop and it was the second study that I did before lunch.  I was a little tired by then and hot so it wasn't anything special.   I brought the original home, trying to figure out what to do with it.... After the party, I came into my studio, looked at the original and thought, ooooo, that would make a good night painting.  I propped it up on my indoor easel and went to town on it....Now that I think about it, I should have done a "before" and "after" photo.  Oh well, too late now.  Here's the night painting.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Some more plein air paintings

Went out last night and tonight....the top one was painted this evening, the bottom one was last night....both evenings I was pressed for time so I had to make quick decisions and then pack it in.....When I was in Colorado, we stopped at Sports Authority and I picked up a North Face windbreaker, a dark color to keep warm on chilly days.  Last night it was breezy and cold but that windbreaker kept me comfortable.....I was impressed.

Both photos were taken in my studio after I got back into the house.....just quick shots to get them posted .  I tried to take them with my IPhone but they were blurry so I had to use the camera.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tonight's Sketch...

Here's the first page out of my Sketchbook Project 2011.    Color looks better and richer in the book, looks like I need some color adjustment skills on the laptop.  I sketched it out first in pen and ink, then added watercolor with a Niji waterbrush.....definitely and handy little tool to carry on you.  I was trying some things I learned in my pastel workshop last week and trying to apply the concepts to my sketch.  There are some techniques that I can do in watercolor that I like, and I would like to be able to do in pastel, and vice versa.  The sketchbook is a little 5 x 7....the paper is much sturdier this year.  The watercolor didn't bleed through to the other side.  It just crinkled, which I don't mind, adds character.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Settling back in routines

As you can see above, the "dog children" are content that we are home.  Mack seems to like to hang over his bed instead of sleeping IN it and Chloe is the princess, as usual.

This afternoon after work, I spent time organizing my pastels in my easel.  I snapped the long Senneliers in half (stored the other half in the studio) and put all my Terry Ludwig darks in my easel, so that was one less box to carry.  I organized by value and color families, made sure I had plenty of neutrals.  I packed essentials to keep in my bag for quick travel, and I packed a separate bag to stay in the car that has paper towels, a hat, a can of spray fixative, spray bottle for alcohol and other essentials.  Now I am am ready to go at a minute's notice, much better than before.

I noticed that while I was slimming down some of the pastels, the Sennelier sticks are extremely brittle and crumbly and you waste a lot with crumbling.  The Terry Ludwig pastels are much better and as much as I am not a fan of the Unisons, they held up better than the Senneliers.  The Schminckes do well in my box, too.

After all was said and packed, I ate dinner with my hubby, stopped for Java at the Roast Coffee and Tea Co, and went off to paint.  The above is the result of this evenings outing.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

How to stay fresh in your art when you are feeling stale

Several years ago, John Williams came to Philadelphia and conducted his music at the Mann Music Center.  I love John Williams' music and soundtracks.  Many of us grew up with the music from Star Wars, ET and Raiders of the Lost Ark.  These musical compositions made the movies.  When we attended the John Williams concert at the Mann, we knew we were in for a real treat.  We weren't disappointed.  However, when he went through a lot of old stuff, you could tell the difference between the old stuff, and the new stuff...as he progressed from the older stuff, you could hear in his musical conducting, the enthusiasm of playing something newer.  It sounded newer, fresher.  When he got to Harry Potter, it gave us goosebumps because he attacked with the excitement he must have felt when he was conducting it for us.  It was amazing.  Even my kids were enthralled.
As visual artists, we continue to paint what we know, but also, sometimes paint what is expected of us because it's what people want from us.  However, it can make us stale or even lose enthusiasm for the subject.  Sometimes you need to take a different path so you don't become stale or lose your drive, so that your paintings don't look like the old music that John Williams conducted many, many times over and over through the years.   You need that time to experiment and play with your materials, or even try new materials or new subject matter. Change it up, change your venue.  Attack it from a different point of view...try painting something you normally would avoid just for the challenge. You can still do your bread and butter, but paint new subjects or try new media just to keep yourself fresh, trust me, it will keep the old stuff fresh and you'll be more enthusiastic about it, too!  Change is good!

Some more photos from Colorado

Today's painting demo...

A beaver damn

Yesterday afternoon

Some mountains are still snow covered, even for May.

These funky red monoliths are in several places in the mountains.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I've always wanted to visit the West.  Spent a lot of time reading about cowboys and indians, paint horses, mustangs, appies (appaloosas to you non-horse folk).....reading books about Wild Horse Annie and how she saved the mustangs.....when you love horses, you pick up anything horse related and read it.....visiting Colorado was like the first time I visited Chincoteague, the Home of Misty.  It's like coming home.  Driving around a looking at the scenery, I wasn't surprised at the views....I have seen them many times before, described in books or illustrations.

It's beautiful here.  I don't know if I could live so far away from my beloved marshes in Jersey and the Eastern Shore, but I definitely would like to come back and visit again.

Monday, May 2, 2011

First Day Painting in Colorado

This morning wasn't too bad.  Got one study done this morning before all hell broke loose with a thunderstorm that turned in a snowstorm.  They say if you don't like the weather in Denver, wait an hour and it will change.  They weren't kidding!  We retreated indoors to Terry Ludwig's studio and painted.  It was fun, though I am exhausted now.  Amazingly, the ankle held up, no pain today.

  We have a good group in the workshop.  Lots of laughs....

 Hubby took a walk and took a picture of some of the local "residents."  I think Prairie Dogs are one of the funniest critters on this planet.  I know folks must not be too happy with them living nearby, but I'd take Prairie Dogs any day over raccoons.
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