Thursday, March 31, 2011

A New Show, More On Exhibition Title Cards

Funny how life has it's own pace of stops and starts - it seems it's either the speed of a snail or a sudden acceleration to that of a NASCAR driver in an important race!

It's been the speed of a race here lately.  I'm preparing for a small show and since the paintings are to be hung on Monday, I've been scrambling to get things ready. 

I know, I know, I said I wasn't going to do any more shows but this is more like exhibiting in a gallery.  The paintings will hang for about a month and the owners of the space will take care of the transactions should any paintings be sold. 

One of the requirements is to provide the title cards for each of my paintings.  I've been intrigued with the design of those cards for quite a while and ended up printing the image of the painting as a background for the card as shown above.  This way there's no doubt as to what painting goes with what information.

I'll let you know how things go.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Foxy Final

I've finally finished the portrait of Foxy, the little Pomeranian.  I don't know if you all do this, but I tend to leave a painting out so I can see it for a few days after I think I've finished with it and will invariably "pick" at it as I walk by it.  I'm sure there's probably more I could find to pick at with this but I'm calling it finished so as not to overwork it.

However, I don't like a painting in the mail over a weekend so won't send this out until Monday so if you see anything that needs to be changed, don't hesitate to let me know!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Challenge Painting

This is a pastel painting that I did for the March Challenge at Paint My Photo, an online group where photographs are posted as references for artists to paint without worry about copyright issues.  It's not a "vanity" site where any art work is displayed but is a site where the photos are the stars and only art from the photos on that site is allowed to be posted. 

The challenge for March is to choose a photo reference from all those posted and paint it for an exchange between other participating members.  I've always had a fascination with the sea (could it be because I'm originally from landlocked Kansas?) and the red sails from the reference photo clinched it as far as choosing this for my challenge reference photo. 

I'm not normally a landscape/seascape painter so I hope I did a decent enough job with this that the recipient would not be too disappointed with its arrival.  A second reason for choosing this subject was that I wanted it to be pleasing to almost anyone, male or female.  Since we won't know where to send the paintings until the end of the month, I won't know who is to receive it.

It's pastel on Clairefontaine's PastelMat and this is the painting where the support had the little dots and one line where there wasn't any of the special pastel surface.  The bare spots were small and fortunately, there weren't all that many of them, but it's still a bit of a hassle to make sure they get covered.  Have any of you who use PastelMat had problems of this sort? 

I'm also nearly finished with Foxy but will wait until I'm completely finished to post. 

And, after I finish with Foxy, I have got to get back to organizing my studio!  No, it's still not finished because I keep procrastinating about getting it done.  Somebody crack the whip!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Foxy - WIP 2

I've done a little more to the portrait of Foxy, the Pomeranian, which I've posted above.  Most of the additional work has been in the way of adding layers and doing a little bit of refining.  I should have it finished in the next day or so.

Again, this is soft pastel on ColourFix Suede and I'm enjoying this new paper.  I really think my favorite paper is still velour or real suede paper/matboard but this is nice and, to me, is superior to PastelMat.

Both papers (ColourFix Suede and PastelMat) seem to both feel and respond the same way but I like the colors better in the ColourFix plus, there don't seem to be any flaws in the paper as there are in the PastelMat.  I just finished a painting using the PastelMat and had a little trouble covering some bare dots and also one bare line where there wasn't any surface.  It worked out ok but it's just a lot easier when there aren't any flaws.

I'll post the painting I painted on the PastelMat tomorrow and perhaps another update on little Foxy!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Foxy - WIP

This is Foxy, a cute little Pomeranian I'm in the midst of painting.  I have two nieces with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a genetic disease and I donated a gift certificate for a portrait to a fund raiser to help find a cure.

The lady who won the portrait sent me photos of this little cutie and so far the painting is going very well.  I had initially planned to paint her in gouache or acrylic ink but my fingers instinctively reached for the pastels.

This is just the beginning of laying down of the base colors and I have a lot of refining to do.

I'm using the new ColourFix Suede in the Kangaroo color.  It looks pretty gray here and in the color swatches online but it has a bluish tint to it.  The owner of Foxy said she wanted a steel blue as a background color and this seemed fairly close to that color.  This is only the second time I've used this support (& I still haven't finished the first piece!) and I like it ok.  It's similar to PastelMat by Clairefontaine but doesn't seem to have the flaws I've noticed in the PastelMat.  It seems to work the same as the PastelMat in that blending is pretty difficult until the layers are built up. 

Oh, as an aside, the pipe insulation blenders I wrote about in a previous post don't seem to work well after the initial layers and tend to remove the pastel instead of blending it.  I may just need more practice with them and the paper though.  Much as I dislike the feel of the pastel dust, the fingers are certainly the best blenders for nearly every pastel painting situation I've come across yet!

Anyway, I hope to be  able to finish this by the first of next week at the latest. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Another Pastel Blender

Many of you know that while pastel is my medium of choice, I really hate the feel of the dust on my hands.  That's why I'm always on the look out for the perfect blender.

A while ago I touted the virtues of the Loew-Cornell Style Styx and I still like them a lot.  But I recently read on Wet Canvas's Pastel Forum about using foam pipe insulation as a blending tool.  I didn't have any on hand and didn't want to drive 30 miles to a home improvement store so I looked around at what I did have on hand.

I found some dense foam lengths that are actually used in swimming pools as floats or kid's toys and decided to try a section to see how it worked.  It's amazing how well they do work!  You can cut the foam into any shape but I found the wedge shape works the best.

The foam sections that I had were purchased from a local Dollar store for a dollar or less each and one length is more than enough from which to cut dozens of the little blenders.  These wedges hold up well and while, like the Style Styx, they may stain, they can be wiped off and used repeatedly.  Or, they're cheap enough to have one for every color in your pastel collection!

Happy, happy painting!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Winter, Spring, Winter

It's that time of the year again when the temperatures do their wild fluctuations!  For the past several days, we've had temps in the high 70's to low 80's - pure heaven after the cold we've had.  But we had a front move through yesterday that has brought back the cooler temps.  It's not all that cold but still nearly 30 degrees cooler than what it has been.

The daffodils and forsythia are blooming and I spotted a crocus nearly open yesterday.  These plants seem able to take the weather see-saw although a hard freeze would probably ruin the blooms.

Little teasers of spring right now then back to winter.

Another sign of the season is that there are a lot of skunks out and many are being hit on the highways.  Since we're in the country, many are hit on the road on which we live.  That makes for such a delightful perfume for several days!

But, the skunks and the early flowers signal that spring really isn't that far away.  Here's hoping it's early this year!