Wednesday, May 21, 2014

How To Get Out of Your Comfort Zone!

Purple Haze, 11x14" Purchase at Etsy

Limited Color Palette is a Good Place to Start

I enjoy color ... and if you have seen much of my work, you probably already know that about me. So, limiting the colors I use, is definitely out of my comfort zone.

But ... I believe the only way we continue to learn is stepping out of our comfort zone. Try something new and a little on the "scary" side! Choose your favorite color and then use every related color to it: purple, lavendar, red-purple, blue-purple... warm and cool shades of anything that has purple in it!

What did I do?

I decided in this painting to do that, but then I chose the rust colors and the blue colors to be accents or discords. There is some green under-painting showing through that creates a little vibration in the purples, too. I would not call this a monochromatic painting because of those "extra" colors. It was fun!

Here is the first layer of "harder" pastels that sets up the large shapes. I did wet them with alcohol to create the "fixed" under-painting. So... you see the first layer, first step ... and you get to see the finished study.

I hope to do a larger painting of this scene ... possibly in oil or acrylic!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Can Studies Help You Create Better Paintings?

First One In, Pastel Study 7x5" - Purchase at Etsy

What is the first thing you do when in the Studio?

I look at my plein air paintings ... or flip through photographs I have printed, or look at images on my digital photo screen. What am I looking for? Can you guess?

For me, I want to have something grab me right away... so I make notes about what I like. I think we paint a better painting if we are "inspired" by something we see. So, write it down ... "what drew me to the scene?" Answer the question.... refer to it during the painting ... it keeps you thinking what needs to be the star of the piece, and everything else needs to play a secondary role. All the other elements should support the "star!"

What is next?

For me, I lightly draw with a pencil on the surface ... just a rode map ... no details. I want general larger shapes of the light and dark areas in the painting. I squint a lot, looking for those shapes.

Next, I fill those shapes with a light layer of pastel... no matter if doing a pastel painting or an oil or acrylic. It is just pigment... and then I wet it with either mineral spirits if doing an oil, or alcohol if doing a pastel or acrylic. Lately, I have been using a little water spritz bottle for the alcohol instead of brushing it on. I can still use the brush while it is wet if I want to create a scrubby looking underpainting.

Here is the image of the first layer of pastel for the underpainting for the above little study! I was working on a grey Ampersand Pastelbord for this one.

So ... was this successful? Is it a good study for a potentially larger oil or acrylic ... or even a larger pastel?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Finding Good In The Painting!

"Desert Rain" Purchase at Etsy

What is Special?

Painting plein air ... the French term for painting in the open air ... is the best way to learn about proportions, weight, perspective, and best of all, to see all the "real" colors in nature! And, you usually remember how the weather was ... hot, cold, wet, dry, etc.


For this painting, an 11x14" pastel, I was in the Red Rocks area near Las Vegas for the 1st Plein Air Convention and it was our first day out of the convention center sessions to paint. It was cold, and rain started coming in about half way through my painting. If you look closely, you can see where some of the light rain drops hit the surface. It added to the painting, so I was not about to change it.


Special? ... can be the artist's story about the painting. If you attend a gallery opening or show, admire a painting, and get to meet the artist, ask them about the story behind the painting. Meeting the artist and hearing the story, may be what you need to make a decision to purchase that painting. Get to know an artist ... you might have some fun hearing a story!

Monday, May 5, 2014

To Paint, Or Market?

I cannot believe I have not posted to my blog since last June. Where has the time gone? Have you said that to yourself? I think I will be trying for a schedule of posting, and not just painting!

Nickajack Music - Oil 24"x18"

How Often Should I Post?

Producing a body of work for several shows, a few competitions, and my galleries takes precedence over writing.

Most important was a solo show with over 80 paintings. But along with that, I also painted 8 paintings for a group show, 2 large pastels for the Women Painters of the Southeast juried show ... and painted for three other juried shows, submitted, but was not accepted! During that time, I also judged a show in North Carolina, taught a workshop for them, taught my annual workshop in Florida, created a proposal to teach at the next IAPS conventionn.

At the same time, I worked with American Art Collector magazine, being in three different articles, and advertise in January, March & April, 2014. I was interviewed by Steve Doherty, Managing Editor for the Plein Air Magazine, for a four-page Artist Focus in their May 2014 issue. It has been an extremely busy 6 months... ending 2013 and four months into 2014!

Protecting The Crop - Pastel 11"x14"
I picked up over 75 paintings from my Solo Show "It's The Journey" which was held in Blue Ridge, GA at The Art Center, Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Assoc.(BRMAA). The Art Center is the Historic Courthouse ... and has a fantastic organization and venue for showing art and teaching classes and workshops. They do handle all kinds of the "Arts" besides my type ... painting! Here is a link on Facebook to the album showing most of the paintings: It's The Journey Facebook Album.

So What Now?

This week I am finishing up work on a commission of Texas hill country. When that is done, I will be taking work to a new gallery for me ... Magnolia Art Gallery in Greensboro, GA. I have a pastel workshop scheduled for May 15 - 17 (Thurs., Fri. & Sat.) in St. Simons Island, GA, for the Glynn Arts Assoc. I will also be painting for the Monastery of the Holy Spirit Paint Out to celebrate their 70th Anniversary ... near Conyers GA from May 27 - 31 with a Wet Paint Sale on Sun., June 1.

So ... I plan to also post once per week to this blog about what I am doing and showing paintings in progress, or finished ... and also sharing some interesting posts by other artists, marketing gurus, and art associations. Do let me know if there is something you would like me to talk about, share tips, etc... my ears are always listening!