Thursday, August 26, 2010

Pastel Project No. 2

Copy a portrait of a favorite artist. So, I chose one. I kinda wish I hadn't chosen this one, but anything would have given me trouble. All-in-all, I learned a lot more about pastels and it was fun.
After Rembrandt (my version)
8x10, Artagain black paper, Prismacolor nupastels and (lol) Rembrandt soft pastels.
Detail from the original portrait (1659)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Pastel Projects

Started in with a pastel group for this Fall. I don't really know much about pastels and am willing to get dusty to learn more about the medium.
Assignment One is a self-portrait. I read somewhere that it is a good idea to do one every year. Probably like eating your vegetables or exercising- - good for you, but not really that much fun sometimes.
PastelSelf 2010, 11x14, 140 lb. cold press Canson
Nupastel (need a bigger set of these), Rembrandt soft pastels, and some other kind of pastels I have, but don't remember how I got them. This was an interesting way to paint as, in order for my old, nearly blind self to see, I set up a mirror reflecting another mirror in front of me while I was painting. (And, yes, I do look kinda slack-jawed like that when painting. I see, now, that one of my eyebrows could use some blending, too.
This was an arduous experience for a relatively short, but very intense, drawing/painting session. It seems that after getting the basic colors in the right places, you sort of "sculpt" the pigment into place and push it around.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Birthday Portrait

Daddy, 16x20, oil on canvas.

This was truly a labor of love and my first oil portrait. Painting is very much like living one's life in a condensed form: youthful enthusiasm in the beginning, self-doubt and procrastination in the middle, cynical negativity later on, and finally acceptance and gratitude for coming out of the process pretty much the better for it all.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Anyone who wants an artistic workout, head on over to and join in one of the daily/weekly/monthly challenges. Here are this week's Drawing and Sketching examples. The critiques are wonderful, the encouragement invigorating, and the challenges are (gulp) exuberant.

Both are chalk on black Artagain 11x14. Not perfect, but fun and expressive.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Still Can't Paint Flowers or Why do I do this to myself?

It's all in fun and exploration, I know. Here are this week's daily paintings.

I am trying, I really am. But, flowers frustrate me. The leaves look pretty good though, so it was a fair-to-middling lesson and a great reminder of why I don't do flowers. (I wonder if I could whittle them?)

Maybe this one I don't dislike as much. It's not finished, but I'm finished for a bit. That funny streak of red in the front petal will someday look like the shadow of a knife-like leaf directly above the poppy in the photo I took. The center isn't really divided either, the lower red-orange center blob will also be a shadow.


Maybe, I should just print the photos on canvas and leave at that!

The last little painting was a self-imposed challenge to loosen up my oil skills while I try to finish a big (16x20) portrait of my son and his kids in time for his birthday. Most of the time, I don't work bigger than 11x14. This little oil is 8x8. Just about my size, although I have two huge 19x25 pieces of Mi Tientes colored paper for some projects I have planned. That is, if I don't tear them into smaller pieces first!

I called my little challenge, "How many colors are in the shade?" Recently, on a birthday cruise for my sister, she passed along a biography of Monet, and one of the hallmarks of impressionism was that shadows were not gray. They were right -- they aren't. So, I thought Iwould try a stab (of the brush) at painting as many colors as I could find in the shadows.

This little painting isn't much, but I kind of like it anyway. That deep, hot sunny summer day shade appeals to me. I grew up in Southern California where plenty of scrub oaks abound in the hills. They are shady underneath, but it's not the kind of cool, inviting shade you're probably thinking of. If you plop down under one of these babies, you get dirty, you are still hot, and soon enough, covered with ants.

Happy August!

Back to Slingin' Paint and Throwin' Pencils

Gearing back up, it is amazing how long it can take to walk down the hall to the little room where I play with paint and pencils and most anything else tactile, colorful, and messy.
So, here we are with works-in-progress again.
I like posting this stuff, for some reason, I can see where I need to work next in the project.