Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pastel plein air

Oyster Creek Park
7" x 10"
      Lovely cool morning sketching in the shade with the Heatstrokes plein air group.  We talked about how casual painting with pastels is.  Easy to toss a few supplies in a bag and go.  Took photos of this scene for someone who wanted to finish at home.  The photos just didn't capture the atmosphere and colors of being there, but I'm sure she'll remember.  I signed it while there and let it go.  Sometimes, the hardest part is knowing when to stop.  I let it be a sketch... an impression of a few hours in time.  A Monday morning with friends, captured with calligraphic strokes representing the sound of artistic chatter and the distant hum of a lawnmower on the cricket field.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Leo vs Mike

After da Vinci's Horse
40" x  60"
acrylic on canvas

      Each year, the Punta Gorda Visual Arts Center chooses an artist to celebrate.  VAC member artists reproduce works of the masters to donate.  These paintings are auctioned off to support the center.  Last year it was Toulouse Lautrec, this year it's Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, thus "Leo vs Mike."  My inspiration was da Vinci's Horse.
      Leonardo worked on this horse for seventeen years and created a twenty-four foot tall clay model.  It was destroyed by the French in 1499 when they invaded Milan.  A twenty-four foot bronze cast was created by Nina Akamu in 1999 for the Milan Art Museum.  Influenced by these works, I painted my horse running along the edge of the Gulf of Mexico during the oil spill of 2010.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Pastel Portrait

Roger San Specs
11" x 8"
And another one of Roger, this time without his glasses.  Miss the glasses, they give him so much style and character.   Venice portrait studio's taking a vacation until October.  This sketch on toned (with dry pastel) white Canson MiTentes paper using smooth side.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Girl with Earring
8.5" x 11.5"
Another pastel experiment (every painting is an experiment).  First layer was sketched on Canson Mi Tentes gray toned paper with hard pastels.  At that point, I liked the way it was going.  Then took a brush and rubbing alcohol to blend each color section for an underpainting.  Found this technique did not work with the gray toned paper.  The colors looked dull and muddy.  Finished with hard and soft pastels on top, attempting to save the portrait.  Oh, well.  It's all practice for the next one.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Boca Grande

Boca Grande Passing Shower
6" x 8.5"
Sketched on beach last Monday for the Heatstrokes Plein Air group.  View from the Boca Grande Lighthouse.  Both the bridge fee and the park fees have been raised this year.  This Monday, heavy rain, so unless I paint inside my van, the Heatstrokes will not be meeting.  Working in my studio instead... a huge horse painting, acrylics for a change.  Will post soon.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Venice Portrait Studio

11.5" x 8.5"

Roger is a familiar model and artist around the Venice Art Center.  He has been painted by so many people that we're thinking of doing a Roger Show.  He's so full of energy he can hardly sit still.  I struggled with this portrait.  The original sketch had his head inside the frame, but "exploding-head-syndrome" caused it to break out of the edges.  May have been caused by changing my site points, the cap and glasses threw me off.  His eyes only glanced over in my direction a few times... I loved the sparkle in the corner of his eye.  Caught the same expression the last time I painted him, in oils instead.  This time I almost gave up and just pounded the pastels, forcing the color and letting the calligraphy write the story.  Sometimes, I do my best when I think the piece is lost... then I let go and paint without thinking.  In the end, the magic pastel dust did its job.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pastel and Music

Guitar Player
11" x  8"

We were treated to guitar strumming the entire time this model posed for us at the Punta Gorda Visual Arts Center portrait studio last week.  Live music inspired a lot of lively drawings.  The room was filled with the sounds of artists scribbling along with the rhythm. This pastel is on Canson mi-teintes paper, wrong side, don't like screen-door texture of right side!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Venice Beach, Summer

Beach Grass
8" x 11"

Sometimes, it's not easy.  Sure it's a beach scene and the colors are just right.  A few people walked by, grasses waved in the breeze, and I had fun painting next to my artist friends.  This drawing's like a stage set waiting for something to happen.   Every drawing and painting is an experiment anyway, but something can be learned from each attempt.  Next time... more drama! 

Friday, August 6, 2010

Gulf View

Sea Grass
7.50" x 11.75

Non-oily view of Gulf.  Even on the hottest days there are great spots to paint in the shade.  Secret place... Only OUR Painting Spot, or OOPS!  A few of my artist friends know about it and I'm not telling.  One of us is brave enough to chase the occasional tourist away.  We need to plant a sign... Artists Only!  Tourists Beware! 
Pastel on Arches watercolor paper with Golden Pastel Gesso for tooth.  Watercolor underpainting.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Venice Portrait Studio

Woman with Long Hair
12.50" x 9.50"

 Hard and soft pastels on La Carte Pastel card, Sennelier.  Blended only on the underpainting and kept final strokes crisp.  Happy with the hair and light on forehead.  I don't like to use my fingers for blending, especially on sanded paper.  La Carte is smoother than Wallis sanded paper, but still has plenty of tooth.  I use a piece of foam pipe insulation, six foot piece about 98 cents at hardware store for blending.  Cut on the diagonal into small pieces... will last me about a year even after giving pieces to friends and students.  This foam pushes the pastel into the paper much like a finger, instead of wiping it off like a paper towel does.  And the sharp diagonal can get into smaller places than a finger.  

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

100 of 300!

Another Florida Sunset
5.25" x 8.25"

This is the one-hundredth painting posted for this year and the three-hundredth blog post since I started this blog!  Few postings for this July... family visit, and teaching.  Whew!  But had wonderful visit and great birthday party celebration which lasted the whole month.  Last guest flew out today.  But now I get a chance to use my new Heilman Backpack pastel box, my birthday wish came true thanks to a lot of heavy hinting.