Sunday, February 8, 2015

Expansive Vision

Expansive Vision
21x21 pastel on sanded paper

I felt the impulse to do a larger pastel on the new sheet of Uart paper that was sitting in the drawer.  I had two things in mind and they were "red" and "dark at the top".  I didn't know where else I was going  except for those two thoughts.  I've also enjoyed going back to the oil paint underpainting.  I used oils when I first began to work on abstract pastels but switched to fluid acrylics.  I love the fluid acrylics on Rives BFK but not on sanded paper.  Water-based oils work much better on the sanded paper and I have found there is little if any buckling of Uart paper.  I also like beginning with big brushes as it helps me with the transition between painting and pastels.  Using brushes in the beginning gives the process more of a painterly feel.  All surfaces bring a different quality and result.  This is my last large piece until March.  I'll be traveling and will only have time for a little drawing but it will be outside!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Testing 1,2.3

small color study on uart 240

Color study in acrylic on canvas

I do a lot of testing with materials and color.  I buy small inexpensive canvases and paint six paintings at one time.  Each one is a variation of the one before it.  I practice making lines in different ways.  Sometimes I make lines with paint, charcoal, gesso or pastel.  I put color down in washes and draw over it to see how it will look.  I wipe it out after I put it on to see how that will look.  Experimenting is part of my process.  It is how I discover things for myself.  I am always asking myself "what if"  questions. It is a process of discovery.  When I find something that I like then I can proceed to a larger surface with more of a plan.  So today's experiment was following a thought of "what if I use red lines instead of black?" and try the new surface of uart 240 to see if I like it.  It is highly textured and I do like texture.  Experimenting and playing around is an important part of what I do.  Its like dipping your toes in the water or saying testing 1,2 3 to see if the sound is right.  

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Dreaming of Summer Workshops

Turquoise Dream
14x15 inches
pastel on uart paper

My book and videos are now finished for Northlight so I'm now preparing for upcoming workshops.  I look forward to teaching workshops.  I enjoy the energy and camaraderie of workshop participants.  I enjoy teaching and I also receive so much from the groups.  Teaching workshops kicks my own energy into high gear or is it too much coffee?  It could be both.  

My IAPS workshop is this coming June and it is full.  I was told by someone wanting to get in that it filled within 45 minutes. That is quite something if true.  I am really looking forward to IAPS.  It will be a whirlwind adventure.  Besides teaching a one day workshop and a three hour demonstration I will be signing my new book at the Pastel Journal booth.   I will also be providing individual critiques for ProArtCritique.  I really look forward to talking about art and pastels with my fellow pastel artists.  

The next workshop will be in Bernard, Maine at Acadia Workshop Center August 10 to 13..   This workshop will be focused on abstraction and drawing inspiration from nature.  We will spend time drawing outside and bringing source material back to the studio for exploration.  Participants may work in pastel or acrylic for this workshop.  

In September I will be teaching at Mainstreet Art Center in Lake Zurich, Illinois.  I also understand that this workshop is full and there is a waiting list.  The focus of this workshop will be on non-objective painting in pastel or acrylic.

My last scheduled workshop at this time is October 5 to 7 for Peninsula School of Art in Fish Creek, Wisconsin.  The setting is in beautiful Door County which is a great vacation destination.  I'm really looking forward to returning.  My workshop last summer was so much fun and I had a great group of participants.  This year's focus will be on abstract realism in pastel.  We will combine abstraction and subjects such as flowers, still life, portraits, figures and possibly animals.  

Now in this cold and snowy winter it is nice to think about all of these great destinations full of creative energy and possibilities!  

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Cadence in Red

Cadence in Red
18x18
pastel, charcoal and oil on sanded paper

I had one more sheet of sanded paper in my flat file and just had to start another pastel painting.  I did a small composition sketch for this to plan it out a little first.  I knew that I wanted to use some reds as I hadn't for awhile.  I was also listening to some Spanish guitar music while I was working on it.  It was playing in a restaurant the other day and I loved it.  It really inspired me.  Once again I began this with some underpainting with water based oils.  That helps me put those initial colors and values down.  It also helps me to think of this as a painting.  I enjoyed working on this one very much.  I'm looking forward to do more along this line.  I felt like I needed to take a little break from the flowers for awhile.  I will go back to them.  Sometimes it is good to step away from something for awhile and go back to it later.  I still have some large bouquet paintings in mind and I will begin those one of these day.  Right now I'm also looking forward to warmer weather and drawing desert plants and flowers.  

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Open Spaces

Open Spaces
18x18
pastel on sanded paper with oil paint and charcoal

I've spent a few days playing with sanded paper.  I've not used it much the last two years as I've used print making paper for the most part.  It took me several tries to get familiar with it again.  Today I decided that I would approach it just like a painting.  I got out my water based oil paints and began painting on it with my painting brushes.  I dried it and then used charcoal to draw on it,  I added some extra texture with pastel ground as I do not like the consistently smooth texture of sanded paper.  I like to see some texture on the surface.  This one did turn out because I was in an experimental frame of mind.  Frame of mind is the key for me.  If I try too hard I often fall flat.  If I open myself up to play and experimentation I am much more successful.  Now I want to do another on the other sheet of paper I've got stored.  I had fun with this one,  
  

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Looking Back to Move Forward



I spent this past week going through old drawings of mine and deciding which to keep and throw away.  I am throwing more away than keeping this time.  I always enjoy looking at them as they are a record of where I've been in life.  I can also see traces of where I'm at right now in the past.  The top two drawings I probably created 30! years ago.  Oh boy!  Not much time left to make more marks on paper. I better get busy!  I see my inclination towards the abstract and my fascination and love of line. I love do love line.  There were a lot of other drawings that I knew were not from my personal center.  There were drawings I was told were "too pretty" by college instructors.  There were drawings where I remember fighting for recognition among the large group of art students.  These drawings now look pretty stupid to me and not truthful or authentic.  There were many half finished drawings because I rarely finished anything when I was young.  Some figure drawings struck me as being very good and made me realize that I do need to challenge myself to get back to drawing from a model.  Drawing from observation is still important even in abstraction.  I realize as I always have that art is about more than drawing or putting color on a surface.  It is more about living a life.  I really hope that some of my best works are ahead of me.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Getting Started in Abstracts

Back at the F&W Media studio

Here I am this week in Cincinnati.  I'm here filming a series of four dvds for Northlight.  I think they will be available in May/June.  I enjoy coming in and working with the staff of F&W Media.  They are a great group to work with and really help me relax and be myself.  They do such a wonderful job of making things look great.  Today was my first day filming and I was at work all day even though it will be a 60 or 90 minute video.   A lot goes into filming videos.  Its a very interesting process.  Tomorrow is day two where I will be filming Color and Composition.  The last two are abstract flowers and abstract portraits.