Saturday, December 20, 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Northlight DVDs

That Day in the Sun
charcoal and pastel on paper
Why am I creating some works with faces?  I have an upcoming shoot in Cincinnati at the Northlight photo studio.  I will be filming a series of four dvds which will be available at the same time as my book.  My videos will be titled Getting Started in Abstracts, Creating Abstract Flowers in Pastel, Creating Abstract Portraits in Pastel, and Color and Composition in Abstraction.  I will spend a week in Cincinnati filming the series so I have had a lot of prep work to do in order to get ready.
At one time the thing that came easiest to me was drawing the face.  I actually did commission portraits in my 20's.  That was my specialty along with figure drawing.  It is what I spent all of my time on and I devoted years to improving my ability to draw the human figure and faces.  It is now interesting to bring some abstract foundations into the face.  Next I will approach the figure in the same way.  I've learned a few things in doing this.  It is important to choose the right photograph to work from.  I always work from black and white photographs so it is important to choose a photograph with contrast.  I tend to favor strong shadows on the face.  The other thing I've learned is to limit my color choices.  My best ones have been very monochromatic with a definite range of values from light to dark.  This one began with an underpainting in burnt sienna, raw umber and black.  I then drew over it with charcoal and nupastel. After that came a layer of pastel ground and then soft pastel.  I did have to go back in to rework the eyes.  I also find that knowing the correct proportions of the facial features is very important to abstracting the portrait.  I want it to be expressive but still want the features to be in the correct place and this requires measurement and a little altering from time to time.

My book is finished and is now off to the printer.  It looks amazing!  I'm excited to see the final color copy of the book.  I hope to have it available and maybe even do book signings at the upcoming IAPS convention in June.  

Monday, December 15, 2014

Blue Christmas

Blue Portrait

Blue Abstraction
24x24 acrylic on canvas

Thank you for following my blog this past year.  I hope you have a good holiday.  This has been a very busy year for me.  It has been a year of adjustment, growth, adventure and a year of going out into the larger world with my art and teaching.  I have much to be thankful for.  

I've been preparing for my upcoming video shoots at the Northlight photo studio in January.  I will be filming a series of four dvds.  They will include Getting Started in Abstracts, Abstract Flowers in Pastel, Abstract Portraits in Pastel and Composition and Color.  Trying to get as organized as I possibly can!  I'm a little nervous but I'm sure it will go well.  Much of what I am filming is what I already teach in my workshops.  

Right now I enjoy working in both mediums equally.  When I am painting I love that the best and when I am working in pastel I feel the same way.  It has been my goal to bring both together so one reflects they other.  I'm getting closer but it remains a goal and something I am striving towards.  I am preparing for an upcoming show with a friend.  I plan on having five large paintings in acrylic/oil and five large pastels.  All will have flower and plant references.  

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Garden Abstraction

Garden Abstraction beginning stages
36x48 acrylic on canvas

I am having fun starting this new painting.  I did some experimenting on small canvases before starting this one.  I had an idea on colors and I'm probably being influenced by some of the natural colors of autumn right now.  I also took some photos of dried coneflowers in a garden.  I took my small canvases and experimented with each one in a different way.  I experimented with underpaintings, pastel ground on canvas and then various ways to create line with different types of drawing materials.  Those small experimentations helped me to get started on this one today.  I decided to create my underpainting for this with fluid acrylics instead of the colored gesso that I have been using.  I wanted a more transparent look in the beginning stages.  I will work more tomorrow and have even finish it up.  When I am motivated I work very fast.  I listen to music, sing and mix paint. Today it was Motown.  Doesn't that sound like fun..  

When this one is finished it may end up at the Indiana Design Center in Carmel, Indiana.  I'm excited to be working with Sandra Gooding at Corporate Fine Art Group.  I'm looking forward to making the trip to Indiana soon.  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Back to the Garden

20x20 pastel Sold
This pastel will be on exhibit at the Butler Institute of American Art December 2014 to February 2015

This year I've returned to working with a flower theme.  With each one I create I gather more ideas for future pastels and paintings.  I'm excited to see where it all leads me.  I've created a small book with some of my paintings and pastels from this past year.  Click on the link and it will take you to my new Blurb book titled Back to the Garden

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Blue Abstractions

Blue Abstraction in process
acrylic on canvas with charcoal and gold gesso

I'm back to abstraction now after doing a few more realistic versions of flower pastels.  I love to do both and find them both fulfilling.  Abstractions allows me to only play with what is in front of me on the paper or canvas.  Abstract realism allows me to bring in some more observational drawing with the abstraction.  My intention is to use lines from my observational drawing in my abstracts.  I have my plant contour drawings from the summer hanging on my studio wall and I often put those lines into the underpainting and during the process of painting,  I've wanted to paint with blue but I find it a difficult color sometimes.  Blue is a very intense color.  I needed to find a way to mute it and bring some more neutral colors into the painting.  Not quite there yet and this one will also have a companion painting to go with it.  You can see my small sketch and then my color study where I worked out some of my color choices.  Both paintings can be hung separately or can be hung together.  I'm pretty excited about finishing them.

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Zen of Seeing

Autumn Bouquet
30x22 pastel on paper

This summer I spent quite a bit of time doing one of my favorite ways of drawing.  I created several "blind" contour drawings from life.  I love this form of drawing.  They will never be framed and are not finished artworks.  I sit outside, take newsprint and charcoal and draw what I see in front of me.  I put the charcoal on paper and don't lift to place very often.  I overlap lines and allow my eyes and hand to follow the line of what I see.  It is a slow form of drawing and brings more sensitivity as I am really looking at what I see.  It also slows me down and for me it is much like a form of meditation.

It brought me to go on a search for a book that I bought many years ago called The Zen of Seeing:  seeing/drawing as meditation by Frederick Franck (1973).  I got it out and reread many parts that I had marked many years ago.  Here is a wonderful quote from the book "I have learned that what I have not drawn I have never really seen, and that when I start drawing an ordinary thing I realize how extraordinary it is, sheer miracle:  the branching of a tree, the structure of a dandelion's seed puff.  "A mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels"  says Walt Whitman.  I discover that among the Ten Thousand Things there is no ordinary thing.  All that is, is worthy of being seen, of being drawn."  I took the book to one of my workshops and a participant took it with her overnight. She came back the next day and told me how emotional she had become reading through the book.  It is a wonderful gem of a book.

Drawing continues to be the foundation and most important form of creating for me whether I am painting an abstract or drawing a flower.