Sunday, July 20, 2014

Drawing Flowers

Summer Garden
acrylic on canvas

I took a very long break from drawing flowers of any kind.  Until this past winter it had been years since I had drawn a flower or plant.  I was pretty bored with drawing or trying to depict flowers.  Then during the brutal winter I bought flowers at the grocery store with no intention on drawing them.  I decided to give it a try with my pastels.  Did my usual abstract underpainting and then drew the flowers from observation on top.  I liked it and it was nice to draw from observation again.  I have been preoccupied with my little garden of day lilies, cone flowers and other assorted flowers and plants this summer.  I've gone outside and drawn mostly blind contour drawings of the flowers.  I've taken my drawings and taped them to the wall and am using some of the lines in my paintings.  Now some of the lines in my abstract pastels and paintings echo my flower drawings.  Things always seem to come full circle.  

I will make a few small changes in this one before I declare it totally finished.  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Color Variations in Pastel

Blue  Ephemera
24x18 pastel on Wallis paper

Red Ephemera
24x18 pastel on 'Wallis paper
I have not worked on the sanded paper for awhile and decided to take a sheet and experiment.  I want "more" from my pastels but am not sure exactly what yet.  On one I did a fluid acrylic underpainting and on the other a charcoal and nupastel underpainting washed with alcohol.  They are both very unstructured and more studies in color variations.  I want to merge my pastel and acrylic paintings into one vision but am not sure where that will end up quite yet.  I enjoyed working on these and now think I may work on the sanded paper a little more.  I think it helps me work with the pastel more like painting for now.  

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Yellow and Gray

Yellow and Gray Abstraction in process
24x24 acrylic on canvas

This painting is almost finished.  I'm evaluating to see what changes I need to make before declaring it finished.  Lower left will have a little more work.  I get to a point with everything where I need to just let it be and sit with it for awhile.  I look continually to see what needs to be done.  Why yellow?  I've had a thought about a yellow painting in my mind for awhile now.  I have always loved the combination of yellow and gray.  A subtle combination of colors.  I know that my painting palette is changing,.  I'm bringing in more muted colors.  I do tend to favor neutral earthy colors along side of more brilliant colors.  I like the contrast.  I'm also trying to bring more drawing into the painting.  In that way I can merge pastel and painting more closely.  After I finish this up I will be on to a large abstract pastel.  This one will be purely for fun and experimentation.  I have few new ideas that I want to try.  

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Present Moment

Present Moment
acrylic on canvas

The other day I spent some time drawing flowers and plants that are around my home.  I have been planting flowers in a small garden and took my chair and drawing pad outside.  I created several blind contour drawings of my flowers.  Blind contour and gesture drawing are my favorite form of drawing.  Drawing brings me into the moment.  I only focus on what I am seeing.  I slow down.  My charcoal moves along with my eye.  It becomes a form of meditation for me and something I need to do more often.  Lines created while drawing influence painting.  

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Peninsula School of Art Workshop

Triangular Abstraction from upcoming book

Here is the link to my upcoming workshop at Peninsula School of Art.  Click on the link and see the workshop description!  PD1417

I'm looking forward to the workshop in Door County Wisconsin!  Its a wonderful vacation spot and the school of art is top quality.  I will be providing demonstrations in both pastel and acrylic.  Everything I will be teaching is also based on my book in mixed media and abstraction which will be published by Northlight next year.

I hope to see you there!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Using Colored Gesso

Large painting in process
acrylic on canvas

I am using my previous painting as a color study for this larger work.   I know these colors are not my usual colors for painting as I have used some pretty intense colors in the past with acrylic painting.  Some of my pastels have been a little more muted than the paintings,.  I'm hoping this one will be off to a gallery I'm working with after I finish it up.  Most of my work always ends up with changes after I post here.  I like seeing how things look online because it gives me ideas on what I will need to do to finalize a painting or pastel.  I'm always making small changes as I work.  This and the previous painting involve some initial drawing with colored gesso on my part.  Instead of drawing with charcoal I decided to take a brush and draw with both black and yellow ochre colored gesso.  I also have some gold metallic in sections.  The colored gesso always gives me a good start on a painting.  I'm sure other artists just use their acrylic paints to do the same or similar technique.  Now I do like the earthy colors shown here and the high contrast.  After I do a few of these I will try to bring in some other colors along with the earthy tones.  

This past week I sent my finished manuscript to my editor.  It is good to have brought this to conclusion.  It is hard work writing a book!  I know I will have to make a few changes but I'm feeling a real sense of relief now.  I'm also off to my workshop in Door County in a month.  I'm looking forward to working with other artists and being in a wonderful vacation spot.  The other wonderful thing is that it is not that far from me and it is in the U.S.! 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Motivation of No

Untitled Abstraction
20x20 acrylic

So many thoughts are going through my mind right now and I am trying to clear my head.  I know my art will bring me some balance.  For some reason the word "no" has always motivated me.  I guess by nature I'm a pretty rebellious person.  When I am told I cannot do something it kicks me into high gear.  Oh yes, this has gone back as far as I can remember.   I think one of my earliest art instructors used this to motivate me when she said "you will never get that done" or "you won't do that".  So to prove her wrong I did it.  Not getting into juried shows when told my art was too small forced me to go big.  My lesson has always been to not let rejection, obstacles or barriers stop me.  Keep on trying no matter what.  My recent experience of not being able to teach my workshop in Canada will probably motivate me in some ways also.  Right now I am not sure where this recent "no" will lead.  Everything comes in to play.

The painting on this post is very muted.  It is my attempt to use less color as requested by a gallery.  How can I use my style and technique with less color.  I am always learning, trying new things and trying to stretch myself.