Monday, March 30, 2009

fence row

fence row
pastel on uart paper 9x12

We had an extended weekend trip to our little country get-away and it included all the elements of spring. Blooming things everywhere, a hit of green in the treeline, enough rain to cover the low-water bridge, warm sunshine, cool nights, amazing blue skies with big puffy white clouds, and never enough time to take it all in.
Our little piece of property has a beautiful stream with a great swimming/fishing hole on the low side and a hilltop with a view of the distant hills on the high side. It's lovely and I'm so grateful to my parents for passing it on to us.
I don't know if I'll ever run out of things to paint there.

I'm always saying this, but I don't really feel like this one got finished. There were too many things to do, and I get impatient. The big straight tree towards the right bothers me. Too heavy I think.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

raincloud on my drive home

pastel on uart paper 3"x5"

Hmmm, another not so serious attempt to make a painting. Hopefully I'll get down to business in the next couple of days.
I did this mostly from memory of this big gorgeous thundercloud. It was hovering just ahead of me as I drove home on the interstate after a nice visit with my mom, dad and brother. It never did rain, at least not on me.

Monday, March 23, 2009

mourning cloak

mourning cloak study
pastel on uart 800 paper 5.5"x9"

A few days ago, in the middle of the night, or very early morning I woke up with this picture in my head. No idea where it came from. It's not what I usually paint although I had been thinking about beetles. So, after a few more days, I decided I better arrange some pigment on paper to resemble the picture in my head. The one in my head is better, so I'll call this one a "study" and hopefully try again later.

Mourning Cloak butterfly has ragged wings and is often the first butterfly seen during the year. It overwinters as an adult, and can be seen on warm days as early as January. (from Illinois Insects and Spiders by Peggy Macnamara)

I found the Uart 800 to be too fine. It doesn't hold any pastel at all. It would be useful I suppose if you only worked in hard pastels or pastel pencil.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

the gravel road

the gravel road
pastel on Uart sample 3"x5"

I previously did a small oil version of this scene, in a square format which I preferred. Here is a very small pastel version, a late night, just-gotta-get-my-fingers-dusty little painting.

I'm trying out a new paper-Uart. This is my first experience with it done on a little sample sent to me my an art supply store. (I confess, I photoshop-ed the staple holes out of it.) So far I like it a lot, but then this is a very small piece. I'm wanting to do more watercolor underpaintings and I think it will work well for this. It also gives you options about how "gritty" you want your surface to be. I'm looking forward to doing some experimenting on larger sheets.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

winter waterway

winter waterway
pastel on paper 9"x12"

I ordered some new colors to fill in some gaps in my pastel box and they arrived just in time since I was about half finished with this picture. I like to order individual pastels in colors that I've been feeling a need for. Usually it's not long before I wonder how I got along without them. This may not be finished. It feels like it's still in process. If it changes significantly, I'll post it again.

And here is a picture of the nice pastel box that my husband built for me. It's made of mahogany and birch. He's quite a woodworker, huh? You should see the beautiful frames that he builds when I paint a picture worthy of it. The box has a lid that fits snugly and is held on by a couple of elastic and velcro straps. I didn't want a lot of buckles or handles to catch on things. It fits nicely in a daypack so that I can take it along easily. This was taken before the new pastels, the last time I sort of cleaned it up a bit. I'm always curious about other artists' setup, so I thought maybe folks would like to see it.

Friday, March 13, 2009

my first million years

Wetlands Willows
pastel on wallis paper 4.5"x7"

I keep going back to these scenes from the large wetlands area nearby. I guess because I'm trying to find fairly simple uncomplicated compositions. And it's such a peaceful place. After spending the morning in traffic court with my son, this was just what I needed today.

In his book Painting As A Pastime, Winston Churchill talks about how painting calls new brain cells into activity, giving the tired parts of the mind rest and refreshment. How true!

And while I'm on the subject, here is another quote from Winston Churchill
I must say I like bright colours. I agree with Ruskin in his denunciation of that school of painting who 'eat slate-pencil and chalk, and assure everybody that they are nicer and purer than strawberries and plums.' I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colours. I rejoice with the brilliant ones, and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns. When I get to heaven I mean to spend a considerable portion of my first million years in painting, and so get to the bottom of the subject. But then I shall require a still gayer palette than I get here below. I expect orange and vermilion will be the darkest, dullest colours upon it,and beyond them there will be the whole range of wonderful new colours, which will delight the celestial eye.

and then I started scribbling....

pastel on wallis paper 9x12"

I worked on this way too long, and then put it away so I wouldn't have to look at it anymore. But, it was nagging at me. So, I got it back out, saw some things wrong with it and did some quick, scribbling "repairs". I'm pretty sure that I'm done with it now. I've worn it out. Ready to move on.
But that's ok because I have more paper, more pastels and a free day tomorrow.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

a little something for my sweetie...

garlic field
pastel on wallis paper

It's been a hellacious week, but I now have a few days off and hope to get back to painting. It was probably 70 degrees here today, and I'm hoping this great weather lasts at least a few more days.

I did this little pastel for my husband who loves garlic above almost everything. This might be the year we grew 5,000 heads of it. These days we grow a more reasonable 500 heads.
I did this painting on a tired brain, and didn't take it too seriously. It probably needs some tweaking, and certainly the photo does (too blue), but I wanted to post something this week. Honestly, I was hoping for something a little more Susan Ogilvie-ish.