Monday, January 16, 2012

finishing up some paintings

McMurry's farm
pastel on Wallis paper 10x10

pastel on uart paper 9x12

from last summer's plague

magicicada neotredecim
colored pencil

Friday, February 25, 2011

Bald Cypress

bald cypress
pastel on uart 600 paper 8.5x11.5

I started this in the fall with a nice person I met who wanted to paint together so that she could watch me. We met at the park near my house and had to find something to paint. It was a unique challenge and a nice way to make a new friend. As so often happens, it took quite a while to finish this. I had something that I really liked that afternoon and was afraid to proceed and risk messing it up. I took this to an art critique that I participate in and got some great suggestions there that helped me complete the painting.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Morning Commute

morning commute
pastel on paper approx 10x16

This is not a new painting. Unfortunately I can't really get to work by bike these days. Too bad. It was a great way to start the day.
But I recently had some reproductions made, to be purchased for a hospital project, and this was one that was chosen.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

after the rains

after the rains
pastel on uart 600 9x12"

cows in the field

cows in the field
small pastel on paper

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

four pines

four pines
pastel 9x6

Painted looking across Stout's Creek in southeast Missouri.

the woodshed

the woodshed
pastel on canson paper 10x12

Just for fun. It'll be a nice warm winter around the woodstove, eh?

Friday, July 2, 2010

something old, something new

pastel on board 10x10

Wetland Willows (redone)
pastel on wallis paper

Monday, May 10, 2010

bishop, california

bishop, california

pastel on paper 15"x19"

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

a couple more funny little chairs

the butterfly chair

the cowboy chair

These are a couple more chairs that I was asked to paint for a charity auction. They are tiny chairs, only about 20 inches tall. A fun diversion, that I didn't really need.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

snowbird #2

snowbird #2
pastel on paper 7"x8"


These little birds just have so much personality; they seem very curious. I like to capture their "pose" without too much detail. Maybe I'll try some more of these, moving on to a spring setting, but then they won't be gathering under my bird feeder right outside my kitchen window.
I took my 2 snowbird pictures to the local art league and both sold within a few days!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

4 pieces

Oregon meadow
pastel on paper
a gift to my sister

clouds and cows
11.5"x17.5" pastel on wallis paper

two older pieces that I forgot to post,

and some newer pieces...

the pond
6"x8" pastel on sanded paper

the path
8.5"x11.5" pastel on Uart paper

Please click on the pictures to see them a little larger.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

painted chair

birdnest chair
acrylic on small wooden chair

This is a chair that I painted for a charity silent auction. It was a challenge to figure out how to use all the different spaces. There's a lot of surface area on a little chair!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Beside Still Waters

beside still waters
pastel on wallis paper 9"x18"
framed approx. 18"x26"

Recently I've been displaying some of my artwork through the local art league, and through the community art program. Last month I was excited to find that I had sold 2 pieces.

This painting will be part of the member's show that will be up through the end of the year. I started it on location in a beautiful, peaceful spot in the nearby wetlands area, but finished it in "the studio".

My husband has been making these fine cherry frames which are a very nice color to set off the painting, and he'll make any size I need, in a day. Lucky me!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

fence row

fence row with ironweed
pastel on uart paper


pastel on board 5x14

I've been away from blogging for quite some time now. I've found that looking at lots of other people's work, while fun, is sometimes confusing for me. It's great in small doses though.

My husband has been making frames like crazy and I'm getting some pieces together for the great little community art league here in our town. I'm planning to put up eight or so pieces in a public place as part of the community art program. An exciting first step for me.

This is one that I had set aside and forgotten about. But here it is resized (I cut the bottom off), the foreground reworked, and I'm happy with it- looking across the cow pasture at the little piece of woodland that we own in southeast Missouri. It was dusk and getting cold.
Pastels really glow in person, and that just doesn't always come through on the computer monitor.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Oregon river rocks

Oregon River Rocks
pastel on wallis paper

I finally got back to painting today. Having been gone the past 6 weekends, there wasn't much time to paint, except for the pastel workshop of course. This one was started at the workshop and finished up today.

I enjoy painting rocks. It's almost like sculpting. You add a little shadow and the form of the rock changes.
Water is fun too. There's so much color in it.
Foliage is a struggle, as always. I just feel lucky when it turns out right.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Albert Handell workshop in Oregon

Grant's Pass Water Dept.
pastel on Wallis paper 12"x18"

I just spent a week in Grant's Pass Oregon, visiting my sister and taking part in a pastel workshop with Albert Handell. It was a wonderful experience in every way. I'm still jotting down little things I learned as they come to mind- not so much technique as how to see and compose a beautiful painting.
This is one of the paintings that I did during the workshop. I was particularly happy with this one because one of the things I was hoping to work on was how to handle all the green that surrounds us in the summertime. You can only avoid it for so long...

Friday, May 15, 2009

spring creek

spring creek
pastel on uart paper 9"x12"

A painting done on site at the park near my house. I was happy to find this little out of the way creek with a plank bridge in just the right spot. It was a nice place to set up my easel and be off the beaten path. (I have a hard time painting with lots of onlookers.)

Thursday, May 7, 2009


pastel on paper 9x12-ish

Well I've been avoiding my blog for a couple weeks, but wanted to post something while I'm working on another piece. So here is one of my older paintings. It's always been one of my favorites although I'm sure the composition would bother some people.
Haybales are a nice thing to paint, all big and round, although I do sometimes miss the square ones.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Nebraska twice

Nebraska again
pastel on Uart 800 paper 6.5"x9"

Nebraska 1st painting
pastel on Canson paper 10"x19"

I thought it might be fun to post the first pastel that I ever did. I had a cheap little box of Mungyo pastels ($6 at Hobby Lobby?).
I decided to try painting the same scene again. Funny thing is, I'm not really sure which one I like better.
I'm also not 100% sure that this was in Nebraska. If it is, it's northwest Nebraska, close to Wyoming or Montana. We covered lots of states on that road trip. It's beautiful out there.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

charcoal sketch

David at the creek
vine charcoal on paper

Gee, I've been having a hard time painting lately. I sat down and started this sketch to help me decide if I wanted to do a pastel of my husband. I do landscapes, not people. Well, it does look like him except that he's 6'4" and this makes him look more like 6'.
I still haven't mustered up the courage to start the pastel version.
I've never spent much time drawing. This vine charcoal is nice stuff. Really black, and it moves around and erases easily. And amazingly it doesn't come off on your hands. I'm a messy artist so that's a good thing.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

the colors of fog

the colors of fog
pastel on board 3"x5"

Another four hours on the interstate yesterday, and another picture from memory. I was so annoyed with myself for forgetting to bring my camera, so I worked real hard at trying to remember something about the way the clumps of trees looked in the fog. But the most beautiful part was the colors. The lavender sky made the grasses glow all orangy pink.
I didn't really want to paint this evening, and started out trying to rescue a painting I started over the weekend. I don't often give up on a painting, but that one is filed away, probably forever. Not wanting to quit on a bad note, I did this one. I think I did it in 10 minutes and then quit, because I want to go sit by the woodstove and knit.

But first, I'd like to mention that I was recently tagged by Jala Pfaff, who is a talented artist and feels like a friend because she so faithfully stops by my blog and leaves encouraging notes. If you aren't already familiar with Jala and her lovely paintings, please visit her blog. She does amazing things with vegetables, locks and other interesting subjects.
I was also tagged earlier by Karen, and never got around to fulfilling by tagging duties. She is also very talented and does some delightful little landscapes. You can see them at A Visual Journey.

Some other artists that I want to mention (or tag) are:

Jeff at 120 Paintings who has been a source of inspiration (and information) to me
George Coll Daily Paintings who does small landscapes with wonderful color
Margaret Dyer, also a pastelist who does very expressive studies of people
Susan Downing-White paints Gulf Coast Flora
Joie de Vivre has a great chair series
Myra at I Want To Be An Artist who paints nice little dancers

These are just a few that came to mind. There are many more. The art blogging community has been such a good thing for me. I'm glad you are all here. Thanks.

Friday, April 10, 2009

shadows on the path

shadows on the path
pastel on Uart600 paper, 7.5" x8.5"

A painting that I started and put aside for a week or so. Most of the ground work was done quickly on site. I finished it up today and it's cold and rainy. It was nice remembering this warm sunny day.

I realized that I use a lot of trial and error when I paint. Sometimes it's a very hard decision as to which color I'm going to pick up out of the box and use. Sometimes it's just really pretty haphazard- almost unconscious, or maybe a little intuitive. And I'm not talking about the choice between 2 very close shades of green, but more like, am I going to use this blue or that red? I'd like to find a good book on color. Any suggestions?

One very basic way that I think I'm improving as an artist is that I notice sooner when something isn't working, and I stop trying to make it work.

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.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

supporting the arts

hilltop shadow
pastel on Wallis paper 7.5"x9.5"

Well, it's the last day of February, and I met my goal of painting every day, even though I didn't complete a new painting each day. And there were a few I didn't post. It's been such a good thing for me. I hope to keep up the daily, or near daily consistency.

This weekend our town, Columbia Missouri, is hosting an annual Documentary Film Festival, called the True False Film Festival. It has become quite a huge event, attracting thousands of people each year, and requiring hundreds of volunteers. I'm happy that I got to be one of them this year and support the arts in another way. And I get to see lots of amazing films. It has made it a little difficult to paint the last couple of days, but I'm pretty happy with this one.

Happy March everyone. Spring is coming!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

cedar grove

cedar grove
pastel on Wallis paper 7"x7"

This quick sketch was done from a photo taken the other day, just down the hill from the sunny happy place.
Cedars are the only green thing around right now, which is kind of a relief really. I've always had a hard time "capturing" cedar trees. The deep dark shadows and those highlights- gold, russet, sometimes almost red, sometimes yellow-green.
The sky really was an intense blue that day.