Monday, January 24, 2011

Tabletop Marbles Finished

As I promised, here is my latest colored pencil work finally scanned and ready to frame.  It's an odd size and I won't go into the reasons why but needless to say it started out to be a demo piece I worked on during a Christmas event at Crossroads Art Gallery where I show my work.  After liking how the first few marbles turned out I kind of kept going until I had it all down on the HP watercolor paper I started on.  And since I haven't used that in a long time (preferring to work on Stonehenge paper or a sanded surface), I surprised myself that I didn't mind this paper again.   Oh, it's 8 x 13 - see a weird size but I think it will frame nicely in the 12 x 18 black frame I have for it.  That is after I cut the mat.

I guess my biggest accomplishment this weekend was to get this all scanned, stitched, color corrected and ready for the website all alone.  You see I'm trying to take on the image management and eventually the website management from my son, Chris, who has done so much for me in the past.  But his new job takes up so much of his time, I need to be able to get things kept up to date sooner.  And besides I need to be the big girl I am and make myself learn all the image/computer stuff.   (I cringe at having said this out loud, having put this off onto my son for far too long.)   

The weekend seemed to rush by me without getting any pencil onto paper except to make a new list of what I need to get done before we go to Florida.  However I did get some accounting work done for my job as treasurer at BAAA, my local art association.  

Next to do list item is to find some images to take on my trip, for pieces small enough to pack and work on while I'm away.  If I have enough room (we are flying) in my bags I'll try to take my pastel pencils.  Making an attempt to try them out as a plein aire media instead of my cp's.  But packing light isn't my strong suit.  Wish me luck.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Playing with pastels for the first time.

This week I spent a great deal of time researching how other artists work, show their work and where and also attended this months reception at Crossroads Art Center (where I rent space to show my work).  Last Monday (after my precious granddaughters went home from a 2 day stay with Nana) I gathered my few pastel pencils and small starter sets of pastels to ready myself for my first attempt at working in this medium.  For on Tuesday my friend and great pastel artist Betsy Kellum was going to show me the ropes in pastel painting.  So I at least needed to take pastel to paper and make a good attempt before I made a complete fool of myself at this media.  My intent is to find a faster media for Plein Aire Painting (for you non artists this is Painting in the Fresh Air).   My beloved colored pencil, the time consuming media it is, does not allow me to capture the light and moments that painting out of doors requires.  So thus I'm looking for a faster media for just this purpose.  Don't get me wrong I still love my cp's and it still IS my favorite but alas if I'm to get more out of outdoor excursions I need to be able to capture more than a basic line drawing and color swatch.

The first thing I confirmed was even though colored pencil painting was a time consuming media it is a fairly clean media, and pastels even with pastel pencils is far from clean.  At least in my hands!  But I knew this already right?  After playing with it for 2 hours I had it everywhere, my 4 year old granddaughter would have been proud.  But I was having fun, so I pursued my pastel adventure....... working on what Betsy said would be a good starter project.  She suggested to paint something you've done before.  So I pulled up one of my first colored pencil photo references, a still life of 3 Fuji apples on a blue cloth.  I didn't work from the line drawing I had from my cp piece, I worked one apple at a time with small areas of the cloth around it drawing directly onto the hot pressed watercolor paper I had on hand.  OK, I know, not the paper suggested for pastel use... but I like this paper and I use it at times for my cp work... and I have a lot of it in scrap form.  And I was only playing  right! My intent when I started was that I'd do one apple a little cloth and just have one quick experience with pastels.  But 5 hours later one apple turned into all 3 and all the cloth.  I actually did this piece in one fifth the time it took me to do the colored pencil one.  Now it's not laid out as well as the cp piece, but I wasn't following a line drawing and my intent was to just play.  So don't compare it for composition or as an exact copy.  No under painting just pastel on paper.

The second thing I learned was that despite my predisposition to pencils I found myself using and liking the pastel sticks better than the pastel pencils.  Probably because of their creaminess and the fact I could smoosh them around and blend like I do with my waxy Prismacolors.  For this experiment I used a set of 24 Nupastels, a 36 count of an off brand of beginner pastels, a few CarbOthello pastel pencils. a few Cretacolor pastel pencils and several Derwent pastel pencils.  Oh and 2 Conte pastel pencils, white and black, which I really liked because of their waxy feel. (Most like my prismas.)   Hey, I just like the wax's blending power, what can I say.  I haven't tried the Faber Castel Pitt Pastel Pencils yet so I'll try not to pass judgment entirely.  But so far my thoughts are that I like the Derwent least of all because they have a scratchiness to the pastel leads that makes them not as creamy to put down.  But since I currently have the most of them I relied on the Derwents for colors. 

Conclusions from this adventure into pastel:  1.  A much faster media, but again I wasn't trying to be faithful to the line drawing or composition.  So this should enable me to get more down within the plein aire realm;  2. Blending my way into a basic understanding of the media taught me that fingers are the my best tools although I did use the rubber tipped blender tools but I should try stumps for a less messy approach; 3.  I need many more colors of pastels in a better landscape palette to execute a basic scene.  If this sounds like art supply shopping.......................your right!  And what artist doesn't love that!

I hope to get my latest colored pencil piece scanned to post next week.  Off to order some more pastels. 



Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Art Blogging and the time it takes.

One of the facts of life I learned to accept is that there is very little time to be spread around when working as an artist.  Producing art, our most enjoyable act can be so impacted by the marketing, social networking, volunteering, business, and new venue tracking parts of an art career.  And the blogging here has been my down falling.  Sorry to all of you blog readers out there who may have looked forward to my filling pages with art, lessons, inspiration and such.  Another year, another good intention to try and fulfill.

Although my art can be seen on my website and in person at Crossroads Art Center in Richmond, VA and various gallery shows, and public places it hasn't appeared yet here.  Partly due to the time constraints and partly due to my limits on image know how.  But I am making progress and hope to remedy this soon on the blog.

For those who have interest in where I'm currently showing I have 6 pieces of my art in the current art show at the VA State General Assembly building on 9th St. in Richmond, VA.  And as of 1/13/2011 2 additional paintings at Cedarfield's Art Gallery, Richmond, VA in their main building as part of the Bon Air Artists Assoc. exhibit.  (Of which I am a member and officer)  I will be showing February 6th thru March 6th, 2011 at Gallery West in Alexandria, VA as part of their juried show.

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