Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Red Shoe Evening - 11" X 14" Colored Pencil On Ampersand Pastelboard

                                                      A Red Shoe Evening 11" X 14"

With all the Plein Air painting I've been doing this summer and teaching it took a little while to finish this Still Life.  It will be making it's debut at Crossroads Art Center and Gallery at this weeks opening reception, Sept. 19th, 2014 6-9 PM.  But since I have been doing several landscapes I kind of see the landscape of this work too.  I may have to get this photographed again as it looks a little more bright than the original piece.   But at least you get to see it.

The story behind this reference starts with my daughter in law and her new red shoes.  You see the kids came home for a costume party a year or so ago, one that fit the TV show Mad Men's theme.  Her new red shoes looked killer on her with a strand of pearls at her neck, red cardigan, white blouse, and dark skirt.  A true 1960 look for her and my son in his skinny tie and suit.   Off they went to have fun, however the next morning I saw those pretty red shoes kicked off on the floor of my kitchen with their reflection in the floor.

Well by now if you have been reading my blog you know this gal cannot pass up a good reflection to save her life.  Ideas were "a poppin" in my head.  When my daughter in law came downstairs I asked if I could borrow her shoes for a photo shoot.  Her comment tickled me,  "Those shoes killed my feet all night, I won't be wearing those anytime soon.  Of course you can have them."  I was so pleased since that meant I needn't hurry to photograph them before they left.

A week later I set up the still life with my old pearls and a few perfume bottles on a shinier surface and snapped away.  This would be so cute in a woman's bedroom or dressing area!  A reminder that we ladies will do anything for fashion at least once, and a killer pair of shoes has a double meaning!

Does it make you remember such an evening?  I think maybe several in my case since as a young girl I had a hard time resisting a "cute" pair of shoes or how they can make an outfit!

Gloria Callahan

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Colored Pencil - Plein Air Summer

                                                     Sunday Park Plein Air  6" X 12"
                                           Colored Pencil on Ampersand Pastelboard

Summer 2014 started with working "En Plein Air" (in the open air) with colored pencil and it's still going strong.  So while my posts have been a little farther apart I have been working on getting my speed up and working in new and various sizes.  2013 and prior I mostly worked in 5 X 7 sized pieces and one 8 X 10 but I had vowed to work a little bigger in plein air this year.  Many other media painters work their plein air just as small but they may get 2 pieces done in the time I work on one.  No matter, it's all in the doing as far as I'm concerned.  The above piece was at a local park here in July  at Brandermill's Sunday Park.  A small park in Chesterfield County, VA.  Quiet during the week and just a perfect spot for working on my speed.  I liked the long format of this board and had previously only worked on my backlit fruit series on it.  See here or here for a sampling of that series.  One of which I don't think I ever placed on the blog is:

                  Backlit Citrus 2  6" X 12"  Colored Pencil on Ampersand Pastelboard  SOLD

While I liked the long format for the still lives mentioned, I'm finding I also really like this long format for a larger vista.  So I will be sure to do more plein air pieces on these boards.

The largest piece plein air I have tried was 9" X 12" on a 5 hour session plein air and a few hours at home.  Virginia is blessed with at least one lavender farm in the Blue ridge mountains east of Harrisonburg.  My favorite plein air pal and side kick, Kathy and I ventured out for an overnight in the area on the hunt for plein air sites.  White Oak Lavender Farm was our first stop, day one of the trip.  As a gardener, woman and foodie it's a little distracting at a place like this because you just want to buy up their plants, scented lotions, lavender balsamic vinegar and lavender blueberry jam.  Yes, you heard right lavender balsamic vinegar!  But I digress.....

Although it's a great place in a quaint Shenandoah setting, it's not the quantity of lavender you see in Provence.  But since I was bummed my friends were in France and I was not this would do nicely.  Our hard winter was hard on the lavender and so a little imaginary enhancements were added in the following piece to even out the farm's replacement plantings in some areas.

                                                          Lavender Fields 9" X 12"
                                           Colored Pencil on Ampersand Pastelboard

While I think capturing the distant Blue Ridge mountains and more distant rolling fields of the farm went well, most of the work on the foreground field of lavender was completed at home.  Lavender is very hard to capture well, but I did my best.

Did I tell you that working outdoors in a field of lavender is dreamy!  No other word for it d-r-e-a-m-y!   As the breeze on this overcast day blew by, the scent was ethereal, not over powering just light on the wind.  Kind of like the approaching rain heading our way.  It held off until just the end of our session when we could not wait any longer to make our purchases in the farm's gift shop.

I'll add some more plein air work in another post but for now you can see some of what I've been up to.

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