Monday, July 25, 2016

Sanderlings and Waves

I'm not getting much accomplished lately since I fell and broke my wrist a couple weeks ago. Granted it is my left wrist, and I'm right-handed, but I still felt so washed out for days! And so many things are hard with just one hand - including this blog post typed with two fingers, LOL.

However energy is coming back a bit, and I'm still on my love affair with oil pastels, and with beach scenes.
This is done with the oilies on an 8x10 Ampersand Pastelboard - my fave surface for these.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

More small paintings


Sunrise II

I'm still having fun playing with the oil pastels. They are fantastic on Ampersand boards, and then blended with some turpenoid. Finish with three coats of varnish and you have a well-protected surface. I did both of these the other day - just small 5x7's on Ampersand, using my Holbein oil pastels. They have three coats of varnish each and could easily be framed without glass - a nice savings.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Winter Morning Fishing

Today a group of us from the Art Guild of Orange Park went to the Isle rehab center in Fleming Island, FL. We had several artists who brought various items for sale, and others who worked on art projects with the residents, and a couple of us who worked on art work in public spaces. There was a potter who was quite popular, but I was set up to paint right in the main lobby, and I had a great time talking to people as I worked.

The above is the painting I did this morning, from a reference photo I took last Thanksgiving weekend when I went up to NC to visit my sister and her family. Every morning I took my dog for a walk on the beach just about sunrise, and got lots of great photos. Regular pastel would have probably gotten dust all over the floor so this was done again with oil pastels. I'm learning a little more about them, like the fact that they don't layer well if laid down with too heavy a hand, so on this painting  I worked on multiple light layers. This is done with my Holbein and Caran d'Ache oilies on an 11x14 sheet of Richeson sanded paper. It was a fun morning.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Breakfast Time

More and more lately I'm having fun playing with my oil pastels - most of the benefits of the regular dry pastels but not all the mess and dust. They are a great medium to use with my grandkids! Turpenoid works great for blending them. I've been coating them with varnish and so far it seems to create a hard surface with no mess and stickiness - and could easily be framed without glass, or so it seems. The best of all possible worlds.

We'll see, so far so good. I saw this pelican just a couple miles from my house, picking up a fish at a local boat ramp on Doctors Lake and I had to take a few photos. I guess my biggest issue with the oil pastels is that they don't layer very well, unlike the regular dry pastels. The oily surface seems to prevent it, so some of my brights are not as bright here as I wanted, but could not add any more layers on top of the darker colors. Still, I'm having fun and it's all a learning experience. This was done on an 8x10 plain Ampersand board which I coated with a couple coats of the pre-mixed Art Spectrum ground, using a mixture of both my Holbein and Caran d'Ache oilies.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Six by Six

Today I had some fun playing with acrylic again. These three paintings were all done on 6x6 inch gallery-wrapped stretched canvas. It's fun working small as you are able to accomplish a lot in just a small amount of time! I need to get more into the "paint small, paint often" mindset. It's been a good week for that!

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Working smaller

I'm really having fun using my oil pastels and turpenoid and creating small works. These two which I just did today are both 5x7 on Pastelmat boards I primed with Art Spectrum primer. I seemed to be working backwords. Many artists do small paintings first as studies for larger works. Me? I did larger works and then did these small ones afterwards. These are small versions of the paintings seen here and here.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Ocean Sunrise

I'm getting into a painting groove these days! I had a gallery-wrapped canvas all primed so decided to paint a picture this morning of the ocean sunrise. This is a panorama view, 10x20 inches, using acrylic.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Little Kiawah Sunset

I had such fun working with oil pastels and Turpenoid yesterday, and when I was done the painting seemed so much safer and secure than a normal dry pastel which is always smudgeable. Yes, my grandkids have proved that! But the oil pastel seemed almost firm and dry enough that it seemed I could possibly even varnish it as you might an oil or acrylic. Was that possible? I some googling on the subject and, as with anything you google it seems, there were conflicting opinions of yes, no, maybe, and all sorts of caveats about the possible process,

So I decided I would just experiment, but I didn't want to risk the painting from yesterday which I was pretty happy with, so I actually repainted the scene as seen here, but on a 5x7 ampersand board, this one coated in Art Spectrum ground. The oil pastels and Turpenoid also worked well, so I tried a coat of Liquitex non-yellowing acrylic matte varnish on top of it. It went over smoothly and dried to a clear, hard lacquerlike finish. So far I've done two coats. I like how it looks, and the painting surface no longer seems capable of smudging. Of course I don't think you could layer any more pastel over it either, so this is a technique to try only when you are sure a painting is "done".

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Kiawah Sunset

Last weekend I spent the weekend on South Carolina's Kiawah Island, just outside Charleston, visiting my friend Beth's vacation home. Her family owns a marvelous old place right on the banks of the salt marshes on Kiawah and the sunsets are spectacular. I took a number of photos so had to turn at least one into a painting. This was done today on an 8x10 Ampersand pastel board using my Caran d'Ache NeoPastel oil pastels. I used Turpenoid for blending. I quite like oil pastels, sort of the best of all worlds for me.

What a great weekend in SC too. I was there for the launch of Beth and friends' Low Country cookbook. Wonderful food. I cooked dinner for the family last night using recipes from it: Shrimp and grits, spinach and strawberry salad, collard greens with cabbage, and the Darby family lemon pie. All yummy. :-)

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Cindy's Pitcher

Thanks to all my friends who offered advice on how to make this painting better and stronger. I really loved Cindy's pitcher so had a soft spot for this piece. Working on the background and some cropping at the top are a definite improvement. As a result this is the only painting of my three entries that was accepted by juror Karen Margulis into out upcoming First Coast Pastel Society spring show.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Sketch Club - Spring Park

Lately I've been enjoying my friend Leslie's "Sketch Club". We meet every other week and the idea is *not* to paint, but to practice our drawing skills. However today was a *gorgeous* day - sunny and upper 60s and a light breeze, so we decided to meet outdoors at Spring Park, a wonderful park on the banks of the St. Johns River. However I threw some pastels into the bag and decided to give them a try too. So when we first arrived I spent about 40 minutes on the above - an 8x12 masonite board which I primed myself with three coats of the Art Spectrum pre-mixed primer that you can buy - a jar I have had for years of the stuff, sort of a slate bluish color. I never like anything I do plein air, but it's always fun to give it a try.

After that I did break out my charcoal pencil and my colored pencils and spent another 15-20 minutes just trying a simple drawing while I chatted with friends. What a perfect day.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Little Pitcher

I fell in love with this cute little pitcher when I saw it at a tea party at my friend Cindy's house a couple weeks ago, and I had to snap a few photos of it, and it just needed to be painted.

I'm still struggling with my "invented" background though, as the real background was just Cindy's kitchen! But I do like the pitcher. See what I think tomorrow in the cold light of day.

This is 11x14, on Richeson paper, using my cheesy Faber-Castell pastels as they were the only easily portable set, and I did this tonight over at my friend Leslie's Studio Club.

Update: Here is the current version after some reworking based on input from friends:

Saturday, February 06, 2016

at Walter Jones

There were six of us who met this morning at Walter Jones Historical Park in Mandarin for the First Coast Pastel Society's plein air day. It was overcast and raw, but it was fun to be together anyway. I did this on an 8x10 Ampersand pastel board, a nice plein air surface. I used my Holbein oil pastels again, and they worked on this surface far better than they had on the Richeson surface, no extensive finger blending required. The Holbein set does not have very good colors for realistic plein air, so that allowed me to be a little crazy. Most of the actual colors were pretty flat and gray, so it was fun to use some of the more vibrant Holbein colors instead.

To see what other folks did this morning you can check out our blog at:

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Jean's Lemons (three)

When I was working on organizing my art supplies this past week I came across a set of Holbein oil pastels. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with oil pastels. I like that they are "hands on" like regular dry pastels, and can be applied on top of other colors immediately in the same way - unlike acrylics and oils. I like that they also are basically never-dry so you can keep working with them, and I like that, while they do need to be framed under glass, they don't smudge so easily and immediately as dry pastels.

But they definitely feel more waxy and "crayony" - and go on more like a child's work in a coloring book. They don't blend and layer easily. I had not tried them in a few years so decided to give them a whirl a couple days ago on a sheet of 11x14 Richeson sanded paper, sort of a mustard color.

I wish I'd taken a photo of the earlier phase, because after multiple passes and attempts at layering the surface still looked like kids' crayons had run over it, with the mustard support showing through everywhere, and the Holbeins would not cover it at all. I even went over it with an alcohol wash as I had a vague memory that had worked previously in blending the oil pastels, but it was useless. Nothing happened whasoever.

I was about to junk it and make a paper airplane out of the Richeson or some such, when I first tried a swipe with my fingers, and found that finger-swiping actually blended the oil pastels! The lumpy bumpy crayons were melding together! So it took a lot of finger blending to get the colors to come together, but in the end they finally did. My relationship with oil pastels is still love/hate though!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

First Dance

I still am playing with acrylics, though I still feel like a kindergarten kid for the most part when working with them. I don't love them passionately as I do pastels, but I love the fact that when they dry there is no worry that they will smudge and smear, and that you don't need to frame them under glass.

Still they do take lots longer than pastels as you have to wait for sections to dry - but they don't take as long as oils! Anyway here is a painting I've been working on, off and on, for over two weeks. I decided to use acrylics as this is pretty big for me, 18x24, and I figured I would smear and smudge all over the place with a pastel that big - plus too heavy and expensive to frame a pastel that big. But a comparable pastel would have taken me a couple days at most, not two weeks!

This painting has undergone lots of changes in two weeks but at this point I think it's about as good as I can get, so declaring it "done" and time to move on to another project. :-)

Saturday, January 02, 2016

The Shape of Things to Come

My first painting of 2016. I loved these little boxes that just came from the Dollar Tree. My New Year's resolution should be to spend more time at the easel! I have a couple shows coming up which has gotten me a bit more motivated. This was done on a slate blue 9x12 sheet of Art Spectrum, mostly my old NuPastels. My 6-year-old grandson liked it so much that he decided he wanted to paint this view also :)  :

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Willet and Waves - preliminary

I had a little free time this morning and I decided I wanted to paint a *big*  painting this morning, big and bright and colorful. I found (can't even imagine where they came from!) several 16x20 heavyduty Canson cardboard sheets, all in dark colors - three dark brown and one black. How odd. But I figured I could cover the surface with pastel. WRONG. It turned out the paper mounted on the board was the standard bumpy (meaning ugly) side of Canson. When I tried to apply any pastel you got all the classic ugly Canson dimpling showing through, in DARK BROWN. I tried to blend to get rid of the dimples, and it did blend a bit, but the colors were still dark and muddy. Any layer I tried to put on still had the dimples, which I HATE. It just went from bad to worse and I finally decided it was not going to get any better and gave up. I loved this photo I had taken on a bird walk at Fort Matanzas a couple weeks ago, and the pastel was not doing it justice.

So I got out a 16x20 canvas I had, covered it with gesso toned with a little burnt siena and decided to try an acrylic. Never having taken any lessons in acrylic I still feel like I'm just futzing around with it, but even so I was happier with what I was getting than I was on the Canson board with pastel.

I've reached this logical stopping point with it right now, and tomorrow I have my monthly art critique so I'll be brave and bring it to that and see what advice I get on where to go next.

Meanwhile, here for fun, is what my Canson board with pastel on it looks like. Quite a sow's ear. I doubt there is a silk purse hiding in there anywhere. So are these boards good for anything? I can't even recall why I have them. I might still try this in pastel again though, on sanded paper!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


The Art Guild of Orange Park has a current show hanging which was supposed to be anything but standard 2D artwork. Well bummer for me, I'm a 2D artist and my mind really does not think outside the box for anything beyond 2D. I thought about it for months but really had no ideas of interest to me. We have so many 2D artists though that I was afraid there might not be enough artwork for the show, so finally the night before receiving for the show I sat down and painted this! Pretty crummy I know. Thirty minutes worth of acrylic which is not my forte, and then I glued a few small shells and rock onto it to give it a bit more than standard 2D. LOL. Clearly no award winner but at least I produced a piece for the show, even if only at the last minute.

Alpine Groves

I did this painting last month at our First Coast Pastel Society plein air paint-out. We went to Alpine Groves Park along the banks of the St. Johns River. It was a cool, overcast, misty day. No sunlight, no shadows, no reflections, no lights and darks. The lake water looked dark and foreboding, the sky was light solid gray. Hard for me to paint without interesting lights and shadows. I did this from out on the long fishing pier looking back to the shoreline.

I took it to the monthly art critique I go to which always helps, lots of good advice. I always struggle in my artwork to add things that were not actually there. I was told I need to make the sky darker, and that I should add some orange reflections of the trees in the water even though there was none there. And also the fact that the three elements of my composition (water, trees, sky) divide the painting almost into even thirds, a very uninteresting composition! LOL, I was so careful to make sure I didn't put my waterline smack dab in the middle of the painting, such a big no-no. I didn't think about the thirds business. Guess I'll have to raise my treeline higher since I can't really change the water.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Beach Babe

Thanks to judge Tony Walsh for awarding "Beach Babe" Second Place at the "Everything's a Canvas"art show currently hanging at the Park Avenue Bistro in Fleming Island, FL. This is a show of original art masks created by members of the Art Guild of Orange Park (and friends) for the charity Masquerade Ball to benefit St. Vincent's Hospital in Middleburg, coming up this October at the Club Continental.

If you would like to see all the masks you can find them at: Directions for purchase of the masks are there. All proceeds from the sales of the masks are tax  deductible and will go to benefit St. Vincent's Hospital.

We had a great reception tonight. Go out and eat at the Park Avenue Bistro and see the masks in person! There are over 120 masks on display. I had such fun making them I actually made fourteen. :-)

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Lobster Season - Cape Tormentine

This is my last 20-minute painting from up here in Canada because I leave tomorrow morning to head back home to Florida. I took one last ride this morning along the shore road and over to Cape Jourimain, and made a stop at the wharf at Cape Tormentine. Lobster season starts for this stretch of the shore on August 10 and folks are getting their pots ready. Yum. Guess I'm almost at my lobster limit for the season this year.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Bottle glass

I love the glass bottles that sit on the window ledge here at the farm. I hesitate to paint them though, I can never seem to draw them symmetrically. But I decided to try today, on another sheet of 6x8 Art Spectrum. But as I suspected the bottles came out all lopsided and asymmetric.

Too late I recalled the advice of one art teacher - fold a piece of paper in half, draw half the bottle, then cut it out, open it up, and you have a perfect symmetrical shape. However I forgot that advice until after I'd already painted my lumpy shapes. Oh well, as the same teacher also said "If your bottles come out uneven just tell people it's hand-blown glass." LOL

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Llamas at Jolicure

Well another little 6x8 30-minute painting. I went on a ride today to do some bird-watching at the Beaubassin Field Station on the Tantramar Marsh, and I took some of the back rounds through Jolicure and Point de Bute. I saw these two llamas in the field as I passed and had to snap and take a few pictures of them. Good thing they were fenced as they guy did his best to come right up to my car and check me out!

At any rate I thought it would be fun for a quick painting - again on Art Spectrum, my old set of NuPastels.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Life Drawing at Tidnish Bridge Art Gallery

I was out birding much of the day yesterday (despite on and off heavy rains!) and no quick paintings at home, but I knew in the evening I'd be going to the art gallery in Tidnish Bridge, Nova Scotia. By early evening the rains had stopped. The gallery hosts life drawing classes every Monday evening from 7-9 PM and the fee is reasonable - the model's fee ($40) divided by the number of participants. That worked out to a $7 fee last night which was great!

I felt rusty of course as I had not done any life drawing since I was up here last summer at Tidnish Bridge, and the human figure is so unforgiving. However it's always fun and good practice. Lots of quick (30 second, 2 minute, 5 minute, 10 minute) poses, mostly gestural for the shorter ones, then for the last hour two 25-minute poses. Those are the two here. I didn't bring any pastels with me, but did have some colored pencils and got to add a touch of color. It was fun, and I hope to attend next week also.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Maximum 60

It was a raw, rainy, chilly and windy day here in maritime Canada today. The heavy rains kept knocking out my satellite internet connection. But right now the rains have stopped although it's still windy and overcast, but the connection is alive again.

You'd think I would have all day to paint, but I got involved in a good book, and worked on a jigsaw puzzle, but in the afternoon decided to paint something. I do live this new "work small, work often" mantra though, as this is another only 6x8 on Colourfix, and I only spent about 20 minutes on it - so not exactly polished.

But at least it gave me the satisfaction of feeling I had done *something*. Done from a photo of course. Even on nice days the mosquitoes are too fierce for plein air. This is from a scene just past Cape Tormentine, where the road curves down and around the bend, and as you get to the bend you have a great view of the Confederation Bridge to Prince Edward Island.