Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Misty Morning Pond with Heron

This painting has been sitting on my easel for over a month now. I kept thinking it needed something else. I finally got it into my head that what it needed was a heron standing on the edge of the pond near the tree, so this was what did this evening. Now I see that the heron appears to be close to dead center. Oh well, now it's sitting on my easel again to stare at and thing about - 11x14 Richeson paper and various pastels, mostly my Mount Vision "thunderstorm grays" set.

Monday, December 08, 2014

I'm a Little Teapot

Today was the day to turn in our painted boxes to the Jacksonville Artists Guild  for their "Cat's Meow" show, to raise money for First Coast No More Homeless Pets. The panels will be on display at the Reddi-Arts "Gallery 1037" In January, and of course for sale there.

Since the paintings were due today I finally sat down and painted mine yesterday - a little different since I did a cat teapot rather than an actual cat! But I figured there would be plenty of variety. I didn't get to see all of them since I didn't stay for the holiday party but just dropped off my painting and ran, but here's a sample of some of the other cat art that had already been delivered.

Sunday, December 07, 2014


Yesterday we had out third annual holiday brunch of the First Coast Pastel Society. As has become our custom we enjoy a nice meal together, and then spend a couple hours working on still lifes that have been set up. At the link above to our group blog you can see what other members worked on. The painting above is the one I did. 

It's a painting of a traditional Scandinavian "julbock" or Christmas Goat. As one of our members, of Scandinavian descent, put it: "up in Scandinavia there are more reindeer than we know what to do with, but instead we have a Christmas goat." :-)

Anyway, this was my take on the still life I chose to work on, as I decided a Goat was more fun than just one more vase of flowers. I had a fun time with my other pastelists, and look forward to an exciting 2015 with them.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Misty morning pond

At the September meeting of the First Coast Pastel Society we had a presentation by Karl Kelly of Mount Vision Pastels, from Tampa, FL. Karl had a mouth-watering array of over 400 colors of pastels available, as well as various boxed sets of pastels. The one I loved was the "Thunderstorm Gray" set, so I had to buy that one - as well as about  different open stock colors that appealed to me.

I just needed a subject to try out all the wonderful colors in that set! I finally pulled out a photo today that was taken right in my own back yard on a very gray and misty morning with a hint of fog rising from the pond.

So this was done entirely with the colors from the Thunderstorm Gray set as well as one open stock dark green. Mount Vision pastels are all hand-made by Karl, and are big and chunky, so no way to get any serious details with them. They also are fairly fragile as I found when one rolled off the table and shattered into 100 pieces!

This is done on a 11x14 sheet of Richeson sanded paper, sort of an ocher color.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Minis at the Arboretum

Yesterday the First Coast Pastel Society had our first plein air outing of the fall season at the Jacksonville Arboretum. We had about 14-15 folks turn out to paint, and the weather was glorious - our first sunny day in weeks I think.

I still don't feel very comfortable with plein air though I go because I love the fun and camaraderie with the group. I bought a 3-pack of Ampersand pastelmat 5x7 boards and thought they were just a perfect size to use for plein air, so I did the two pictures above.

I don't care for either one of them, LOL. but I still had a lovely day chatting with fellow pastelists, and a nice picnic lunch together.

In other news both of my 16x20 acrylics survived the jurying process and are in the "16x20" show at Reddi-Arts. Opening reception this Sunday, should be fun.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Floridian Fall

This is the second 16x20 acrylic I did for the "16x20" show at Reddi-Arts. Acrylics are still a huge struggle but I'm having more fun with them than I expected. Water, as always, is a killer for me regardless of medium. LOL.

However this scene is right here in the local shopping center in Fleming Island, a largish retention pond just behind and a little to the west of the local Wal-Mart - not exactly out in the pristine wilderness. But I have loved these trees ever since I loved to Florida in 2011 as their pretty colors give me a taste of fall arriving.

And it really does seem to be arriving now. Lovely cool and breezy when I walked my dog an hour ago, and supposed to drop down into the 40s tonight. Woo hoo, I love it.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

St. Augustine Lighthouse

We had receiving for an art show this morning where every piece had to be 16x20. That is the image size, not counting mat, not counting frame, etc. The actual image had to be exactly 16x20. I never paint that large with my pastels. I work 9x12 or 11x14, and I buy frames in bulk in only those sizes. I didn't *want* to have to go out and buy a large sheet to work on and a large frame,

So I decided to try acrylics once again. Michael's had gallery-wrapped 16x20 frames on sale for about $8.60 each so the price was certainly right and no frame required! I was allowed to enter two in the show so I decided to go for it. This is the first one I completed.

[sigh] I still feel like a kindergarten kid when it comes to trying to use acrylics.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


When I was in Canada this summer my neighbor told me I should visit the Beaubassin Research Station located on the Tantramar Marsh along the shores of the Bay of Fundy, and used mainly for research on wetlands and waterfowl.

I'm an avid birder, and I've always loved salt marshes. The Tantramar has long been a favorite place of mine, but I had never seen the section where the Beaubassin station is located - a large white house located far out on the marsh. I went out there a number of times and loved looking at the marsh and the sky and the various birds.

It just seemed like a natural for a painting of some sort, so this is the one I came up with, of the long road going through the marsh out to the Research Station standing all alone and far from anyone.

Done on 9x12 Art Spectrum Colourfix, various pastels.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Maritime morning

Every summer I take my pastels up to Canada with me and VOW I will do lots of painting, and yet I never seem to get as much done as I think I would. This year was a very low year and I only did TWO.

Actually three I suppose, all on Art Spectrum Colourfix, 9x12. However the first one was just so completely dreadful that after an hour or two I just rushed into the kitchen and rinsed everything off under the sink! I was left with a sheet of Colourfix paper that had stains of various colors on it faintly, so I began playing with pastels to enhance some of the colors to see what happened, then enhancing some of the shapes as the colors took place.

So this is what I ended up with, very different from my usual style and way of working!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Tidnish Life sessions

 Once again I enjoyed going to the Life Drawing sessions at the Tidnish Bridge Art Gallery on Monday evenings, 7-9 PM.
 The format was the same as in previous years, working from a life model. We first started each session with a series of 30 second poses.
 Thirty seconds causes you to have to work fast! Figure drawing is not my forte, and is very unforgiving, as opposed to a tree, LOL. But I always figure drawing from life is a valuable experience.
 From 30 seconds we moved on to a series of 60-second poses.
 After that we moved up to 2-minute poses.
 Two minutes felt like quite a luxury after the initial 30 seconds!

 After that we moved to 5-minute poses though I don't seem to have any available here.
 The last hour we finished with a couple 20-minute poses, and then often a 15-minute pose at the end.
I still don't consider myself a figure painter! But I definitely enjoy going to these sessions! Looking forward to next year with Bob Morouney.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Jacksonville Zoo project opening

In May the Jacksonville Artists Guild had their zoo fundraiser opening at the zoo itself. What a fun evening it was to have the zoo all to ourselves, and to see all the amazing artwork the members contributed.

 Between all the members who participated we had enough artwork to make four large amazing blocks up on the way, 105 pieces in all. It was awesome seeing what everyone did.
 My elephant piece is in the second column from the right, second painting from the top. During the event the pieces were also available for purchase via silent auction, and someone bought my elephant! Yay, $100 raised for the zoo.
 There were so many awesome works of art I was tempted to buy one myself, but could not decide on a particular one.
I had two pieces in this block of work - the blue giraffe in the rightmost column, second from the bottom. In the same row, second from the left, are my three pink flamingos. I guess I was not that original in subject matter, LOL. Giraffes, elephants and flamingos all seemed to be pretty popular among the artists.

Peggi Kroll Roberts workshop - days two and three

Boy, I am so behind in my blog! I and I kept putting off adding things I wanted to add, as I wanted to keep this chronological. I had a lot to say about the Peggi Kroll Roberts workshop, but never got around to saying it, so now it's just time to move on. Our second day we went to Stinson Park, a small gem of a park on the river, and worked with live models. It was a hot day for the poor models to be out in the sun.

I think that's why they asked if they could be in the shade for later poses. It was fun, but the park had two drawbacks - a teeny-weeny parking lot - only about 16 spaces, and our class of 18 took up most of them, quite an issue as there was one birthday party going on at the park and another park as well, and everyone jockeying for places to park. The park also had no sanitary facilities, so if you jumped in your car to go to a rest room you knew you would not find a space in the parking lot when you got back.

So the third day a different park with a slightly larger parking lot was suggested for us, but when women in the class found out that it *also* had no sanitary facilities there were grumblings of rebellion, so Peggi made the decision for us to work in the studio on the third day, though using the same two live models.

On this day she wanted us to try practicing some drawing skills, though without the concerns of values that we had on the first and second days.

That came later when she suggested we add color to our drawings. Being in the studio made the day far less stressful than day two had been! Quite an interesting workshop, and I wish I could implement some of Peggi's ideas as effortlessly as she did them.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Peggi Kroll Roberts workshop - Day One

My sister Amy had taken a workshop a couple years ago with Peggi Kroll Roberts and thought it was the best she had ever taken, so when she learned Peggi was doing a workshop in Jacksonville she asked if she could come stay with me so she could take it, and talked me into taking it with her!

Peggi is primarily an oil painter and it was advertised as a workshop for oil painters, so I was not sure if I could use it, but I contacted Peggi and she assured me that much of what she taught applied to any medium.
And so it proved. She spent a lot of time with values the first day, spent in the studio, with tables covered with little mini still lifes all over. We had to look at different ones and do works using ONLY TWO VALUES - seeing only what was in light and what was in shadow. Everything in shadow had to be be dark and everything in light had to be light, and that was it! Later we were allowed to add a hint of a third value if we wanted.

We then got to do a couple short paintings from the still lifes around, but were supposed to concentrate on values.
Lots of concentrating on what was in light, what was in shadow, direct light, reflected light, etc.

After lunch we had to concentrate on values again by doing a painting using a fairly monochromatic palette.
And then when we had the values worked out we were supposed to try the same thing, adding in local color - though I did add in the spoon I had decided to drop from the monochrome version.
That took us right up to 4 PM when the class ended, and thus endth the first day. Lots of fun, and the other women in the class were fun also - but a bit physically and mentally tiring to paint all those hours!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Savannah Sunrise

I've been in a bit of a painting rut lately. Except for the pet portraits I did for my cousin's birthday I've only done two paintings since the pastel workshop I took in February, and both of them were rejected from our upcoming pastel society juried show! So not a very good track record, LOL.

But tonight I went to my friend Leslie's open Studio Club at her home studio to try to shake out of my rut. On my way home from my cousin's birthday weekend I stopped to do some birding at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge.  I was there early in the morning and enjoyed the lovely light of the early morning sun, so I used one of the photos I took as a reference.

This is my "preliminary" painting. I have to stop and see how it looks in natural daylight, and give myself a chance to think about it a lot, but I'm happy with it so far. It's a 9x112 on Richeson paper, sort of a slatey color.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Three lucky adoptees

This weekend I'm invited to a surprise birthday party in Raleigh, NC for my cousin's 65th birthday. Her husband said "no gifts" as her gift was her most recent rescue animal. I felt I should give her a small something though. Recently I was inspired by my friend Carol Clemens who posted photos on FB of two incredible pastel portraits she had done of two other mutual friends. They were both amazing likenesses and captured the other two perfectly. And THEN I found out that they were each only 4x4 inches in size! Wow, how on earth to capture such detail and perfection is such a teeny size?

Anyway, It was an interesting challenge, but I'm not good at portraits.I feel a little more comfortable tackling animals, so decided to try small portraits of my cousin's three rescue animals. Each one of these is only 3x5 inches, to fit into the small triple frame I bought - small enough that she can easily hide it if she doesn't like it! LOL. It was a fun challenge. And working that small IS hard to try to get any sort of detail. My fumble fingers kept getting in the way.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

High Island Spoonbill

This is a painting I did from a reference I took in May 2012 when I went to High Island, Texas, at the tail end of the spring migration season. I went on a the last two scheduled walks for the season, and then drove down the coast along the Gulf to Bolivar Flats, and then took the ferry over to Galveston where I was meeting some friends for a cruise. I got 54 species for my Texas list, and added several new birds to my life list.

I love spoonbills, both attractively pink, and yet also ugly and ungainly. And I loved this one sitting in an old dead tree. I had been thinking about doing this for our upcoming spring member show for the First Coast Pastel Society. But then last week I had a crazy fall and cracked or bruised my ribs and was in far too much pain to think about painting.

But now, after 8 days, the pain is easing somewhat and I was able to sit down. Now that I've done it I'm not sure what I think of it - but I've reached a logical stopping point and have to let it sit for a day or two while I think about it. Done on 11x14 sheet of Richeson paper, sort of a creamy yellowing color.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Port Elgin Sunset

I enjoyed working on the black Art Spectrum paper more than I had expected to in the workshop I took last weekend. And in fact I've already sold the Sunrise painting that I did on the black paper. I had some black paper around that came in the sampler packs from Art Spectrum that come in various warm or cool colors. I had never liked the black so hadn't used some of the sheets I had.

But I pulled one of them out tonight and painted this picture of a sunset up in Port Elgin, New Brunswick, when I was coming home one evening from my life drawing session over in Tidnish, Nova Scotia. I think I like my sunrise painting better, but I had fun doing this one also. Sunrises and sunsets seem to be good subjects for the black paper, which was the standard 9x12 size.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Carrot Island

This is the third and final painting I did at the Richard Lundgren workshop, from a photo I took when I was out with my sister and brother-in-law in their boat last summer. This one was a bit of a quickie since I did it near the end of the day, but I still had fun. I only had the one sheet of black Art Spectrum, so this is done on the 9x12 slate blue-gray Richeson paper.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Morehead City sunrise

This is the second painting I did in the Richard Lundgren workshop on Saturday. Richard used black Art Spectrum paper for his demo. I love Art Spectrum but wasn't happy about black, but he made it look interesting so I bought a 9x12 sheet from him for my second painting.

And this is what I did on the black paper - from a reference photo I took early one morning in Morehead City, NC when I was visiting my sister Amy. The black background certainly made the foreground of the painting a lot easier to do! It was fun.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Nova Scotia barn

Today I took a one-day pastel workshop with Richard Lundgren. It was a fun day, with lots of folks I knew also attending, plus other some other folks who had never done pastels before, or had not done any in years.

It was a good day for me, as it gave me the oomph to actually do something, which I have not done much of lately. I actually finished 3 paintings today! This was the first one, done on a sheet of 9x12 Richeson paper, sort of a slatey blue-gray. A variety of pastels as usual.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

An Amazement of Eggs

I was at my art guild meeting on Tuesday night and one of the other members brought in a dozen eggs that had been laid by her own small flock of free-range chickens. I just thought they were so incredibly beautiful, so different from supermarket eggs. They were all different sizes and all different colors. I just had to take a photo of them, and then decided I wanted to do a painting of them too, even though it's a rather unusual subject. But I just loved those eggs.

This is a little larger than I've mostly been working, on an 11x14 sheet of Richeson paper, sort of a mustardy color. 

Monday, February 03, 2014

Ravine Gardens

On Saturday I went to Ravine Gardens State Park with the First Coast Pastel Society. Ravine Gardens is a small gem in the state park system, noted for it's beautiful azaleas and an annual azalea festival. This was our regular bi-monthly plein air paint-out, and for the last couple years we've been pretty lucky with our weather, but not so much so on Saturday. The azaleas had only just begun to bloom, but a light splash here r there. But the main problem was that it was chilly, raw and rainy the whole morning. Oh well, as one woman said, "At least we don't have to worry about constantly shifting light and shadows". :-)

Most of us set up under a big covered picnic pavilion and were able to look out at the rain, drizzle, mist, and the foggy views. But it was fun all being together as a group, about 12 of us. The lighting was definitely flat, but it was still fun. Above is the painting I did  - on 9x12 Richeson paper, a sort of light blue-gray color.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Curious Cows

After painting the elephant and flamingos for the Jacksonville Zoo Project I still had the acrylics all over the dining room table. At the monthly art critique on Wednesday several of the women there told me I should try working in acrylics more. So I decided to give it a try, and painted this picture. It's 11x14 on canvas.

I'm still an acrylic newbie, but for fun I submitted it to the Fin, Feather and Fur competition at the Great Hang Ups Gallery.  All the paintings must be of animals, birds or fish, and some of the proceeds from the show will go to support the Safe Animal Shelter.

And if it doesn't get into the show, or does but fails to sell, I'll probably try to enter it in the Clay County Fair, whose theme this year is "Country Roots and Cowboy Boots". What could be more "country" than cows in a field? :-)

Friday, January 31, 2014

Flamingos Reflecting

This is my third and final square for the Jacksonville Zoo Project, also done with acrylics like the previous elephant. I still feel like a kindergarten kid with acrylics, but they are rather fun, and they don't have to be framed under glass like the pastels. Unlike pastels you do still have to wait for sections to dry - but unlike waiting days (as for oils) at least it's usually only minutes to an hour. Still frustrating for someone as impatient as I am.