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: http://corksandforksclay.com/one-of-a-kind-masks/. 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.

Thursday, July 16, 2015


 I think hummingbirds are so adorable. When I come up here to Maritime Canada every summer one of the first things I do is put up my hummingbird feeder, and the hummers usually discover it that very same day, or the next day at the very latest. It's so funny to watch they perching on the power lines also as they are so tiny.

Well I'm still working tiny so a hummer seemed like a good subject. This is done on a 6x8 Art Spectrum piece using my old 48-color NuPastel set, which is all I brought up here with me in the interests of packing light. :-)

 My original hummingbird feeder broke last summer, but I brought a new one up this year!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Flo explores the beach

I'm still enjoying working small! I'm back up in Atlantic Canada for a few weeks, and the other day my dog Flo and I went for a walk on our beach. She loved exploring and I took a bunch of photos of her. This is done from one of the photos - on a 6x8 piece of Art Spectrum Colourfix sanded paper using my old set of NuPastels.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Gold Head Branch Two

Pastels are still and always will be my first love, but they have a couple related drawbacks that make me think about other mediums from time to time.
1) They never "dry" like oil or acrylic - good in that you can always go back to them to touch up or make changes, but bad in that they must always be protected
2) Which means they have to be framed under glass ,which adds to the cost, the weight, and the pain of framing.

And I have no interest in oils which don't suit my impatient painting style - but I keep *toying* with the idea of using acrylics. The problem is that I love the idea of being able to use acrylics, but I never feel happy while I'm actually doing it, and usually not happy with results which I always feel look like kindergarten works.

But today I decided to try again using the same reference photo I did in pastel back at the end of May. While oils dry far too slowly for me the acrylics often dry far too fast, so I used some Golden Retarder in the paints for this painting, and that actually seemed rather helpful.

Though I'm still not happy with this, but not as unhappy as I sometimes am, LOL. This is done on an 8x10 gallery-wrapped canvas.

Monday, June 08, 2015


Here's another tiny one, just 5x7, done on Ampersand Pastel Board. I did this on Saturday with the First Coast Pastel Society at their June paint-out. It was a hot and muggy day, not my type of day to be outdoors, so I found a shady spot to set up without worrying about what I would paint, and then just painted what I saw for the sake of doing something.

So not crazy about this, but still enjoy working small, and it was fun to be with a few other die-hard pastelists, and to share a picnic lunch with them afterwards.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Gold Head Branch

This is another one of my small paintings, again just a 6x9, done on Art Spectrum Colourfix with NuPastels. Again I spent a little less than 30 minutes on it. I'm enjoying working in this small size in smaller amounts of time, as it's less daunting to find the time in my schedule to do it.

This is taken from a photo of my that I took at Gold Head Branch State Park early one morning, when I went out there to do some bird watching. I was completely smitten by the *intense* orange of the landscape that the angle of the sun gave everything. The light was so beautiful I just had to take some photos. I enjoyed doing this in small format which I'm finding really so much fun.

In many of my art classes and workshops I was constantly urged to work "Bigger! bigger!" I've been told that "big art" is what sells. But I feel that surely there must be a place in the world for smaller pieces as well. Surely I'm not the only person who lives in a small house and has no wall space for anything but small intimate works of art? I've seen "big art" pieces that I love and that are very striking, but since:
1) I have no possible wall space for anything like that, and
2) "Big art" is generally priced way beyond my means
I just look and pass them by. But I *have* bought a few small pieces of original art done by friends - size and price just right.

So for the time being I'll continue to work small. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Jean's Lemons (two)

I'm still trying to keep up with the "work small, work often" philosophy of the book Daily Painting by Carol Marine. It's helping me get a little bit more into the groove to do small paintings I need spend only 20-30 minutes on, not a daunting amount of time!

I do wish I could get better photos - the purple under the lemons is not so intense in real life, maybe I'll try again tomorrow in better lighting and redo this whole post with a new photo. But this was done last night in about 20 minutes, again a 6x9 but done on Art Spectrum Colourfix paper, primarily NuPastels. I do enjoy working small, it's rather fun, and you can whip something out quite quickly. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

My Back Yard

I'm still trying to get into the groove of working small and working more often, as I seem to keep finding things that keep me away from the easel. If I only need 30 minutes for a small painting I'm likely to do it more often!

So that's what I did today - 30 minutes sitting in my sunroom and looking out over my back yard and pond. This was again done on a small 6x9 piece of Wallis paper that I had sitting around, NuPastels. A size like 6x9 means I can spend a mere 30 minutes or so and actually get something done. Not that I'm very crazy about this painting, but at least I did something! Trying to get back into the groove. I started losing the light since I started latish, so had to stop. Will have to see if I think I can salvage it tomorrow perhaps.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Jean's lemons again

Okay, I made a few minor changes on this one because there were a couple niggly little things that bothered me, but not too much. I rather liked it as it was except for the tiny nits, and I didn't want to get too overworked or too bogged down in any sort of details. I wanted it to stay loose. So I'm considering this one "done" though a shame the colors don't photograph as nicely as I would like.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Jean's Lemons (one)

I have been away from my easel for FAR too long - so much of the rest of life seems to constantly get in the way, but today I decided that had to stop. I didn't have my grandson for the afternoon as I usually do on Fridays, so the whole afternoon was suddenly empty. As it was I still frittered most of it away and only spent 30 minutes on this painting, but at least I DID it! This is still rough and probably not done, just in the "let's wait a bit and then take a look stage". But I did it! I sat down at my easel.

I have a lot of people to thank whose various efforts led me to this afternoon:

1) Marie Marfia - who donated the book "Daily Painting" by Carol Marine to the First Coast Pastel Society lending library.
2) Kay Deuben - our FCPS librarian, who let me be the first person to check the book out.
3) Lyn Asselta pastel painter, who gave us such a wonderful mini-workshop last Saturday at our FCPS meeting - all about using a limited palette with complementary colors.
4) and Jean Rolke, who gave me the lemons that served as my models!

I chose a limited complementary palette using blue/purple and yellow/orange. Just a handful of pastels, mostly all Nupastels, on a small 6x9 sheet of Wallis paper that I happened to have. I include a few shots I took of the process along the way, demonstrating that my paintings always look "ugly" for the longest time before they finally begin to come together at some point along the line. grin emoticon Happy painting everyone. I need to set aside time to do this MUCH MORE OFTEN NOW.

 Ugly stage 1

 Ugly stage 2

Ugly stage 3

Saturday, January 31, 2015


I'm still enjoying playing with acrylics. This is a little 8x10 I did with acrylics of my granddaughter Finlay - combining a couple photos from a day we spent at Fort Beausejour in New Brunswick, Canada. I finished it up fairly quickly as a Christmas gift for my son and daughter-in-law.