Thursday, December 15, 2016

Backyard Treasures

 I have a large orange tree in my back yard. Alas it's a bitter orange, so no good for juice, but it is good for making marmalade! The oranges begin to ripen in late October, and do through January or so. I love it when the oranges are ripe though, and the sun shines on them. This is my first cut at a painting - done on an 11x14 piece of cream-colored Art Spectrum paper - a mixture of pastels but mostly NuPastel and Terry Ludwigs.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Christmas Cake

We painted this as a group still life at one of my pastel society meetings - done on 9x12 UArt paper. It was fun to do, and after we all painted - the cake was cut up and we all got to eat the setup. :-)

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 :)  :