Sunday, March 25, 2007

At the Beach

This pastel is based on several photos taken at Virginia Beach with our daughters (spring break probably around 1990). While painting (pastelling) this, I had the sensation of being there...feeling the salty, misty ocean breeze on my face, and the gentle warmth of the late day sun on my back. The rhythmic thunder of waves and sizzling foam lull me to such a peaceful place, I could stay there forever. Some critics believe that painting from photos is not the "high art" that plein air painting is. I believe that it is different, not less than. When I paint from photos like these, the work is infused with a depth of bittersweet memory and experience that wasn't there at that time. For the record, whenever I use photo reference, I simply tape the photo up on the wall next to the blank "canvas"...and start by sketching with harder pastels to set the composition. Then lay in values and shapes progressing to finer detail. With this particular piece, I deliberately stopped before I thought I was done.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Summer is

A great big slice of juicy, sweet watermelon in the blazing sunshine. Of course, it helps to be a little kid too. I am still working on this one, but wanted to get something posted before too much time went by. As it is, it looks as if the little girl is sitting on a bench in front of a backdrop a la Olan Mills. I'll repost after refining. I've spent way too much time on it already! Soft pastel on Wallis sanded paper, approximately 19" X 25".

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The End of the Road

Well, the end of our hallway which is the road between the bathroom and our bedroom. I like this particular spot in the house because it is very sunny. My fig tree likes it too. I bought that plant at a garage sale for $2.50, in the mid 90's. Since then, it has survived 5 moves! I didn't think it was going to survive moving from Cincinnati to New York, especially since it is somewhat fragile. . . .or not, I've learned. Anyway, this work is another practice session in depicting light. Thanks for stopping by!

Trumpet Fanfare

I shot the reference photo of red trumpet flowers at the Gould Castle on the north shore of Long Island, this past summer. Since I had run out of paper, I did this pastel over the top of another that didn't make the cut, and wound up having to "build up" quite a bit giving it a very painterly look. I love working with soft pastels for that feature, but they are extremely messy. I tend to get overly aggressive, resulting in a very short life for the softer pastels ie. Schminke & Sennelier, and terrible looking fingernails. Never do a pastel like this just before an interview.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Flowers in the Attic

It's a very cold and snowy day, which makes my little studio in the attic a very cozy place to be. There is a little window, so I can enjoy the winter scene outside, while pastelling tropical flowers inside. Yesterday was my birthday (50 in Donatello years) (the first five years don't count). I spent the day doing things I love, ie. playing my guitar & singing (and imagining that maybe I really could become a folk-rock-pop star in my so-called "second adulthood", or tertiary childhood, and by the way, how come they don't have middle-agers on American Idol?), writing poetry (or pieces of poetry), and working in the attic, each in 15 minute intervals (anxious to fit everything in before I buy that big farm I've been looking at for the past few years). You never know..... Both: Soft Pastel on 9X12" Colourfix paper

Friday, March 09, 2007

Family Gathering

A gathering of items representing family members from the early 1900's to April 2006, all found in the attic. The violin, missing strings and other parts, is something my husband picked up at a garage sale intending to use the case for a design project. My father and younger brother played the violin...everyone in my birth family plays or played at least one musical instrument. The little photo album in front was my maternal grandmother's and contains photos from her youth (early 1900's). The letter is from my father to her (1949). The teacup is of unknown origin. The roses were given to me last year by my husband on our anniversary (25th). The photo in back is a portrait of my paternal grandmother's family (she is the young girl with a bow in her hair). I arranged all of these items on a table top just below the window in my little attic studio. We had such a lovely time together. Soft Pastel 19" X 25"

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Name this flower

I haven't been able to identify the flower in the photo I used to do this pastel. It's another from a neighbor's garden. If you know it, please leave it in a comment. If not, make one up. Soft Pastel on 9 X 12 Colourfix.

Still life #3

Here is another grouping from "kitchen stuff" this time. I really struggled over this one for some reason. I need to do another flower. The previous post "Cornflower Power" was really a "break" from the post before that, another complicated still life...and flowers are easy and relaxing for me. Note: My husband is the cook. I don't use these things, just draw them. Soft Pastel on 9" X 12" Colourfix paper.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Corn Flower Power

I did this pastel from one of my flower photos taken this past summer. Corn flowers, dandelions, buttercups, iris, and grape hyacinth are all nostalgic for me. They remind me of my pre-school days in LeRoy, New York, where I spent many hours outside contemplating flowers, worms and those curious little mud-ball clusters that formed after it rained. I remember, also, the bitter taste of the "ooze" inside a dandelion stem (glad it wasn't poisonous). I don't remember, however, the time I ran out into the street and was almost hit by a truck...until Sparky saved me. Did that really happen Sparky? or is that just another story to keep me beholden to you?? Soft Pastel on 9 X 12 Colorfix paper.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Peacock Vase

The true color and depth of this pastel is much better than pictured here. This is the second in a series of still life pastels from junk in the attic. My biggest challenge is to STOP before overworking. Pastels are very forgiving...and allow much reworking, which can be a disadvantage for a neurotic perfectionist. It's like a great TV sitcom that continues past its prime, losing its audience. With this exercise, I am striving to recognize that "peak", and resist the urge to correct over and over and over. I may be forced to, anyway, since I am running out of supplies.