What I Did on My Vacation

Some of you are aware that I have a full time job that is NOT related to my art. AT. ALL. So in February, I decided to take a week off and not go anywhere or do anything but work on my art and art related marketing. This was a big step for me, because while I’ve been involved in the art community for a few years now and see myself as an artist, I see myself as a part-time artist who can’t spend a lot of time doing art things. I have excuses galore! My productivity isn’t anywhere near what it would be as a full time artist, but I think I did pretty well on my week “off”.___I started off by going to several galleries in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Pittsboro with my sister (check out her blog here). We visited Fearrington Village and took pictures of the Belted Galloways (rare breed of Scottish beef cows), Of course

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"Painting" a Himalayan Cat

I recently painted a Himilayan cat who passed away unexpectedly. He was definitely the king of the house as can be seen by the photograph below. The owner is a dear friend of mine and a photographer. I chose this photograph, even though it looks a little dark and doesn’t show his eyes as well as another photograph I had. Sometimes, I just go by feel what I think would work better as a painting, but having several photos is always a plus when doing a portrait. I used Mi Tientes pastel paper cropped at 16″ x 20″. Of course I have to provide you with the work in progress photos! You can see the color of the paper in the first step. I cropped the background to concentrate on his face and body. How could I crop out his paws? This was part of his personality and was told he loved to hang out “at the bar”. Obviously, I

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The Search for Art Festival Supplies: Part I

A few weeks ago I went supply shopping for art shows and festivals.  I already had three tall, narrow panels I created out of slatted closet shelves. They were a deal, and I needed something ASAP last October. They worked fine, but were 8 feet tall and cumbersome to move. Here’s a photo of me standing in front of the panels. See that behemoth panel in the background on the left? Yep, that’s what I used… …and the wind loved them… If it weren’t for the several good Samaritans at the tour to catch the display, many of my pieces would have ended up on the concrete. My goal has been to purchase pro panels, but they are still cost prohibitive for me to get an entire set for a 10×10 display area. A fellow artist had black grid panels that created a nice display for her paintings. I went to the surplus store where she purchased her display and

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WIP: Elk

This is the WIP for the Elk. In order to depict the massive rack, I wanted to do this on the largest surface I had in the studio. So, I used my only 18″ x 24″ pastelbord (gray). If I had something larger, I would have used it. I’ve found I like to work large when working on animals…maybe it’s because I prefer to stand when using charcoal and pastel, maybe it’s because the nature of the subject warrants to me really get in the fur without getting bogged down with the detail.  On the other hand, the colored pencils are the opposite. I prefer to sit down, work smaller (for now), and concentrate on the details. So let’s get back to the elk…I’ve added captions to each step. I guess I didn’t take a picture of the drawing, but my favorite step is below…right after I’ve drawn in the subject, and I pick up the first and second color.

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WIP: Domestic Longhair Cat

I know…I’m obsessed with taking progress photos. But really, it’s more for me than you. Looking at the photo after I take it helps me see the big picture so I can easily see where I am and what I need to correct.It’s sort of like blurring your eyes to see the values, or walking far away to look back at your work in progress. Plus, it gives me more information to post…because I am not that verbose (but I can impress you with my vocabulary). So, the first step…sorta. I used vine charcoal and the yellow at the same time to block in the darks and lights. The background was the next step. I’m trying to REMEMBER that backgrounds are as important to the painting as the rest of it. I can’t pretend it was that hard here…there’s not that much background.   Adding green and pops of yellow to the background, but keeping it blurry.    Adding white,

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Goat WIP

After I completed the donkey, I started to do this guy…and was asked by a few people to do it in pastel. OK…I hit a few bumps in the road since I haven’t really worked a lot with pastel. This was my first pastel animal (before the Alaskan Malamute). I was working on two photos, but not on purpose. My reference was the black and white copy at the top. I realized I needed to go back to my photos and print out a color copy to work with pastels. The photo I chose wasn’t a perfect match, but I went with it anyway. (Not to self…delete the reference photos you decide NOT to use…or…don’t take so many photographs!) Basically, blocking in color…but I guess I didn’t use a lot of charcoal in the beginning of this one. Here’s a close up.   Adding more to the nose and face…note the lavendar/purple? Working on the head and fur a little

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Pastel Workshop

I went to a pastel workshop this morning taught by local pastel artist Bill Gramley. I was so excited, not only because of my recent fascination with the medium, but also because I realized this was the same artist of whom I previously purchased 3 mini paintings! There is another class on March 31st at Fine Art Carolina Gallery in Mebane if anyone is interested. Bill demonstrated 3 themes: pears, an autumn tree, and a seascape. It was amazing to see the paintings appear so quickly. After each demonstration, we were left to do our own version, either from a photo or our imaginations. Here are my versions…I need to provide better photos once I take them out of the “class provided frames” (except for the seascape, that’s my own frame). The pear… (I don’t eat pears, so I struggled with this!) Autumn tree…I wanted to do a horizontal image, but didn’t realize the mat would cut off so much

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New Pastel Painting: Alaskan Malamute

So the original post disappeared shortly after it was highlighted on another webpage. Sorry it’s taken a few weeks for me to get the energy to piece it back together. (Very strange and since I don’t know WHY it happened, or even know HOW to find out why, I’m just going to add the photos back and go from there). The beginning didn’t start out the way I wanted and I quickly discovered that my sketch wasn’t right. I remedied that by covering the entire panel in charcoal and then bringing out the lighter pieces with a kneaded eraser. At this stage, it’s pretty loose and messy looking. Beginning stage using vine charcoal and a kneaded eraser Now I’m adding more detail now that I’m satisfied with the placement, but still using just charcoal and eraser. (There might be a little bit of pastel on the right ear). Refining the detail It becomes more obvious that I’m adding color now,

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Donkey: WIP

I’ve been working on my newest animal piece on pastelbord. As you’ve seen, I did this cow with charcoal and a kneaded eraser. (For you city folk, this is NOT the donkey…)  I used vine charcoal only – which are the skinny ones on the left. This eraser is my favorite…my progress stops completely if I can’t find one of mine…it’s called “kneaded” because…well, here’s what Cheap Joe’s says on their website: “These erasers are great because they can last just about forever. Many beginning artists don’t understand just how great a kneaded eraser is because no one ever shows you how to use one.But, here is a tip. These erasers are stretchy. This is great when you want to shape these erasers to fit into tight spaces or when you want to ball them up to eraser a swath a few inches wide. They are also kind of like silly putty in that you can shape them, then place

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