Studio Materials 2

Studio Materials 2

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Big Edit

I've been working on some small paintings, some done en plein air, some done in the studio, where my main objective is to simplify what I am seeing. This is no small task. Our eyes and brain are programed to observe the details of life. Editing seems to go against our Human MO.

It helps when I squint my eyes so that I can see the simplicity of the shapes and value structure. Using large brushes, at least 3/4 inch wide flats, has also helped the process of keeping it simple. This brush size still allows for a fair amount of control, but I'm also having a wonderful time creating sweeping, expressive marks which convey the essence of the thing I am painting rather than the details.  So far, I've come up with two 10 x 8 paintings that I am happy with. One was done mostly on location, the other was finished entire;ly in the studio from photographs. Can you tell which is which?


Wednesday, August 1, 2012


About 4 years ago I was feeling rather ho hum about my work in pastels. I had been working with them for about 20 years and felt like a change (go figure). I decided to try my hand at oil painting since I admire so many artists working in that medium. Learning, rather, reintroducing myself to oils was challenging and exciting. My naiveté with making marks in paint as opposed to dry pigment felt childlike and I enjoyed the learning curve I allowed myself. I've explored the full palette of both opaque and transparent colors and enjoy the sculptural quality this medium offers as well as it's sensuousness .

I have by no means mastered the oil medium. I feel I am still in the intermediate stage of my education, so one would surmise that the learning I see ahead of me would keep me engaged. However, for the last few months, I've felt a very string sense of inertia and have not been able to place it's origin, until today. I'm painting for a show in September and am very aware of the looming, heaving deadline quickly approaching  me like a competitive runner lapping me on the track. Seriously, I'm starting today to paint for this show. Luckily, the venue is small, so a half a dozen nice pieces will suffice. I have my ideas; some abstracted florals (the venue is a flower shop) and some abstracted landscapes.

As I was choosing my canvases to begin work, a wilting flower arrangement eagerly waiting for it's close-up on the table next to my easel, I thought, "This needs to be a pastel!" Rather than start with a fresh sheet of paper, I wiped out an older painting that had been taken out of it's original frame. The background color I ended up with once the image succumbed to my 4 inch bristle brush was a glowing reddish orange. "Perfect!" I thought. Where's my charcoal? Like swinging my leg over a trusted bicycle seat, my hand sketched in the foundation for a new pastel painting. Wiping, making marks, wiping again, pushing and pulling the black lines hear and there, then blocking on the negative shapes feels so....right!

After 4 years of working in oils, I forgot I was a pastel painter. Let the dust fly!

Sometimes we move on to new pursuits and adventures. Sometimes it's time to reacquaint ourselves with former passions. What former passions have you reacquainted yourself with lately?