Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Cedarburg Plein Air Competition

It has been a while since my last post. Last month the lesson for the Spotlight Challenge talked about manipulating edges while in the creative process. Here's what the Wet Canvas had to say for this month's lesson.

"Last month during our discussion on edges, I remarked that manipulating edges can be done at various times during the painting process. If a person's tendency is to paint with mostly soft edges, the certain edges can be made harder at the end. I think more people are likely to paint with hard edges as they paint can then soften the edges as needed in the final stages. One advantage to manipulating edges in the final stages is that you can see the entire painting at once - thus you can manipulate edges in comparison to the other edges in the painting. In all likelihood, you will manipulate edges both during the process and at the end when you can more easily compare edges to one another."

In keeping with the lesson, I took on the challenge painting of apples in clay pots. This painting is the result of that lesson.

The next image is a "Work in Progress" or as we say a WIP. It is of a kitten, soft and fluffy. It still needs work and will post it the finished painting when it is done. But I wanted you to see it now in conjunction with this lesson.

To finish this work, I need to intensify the colors, create a background, and ground this cute kitty to show her standing on something as opposed to floating in the air.

This is not all that I've been working on. I also participated in Cedarburg's Plein Air Painting Competition and produced two paintings for show. This first one I actually entered as my piece of choice. It is a painting of the Ozaukee Art Center. It took me two sittings (2 hours per sitting) to complete this painting.

This was difficult for me to do as I had never done buildings before. As I look at this now, had I waited to paint this later in the afternoon I would have had better shadowing in this painting. But, for the first time, I am pleased with the results. This encourages me to go out again and try other buildings. I am constantly be told as I tell others, Practice, Practice, Practice!! That is the formula needed to reach near perfection.

I also painted one other in Plein Air at Cedarburg. It was a scene just behind the Cultural Center. Instead of facing the waterfall, I looked in the opposite direction. Although I was there for two days, I hadn't gotten the painting to where I thought it would be good to enter. So, instead, I took it home and finished it there from a photo. The following set of photos is my WIP.

At this stage, I realized that it was too flat and the stream was completely off, but when I was painting it I couldn't figure out how to fix it.  So rather than enter it, I took it home and worked on it some more. Doing this meant I couldn't it enter this painting as a true Plein Air Painting, which was ok with me. The sky needed to be lightened and more levels in the trees needed to be added, the lights needed to be lightened and most important of all, the stream needed work. Thanks to the critique I received on Wet Canvas, I was able to make corrections on this painting.

As you can see here, I removed the tree on the near right side, brighten up the painting by intensifying the light areas, added sky holes in the trees, but the water was still troubling me. I worked on it some more, and this is my end result.

Once again, I would like to thank you for following my blog. If you like what you see or you see something that could be improved upon, I am always open to and interested in your comments.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Spring has Sprung

I fell behind in my posting, but not in my painting. Three weeks ago, I posted a portrait of my sister from a photo taken at least 65 years ago. Since then I have been working on florals. This first one is of a Magnolia Branch. Although I blocked it in rather quickly, it took another week to finish the details in this painting. I hope you like it.

This next painting was much more of a challenge for me. It had lots of detail in it that I struggled with. This painting took another two weeks of work, constantly checking to see if I got the contrast right. I hope you like this as well and would love to hear your comments.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Another Portrait Challenge

They say that if you want to learn something you have to study, study, study! So it is reasonable to believe that if you want to paint portraits, you have to practice, practice, practice! This week I worked on my fifth portrait. The challenge here was that I was working from a very old overexposed black and white photo.

I'd like to introduce you to my sister. This photo had to have been taken at least 65 to 70 years ago. I'm not sure how old she is in this photo. If you look closely, there is enough information in this photo to create a color version, so I decided to take on the challenge. This next picture shows some of the difficulties I had.

First, I painted her too pale. I needed to warm up her skin tone, and much of the shadowing on her face was tweaked.

I played a bit with her skin tone, but still wasn't satisfied. I made some adjustments to the shading on her face and her hair. I also softened to shadow by her arm. After making these changes, I still wasn't satisfied. I also felt that the horizon line was very distracting. After working on is some more, this is what became the final painting.

To quote my sister, " WOW . . . pretty damn good.  Wonder who would like to have it????  It is really lovely. "
Thanks, Marie.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Portrait of Karina

This past week I have been working on a portrait of my neighbor's daughter. This is my fourth portrait and each time I have done one, it's like I never tried one before. I posted it on Wet Canvas as a work in progress and it is absolutely amazing how helpful my fellow artists were each time I posted. Here are some of the posts I made and some of the helpful comments I received.

In this first picture, I did sketch and basic block-in.

In this next picture, I placed Karina's features in and worked a bit on the hair and her jacket.

 I wasn't satisfied with her eyes, and because the photo of Karina that I had didn't have very good lighting, I had to improvise. The photo indicated that the light was coming from the right because her hair was highlighted, so I tried to lighten up the face on the right and darken it on the left.

In the final painting, I made some corrections on her eyes, her nose, and mouth, and finally decided that this is done.The painting is actually a bit brighter than it appears here, but all in all, I am very pleased with the results.

My next attempt at a portrait will be from a very old picture that I have of one of my siblings.  This one will be a lot harder because it is in black and white and the photo is very light. Hopefully I will do her justice.

Thanks for taking a look.

Friday, April 13, 2012

April Spotlight Challenge

I completed two new paintings this week from the Spotlight Challenge of the Soft Pastel link on Wet Canvas. The first one is of a Forsythia Bush and the second one, a Daffodil. The Daffodil was especially difficult. I selected it because there were at least 3 or 4 other artists that selected it and they made it look so effortless. I had such a hard time getting those leaves to look as though they are bent backwards. I did complete it, but you be the judge as to whether I accomplished  it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

To Title or Not

Check out this link. This is a great article by Jason Horejs of Xanadu Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona.


A Little About Me!

Yesterday, I posted over 20 paintings to show my journey as a pastel artist since May of 2011. Today, I’d like to briefly talk about how I even became an artist. As a young adult, I enjoyed playing with color. I purchased some acrylic paints and began painting lots of abstract works. At the time, although they were very different and people liked what I did, I didn’t feel very confident because, after all, they were just abstract paintings. I didn’t feel capable of painting anything representational. I wasn’t good enough.  I continued painting for pleasure and even selling my paintings out of a shopping bag that I carried around with me all the time.

As time went by I went to work for a large corporation and returned to college because of their compensation package. To my surprise, while taking some studio art classes, I discovered that with some instruction I was capable of doing more than just abstract work. I did manage to graduate with an Early Childhood Education and Studio Art Minor degree. I moved to Wisconsin in 1991 just after graduating and chose to set my interest in art aside. I did put my degree to good use by becoming a Kindergarten teacher and using my artistic talent with the very young.

Now fast forward to 2005. I retired from teaching and began searching for what to do with the rest of my life. Although I enjoyed painting, I for some reason I was still felt very insecure about my abilities as an artist. I was my worst critic. I attended many personal development seminars trying to find out what I might be good at. Well I guess it paid off. I came away from my fourth seminar believing I could do anything. I even got a commission to create a painting for someone at the last seminar I attended.

In the summer of 2007, I had my first gallery opening in my neighborhood at a local coffee shop and as a result of that opening sold 6 paintings. I began to immerse myself in painting and eventually joined artist organizations. I got involved with En Plein Air painting and entered into many events.

2008, 2009, 2010 - Cedarburg Cultural Center for Plein Air Competition
2008 - Oconomowoc Plein Air Competition
2009, 2010 – Wauwatosa Plein Air Competition
2010 – MAM Marketplace Tent Show
2010, 2011 – Art in Action – Annual Membership Show for Art Guild of Menomonee Falls
2011 - Pastel Society of Wisconsin/Underwood Photography Group at the One Way Cafe
2011 - Wauwatosa Artists Workshop Show at Clement Manor
September, 2011 - Bay View Art Guild's ARTiculate Show at the Art Bar
December 2011 - Art Bar – Small works 8” X 8” or smaller

Currently, I am a member of the following artist organizations:
Bay View Art Guild
Wauwatosa Artist Workshop
Wisconsin Pastel Artists
Art Guild of Menomonee Falls


Monday, April 9, 2012

My Journey as a Pastelist

This blog is intended to show my journey as a pastel artist. I began using pastels again in May 2011. I briefly worked with pastels in college but set them aside to create art with Acrylic and Oil paints. In May of 2011 I discover Soft Pastel Talk  thread on WetCanvas.com. I was so impressed with the site that I dusted off the pastel set that I had and began to try some of the Spotlight photo challenges that were posted. I am going to try and re-create a timeline of painting challenges from the various Spotlights since May of last year. When I looked at all my work, I realized how improved my work became.

I'm writing this blog to keep me inspired to continue creating work from these monthly challenges. I feel very fortunate to have discovered a family of artist on Wet Canvas that genuinely care what you do and are there to help me improve as an artist.

The first two paintings that I'm posting are from May 2011 Spotlight Challenge on Wet Canvas.

The next two paintings are from the June 2011 Spotlight Challenge on Wet Canvas.

This next painting is from July 2011 Spotlight Challenge.

Now we've arrived at our August 2011 Spotlight Challenge.

As a new member of the Wisconsin Pastel Society, in August of 2011, I participated in a show together with The Underwood Photography Group, to interpret a photograph. I selected a photo depicting stormy weather. This next painting was the result for that show. It was held at the One Way Cafe in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

September 2011 Spotlight Challenge

October 2011 Spotlight Challenge.

In addition to the October Spotlight, I also painted my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She is a cutie and had to share her with you.

November 2011 Spotlight Challenge.

This little floral painting was also done in November. It is a Quince Flower.

December Spotlight Challenge. This month I did two paintings.

January 2012 Spotlight Challenge.

In January, I also took a portrait workshop. Sean Connery was the result of that day. I must admit, I enjoyed creating this painting. I surprised myself.

February 2012 Spotlight Challenge was a Vase of Sunflowers.

Next is March 2012 Spotlight Challenge.

I'll end today with my nephew's cat as well as another portrait that I painted.

I am excited that I started this blog. My hope is that from this time on I will be able to give you more details about the different challenges and paintings that I create.