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 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.