Sunday, February 27, 2011

Pastel Workshop - A High Energy Day!

Pam Dunphy
 It was a lively workshop day yesterday with 4 attendees of varied levels of experience. We experimented with a variety of papers to understand how surface affects the pastel application. Pastels come in so many degrees of softness, and we tried them all to gain understanding of which is best for a particular desired result. Underpainting techniques were also explored. We definitely packed a lot into one day and I am so thrilled with the pieces that were taken home. There was a lot of working outside one's comfort zone, essential for growth. Here is one selection from each person, top to bottom:

Helena Bosse

Pam Dunphy is a mixed-media artist, an expressive realist. This was her first experience using truly soft pastels and she exploited the medium beautifully in her bold, exciting style.

Helena Bosse's oils and watercolors are saturated with wonderful light, ( and she brought that to her pastels too...also a first experience with very soft pastels.

Bob Littlefield
Bob Littlefield, with a fine hand for detail and realism focused his day on simplifying the landscape to its essentials, using large shapes of color and varied expressive marks. This piece has great depth and lovely light.
Christine Towne Swersey

Christine Towne Swersey has just recently begun to explore art making and mediums. The deliciously rich color and texture of soft pastel brought out her expressiveness. This beautifully simplified landscape exploded with color and energy.

I wish I could post everything, as it was a very exciting and productive day. Thanks to all for participating.

For info on other workshop offerings, click here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Crazy for Glazing

Tidal Pool  Oil on panel  24 x 24"
I've studied the work of abstract painter Emily Mason (see Midnight Oil, below) for a long time, enamoured by her brillant use of thin glazes juxtaposed with broad bold thick brush marks. She's been at it for a lifetime so I know these decisions come to her intuitively. I've been patiently experimenting hoping to come to it in my own way.

Midnight Oil  -  Emily Mason
Glazing is applying very thin layers of color over other dry (or nearly dry) thin layers. Soft flat brushes work best...sable being ideal but Richeson makes a nice line of synthetics that work fine for my needs right now.  The process results in a deep, rich luminosity. The old masters practiced glazing of course, Vermeer being the glazing king, painstakingly applying layer after layer of translucent color with fastidious intention. But I don't see it a lot in contemporary painting.

Well, I sure don't work like Vermeer, nor do I come close to Emily Mason. Still, glazing is starting to work for me and I can't get enough of it.  

Like most of the paintings I'm most pleased with, Tidal Pool (top) started much differently and slowly morphed into this composition. Rubbing out parts and glazing over with new colors, shapes started to emerge and I followed them. It started to remind me of Monhegan shores. Two more are in progress with a similar palette and I'm proceeding in the same slow and patient way, hoping for a series, but really just hoping that there will be at least two that will please me as much as Tidal Pool

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Alla Prima Oil Workshop Successes

LeeAnne Mallonee                                           

Kris Whitney                                                    
The first of my five workshops - Alla Prima Oil Painting - was such fun.  A great group of painters ranging in experience from one total newbie to oils one third-time attendee to this class, and three in between, renewing oil interest and learning this wet-on-wet process. Everybody went home happy with at least two paintings, some with three. All these pieces are 6 x 6" oil on panel using walnut oil as a medium.

Gail Hipsky                                                     
From top to bottom: LeeAnne Mallonee, an abstract painter accomplished in encaustic and caran d'ache, applied her vibrant, sensuous style to the alla prima process beautifully. Kris Whitney, known for her beautiful seascapes and highly expressive abstracts, typically works in acrylic. She painted a luminous, atmospheric Monhegan.  Gail Hipsky, a pastel painter, worked in oil for the first time ever! Gail's work always has fabulous color, energy, and composition, but this is great paint handling for her first time with the medium.

Terri Sanzenbacher                                             
Terri Sanzenbacher attended this workshop for the third time. The day just wouldn't be the same without her. This still life is so delicious with her rich color and bold brush. Francine Frank used generous amounts of walnut oil medium to obtain these lush colors bleeding together in places and the unplanned, but much-loved drips. Such a lovely dreamy quality.
Francine Frank                                          

I'm so happy to be able post a sampling for each workshop attendee. It was a great way to spend a cold Maine day.

Contact info for the artists is as follows:
LeeAnne Mallonee:
Kris Whitney:
Gail Hipsky:

Next up:  Pastel Painting, February 26 which is now full.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

When Making a Living and Making Art Collide

Like many working artists, I have a variety of revenue streams from which I make my living. Art sales alone are not enough...yet.  In addition to teaching and conducting workshops, I do occasional graphic design projects (my livelihood before taking the leap).  The challenge for me is to be disciplined in how I carve up the time, in order to stay consistent with my studio practice and maintain my networking and marketing efforts. I've been pretty successful at doing this despite the inevitable ebb and flow of the outside work and associated deadlines. But the past few weeks have been different. A feast of graphic design has hit me, along with an unusual illustration commission (see above) and my time has been fragmented and consumed beyond control. Regular studio practice has suffered and so has my daily work on little oils (also a good source of revenue).

The image here is a portion of a 9 X 12 illustration for a new line of tortilla chips. I have also designed the new retail bags (3 varieties). This is one of three such illustrations to be done. I'm drawing from life in colored pencil in a style I haven't used in a very long time. Typically I'm striving to resist detail!

So, as I look yearningly and excitedly at all the new paintings I have underway, I need to keep reminding myself that this will pass, and the resulting cash will sustain me for several months. Then I can paint with abandon.

As insecure and unpredictable as this way of life is sometimes, I wouldn't trade it for anything else.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

While the rest of the world watches SuperBowl...

....I'm blogging! Am I un-American? Not that I have anything against the SuperBowl or watching it, in fact I think the gatherings sound fun... I just don't know anything about football, nothing at all. And, I don't have a TV. So, this is a nice quiet time for me to catch up on tasks.

My weekend was full of small tasks, one being uploading a new page to my website just for pastels. I thought it would be important to have an area designated to that medium as I've been invited to be guest artist for the Pastel Painters of Maine's Plein Air Weekend Retreat in early June.

While preparing the page, I remembered this work, "Island Hopping," which was done for an exchange my pastel class does every holiday season...a really lovely little tradition we have. So, I had to borrow it back briefly to photograph it. It's actually my most recent pastel work.

Well, on to the next item on my list.... hmmm, wonder who's winning?!