Sorting Through Old Pastels

I should be working on outdoor activities but nope I had to make that decision to go through my pastel paintings to organize and to throw out paintings that aren’t working.

*for some reason these paintings look fuzzy when I use my Kindle to upload these, go to my Instagram account to see my paintings more clearly. I haven’t uploaded two of them on this post but you can follow me on there and see my art more clearly. I’ll be working at finding out why this happens.

This painting surprised me because I thought it wasn’t good enough and now I am very happy with it.

Another “disappointment” ha!!!! I love it now! I am telling you, gold on to paintings, give them time and you’ll either love them or if not move it along.

Another painting that I had a hard time liking, it was too rough in my assessment. Now that I am looser in painting, it warms my heart to see this one.

All these paintings are plein air and it sure gets me hankering to get out there to paint, that is for certain. Going through these paintings has made me acknowledge that I have been on a long journey of creative acceptance.

I want to encourage those of you who often feel discouraged or who feel that you’ll never get anywhere in your art making. It takes time, patience and a personal vision. Goals are fine but vision is more important, it is the heart of the matter, a focus, trusting that you your inner creative will come into full freedom of expression. Don’t stifle your inner creative! By golly!

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Early Morning on the North Yuba

 

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on Arches 300# cp quarter sheet

Sorry about the paragraphs not having any space between them but WP is acting up for me and I can’t seem to correct it.

     This painting is from a photo from last year when the temperatures were dropping. The morning that I arrived, the sun was just creeping around the corner and the mist was so beautiful. Here is the same scene but in pastel and on en plein air:  Frosty November Morning
     I have painted this scene at least 5 times. Those bushes across the river is so darn difficult to capture correctly. I didn’t worry about trying to get it to look like the photo, what is the creative fun in that? None! I did the tree section in the background wet on wet and had to go back at least three times to darken and bring up what features I felt would give the scene the correct nuance.
Colors used:  Aureolin, Cobalt Blue, Prussian Blue, Quin. Gold, Ultramarine Blue
*A word about photos. The photos on my blog are mine, taken by me and copying them would be stealing from me. If you find a photo that you would like to copy or use, I request that you ask me for permission and I expect you to give me full credit for my own photo. Thank you so very much.

 

Another View of Goose Lake

 

I had a difficult time getting  my photo to marry up with my painting but I tried, keep that in mind.

 

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Goose Lake on Lanaquarelle 140# quarter sheet

I have been working on multiple paintings and this one is pretty much finished though I might put in a few dark sections in the back woods. Goose Lake is up in the same area as the Sierra Buttes and for some reason I am intrigued with this view. Here are my previous posts of Goose Lake: Goose Lake in Sierra County and Pastel of Goose Lake and last but not least Acrylic of Goose Lake.

As I worked on the above painting, I kept to an over-all feeling and gist of Goose Lake and tried not to rely solely on my reference photo. I like to imagine myself at the scene, hearing the birds, feeling the environment as I paint. I usually listen to music that helps me to imagine that I am there, in this case Native American flute music. Often when I paint a forest scene, I will listen to nature and bird sounds or lately Chinese music.

Again I truly feel that it is important to paint what you know and love, but that is my own personal prerequisite. I worked on this painting (as I am accustomed to do) when I am in the zone. Once I feel my artist eye or view wane, I step away. The sky, backwoods were painted wet on wet. I went back in to put in some calligraphy. I took more care with painting the trees in the front.

Lately my goal is not to be precise or detailed, I want the essence of a scene, there is something appealing to me about this approach.

Colors used: Aureolin, Cobalt Blue, Prussian Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Quin. Gold, Moonglow

*A word about photos. The photos on my blog are mine, taken by me and copying them would be stealing from me. If you find a photo that you would like to copy or use, I request that you ask me for permission and I expect you to give me full credit for my own photo. Thank you so very much.

 

 

Making Do During a Snowstorm

 

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wip of the Sierra Buttes
The top painting is one that I started a week ago and am taking a slow process completing it. I have yet decided to call it finished.
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My reference photo for the painting above
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on Fabriano 300# 7 x 9 inches

 

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wip on Arches 140# rough 7 x 9 inches
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wip on Fabriano 300# 7 x 9 inches
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wip on Arches 140# rough
The above paintings were painted while I was stuck indoors without power during a big snowstorm.  I decided to haul my watercolor equipment down into the living room next to the north window and the woodstove. I used several plein air pastel paintings to use for my reference.
I would like to know if anyone else has trouble with their WP account. I have the most difficult time putting my post together. I can’t hardly change anything here or even copy and paste. I am so close to letting it go because it is so frustrating. Any ideas?

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One of my pastel plein air that I used for a reference.

*A word about photos. The photos on my blog are mine, taken by me and copying them would be stealing from me. If you find a photo that you would like to copy or use, I request that you ask me for permission and I expect you to give me full credit for my own photo. Thank you so very much.

 

 

Looking Back at 2016

My  goodness time sure flies and here we are just at the door of 2017. I have been busy painting but posting only when I feel something is ready. I really like my slow approach. I have been painting a lot behind the scenes but slowing down my posting, it makes sense for me because I want to focus more on the art. Bear with the length of the images, I have been having a difficult time with uploading photos and having my page get stuck many times. This is the easiest way to put together this post. I will do a post in the next few days of my favorite photos of 2016 as I am getting impatient with how long this is taking. It has been a fantastic year and I am looking forward to what 2017 will hold for me and my art endeavors.

Here are my favorite paintings of the year, first the pastels:

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My intuitive painting

 

Now for the watercolors that I liked the best:

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My most favorite watercolor painting

 

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another all time favorite!

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*A word about photos. The photos on my blog are mine, taken by me and copying them would be stealing from me. If you find a photo that you would like to copy or use, I request that you ask me for permission and I expect you to give me full credit for my own photo. Thank you so very much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snowy North Yuba River

 

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View of the Sierra Buttes from Hwy 49

I wanted to get out to paint en plein air before the next coming storm. When people think of California they think of beaches and the lack of snow. Ha! well, I live in an area that snow is readily available if it isn’t snowing at my house, it is snowing somewhere close by. This location is about 35 miles from my house and the road leading up to the Sierra Buttes is routinely shut down for the winter and opened to snowmobilers and snow sports enthusiasts. It is a personal pet peeve of mine that people have this conception that California is always sunny and short sleeved weather even in winter. With that complaint off from my shoulders, let’s proceed to my painting.

 

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My scene along the river

After this painting experience I am convinced that I don’t like trudging through deep snow with my heavy pastel equipment. Either I have to make it lighter and more compact, or find a scene to paint from the road. I didn’t even bother with setting up my easel and painted holding my board. Not the best decision for me especially when I have trouble with my hands.

 

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My painting – soft pastel on PastelMat

I had completed my painting to about 75% and finished it up in the studio.

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Along the North Yuba Trail

I decided to take a hike on one of my favorite trails and reflect on painting and my experience today. I felt very much dissatisfied that I came away with only one painting but I decided to shake it off because I was able to paint regardless of how many or the quality. I also came away with over 300 photos to work from. All in all, it was a good day in Northern California.

*A word about photos. The photos on my blog are mine, taken by me and copying them would be stealing from me. If you find a photo that you would like to copy or use, I request that you ask me for permission and I expect you to give me full credit for my own photo. Thank you so very much.

 

 

Beginning of the Beginning

 

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Shenanigan Flat plein air from August

I thought that I would post a few of my favorite watercolor paintings from the past 5 months. I started this amazing journey delving seriously into learning this wonderful medium and to discover my particular style. I wanted to include the painting above because I feel that it depicts where I want to be in watercolor. Of course this painting only shows a smidge of the style that I envision.

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semi-abstract

A semi-abstract of several madrone trees in my backyard has been an adventure of sorts. Finding my way around abstraction, loosing up and learning not to be so critical of myself in having a “perfect” painting.

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plein air from 2014 on Wallis paper
      My past has been solidly planted in soft pastel for approximately 17 years. The above painting is one that I wasn’t too sure about at completion because of the looseness but now I see it as being perfect because it is loose.
     As you can see, I have come a long ways and have even further to go, I believe that the artist life is very complex and a never-ending journey. If you have been following my blogging here on WordPress, you learned from my last post that I am stepping away during the month of November to give myself a breather. In actuality I found that I was delving deep into an area that I have visited many times before which I feel goes against my creative striving.
     I am aware of this being normal for a creative, but in my case there is a portion that is solidly based upon my childhood and wounds that have occurred. My hope and plan is to focus on how to bounce back quicker with less stress. I also am wanting to put to rest the need for validation and hopefully to leave behind a large portion of my harsh self criticism.
     When I had originally thought of taking a month off, I was questioning if it was something that I should do, when I ran across a post by a fellow blogger that tied right into what I have contemplating about, I knew it was a confirmation.
      I am a very positive person who has great hope for my art and what I can learn from pursuing being creative. I could touch upon a lot in this post but it would be too lengthy and you all be yawning and ready for this post to end. I do believe that when I do come back in December, I plan on blogging more about the creative life (and struggles) in addition to my art adventures.
     While I am on my leave of absence, I will be working more on a painting that is meditative Intuitive Painting-Psalm 65 If you want to snoop into the conversation regarding this planned absence, I suggest that you read the comments in this post  Fall on the North Yuba. Goodness, it is about time I end this and post it. I will be come back and keep an eye on the feed, until then….happy creating!

 

Pastel on Watercolor Delight

 

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the end product of a fun experiment
I am dealing with a headache since last night but didn’t stop me from getting into the art studio to paint. I wish that my photo showed this painting better but oh well, imagine that orange color being a rich sunflower color and that blue in the background darker than it would almost be correct. My camera lately has been making my blues appear too high of a chroma, so keep that in mind. The color on the water section looks thick and heavy in this photo but it is just fine when I look at the painting.
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close-up of one of the bushes
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The original plein air watercolor

I had a blogger suggest that I darken the background of this painting and I did though I decided to go ahead and turn it into a watercolor to pastel painting. Sure I could had gone darker in the shadows but I didn’t want to fuss with it too much but focus on the light and the gorgeous yellows and golds. I punched up the color than what I saw in reality.

 

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My reference photo

Looking at that photo and comparing what I ended up with,  I could probably could have worked on the water more but to me the focus was on the rocks and bushes. Oh but look at that water!! Oh well, perhaps another time. My last experiment with this idea of putting pastel on top of a watercolor didn’t go as planned and it was mostly a pastel painting. Pastel of Goose Lake

I probably rushed this painting but I feel that I wanted to have a go at it and see what happens. I might go back and tweek it a bit more and then again, I might leave it alone.

*A word about photos. The photos on my blog are mine, taken by me and copying them would be stealing from me. If you find a photo that you would like to copy or use, I request that you ask me for permission and I expect you to give me full credit for my own photo. Thank you so very much.

 

 

Pastel of Goose Lake

 

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pastel on grey Colorfix paper

I was hoping to work longer on this pastel but my carpal tunnel is giving me fits and I was getting tired of painting with my left hand. I am thinking that I need to work on more depth in the water, right now my blue scrumbling over the surface is too uneven and not realistic. I want to remain loose with this painting and working with my left hand helped me in that aspect.

 

My photo and painting almost marries up except that the blues are jumping forward too much in the photo which I can’t seem to eliminate, keep that in mind. I initially started this painting with a watercolor underpainting but ended up covering it completely with pastel. I think that in the future I’ll use watercolor paper rather than a sanded pastel paper. Check out Debi Riley’s beautiful painting here Watercolor to Pastel isn’t her painting divine? She is such an inspiration and I was hoping to follow her lead but overdid my pastel. There is always next time.

 

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My reference photo

Learning Points:

  • Use the appropriate paper for the method
  • Take breaks for a fresh look and to keep those tendons loose
  • Remember excessive detail can kill a painting, if you want excessive detail, make friends with photography (my opinion)
  • Pastel is fun!

*A word about photos. The photos on my blog are mine, taken by me and copying them would be stealing from me. If you find a photo that you would like to copy or use, I request that you ask me for permission and I expect you to give me full credit for my own photo. Thank you so very much.

 

Painting and Chasing Away Fly Fisherman

 

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painting #1 on Arches 300# rough 7 x 9 inches

I had this particular spot in mind for over a week and was very excited to paint here which I haven’t in years, the last time I did I painted it in pastel

 

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Pastel on Wallis paper 9 x 12 inches

So as I was saying I had this spot in mind to paint for a while I come around the corner on Hwy 49  and there is a man and a truck parked, what????? that is MY spot! so I pulled up rather fast, you should have seen the look on his face. I got out of the truck immediately asking “oh are you planning to fish here”? “yes”…..I then say “I plan to paint here”, I didn’t ask him, I told him! then he says….”I will stay out of your way”! Haha! like I was the one who showed up first….anyway…..he lasted only 10 minutes fishing and then moved on up the road. I love it.

 

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My scene! I had to come back and edit it in, I forgot it.

 

 

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painting #2 on Arches 300# rough 7 x 9 inches

I completed this one later in the studio, I lost quite a bit of definition on the right side but that’s alright, it is a warm-up.

 

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painting #3 on Saunders 200# 11 x 14 inches

I really hate that hump of rocks, I am going to work on softening edges and the horizon line.

 

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painting #4 on Fabriano 300# 7 x 9 inches

I am thinking that I will work on now loosing up my water which actually means I need to soften up the edges of the water and rocks. I don’t like the cookie cutter look but I understand why I have been doing that because of the need to keep my lights but I know that I can have the happy marriage of saving my whites and loosen up with my edges. That is my challenge now.

I have been fortunate to continue painting as it is cooling down. Soon I might have to switch back to pastel work when my washes refuse to corporate in drying.

I stopped in Downieville to look at a new gallery in town Yuba Gallery and I ran into an old artist friend, Katie O’Hara Kelly who also taught art at the elementary school that my daughters had gone to. Her art is in the gallery and she is encouraging me to bring some artwork in to exhibit. The gallery is seasonal because the tourist trade drops during the winter, I am looking forward to next year to bring some of my paintings of the river and Sierra Buttes.

*A word about photos. The photos on my blog are mine, taken by me and copying them would be stealing from me. If you find a photo that you would like to copy or use, I request that you ask me for permission and I expect you to give me full credit for my own photo. Thank you so very much.