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Showing posts from February, 2011

Is that Seagull Sick? (Playing with Color)

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"Gull Talk" 9 x 12 Chalk Pastel on Paper
Click here to buy print:
http://www.redbubble.com/people/nikihilsabeck/art/6751782-1-gull-talk-pastel

Another late night painting, when I had no business being awake. Since I was (barely), I thought I would break out the chalk, hoping to ease that anxiety that builds up when I haven't made a complete painting in a day or two. I had no idea what to paint, but I knew I wanted to use those extra soft pastels with the hot colors. I went for a combination of blue-green and yellow-orange, with a little red-orange for emphasis in the middle ground.

I ran into the same problem I always do when I choose to focus on color: a flat painting without any real areas that were clearly defined. I know I'm not a painter who can go entirely without some value (lights and darks) to define my subjects, so I added just a touch of black pastel to give the birds, pipe, rocks, and fire pit a little more definition. The painting wasn't working at firs…

Oh no, not the umlaut! (Painting a German cathedral)

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One of the reasons I never really made the transition to typing much in German was the difficulty of figuring out how to get the German characters from the keyboard. After trying all the shortcuts, I finally resorted to using the character map, which is, shall we say, a pain in the Arsch.

I know how to spell words the long way without using the umlaut, but it doesn't look right to me. And this piece, painted from a city I loved visiting and hope to see again, just doesn't look right with an English title. "Cologne Cathedral" sounds like something in my bathroom closet, as compared to "Kölner Dom."

"Kölner Dom" 9 x 12 chalk pastel on paper
Click here to buy print:
http://www.redbubble.com/people/nikihilsabeck/art/6737703-1-k-lner-dom-pastel

If there is one thing I could do over on my year in Germany, it would have been to take more pictures! I stopped at most of the obligatory spots and took some, but at the time, I was a 17 year-old who was more intere…

Lil' Orange Tree (painting Fallbrook scenery)

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"Lil' Orange Tree" 9 x 12 chalk pastel on paper
Click here to buy print:
http://www.redbubble.com/people/nikihilsabeck/art/6684155-1-lil-orange-tree-pastel


When I opened the windows yesterday, I caught the scent of spring. I know it's not technically anywhere close to spring, but every year there comes a time where the scent of it makes an appearance on the breeze, reminding me that summer will eventually be coming back. Even though I've grown to dislike the heat of summer, that scent still puts a little happy feeling in my heart, because summer has always equalled one big bonus: no school!

I consider this the perfect time of year to be in Fallbrook. There's plenty of winter greenery, but the flowers are starting to make an appearance. The days are warm, but not oppressive. There's not much to worry about in the way of fire season, and the air is clear and clean.

The little orange tree in this painting is one of my mom's. The oranges are sweet, and the tr…

A Sweet Bunch of Lemons

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"Limones" 9 x 12 chalk pastel on Canson Mi-Teintes paper

This little bunch of lemons was growing on a small, young tree. It's the time of year when the trees in Fallbrook are loaded with citrus fruit, and this tree was no exception. Since the fire in 2007 wiped out so many avocado trees, many people are replanting different types of fruit, such as lemons.

I used a lot of darks in the background, so I could emphasize the bunch of lemons. I also did very little smearing, except to blend the core shadows of the fruit.

I've been focusing more on local scenery in my paintings, since it's been so nice outside. Fallbrook is full of beautiful views, both up close and in the distance. The nice thing about finding inspiration so close to home is that I know how things look in all the different types of lighting throughout the day, and can choose when to take reference photos that I think will make good paintings (I would love to sit and paint plein aire, but that won&#…