Showing posts from May, 2011

Quirky Cats (still life with style)

"The Unfortunate Fish" 12 x 12 Chalk Pastel on Paper

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This is one of several works completed in the last few days...

I have a bad habit of collecting knick-knacks to paint. I try to keep most of them put away for just that purpose, so my house doesn't become a minefield of breakable items. These two cats however are regulars in my kitchen-- the smaller one is my grandmother's old salt shaker, and the larger is a wooden figurine from Thailand. The fish, sadly for him, is a cloth cat toy.

I set these three up late at night on the kitchen table (using the bottom of a small fountain as a base). The paper is Strathmore "Ridges" series paper, and I haven't had much luck with it in the past. I love its tex…

Not Quite Monet, But Still Fun...

"Reflection" 18 x 24 Chalk Pastel on Paper
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Started this one in March-- I don't usually get this abstract, but it was kind of like working on a puzzle.

It started with a photo of the lilies in the water at the Grand Tradition in Fallbrook, California. In this photo, the water with the reflection of the trees above was the real star. I chose dark, plum-toned Canson pastel paper, and began blocking in lights and darks, with a focus on big shapes.

Then, as sometimes happens, I got stuck. Or, as my toddler says, "Skuck!" I let the painting sit, and added bits here and there, but couldn't figure out how to fix it.

Finally, I realized that one big problem was the lilypads-- they went straight across the bottom of the page. So, I varied the height, so they were more at a…

Country Shadows (a quick landscape in pastel)

"Country Roads" 9 x 12 chalk pastel on paper
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This piece was inspired by a view from the tram at the San Diego Wild Animal Park (now known as the Safari Park), painted with chalk pastel on orange-toned Canson Mi-Teintes paper. It was a quick, furious painting session-- mainly to blow off some steam after an irritating phone conversation. I've heard many times about the calming nature of blue, so I thought I would use blue for some cold shadow in this piece.

The actual view of this area is much more full of objects, but I thought I would stick to the simple, back country view that is quite common in the hills of San Diego County. There are still plenty of serene areas within minutes of the freeways here that boast shadowed hills dotted with trees. There used to be much more; as a child, I remember going on "boring" drives through the country with my parents on…

Postcard Perfect Inspiration

"Wish you Were Here" 12 x 18 chalk pastel on paper
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I'm finding that these spa scenes are quite relaxing to look at, and thought I would put a few together to show their consistency in colors and textures...

"Bathers," "Heavenly Pool," and "Bathers II" (all chalk pastel on paper)
The latest piece, "Wish You Were Here," was completed on olive-toned Canson Mi Teintes paper. It was a leftover piece from one of my art classes, and I thought I would try it for one of the spa pieces. I used to shy away from green tones (both in my house and in my art,) but I am learning to appreciate the subtle effects a green undertone has to offer in some of my works. I've always been taught that water should have a little green in it, so this has worked well for these spa pieces.
There were some figures in the original photo I used as a refer…