Showing posts from November, 2011

Canson Canva-Paper: Great for Mixed Media!

I hit a wall a few weeks ago, after taking a week off painting. I returned to pastels and plein air, only to feel that I needed to breathe new life into my work. The best way I know to do that: experiment!

I've used Canson Canva-paper a few times before. I wanted to see how it held up under some thick paint, and played around with my palette knife and some acrylic paint (applied impasto style). After adding a layer of chalk pastel to each, I ended up with the following two pieces:

"Shimmer" 12 x 16 Acrylic and Pastel on Canson Canva-paper
Click here to purchase original

"Dschungel" 12 x 16 Acrylic and Chalk Pastel on Canson Canva-paper
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("Dschungel" is German for "Jungle." It's always been one of my favorite German words.)

Both of these pieces were based loosely on photographs taken around Southern California (one at a butterfly exhibit, another at a theme park). I honestly didn&#…

A New Medium (Watercolor and Pencil)

"Chatte et Pomegranates" 5 x 6 Watercolor and Colored Pencil on Card

We've been getting some dry, cold weather in between brief storms. Between having dry hands and finding it a little cold outside to work with pastels, I thought I might try a little different direction and play with watercolor.

The subject for the painting above is a cat who has been in the family for many years. A few years back, we had quite a pomegranate crop, and I brought a basket of them over to my sister's. The cat sniffed them curiously, then sat down by them in disgust. She looked so funny sitting guard by the basket, I had to take a picture. I thought it might make a nice card for this time of year, and set out to paint it on one of my Strathmore watercolor cards.

After getting the basic watercolor painting done, I tried out my spectracolor pencils as a finishing touch. I've never really used these seriously before, but Ive often wondered how they would look over paint. They blended n…

Stormy Inspiration

"Storm Headed East" 9 x 12 Chalk Pastel on Paper
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This one wasn't technically plein air, although I did paint it in action! It was a stormy day, so I worked in front of the kitchen window as the clouds barrelled eastward. This painting was unique in that I was able to begin and finish it in one session while my daughter was awake-- never been able to pull that off before!

Whenever we get a good rain in Fallbrook, the colors of the surrounding hills become richer: purples get darker, greens are more vivid, and bits of sanguine red peek through the bushes and trees. Set against the backdrop of a gunmetal sky, the colors become even more striking. I always stop to appreciate the view of a rainy day (once the fog clears), and this was the first time I tried to capture its beauty on paper.

The day before, it was quite windy, so I did my plein air work close to the ground:

"Plein Air Shrooms" 9 x 12 Chalk Pa…

Cactus: Ridiculous or...ridiculous?

"Plein Air Cactus" 9 x 12 Chalk Pastel on Paper

Click here to view print choices:

The cactus plant: a common sight in Southern California, it means different things to different people. For some, it's ugly (I have a friend who hates succulents in general). For baby squirrels, it's a safe home. For random strangers at the end of my street, it's apparently dinner. You think I'm joking? There's often quite a crowd out there with their plastic bags and knives, helping themselves.

For me, it's something that's always available to paint, but I only do so after careful deliberation-- painting cactus is like working on a puzzle. In this case, it was the play of light and shadow on the plant that inspired me to work. I really had to get into right brain mode, though, because my left brain was screaming "It looks like a hand! A hand with fat wide fingers!" This is th…