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Showing posts from January, 2012

Blue Moods

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"Harbor Reflections" 12 x 16 Mixed Media on Paper
Click here to purchase original
No surprise here: when feeling discouraged, I turn to the color blue! The painting above was done mostly from imagination, although I did flip through a few reference photos of boats at the harbor in Oceanside, CA for inspiration. I am enjoying the process of adding thick acrylic with a palette knife to structure a piece, and layering in pastel to finish it. I did have to use some gesso, having run out of white acrylic. The gesso worked nicely as a base for some of the chalk, and I'm tempted to stick with that instead of buying more white for a while. I wanted to capture the effect of bright sunlight, which deepens the blues and highlights the stark whites when the weather is at its finest down in Oceanside.

For my next piece, I went to another familiar theme: cats.

"Now What?" 9 x 12 Chalk Pastel on Flat Canvas
Click here to view Etsy listing

This particular cat appeared while we …

The End of the Continent

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"End of the Continent" 9 x 12 Chalk Pastel on Paper
Click here to purchase original

Whenever I paint a location, I try to capture the essence of the place by setting the mood with color. This painting was done from a reference photo taken in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

I took a trip to Massachusetts a few years back, and my mom and I thought it would be interesting to drive up the cape to the first place the pilgrims landed before settling in at Plymouth. Being a California native, I'm pretty familiar with beautiful coastlines; however, I was stunned at how striking the cape was in this particular area. It was a cold, windy fall day when I took this photo (so cold and windy I had to keep my hood over my face and snap quickly!)

Looking out across the marshes and ocean, it felt like I was at the end of the world. I've kept the photo out all these years, hoping to make a painting of it with the right combination of color and medium. Using chalk pastel on watercolor pa…

Southern California Scenes

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"Last Light"
9 x 12 Chalk Pastel, Water, and Red Wine on Flat Canvas
(Original not for sale)
Click here to view print choices:
http://www.redbubble.com/people/nikihilsabeck/works/8290572-last-light-pastel

One of the benefits of painting familiar things is the freedom to strip them down into their basic elements. In these paintings, I chose to focus on forms, as the strong directional shapes were what inspired me to paint them. I am one of those people who finds comfort in familiar surroundings, which means I spend lots of time studying the things I see every day and looking for patterns and characteristics to help me paint with ease.

For "Last Light," I used a photo taken on my phone at sunset in Oceanside, California as a loose reference. I often get distant photos of people along the water and use their forms in my paintings. I get lots of sunset photos, because I'm not an early morning person. This translates into paintings that typically have a lot of light…