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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Water, Water Everywhere

"View from the Jetty" 9 x 12 Chalk Pastel on Paper
Click here to purchase

I took the photo that inspired this painting last year, on a cold day at the beach.  I didn't get around to painting it until this year, on an extremely hot day at home.

Looking around at the finished pieces and works in progress sitting around my kitchen, I realized that every one of them had a common element: water.  Even my landscapes have a bit of water in them.  I thought back to my high school days, when I first really tried to make paintings of my own.  I remembered that they usually had some water or waves in them too.

I don't live near water, but it's not too far to drive to the beach.  I'm also happy to paint swimming pools, ponds, and lakes.  I'm not sure what it is about water, but a painting feels much more comfortable to me if it has some in it. 

One thing I've learned about painting all these water scenes is the importance of shadow under the light.  Even the brightest reflection on water needs that shadowy element to give it depth.  I end up using a lot of tiny, horizontal darks to work that depth into the water I paint.

If there's something that appears over and over in your paintings, it probably has more to do with your artistic self than a moment's inspiration.  I can see a beautiful sky and feel inspired to paint it, but when I sit down to work, it's usually a water scene that gets me to commit to painting.  I love the challenge of capturing a reflection, or balancing the lights and darks, or making water shimmer with a range of values.  I'm always happy to sit by water, and watch its motion.   

Go through an artist's work, and see what common themes come out.  This tells you not just what the artist's strengths are, it also gives you a little insight into what moves that particular artist to sit down and create.  Even if you've never met that person, you know a little something about that artist by going through the work.  Much more meaningful than a Facebook profile, don't you think?

"Horseshoe Bay" 9 x 12
Chalk Pastel on Paper
Click here to view listing
Please stop by and visit my new website!  You'll find plenty of water in my Land and Seascapes Gallery, as well as my California Scenes.  I'm still adding a little artwork each day, and will hopefully have all my originals moved to that site in the next week or two.

I'll be running a shipping special through the summer to celebrate!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Creating the Mood

"Evening" 9 x 12 Mixed media on paper
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A week ago, it was so cold at a Fourth of July event that we were shivering with sweaters on.  This week, the weather has turned...

Dreaming of cool evenings, I took out the oil pastels and sketched in a tree, Then I added a little bit of sky and water.  I really just wanted to give myself a color exercise, but it turned into a full painting.

After I filled the paper with a full oil pastel underpainting, I used light watercolor as a wash to fill in color over some of the whites.  Once that was dry, a layer of chalk pastel completed the piece, giving it that soft, textured look.  I stuck to a lot of blue and purple, using a bit of green to suggest the leaves of the tree and the grass.  A little red and yellow-orange in the clouds lent a bit of warmth and variety.

I used Strathmore watercolor paper, which holds up pretty well for mixed media pieces.  I didn't have any particular place in mind as I worked, although I usually work from photo references or plein air.  This also allowed me to focus n the color and soft mood, since I could add or remove elements without feeling like I needed to accurately capture a reference.

"Cool Water" 9 x 12 Chalk and oil pastel on flat canvas
Click here to purchase original
In website news, I'm trying Foliotwist out for a week to see if I like it (so far so good!), so I'm in the process of moving my originals for sale to that website.  To see my new website in its earliest stages, click here:
If it works out, I'll be officially transferred over there in about a week.  Hopefully, that will streamline my original works and make it easier to find them.  Any feedback readers have would be helpful!  I'll still keep my latest blog posts here and link them to the website's blogroll, since I'm kind of attached to this one.

There's plenty of new work available on my Etsy store: