Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Along the road to Rio

This month the Virtual Paintout artists are painting Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I chose a simple landscape scene to start the month off. Palms are so hard for me to resist and one of my favorite trees to paint.

The paper I used was black and since it would not accept a watercolor under painting. I approached the initial block in using pastel. The most notable part of my start was the fuschia color, I used in the sky. I balanced it off with a bright green, to gray it down a bit, followed by a little lavender; one of my favorite sky colors.

I hope you enjoy my latest Virtual Paintout offering. It's titled "Along the road to Rio" and it is another pastel painting, approximately 7 x 11. Also, don't forget to check out the web site for The Virtual Paintout, hosted by Bill Guffey, and featuring art from around the world.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Down the hill and yonder curve

A little taste of autumn can be felt in this recent pastel painting. I painted this for the October Spotlight, hosted by the Wet Canvas Pastel Forum. It's titled "Down the hill and yonder curve". The focus of this October's Spotlight was using the warm colors of autumn.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

The October, 2010, Virtual Paint out location was in San Miguel de Allende. This is my contribution for the monthly event It is a pastel painting and I just love the sky in this one. In fact, I titled it "Reaching for the sky".

This month has been a very busy month, for me. I had major computer problems this month, loosing everything stored on my computer. Couple that with some travel and I did not have a lot of time to paint.

Fortunately, my computer savvy husband was able to retrieve all of the items that I needed, to save. I am now adjusting to new software, as well as a new computer. That old Toshiba was a good old gal and I will miss it! I am so grateful that my spouse had the know how to save what was important to me. I would be lost without my address book!

Friday, October 8, 2010

It's in the mail!

At last I finished my abstract painting for the Swap-Bot challenge. The painting did not evolve into anything like I originally designed, but I like it. It's signed on the back, so my partner can select which way she likes it best. This photo shows the finished product and you can imagine the way you would like it best displayed. I always tend to favor the initial way that it was painted, so that is the way I photographed it. The title is
"It's Your Choice", as it will be the owner's decision which way to hang it. I hope she likes it. The image I am showing is my personal choice, for display. The painting is 10 x 10, acrylic, with a painted 1 1/2 inch profile.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Balloon Saloon Revision

The revision changes some shadows, moves a couple and darkens a larger area, to create a stronger composition. Of course, as usual after making changes, I always see others area that I could improve. If you paint, you know this is is a never ending process. My usual process is to "lay it down and let it be". I do not fiddle or second guess myself, but I always like to have critiques and comments. In this case the shadow and directional light critique that I received was worth taking a second look and making the changes. I am very happy with the results!

Now it's time to move on. My abstract project was delayed by the recent storm "Nicole". A little more work is needed to finish. The painting evolved into something completely different than my original vision. I hope my swap partner will like it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Balloon Saloon

Balloon Saloon, 9 1/2 x 7 3/4, Pastel on La Carte Paper

Here is my latest contribution to the Virtual Paintout, for September. This months paint out location is Manhattan and it's been fun poking around the city. It's also been an opportunity to have some people in my paintings. I have always liked the urban feel of some art work and I'm delighted to have an opportunity to develop some of that feeling in mine.

Most of my training, experience, and skill has been with oil painting; although I dabble in other mediums. I have recently taken a fancy to pastels though, and I plan to attend the IAPS convention, in New Mexico next year. The reservations have been made and classes have been signed up for. I hear it's a great opportunity to mingle with other pastel artists and study with very skilled pastel artists. It is supposed to be a very exciting event.

I have another project waiting in the wings and I need to get started on it. The project I am getting ready to start will be a little different than the paint out. Actually MORE than a little different! It is going to be an abstract painting, for a Swap-Bot Challenge. This challenge starts with 3 random colors (I draw from my crayon box) and I can also use one of my choosing. I must then create an abstract painting using only those 4 colors.

Well.....I really lucked out with the colors (can't say what they are yet, in case my partner looks in on my blog), so I know I can make a nice painting. I will tell you it will be a square and I have already designed it on my iPAD. When it's finished and has been mailed off to my partner, I will post it. I don't want to spoil her surprise.

Until then, I hope you enjoy Balloon Saloon!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Somewhere on Broadway

Here is my latest contribution submitted to the Virtual Paint Out.

Broadway Food Vendors, Soft Pastel 9 1/2 x 6 1/4, Sue Bowen

I have really been enjoying the pastel paintings, as a nice change of pace. This painting ended up being cropped a bit, at the top. Adjusting the size, after the fact is one of the luxuries of working in pastel, or on paper, versus an oil painting on a panel; which is how I usually paint.

There are a few disadvantages though, for me, as an artist, and the use of pastels at real paint outs. The largest obstacle for me is the framing and the abbreviated time, to deliver the finished product, to the "wet painting sale". The sale and shows are normally held within a couple of hours after a paint out ends. Typically, the artists deliver their work framed and ready to hang; although the oil paintings are still wet. There is usually a reception and the public is invited to the show. They have the advantage of checking out the latest art and purchase a piece of art work "hot off the easel". Often, they may have stopped by and watched you paint some it.

Oil and acrylic paintings are much easier to place in a prepared framed. I'm not experienced enough with the framing issues of pastels, to frame them myself, on location that is. I always like to deliver my best efforts, so it may be a while before I take soft pastels to a real paint out.

One paint out I will especially miss this year, is the Out And About Paint Out, held in Norfolk, VA. It's an awesome experience, unbelievable art and, and out right good time. The event was founded by a local artist, Karen Kinser. I'm placing a link under my favorites, so please check it out. It's an event that is well worth your time.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

In search of the perfect place

September's Virtual Paintout is on Manhattan Island and I have spent the past few days looking around for just the right spot to paint. There is so much to see that I have forgotten a few times just why I am dragging that little Google guy around. NYC always amazes me with those wonderful, endless canyons of tall buildings.

I finally choose my first location and I am moving along quite well. If only I could figure how to get my selected scene from Google and into my photo editor, I would be happy. I have not had time to figure that part out yet. So the temporary solution is not so different than if I were actually painting on location. I simply do a thumbnail sketch. Usually my thumbnail sketch is just for me to decide where key elements will be placed. In the case of Manhattan, it's what can I simplify, or reasonably leave out, and still come away happy. I want to capture the vibrancy of city life without the painting being too busy. That is not an easy task.

This time I have given my thumbnail a new twist. I did it using my iPad, then e mailed it to myself and printed it out, as a reference. Although I have several art applications on the iPad, the one that I choose to use, for this task, was the simplest of all. It is called Color & Draw, a Tipitap Application. This latest application is for my favorite 3 year old to use, when she stops by, but I really like the drawing part of it. I doubt that I will color and the color choices are very limited, but I did use color in my sketch. As it turns out, it was very helpful to have a second reference. I am hoping to finish it up soon and I will post it then.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Another interesting challenge

Swapping can be a lot of fun; especially when it's with Swap-bot. A friend turned me on to the Swap-bot site when it was just starting up, so I one of the original members. Whenever I have a little spare time and need a little fodder or inspiration, I turn to Swap-bot and join a swap.

The Swap-bot site has grown in leaps and bounds over the years and is now a pretty sophisticated site. A far cry from it's origins. Please check my sidebar for the link and take a look for your self. There are all types of swaps available. I personally love the post card swaps and trading of excess goods, to use for making collage, art journals, cards and art mail. It is so exciting to receive a package, with unusual postage, from a foreign country. When I carry my mail to the post office, I always ask for "real stamps". It's because I know swappers love them.

I recently signed up for an art challenge to paint a small abstract painting. The rules state I must use three randomly selected colors, plus another of my choice. There is a pretty long turn around time on this one. It's not due until November, but I have already started. I'll wait until it's mailed off to my partner (I don't want to spoil her surprise) before I post any other details of this swap.

If you are a lover of snail mail and love to have your post box filled with fun, you must visit the Swap-bot site. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Roanoke Island, NC

This painting is of a sweet spot on Roanoke Island. I can't help but love the beauty of the abundant trees and marsh lands that NC offers. Roanoke Island is high on my list of favorite painting places. The island is charming and so are the locals.

Friday, August 27, 2010

What works best for me

I definitely have a preference for a paper with a tooth! It's also preferable to me to have a paper that will accept a fixative. When I started dashing off The Virtual Paintout paintings, I was and still am, in the middle of a studio clean up. That means I have better access to my papers and more opportunities to experiment, if I choose to. Yippee!

September was the month on expimentation with my pastels! The Clouds Of Prince Edward Island was the first in this series and since I already had a piece of Wallis Sanded Paper taped to my board, when I started, I continued in that direction. I really wanted to try a combination that I had not tried before. It's not my style; generally speaking to sketch in pencil, if I am going to use pastel over it, but I tried it on this piece. I usually just sketch in a loose painting using pastel. This time, after the pencil sketch, I used watercolor, to mass in the values. This was something I had seen Richard McKinley do with great success and I wanted to give it a whirl. If my paper had been white and not the Belgian mist, I had up, it might have worked for me..... but I lost my sketch and the watercolors did not show up very well. I think I will only use the watercolors on white papers, in the future. Lesson learned!

Island Fields was painted using LeCarte Paper. The paper was a lovely golden color. I used a hard thin pastel to sketch this in and because LeCarte Paper does not take a fixative, I was a bit more careful. I normally prefer to let some of the colored paper show through, but I hesitated, not knowing how it would appear on The Virtual Paintout website. Some people like to completely cover the whole paper, but I really prefer the more spontaneous look.

The Island Treasure was fun to paint, but I had to run out and purchased pastel pencils, so I could tighten up some detail. Again, I prefer a more painterly look and I do not like to blend my pastels. I like to use them the same way I do when I paint with oils. The paper for this one was Art Spectrum and the paper color was black. I did my preliminary sketch with a light colored pastel. I usually like more black showing through, when I use a black ground, but again, I covered more, with the pastel.

All three paintings were painted using a variety of pastels and all of the papers had a tooth. If I participate next month, I intend to use the same method and paper or panel on all of them. My favorite of the three was the Island Fields and I'd be interested in your opinion.

I hope to build this site up and have more frequent postings, so check back for more information about me, as I introduce myself and tell you more about how I got here. There is more to come later.

Meanwhile, I have a couple of favorite links to share with you. I hope you enjoy them.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A stimulating challenge

I have to admit that painting, from a Google Street View, as a resource is challenging. Finding just the right place and then making adjustments, for perspective, camera distortion, etc. requires open minds, along with a good dose of creativity. The unique control over the view does take some getting used to, but this is an enjoyable adventure. I still get to personalize my vision, after I have made my selection, so there is plenty creative thinking going on. I also have my artistic license, to make changes that please me.

Island Treasure, is my last offering of the month. It's also another soft pastel painting. It's been so enjoyable painting with the pastels that I find myself adding to my pastel collection. I did recently add some pastel pencils, to my assortment, for this last painting. It's rumored that these "softies" do grow on you and so does the desire for more. I think that is true!

Each of the Prince Edward Island paintings used a different approach and I'll run through each process, in my next post and let you know what worked for me and what didn't. I am pretty heavy handed with the pastel pigment and I still follow my oil painting style, of not blending.

Until then, I hope you enjoy my paintings and the work of the other participating artists. Oh, and maybe you want to join in on the fun! There is still another week left in the month, for the Canada paintout. The location for September hasn't been disclosed yet, but you can still view the current and previous sites.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New inspiration

It's been a long hot summer, in my part of the country and while I was lamenting the fact that I was unable to get outside, to paint, I re-ignited my search for fresh inspiration. This summers quest carried me through many art books, videos and blogs, covering all types of art. Then I stumbled upon The Virtual Paintout site and knew instantly I had found a gem!

The Virtual Paintout, http//, hosted by Bill Guffey, is a unique idea and a wonderful resource for inspiration. The site uses Google Sreet View as a resource to find interesting areas to paint. After the artist submits his/her work, Bill posts them on the site, for the worlds pleasure. I am always interested in seeing how other artists interpret the landscapes of our world and this site offers a variety of styles.

I was so inspired that I had to jump right in and give it a try. It took a little while for me to find "just the right spot" so I missed the July deadline for submitting work, but I think I have the hang of it now. The August, 2010 virtual paintout is taking place on Prince Edward Island, Canada. If you decide to join, be sure to read all of the rules, to make sure you get your painting posted.

It's relaxing to be painting in the comfort of home and not packing an easel, backpack, bug spray and all of the other paint out goodies, needed to paint on location. My preference is painting from life, but this is great fun. Lately, I have been working with soft pastels and they can be pretty heavy to carry around.

Here's a hearty thank you to Bill Guffey and also to Google Street View, for just the jump start I needed this hot summer. Many, many thanks!