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!