Friday, July 14, 2017

Harris, Yellow Sky
16x20 pastel on Uart 400

This was based on yesterday's study. I am happy with some of it but still like the study better.  I like these portrait style landscapes with masses of trees and light peeking out from behind.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

8x10 pastel 

I started this with a grisaille and of course I forgot to take a picture of that first step. My plan is to use the same reference photo to try different underpainitng techniques.

I believe this was art spectrum white.  I used graphite for the grisaille. The problems I had with this I am attributing to the surface.  Maybe if I am trying to compare techniques  I ought to stick with a known background.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Casco Bay
5x7 pastel

Trying something new.  I stretched cold-pressed watercolor paper, painted my underpainting, coated it with pumice gel and then pasteled on top. It was interesting to do and I may try it again larger.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

On my easel

I had a plan to deal with Winter.  I set up pastels in my old studio, the sun room off the bedroom.  I like to get up early but not to walk down to the studio.  I thought I would use this space to do small studies in the early morning and evening.

For this painting I followed Liz Haywood Sullivan's lessons in her book "painting Brilliant Skies and Water" using my own reference photo.  I am trying to find a method of painting that works for me.This is the first step, an underpainting washed down with alcohol.

At this point I have applied pastel all over matching color to value. The small set I brought up to the house is missing colors and especially brands.  There are no Giraults, my favorites.

The surface of this is Pastel Premier, white. It handled well and did not buckle with the alcohol wash but the tooth seemed rougher than I remembered possibly due to the missing Giraults that I rely on to blend.

It is noon now and I still haven't been down to the studio! This plan may work better for evenings.

18x24 pastel on Uart

I named this "Hope" because after a rainy week-end the sun was just starting to break through on my way home from the mountains.

This is 4 times the size of my usual work and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed working larger.

Thursday, March 31, 2016


Salisbury 9x12 oil on stretched canvas L7

I experimented with this one using thicker paint.  I thought it was a wipe-out but then I stepped back and realized I didn't hate it.  I want to work on the background row of trees.  I tried to break up the shape but it still needs more, maybe a tree or two in the middle ground.  I tried to continue the water to the middle ground but wiped it.  I may try again. I am getting better at the foreground grasses, a big brush instead of a tiny one - who knew!


12x16 oil No. 5 Raymar panel

I am working on my goal of creating 100 landscapes in oil.  I could see no reason for my oil landscapes to be inferior to my pastel ones other than practice and technique.  The 100 is my plan for practice, after all I did see my small alla prima still lifes improve. The technique involves classes.  I researched and decided to take lessons from Julie Airoldi, her landscapes are beautiful and I heard she was just as good at teaching.
I have been very pleased so far.  She had me start with a grisaille which I find a very comfortable way to work. It feels like getting the drawing and composition right before adding color. I let that dry for a week. The part that comes next was new to me.  I mixed 4 bottles of medium with different proportions of Gamsol to linseed oil. 3 to 1,  1 to 1, 1 to 3, and the last pure linseed oil. The first pass is a glazing one using transparent color and the 3 to 1 medium.  It added a little color but mainly served as an oiling out for the next layer of more opaque color. I worked on this again in the third lesson with Julie offering suggestions for softening edges.  I would have done this by blending the tops of the trees with the sky, she did it by adding a third color, mixed to show light hitting the edges.

I am happy with this piece, in the future I would like to finish with thicker paint and more visible brush work but for now I am calling this done and ready to move on to the next.


12x16 oil on cradled hard board panel

This is the version I worked on in my own studio.  Classwork is fun and interesting but I also want to be able to work on my own.  I used one of my standard Blick cradled panels but otherwise I followed the same techniques I used in class. This time I played a little more with imaginative color.  It was interesting to note that the panels were not what was giving me problems before but the lack of a system of mediums.

This needs a little more work, some sky holes to lighten up the trees closest to center and a little more definition to the other trees to break up the toy soldier affect.