Monday, December 12, 2016

Future Challenges

I just finished reading one of my favorite artist blog and was inspired by something she said. "A PHOTO SAYS I WAS THERE, A PAINTING SAYS HOW I FEEL ABOUT IT'.

I love her plan of printing small thumb nails of photos I want to paint and putting them in a jar to encourage my daily painting. So lets get at it.

Because I usually don't print my photos I have made so pick that you will see below. So what a fun challenge to make a commitment to work on these. Why were these chosen, there are variety of reasons.

 This is my Dog Giz and I have a drawing book using grid lines to help get features right and want to try it on this cut picture of my dog. Also I am writing an article titled " Everything I have learned about making God My Everything I learned from my Dog" and hope to use some of these drawings and hopefully pastels in it. This is a lofty goal but one I am excited about.

 On the left is a peaceful fall picture from our local park. Again I am as interested in doing a pencil drawing and then pastel.

On The left is a red hibiscus flower and left to itself there is nothing outstanding but the purpose and history of this little flower is to me most exciting. What is that history? I will share in full as I begin the drawing and pastel. But it begins with the new found knowledge that Hibiscus can be make into a tea which helps my blood pressure problem. There is much more as to why this one bloom excited me but that can be left to the future drawing of it.

Now this somewhat ordinary picture is much more to me. It should be a fun lesson on the simple things in life can bring real joy. 

The next picture below is of the same park and I hope to combine these two for it is simple a view which was slightly to the left and I like the tree in it. But my friend enjoying her trip was a very large part of what made this little park different. There was also a fun little my old traveling pardner introduced me to that we were continuing. Hint, Lunch With A View". 

Again an effort to find beauty close by. This is also from a Town Park.

Ok, the goal is to work through these photos and see what happens. I don't know about you but I often go to my workshop and seem to not know where to begin. So for me list and plans adds to the successful attempted to paint daily.

One of the best tools I have found to live each day purposefully is the use of routine, list, and goals. They not only give me direction but also when I seem to feel my lazy mode come on I see what I want to accomplish and throw that lazy mode where it belongs, by the wayside. You see, I really do lean to the, sit in my chair and watch the world go by, love.

So let's get going, Christmas is coming and this could slow down my goal but spending time on reflection of the Gift of Christmas and sharing Christ love for me with others really does top my list of purposeful living. Of course my love of seeing the wonder of God through his creation will naturally spring forth out of this Christmas reflection time. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

What do Pastels, Watercolor & Stick Charcoal have in Common

Nothing gives most people at least those who love the creative side of life more satisfaction then closing the door on several projects lying in the unfinished pile and so it was here. I know you have had those stacks of projects with just a touch here and there to make them completed. I chose a day I didn't seem to be especially motivated to start a new project which made it a good time to attach my unfinished pile. Of coarse all of ue who are drawn to the excitement of the newest and greatest creative thought that comes to us have these wonderful piles. If you are like me when the project I'm presently working on comes to a point where I begin to be satisfied I will be able to accomplish the goal I had in mind I'm quickly distracted by the newest creative adventure I see. You say if you  were a disciplined worker you would complete each task before beginning anew. I so envy you if that describes your work pattern but I'm sure I'm not alone in this issue.

As I stated n a earlier post, I have began to get  my feet wet with this new medium, pastels. You will be excited to know YouTube or Pinterest is overflowing with tutorials on almost any subject you can imagine, its amazing, I have yet to find a subject that is not covered in their search engine. Since finding a pastel teacher is some what difficult for me I am left with the class room of the You Tube  and Pinterest. My learning program usually starts with following each teachers instruction just as they instruct us. The next step is to find a photo in my abundance of my personal photos that is usable and again try this teachers new method. This painting of Yellowstone Falls is the end result.

In and effort of multi-tasking I am also having a great time revisiting some of my past travels by paint a scene from many of them. This has been very rewarding since my ability to travel has lessened. I had started this one a week ago and got distracted, and today was just the right time, time to complete little touch up.
I was pleased with how it turned out and learned much in this new medium.

This second painting has been going on for some time, first in my mind and then my effort to become a better drawing student and using charcoals.

The original source of the idea was reading the scripture during my daily bible study time. It is not unusual for me to see scriptures in a very literal and visual way but I often fail to act on it. This time I was just so overwhelmed with the truth of this scripture, It simply shouted at me.  I need to put it to paper and who knows what after that.

Much like pastel, charcoal is new to me. I have drawn basic ideas just so they can be painted but to draw something as a stand alone finished piece is a bit new for me and again I viewed a video showing charcoal and different drawing techniques. I was pleased with the drawing but I don't think the wording used on it gets my thoughts through. Maybe if I added some ridiculous date in long past time near the door to emphasize the idea of before creation this event in heaven took place.  I used the doorway to heaven to help emphasize the amazing truth that I was not only planned for by the Lord but before he spoke the world into existence in the seven days of creation. So it was extremely satisfying to complete this drawing.

Now for my last finished project. it was much like the first painting of Yellowstone above, in that I was impressed with a fellow's video on painting waterfalls in watercolor and wanted to use my photo of Multnomah Falls in Oregon to try out his technique. It was fun and actually comfortable to be back in a medium I am more comfortable in.

It was very satisfying to complete this one along with the other two projects. For me it is not what I do with my completed projects but the act of daily putting my creative juices to work and expanding my art skills. Not all I paint is my dream painting. But few paintings finished fail to teach me new skills.    

Now to remember my overall purpose in painting is to remind myself and all of you who have stop by and take interest in my work that ALL CREATION LIVES TO TESTIFY TO THE WONDER OF GODS LOVE AND POWER.

You have no idea how grateful I am you have visited my blog. Feel free to comment or e-mail any questions or thoughts. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Struggles and There Benefit

I realize the older I get the easy paths are a fun resting place but only the through the difficult struggle do we grow and are able to rejoice and feel as though we overcame what seem impossible or to difficult. But also it rids us of the sense of failure. The creative posses for most of us is not always the the thrill of complete success but at times a satisfaction of not quitting and finding our way to the completion of a project with a sense of what we wanted to accomplish in the finished product we wanted to creating.  That was the way of this painting. I had found a awesome photo of a female bald eagle leaving her nest of tiny babies in the hunt for food. The photo gave you the sense of her great power and I found the desire to freeze it on paper and share with others her beauty.

In the end I'm not sure I was able to convey the complete statement I wanted to make but as one new to Pastels,  the struggle with this new medium I manage to finish. Therefore I hope you can walk away from today's blog entry sharing and leaning from my struggles.

These bullet points were thoughts as I went along in this painting. It is often fun when I'm finished to see some of my concerns as it progressed.

  • One of the  funny things I find in pastels is the idea that they seem to be terribly ugly before they even begin to come alongside the idea of being pretty. I have gotten in the habit of taking photographs as I go along, calling them my faith photos. For let me tell you it does take a great deal of faith to think this does not belong in the trash. I had spent a good deal of time on the drawing using a separate piece of paper. 
  • Finally the thing is off the ugly list but still needs some work before I can finish.
  • One thing through this struggle is I learned a lot about backgrounds and small detail in pastels. 
  • I finally used fixative to seal it because I was having trouble getting the whites around her head to stand out. 
  • For the first time I was able to see the benefit of a good quality pastel. Even as it is softer my Rembrandts went down stranger and more intense.
  • I really struggled with this piece. I have said it before but this was almost a trash can piece. By this I really mean I plan to develop a unsuccessful folder. I feel my students and I can benefit from my failed attempts.  
  • Interesting that even though I knew contrast would be the key to keeping my eagle the center of interest, some where along the line I allowed the pine trees and sky too, value wise, rob my friendly eagle of some of its glory. It became quite a fight to soften both my pine trees and sky. Remember I am fairly new to pastel and so I was a bit insecure on just how to accomplish this. Also in this struggle I manage to put so much pastel on the paper I had filled the tooth of the paper. 
  • A major struggle is to remember that and to cherish the grain or tooth of the paper. When it becomes full you can not add highlight's very well. I'm not sure what the remedy for me is in this. I guess better planing of choices along the way.
  • This painting sent me in to new areas such as to have a pine tree that looked real but lacking strong detail. The term impressionist comes to mind and it may have so value in learning more about it.  

Beginning, I began by doing a detailed drawing of the bird. I must say the angle of this bird proved to be challenging  all in itself for me.  I have the right plan here to keep light behind the bird. I think I got lost in my photo and began putting on paper what I saw. For the first time I understand the thought of making a photo into a painting, that you must first considered  how to make the photo your own. By this I mean what excited me most about this photo and bring that out,  not everything the camera saw. As a very detailed artist I now see detail has its place and sharing emotion, mainly mine must rule over the detail of a photo. Lesson - I want a painting not a photo. I want emotion not overcrowding of detail. A  favorite artist of mine said. "A PHOTO SAYS I WAS THERE, A PAINTING SAYS HOW I FEEL ABOUT IT'.

Next I laid what I considered base background color. I wish I had used less green and more blue in the effort to protect the tooth of the paper. A light blue gray might have been better where I knew pine would go in to help add depth behind the trees. 

Because I was uncertain abut how to add the pine needles and also as I looked at my photo I thought I needed more blue. You can see I add to dark of a blue in my estimation. I would later go back over and over to try and lighten it. You can see that even in the beginning I lost the strong contrast of the eagle from its background. 

Finally after two days I decided enough was enough. I'm not sure the painting has the emotion I wanted to share but it was time to end and move on. I did learn a lot about applying small detail, in a pastel painting. Realism and detail are total different subject. Especially the beak, I found one stroke for the mouth as long as you go for strong contrast is all you want to try. The eyes,  beak and mouth I use a #2  charcoal pencil. It was much stronger black. 

So what was my hope when I began this piece. This was a picture of Harriet a female eagle I watch on web cam in Florida. She has a new mate as her long time mate of 10 years died this last fall. This photo was taken by a eagle watcher down there and I thought it represented such power and grace. It is one of the few birds God so often mentions in his word. In Isa. 40:31 God promises us we would be like the eagle with strength and longevity as long as we wait on the Lord. And Harriet reminds me of this as she has to deal with the loss of a mate and accepting her role to reproduce, forces her morning period to be short and accept a new mate. All creation lives to testify to Gods love and power.

All in all it was a fun learning process as I experiment with this new medium.  I thank the Lord he has instilled in me the unwillingness to not give up. Life is much like this. For the growth comes through the struggle no matter how messy the journey is at time. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Another New Adventure

  What excitement, to see a new path on this fun journey. I have considered, taking too many new directions could become overwhelming, but as I have followed other artist they lead me to believe that using your same creative hunger and applying it to different medium will only cause growth in one’s creative vision.  As a person who started over 30 years ago as a oil canvas painter and finally moving out to watercolors, I began to feel some reassurance that my love art was part of God’s plan so as to cause others to pause and stop and see the wonder in the simplest of His creation. The medium really wasn't the drawing power to the creative process. Rather each medium had its own characteristic in which to pull out some different or new aspect thus testifying to some part of Gods identity.  

Today I see that using any and all mediums is a great way to broaden your understanding of all aspects of color theory design and perspective. It allows me additional tools to express the feelings of what drove  me to pause and notice some new wonder in nature. It seems to me that each medium have its own revealing quality.

I have played with charcoal and pen and ink and fell in love with the simplified means of reinforcing my understanding of value and center of interest. Value I have come to suspect is the backbone of all art. My own creative journey did not begin as many others. That is in mastering some amount of drawing. I have ventured in to the drawing world just enough to get something on a canvas but had not pursed the love of just drawing alone. The experience of charcoals and pen and ink was very eye opening. I think I have mentioned before that I had begun my
art journey in the Decorative art world. I had wonderful teachers who gave me a great background of color, value, and intensity, This was extremely useful but the drawing aspect of art was not apart of overall experience art process. In defense of the Decorative Art filed, I will say for many who have deep down a hidden hunger to paint but feel it almost unattainable because of the slow tedious work of hours of drawing just to begin to come out with a usable hand painted item that can be place in your home was overwhelming. With in this field a person can see the work of a teacher  and attend her class which provides the pattern and step by step instruction allowed a person to come to a four or six hour class and come home with a beautiful addition to their home. With a relatively small amount of time they can produce some very satisfying pieces of art. The down side is them must rely on teachers to start the creative journey as felt from the individual teach. All of this was to say I felt I knew how to paint, some might even say I might even have a some talent but I didn't feel the part of an artist. To describe the meaning of an artist of course is near impossible but to answer someone’s question of "are you an artist" would always cause me to dance around this question with things like yes I love to paint or some other low key answer. To be truthful, which is what I was after, I didn't feel like a true artist.

But this venture into new mediums has built some reassurance in my having the dedication and hunger to be a true artist.  As I began to realize the benefit going into new directions I was suddenly exposed to drawing as a stand alone art piece. I also began to learn that drawing is like almost all of the other aspects I had dealt with in the art field and that is, its very learn able. By this I mean one doesn't have to be born with some kind of talent. I have found that what is required is a passion for freezing on paper or canvas beauty as I see it. So with some books and lesson I would surprise my self out of my chair to see I could begin to create works of art with just the power of my pencil. I am working with one fellow who does powerful landscape drawing suitable for framing. I have tried my hand at this and was just thrilled. This picture to the right is one of my first attempts at serious landscape drawing, and even though it is not finish I have learned so much and really enjoy this. To remove the powerful effect of color and now begin the process of developing a center of interest in value and composition is challenging but learn able. 

I have a passionate love of sunrises and sunsets. As I watched this fellow pick up these pieces of chalk and create some of the most beautiful sunsets on Mi Tense paper. I could feel the adrenaline rise in me. I knew I had some pastels tucked away in my work shop I had used in my scrapbooking and also had a good supply of the paper he was using. So I was drawn in to this new world that had a way of creating the peaceful almost romantic feel to nature. I was so excited that even at the late hour I had watched this You Tube video I had to see if it was as easy as this fellow made it look.  It was just absolutely thrilling. I love it because of the softness but also a piece can be completed in a couple of hours. The fun is learning the little fundamentals needed to understand the power and weakness of this medium. I feel all mediums have some kind of weakness but each also has it own strength and at times I find at times you can create even more excitement, intermingling different medium. I believe my new rule is "Whatever medium of conventional and unconventional tool it takes to express what I feel, or the mood I want to capture will be employed.

I feel this creative journey is about to take a sharp turn and if it be the will of God and his guidance as to what he wants me to share in my art will have some heavenly purpose.

The first pastel I did was with a online video. It was made by a fellow named Les Darlow.  I loved it and the possibly of sharing the wonder of nightly sunsets shared from the creator himself.

This video open a whole new way of expressing my passion for nature and landscape. But oh my goodness, I found so many more to wet my senses.

I began to go from one pastel artist to another and I believe I will find my own style. I have branched out to atempt may of my sunrise and sunset photos. I have hundreds you know. My little dog and I would go out each evening at sunset and see what surprise God had painted that night. I am a retired bus driver and my driving friends gave me the title of Cloud watcher for I posted many days a week a daily sunrise.

If you have seen my creative journey you know I took a break from art and enjoyed scrapbooking. So I began a scrapbook I callthe 50 state book. I have been in all but 1 of the 50 states and I want to scrap a highlight of each state to me. Now these pastels are so much fun and take little time to create so it might be fun to add some of my art to this book and do a little pastel of each state. I began just where I was in the scrapbook. It was in the South Dakota which was not one of my favorite states but its history gave it high marks so my choice for this states was a sunset on the Missouri River, a place that you could the sound of rowing of the Lewis and Clark expansionism who was also making a unknown journey. The painting was a lot of fun.

This last painting was part of a Christmas present for my friend. She had just return from a vacation in Florida and she loves to walk the beaches nightly and photo the sunset. This picture is one of five in a frame of several of the photos she shared with me. I was so exited and not sure where or what is next but I have purched a better set of pastels and ready to stretch out in this new medium. I would love to do flowers and animals.

The moral of the story is there is nothing like adventure and new mediums and subjects.

So just as a person takes off to hike a new unknown trail or path, you are unsure of the twist and turns that will come along but you want the journey to be eye opening and exciting.

My New Adventure in Pastels

 As an artist for over 30 years I have learned to love the excitement when something new comes along that puts my creative juices’ in to overdrive. It doesn't matter the time of day or night when the new attack comes it’s almost a need to run to the workshop and see what happens. 

That’s what it was like when I watch a YouTube video late one evening. I have a passion for sunrises and sunsets and I was watching this fellow pick up several different pastels and scribble what I would call ugly marks on a piece of My Tense paper.  My computer mouse at this point was hovering over the delete button ready to pounce as what looked like a collection of ugly scribble marks were laid down and the supposed picture and it seemed hopeless, and believe me after 30 years of art and teaching I am trained to know ugly. But just before the tap on the delete button this fellow took the palm of his hand and began to rub, shoving pastel color up, down and in swirls and a miracle arose from the paper for sure, a beautiful sunset beginning. Then he proceeded to bring clouds and highlight out of the base sunset colors and I was hooked. Even better I had a cheap set of pastels in the shop I used in scrapbooking and 10 PM or not out to the shop I went.  It was a struggle to make the ugly collection of color marks but I ask the Lord to bless the palm of my hand and like magic it was happening. I felt my art journey had just made a huge turn in a new direction and I was excited.  I will never give up my watercolors but these are not only fun but are relatively fast in comparison to my oils or watercolors. 

My husband was somewhat impressed and that is a bit unusual. He was ready to immediately buy me a good set of pastels and pastel pencils. Pastels handle quite different than anything I have ever used but the experience has been exciting.  As a person who has struggled over the years with my love of detail pastels has help me ride myself of photo like detail and learn the love of applying a base that with on stroke of highlight the viewer is invited into the painting to explore on their own. I have a lot to learn but love the challenge. 

Here is a sample of some of my first with the ugly's and the finished piece as I tried to learn to handle these little pieces pastels. 

This last piece was on request from my husband which by the way seldom happens especially to request a snow scene. The look of pastels has a soft, I guess I will use the word romantic feel to it. This sunset just gave me a sense of peace as the Lord brings an end to another day with the hope of a new day coming. 

I'm not sure just how I would teach this in a class but I love demonstrating a few pieces for I have come to love the thrill of the first ugly stage and see the magic come forth out the mess. 

I have also been trying to move to other subjects like glass, birds and other animals. I want to try some flowers but my love of realism and
detail in my flower painting will be fun to try to over come in this new medium.                                                                                                                                                                                                       The moral of the story is to venture out of your comfort zone. Move to a place that feels unknown and just maybe you will be rewarded with a exciting new experience that was completely unexpected.

I so thank the Lord for the beauty of his evening and morning sky's to those who take time to look. Also for the love of creating he placed in me. For God is the Creator of all time. One must never forget all creation lives to testify to who He is.