I’m Hosting the July Monthly Challenge on WetCanvas

Calling all oil pastel lovers, inexperienced and just starting out or experienced with the medium, this one is for you.  I’ll be hosting the July 2014 Monthly Oil Pastel Challenge on Wetcanvas and have just put up the reference images for this months’ challenge http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=20135973&posted=1#post20135973.

If you have been following my blog you know that I’m a guide on Wetcanvas, an artist community that is inclusive of all art mediums each with their own forums, plus the business of art, art history, composition, color theory, framing, etc. – basically you name the topic and it’s probably covered and they have a reference image library (80,000+).  If you happen to wander over to Wetcanvas http://www.wetcanvas.com/ don’t let the size of the site put you off, take it one area at a time to get used to how to use it.

The oil pastel forum on Wetcanvas is where I got my start in painting with oil pastels (June, 2011), it’s the single most comprehensive forum on oil pastels that I’ve found available on the internet http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=390.  Not only do we have a studio/gallery to show completed paintings, but a whole section for general questions, classrooms, WIPs, library, and tools/techniques.  There are thousands of threads (started 2003), if you have a question about OPs, you’ll probably find the answer there.

The most incredible part about Wetcanvas are the generous members, if not for them I’d still be struggling to figure out oil pastels.  Did I mention it’s a free site?

Hope you take an opportunity to check out Wetcanvas, and feel free to stop by the oil pastel forum and say hello.


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15 Day Challenge, Trees – Day 15

Oh wow, Day 15 finally arrived!  Only my 15 days are unlike any calendar I know – oh well, thank you for sticking with the project I learned a lot and hopefully will be able to carry some of the lessons forward in future paintings.  I plan to do a post showing all 15 paintings.

This oil pastel (11×9) was painted on gray-tinted Mi-Teintes pastel paper.  The painting took several days to complete, because I had to let the oil pastels setup over night to build the tree textures.  I was surprised that the texture of the paper surface held up under the many layers of OPs this and by letting the painting rest overnight (the surface will harden just a bit) allowing more layers of the paint.

When I lived in San Francisco many years ago, I’d go down to Carmel a lot so when I saw a reference photograph of this special place from Kathy Paulus of pmp – I knew that this scene would be my Day 15 for the tree study.

Thank you for sticking with this project ~

Cypress, Day 15


Posted in 15 Day Challenge, Trees | 33 Comments

Thursday’s Drawing, Classic #6

Continuing with my drawing on Classic, today the ballerina finally had some attention given to her.

Before I started drawing, the frisket was removed.  That was the easy part, the hard part was some of the sticky stuff on the back-side of the frisket stuck to the paper (oh for goodness sake, are you kidding?) and in certain spots I was unable to remove glue-like substance.  I’ll continue to work on it to get as much off as possible.  What I loved about using the frisket though, when it came off the space for the ballerina was completely clean of graphite or charcoal – fantastic, leaving me with a very clean surface to draw with.

Here is what I accomplished today.  First using graphite (2H) her legs and feet were drawn back in, there will be more work to do with these two areas, but for now it’s a guide for me later on.  Second continuing with graphite (2H, HB, B) her hands, arms, head, hair and bodice were drawn in.  What I love about taking photographs to post my progress, I can see very quickly and clearly what areas need work on and in this case a lot of refinement needs to take place with each of the areas worked on (length of her extremities, toning of her muscles, etc.).  Third, the floor shadows and highlights (2H, 3b) were worked some more.

Hope you enjoy the young ballerina – thank you for looking in on the progress.

Classic #6

Classic #6

Posted in Drawings, Thursday Drawings | 32 Comments

15 Day Challenge – Trees, Day 14

Would you agree that I should change the title of these “Day” Challenges to “(Name of Subject) Project?”  I haven’t exactly followed the “15 Days”, perhaps we could consider them business working days, LOL!

For Day 14, I concentrated on Gum Trees painting two of them.  Trunks of this specimen have a smoother bark with fascinating colors (ranging from very light to very dark rust) – they are gorgeous, and since I’ve always wanted to paint them the challenge was a good opportunity.

Painting these trees was harder than what I thought – perhaps because they’re smaller paintings and in addition, the sky and background colors needed to be a bit darker in blue-gray so that the tree didn’t merge with the background.  Whether it was a sunny day or cloudy, the values played a prominent role in both these pieces.  I only realized this after I painted the first painting so I decided to try my hand on a second immediately afterward.

Gum Tree #2:  5×7 light gray tinted Mi-Teintes pastel paper.  Instead of blending too much, I let the white specs show through in the paper, it seemed to help the scene w/distance.  I experimented first by masking in the tree trunk, this allowed me to work on the entire painting keeping the trunk area clean – once finished, the masking tape was peeled off and the tree was painted in.  In this painting the sky and background were layered with white first, then blues, cool-grays and warm-grays - this process was repeated several times to allow mid-range values so the tree trunk lights and darks stood out.  There is a straight-line fence painted in, barely there because of the white specs – so it’s giving the impression that helps with the distance.

Gum Tree #1:  9×6 painted on cream tinted Mi-Teintes pastel paper.  Here are the things I noticed and if I painted the scene again I’d do the following:  create more distinction between the sky and background than the tree trunk, emphasize more rust color in the pathway, too many lower branches – knocking a few off would give the tree more height, and finally the foreground green should be tamed – I couldn’t scrap off the green as it stained the paper.  Not my favorite painting, was completed yesterday.

I learned a lot from painting both these scenes that I’ll be able to apply to other landscapes.  Loosely used two photographs from my friend Ro Lovelock of pmp, who by the way is a fantastic artist.  Thanks for checking in .  .  .

Gum Tree 2, Day 14

Gum Tree 2, Day 14

Gum Tree 1, Day 14

Gum Tree 1, Day 14


Posted in 15 Day Challenge, Trees | 21 Comments

15 Day Challenge – Trees, Day 13

Fall is a great season for brilliant colors and seeing that I have little practice, I figured that Day 13 would be devoted to Fall colors highlighting a Maple Tree.

This oil pastel measures at 9×6 and was painted on cream tinted Mi-Teintes pastel paper.  Using mostly Senneliers and Neopastels, although Holbeins Sap Green, Indigo Blue and Magenta came in real handy for the super darks.   Oh my, we are having a storm and I needed to get offline, but I wanted to post this for today and just noticed a dark area that is standing out too much.  I’ll fix it tomorrow, but in the meantime I’m calling it a day for this challenge.

I used a reference photograph of a Maple tree from pmp, with the sky and background from my imagination - the tree needed a scene that showcased the tree.  Don’t you agree?

The painting subject came on the recommendation from my blogging friend, Cynthia Jobin who has a great blog http://littleoldladywho.net/.   Cynthia is a writer, poems are her forte (the writing is awesome), she also has art in her blood - she’s a retired teacher of the arts.  I have a great deal of respect for Cynthia (check out July 13, 2013 you’ll understand a little more about this remarkable woman).  So Cynthia, my friend, this one is for you ~

Maple Tree, Day 13

Maple Tree, Day 13




Posted in 15 Day Challenge, Trees | 34 Comments

15 Day Challenge – Trees, Day 12

Getting down to the home stretch now, only three to go.

For today’s tree I selected Pines using a Colorado Trail setting, had a wonderful reference image to work with from pmp, but used a lot of artistic license in working this piece.

The oil pastel (11 x 7, odd size – used left over surface) was painted on Mi-Teintes gray tinted pastel paper.  Used my fingers as the primary tool on this piece, all I can say is I think my fingers are permanently stained Sap Green – lol, with a bit of Sepia and Indigo!

Thank you for checking in, I enjoyed working the scene – Colorado is a beautiful place.

Colorado Pines, Day 12

Colorado Pines, Day 12


Posted in 15 Day Challenge, Trees | 22 Comments

15 Day Challenge – Trees, Day 11

Today I tried my hand painting a silhouette of a large Oak Tree with the sun setting in the background.

This oil pastel is an 8×10 painted on Mi-Teintes gray tinted pastel paper.  I’ve wanted to paint several silhouettes but have always put it off – so I decided this 15 day challenge gave me a good opportunity to give it a shot.

Rushing to complete my deadline, I can see on the bottom-left side the cloud structure near to the sun setting needs a bit better shaping.  I’ll try to scrape it out and re-paint but I’m  sure the OPs have stained the paper sufficiently enough that it may be too late.  It’s an experiment, so I’ll be giving it a go tomorrow after the oil pastels have had a chance to harden overnight.

Hope you have a lovely weekend.  Thanks for checking in ~

Oak Tree, Day 11

Oak Tree, Day 11



Posted in 15 Day Challenge, Trees | 21 Comments

A Call Out to My Blogging Friends

Sometimes I go wandering around in WordPress to see what’s new, blogs that I haven’t visited before, and to get inspired by other bloggers who do extraordinary things in their life, deeds that they do for others, or people who share their talents – whether it’s writing, photography, painting, music, crafting, fashion styling, or other business-type ventures.  It’s basically my entre to “your” world and I love every introduction.

I don’t usually do this, but I’d like to introduce you to two blogging friends that if you haven’t had an opportunity to visit their sites I think you’ll find extraordinary gems I found in our wordpress blogging world.

First up is, Eva Marks an established shoe designer and clothing fashion design illustrator whose style is distinctive, a flair of artistic creativity, and designs that bring an excitement the design world.  She has two blogs:  one for her fashion design illustrations (http://marksfashionbyevamarks.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/your-choice/) and the other for her shoe designs (http://marksshoesbyevamarks.wordpress.com/).  Eva’s artistic experience and intimate know-how have been incredibly helpful to me, I’ve benefitted tremendously from her thoughts and encouragement.

Eva currently has a participating challenge for blogging visitors, where some lucky visitors’ feedback will be used directly in a new fashion design she is creating.  A sort of “readers” design (your choices) and her fantastic artistic talent – a neat interactive creation.  She’s looking for input please checkout her blog post, “Your Choice” at http://marksfashionbyevamarks.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/your-choice/, but you better hurry because the clock is running out.

Second call-out is, Mamie from Artistic Imaginings who loves life – in fact she has a passion for it.  Mamie started her blog around the same time as I did and it’s always a treat when she posts – because it’s a true joy to see her creations.  She is a student whose life can be very demanding, but always find time to blog when she has a few minutes to breath!  One visit to her blog and you’ll  see someone who has an incredible passion and talent for creating extraordinary pieces of art, a great love of ballet and who brings her world to us through her engaging, but sensitive writing.

Mamie has a creative streak that I find very refreshing, I hope you take an opportunity to say hello to Mamie at http://artisticimaginings.wordpress.com/my-artwork/ – I’m very lucky to be able to call her a blogging friend.


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15 Day Challenge – Trees, Day 10

Was a little concerned I wasn’t going to make today’s tree challenge.

This oil pastel is of a Crepe Myrtle (6×8) on Mi-Teintes cream tinted pastel paper.  I just love these trees – they are plentiful in the US both Southern and Western States.  They are used as ornamental trees and you’ll find them all over the place.  Their flowerets make them a natural draw and really compliment landscapes.  There are about 120 varieties that come in many different colors.  My favorite ornamental tree, I love their beauty.

We have three in our yard, this painting represents one that we trimmed up last weekend – the flowers are this color.  Hope you enjoy a little Texas summertime treasure.

Crepe Myrtle, Day 10

Crepe Myrtle, Day 10

Posted in 15 Day Challenge, Trees | 26 Comments

Thursday’s Drawing – Classic #5

Back to my Thursday’s Drawing for 1/2 hour, continuing with Classic.

Today I worked the draperies adding more charcoal to darken them – they still aren’t as dark as I would like.  Also using a charcoal pencil 3B, I worked some on the folds and drew in lost and found edging for where the drapes meet the floor.  Perhaps I’ll spray the piece with a fixative before I remove the frisket from the ballerina giving more surface to darken the draperies a bit more.

The frisket was removed from the floor and using HB and 3B graphite began to work with the darks of both sides and the very foreground of the floor, then lightly began to draw in the spot where it will showcase the ballerina’s feet.  Oh yeah, her feet and legs are missing because the frisket was torn while I was trying to affix it to the drawing paper, lol!  You got to love it – nothing stops me from experimenting, can’t figure out how else I’ll learn and this was a first time using frisket.  Hopefully I can pull off drawing in her lovely little legs and feet!

Here she is ~

Classic #5

Classic #5

Posted in Drawings, Thursday Drawings | 24 Comments