I’m so frustrated . . . such a waste of time

I hope you don’t mind, but this post is a bit of complaining and excuse on my part  for perhaps a lack of communication .   .   .   at the end of May I was out of touch for about 10 days, traveling and visiting family, with no technology to stay on top of my blog and reader generated posts of blogs that I follow.

Upon my return I noticed that several blogs that I follow were not loading into my Reader, I’ve tried to keep up on this and a simple un-follow and re-follow did the trick and your lovely blogs started flowing into my reader once again.

But, and here is where I’m totally frustrated, following over 300+ blogs obviously means that unless I go seeking certain blogs (because their posts are not loading into my reader) then I’m missing some of your posts.

This morning I discovered that I’ve missed posts from an artist and blogging friend, Z from Playamart for over a month – wordpress are you kidding me?!  http://playamart.wordpress.com/ I’m so sorry Lisa.  If you have not had an opportunity to come across Z’s beautiful art and photography then you’re missing out on some incredible talent that comes to us from Ecuador.  Lisa is my inspiration for drawing and in fact, is the Blogger who got many of us started with “Time out for Art,” Thursday’s 1/2 hour of drawing.  Without Lisa’s support and encouragement I don’t think I would have picked my pencil back up.  Please say hello to Z – she would love to see or meet you.

If you haven’t been receiving “likes” or “comments” from me over the last six weeks, please let me know.  I’ll un-follow and re-follow to re-set my reader.

Thanks my friends and now I’m headed to the studio to finish a painting and shake my head of technology frustrations.


Posted in Posts | 52 Comments

Thursday’s Drawing – Waiting, #2

Drawing the sea is turning out to be a good experience, thoroughly enjoying the process.  I’m a bit preoccupied these days and find this particular drawing a form of relaxation.

Today my time was spent drawing the middle-water, developing the flow of the water and the water building up and coming off the waves using graphite #2H and #HB.  The interesting part of developing the tiny wavelets/ripples (too much in the middle section that will be fixed) in some areas is like drawing rocks such as the scene I did two drawing projects ago called, Water Veil.  It’s all about establishing correct value ranges – love it.  The water is by no means done, a lot has to be completed to develop the proper flow and depth with value ranges.  Silly as it sounds I can feel the pull of the water as it’s being worked on.

Next week the horizon line will be fixed, the middle-ground water / foreground water and flat slab of rock drawn in, and if time permits work more on values so the waves and lines within this drawing connect and are cohesive – in other word make sense to the viewer.  Notice the frisket?  It’s still on keeping the large wave/sea-foam areas clean while the rest of the water is being worked on.  Once removed those two large waves coming into the shore will be drawn and then finally I’ll tackle the “waiting” Egret.

Waiting is being drawn on 9×8 Strathmore Bristol – Vellum paper.   Thank you for checking in ~

Waiting, #2

Waiting, #2

Posted in Drawings, Thursday Drawings | 20 Comments

Golden Hillside, oil pastel

After a weekend of working in the gardens and painting outdoor furniture I got a new perspective of a painting that I was struggling with last week and finished it this morning.

Golden Hillside, an oil pastel (11×14) was painted on a gesso prepared hardboard using mainly Holbeins, Neopastels and Sennelier oil pastels – most blending was done with my fingers and foam insulation.   An acrylic underpainting was done first, I think the values of the colors choosen fro the UP were too high and my gut tells me that was probably what gave me so much angst in working in the sunset colors with the OPs.  My goal with this piece was to capture golden colors hitting the hillside just as the sun was setting.

Hope you enjoy your sunsets, they are a time to treasure ~

Golden Hillside

A reference image from Leona Fraser of pmp was used for inspiration.


Posted in About Oil Pastels, OPs New Paintings | Tagged , , , , | 38 Comments

Capturing Radiant Light & Color in oils and soft pastels, by Susan Sarback – a book review

Do you ever have a project that you just aren’t connecting with?  I’m feeling this with a new painting that I’ve been working on for the past several days, it’s just not working for me, so what better time than to do a new book review.

Color has always interested me and a couple of years ago I came across Susan Sarback, an impressionist artist whose style and use of color has made for some extraordinary – illuminating art.  I love her work.  She has dedicated her artistic life to understanding color and painting colors, through a process called “Full-Color Seeing.”  Ms. Sarback has gone to great lengths to learn as much as she could about producing color as she states in her book, “The concepts explored here have been handed down through generations of artists:  Sarback was taught “Full-Color Seeing” by master painter Henry Hensche, who learned it from Charles Hawthorne, a contemporary of Claude Monet.”

Ms. Sarback’s book is full of descriptions, demo-illustrations and samples of paintings (hers and other artists) that compliment the concepts explained throughout – it’s a workbook for me, I’ve highlighted and underscored all through the book and still visit it on occasion.

Susan Sarback is also the founder of The School of Light & Color.  This style of seeing and painting color is not for everyone, but for me the book introduced another way of discovering and painting color.   Every chapter is well-written and useful – very little fluff in this book, here are four chapters that are worth purchasing the book for and why am recommending it today:

  1. How to See in Full-Color, chapter two – Susan takes you through the process of seeing in full-color, preconceptions, moving beyond limits and finding color that is visually right in front of you.
  2. Seeing and Painting Radiant Color with Any Subject, chapter four – she takes you through her process of building a subject with color, using color to create light and cast shadows.
  3. Painting the Landscape with Full-Color, chapter five – Susan discusses composition, seeing patterns of light, how to unify a complex scene and paint strokes to create form and distance.
  4. Painting the Light Key:  The Many Qualities of Light, chapter six – she describes types of days from atmosphere to light effects, light throughout the day and learning how to paint light key and light key changes.

Here are two oil pastel paintings that I did as exercises from the book.

Bicycle Path, study from Susan Sarback's book

Bicycle Path, study from Susan Sarback’s book

Tree Study from Susan Sarback's book

Tree Study from Susan Sarback’s book

It’s not Traditionalist w/regard to color, but the book still holds true to basic concepts and principles of what constitutes good painting.  If you want to explore color as some masters have (like Claude Monet), you won’t be disappointed in Capturing Radiant Light & Color – I love this book.  Another staple in my library that I still refer too, as shown by the many underlines in my copy.

Susan Sarback’s book can be purchased through Amazon.


Posted in Book Reviews | 14 Comments

Thursday’s Drawing, Waiting #1

It’s Thursday and finally we have rain here in North Texas, a real soaker – hope it puts a dent in our drought.  It’s also time for drawing and a new subject been selected!

I’ve wanted to draw a landscape for a while and recently saw several graphite seascapes and thought yes, the sea will be my next subject.  I’ve never drawn the ocean so this will give me the challenge that I’m looking for.

Strathmore Bristol Vellum is the paper of choice for “Waiting” (9×8) my newest project.  It will mainly be drawn with graphite for its reflective qualities, except for the sky (I want it flat) has been done with a #2 carbon pencil.  Frisket has been used covering the two main incoming waves and the pelican keeping those areas clean while I work the water.  Once the sea is completed, the frisket will be removed and those areas drawn.

The background water was started using #B and #2B graphite pencil.  After the first layer of graphite was down, a tortilium was used to blend the graphite giving a bit of a blended but rougher feel to the water.  The horizon needs to be straightened, as well as the tail end of the back incoming wave (too symmetrical) and as mentioned before, I want to finish all the water first because it will give me an opportunity to adjust value ranges depicting water depth properly before working the foam and bird.

I was so excited about starting a new project that I forgot to take a photograph of the initial sketch.  I apologize for the quality of the photograph we don’t have the best quality of light today.  Here is Waiting, thanks for checking in ~

Waiting #1

Waiting #1

Posted in Drawings, Thursday Drawings | 31 Comments

Personal 15 Day Challenge – Trees, compilation of paintings

Here is a compilation of all 15 paintings done for my personal tree challenge.  It was a great learning experience and will be useful in future paintings.  There’s a new challenge right around the corner .  .  . stay tuned.

To see a larger version, click on the strip of paintings.  Which is your favorite?

Day 1 through Day 5

Day 6 through Day 10

Day 11 through Day 15


Posted in 15 Day Challenge, Trees | 73 Comments

Blue Bowl and Pears, oil pastel

My latest oil pastel was submitted for the Wetcanvas Oil Pastel Monthly Challenge.  Using a reference image that was selected for members to use in this challenge, I couldn’t resist making the painting my own.

Blue Bowl and Pears an oil pastel (9×7) was painted on black tinted Mi-Teintes pastel paper.  The original image was three yellow pears, a white table-cloth fully covering a table against a very light beige/white wall w/the lower half bead boarded.  I saw an old masters still life when I looked at the photograph – so two of the yellow pears turned into red pears, with a black background and gray-black table and beige cloth.  A little different, but it’s the vision I kept seeing when painting the scene.

Thanks for checking in ~

Blue Bowl and Pears



Posted in About Oil Pastels, OPs New Paintings | 36 Comments

Thursday’s Drawing – Classic

Confession, since last Thursday I have worked on the drawing.  Each time I walked past it another area called out to be worked, so one thing led to another and Classic was finished today.

Almost the entire drawing was since Classic #7.  Here are a few of the areas:  the bodice and skirt, her legs and feet were reshaped (they’ll forever haunt me because of the frisket sticking), her face was widened and refined, her left hand and arm slightly shorted, and the right hand/fingers extended a bit.

The tools and materials used in this piece:  12×9 Strathmore Bristol Vellum paper; pencils included charcoal, graphite (gave the reflective qualities on the floor) and carbon (on the drapes to flatten and push them back); a kneaded eraser, Blu Tack, and a Pentel Clic Eraser; blending accomplished with felt, tortillium and stumps.  Let’s not forget frisket film that caused all the problems with the legs and feet (overall it’s effective, I need practice using it).  A reference image used (taken by Bronwyn Chelius of pmp) although drawing free-hand changed the ballerina quite a bit.

Thank you for staying with the drawing project – it was a great learning piece.  Here she is, Classic.



Posted in Drawings, Thursday Drawings | 40 Comments

Resting Boat, oil pastel

This month I’m hosting Wetcanvas’ Oil Pastel Monthly Challenge and one of the duties is to select reference images for the artists to use for their challenge painting.  Did I mention that Wetcanvas has a fantastic reference library?  It’s worth taking browsing if you are a member.

One of the photographs selected was a mid-summer water scene with a bank of trees and a boat.  I’ve only painted one other boat, so I figure this would be a good challenge for me to practice (I see a theme emerging for a new 15-day challenge).  The scene had lower light and was mostly green, but my vision was of a hot summer day so the sunlight was turned up and more yellow was infused throughout the scene.

The oil pastel is 11×8.5 on cream tinted Mi-Teintes pastel paper, using mainly Sennelier and Neopastel OPs.



Posted in About Oil Pastels, OPs New Paintings | 47 Comments

Thursday’s Drawing, Classic #7

Thursday already, where does time go?  Had a good day of cleaning up some areas on Classic that needed to be addressed.

My work on Classic lasted for about one hour, I know well over my 1/2 hour scheduled for working on her, but couldn’t stop myself.  I haven’t used carbon pencils on Classic, wanted too, but I’m too far along with charcoal and graphite so the true effects of carbon probably wouldn’t be achieved.  Materials are:  Strathmore Bristol Vellum paper (9×12) and today all graphite pencils:  2H, HB, B, 3B.

The first area worked on was her face because it looked too tight,  this was refined and her skin tones smoothed out as well (with very small pieces of felt).  Her arms and hands were out of proportion, they were fixed but more still needs to be done, there is something to be said for managing the proportions right from the initial sketch and before charcoal is put down (can’t erase it).  Lesson learned.  Additional shading was done with her hair and the tiara was worked on.  And, finally work was started on the bodice and was skirt.  I didn’t have it in me to tackle her legs and feet today, because I know this will be the ultimate challenge with Classic.

A Happy 4th to all who celebrate – I’ll be off until Monday, but will try and check my Reader on and off.  Thanks for checking in ~

Classic #7

Classic #7

Posted in Drawings, Thursday Drawings | 21 Comments