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

Blue Hills, oil pastel

I’ve wanted to paint with a limited palette for a while now, so I took an opportunity this week using the color blue as the dominant hue.

Here is my latest oil pastel painting (8×10), Blue Hills, that was painted on a gray-blue tinted Mi-Teintes pastel paper.  The majority of the paint used was Senneliers that were perfect for creating the distant, hazy atmosphere that you see in the painting.  My hands were stained a dark blue – ha, a bit of a mess I’d say.

Blue Hills

I had a wonderful time painting this scene.  Blue Hills was inspired by a gorgeous photograph taken by Vitor Dias a fantastic photographer with pmp.

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

YouTube, Copyright and Piracy Concerns

I know some of you use YouTube to share videos of your work, perhaps you’ll be interested in a real life situation that Artist, Paul Taggart finds himself in with YouTube and how piracy has turned his world upside down.

Paul Taggart has been an artist for 40 years, authored a number of art instruction books, has given countless workshops all over the world and who has generously shared over 260 art tutorials via YouTube, where he earned YouTube Partner status.  I’ve watched Paul Taggart’s video’s for a number of years, they have been tremendously helpful tool in my development as an artist.

An artist friend of mine on PMP brought Paul’s situation to light, I hope that by publicizing his experiences here that perhaps some extra support may be raised for his cause.  At the very least it will alert you all to how easily your videos can be stolen and how you may not be able to get them back.

Please have a look at these short videos by Paul in which he explains how his tutorial videos were pirated and then, due to a counter-claim of copyright by the thieves, YouTube has shut down his channel and all his great work has been lost.

If you share your work freely on the internet, here is another example of how a good thing can go bad.  It’s something to keep in mind as you post  .  .  .

Posted in Posts | 57 Comments

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

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 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  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.


Posted in Posts | 12 Comments

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   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