Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Bono 12x9 pastel on pastel primer coated watercolor paper

Portraits scare me a bit, I'll admit that right off the bat.  Faces are particularly challanging to me, it takes so little to get them completely wrong.  And with portraits there is the added difficulty of not just making it look like someone, but making it look like someone specific.  I decided I needed a little practice, so I started this one late last year.  It didn't look right and I couldn't figure out why, so I set it aside.  Late this winter I pulled it out again and with fresh eyes made a lot of corrections.  I think it's a pretty close likeness - the nice thing about chosing a celebrity instead of someone I know is that I don't think Bono will be calling me up to complain that I made his nose too long!

I decided to post this particular one today as details of his back surgery have been released, along with the news that many tour dates this summer have been postponed - I was going to see U2 twice this summer.  I wish him a speedy recovery, and hope to see them next year.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Approaching Storm

Approaching Storm 18x24 pastel on pastelboard

I recently suffered through a minor "painter's block" that lasted a few weeks as I got bogged down in obligations outside of my artwork.  The end of the school year always gets hectic as sports are winding down and summer programs are winding up.  It can be difficult to focus creative energy in such a chaotic environment.  Fortunately Mother Nature came to my rescue.

A rather spectacular looking storm blew through just at sunset.  It ended up not amounting to much, but it was beautiful to see.  My family and I stood and watched as the clouds piled up and spread out, their underbellies lighted pink and orange.  As it got closer we could hear it as well, blowing through the trees and finally reaching us with a sudden drop in temperature and a huge gust of wind, much to my son's delight.  It was an excellent reminder that sometimes inspirations finds you rather than the other way around.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Barn Shadow 12x9 pastel

I managed to sneak in a few pastels the past two weeks, one small and one large.  This is the smaller of the two.  Before all the leaves came out on the elm tree near our bank barn, the trunk made some interesting evening shadows.  But what was supposed to be a quick little study ended up taking quite a bit of time.  It was a struggle to get the shadow right, to look like something other than veins.  It's been extensively reworked, and I'm not sure the paper can hold much more pigment, so I've decided to stop here.  It was quite the challenge, but hopefully I at least captured some essence of the late afternoon.