Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The neighbors' barn, revisited

Just Up the Road, 16x20 pastel, copyright 2010

As some of you may recall, this past winter I painted a pastel of a barn about a mile from our house, a barn that I pass by almost every day.   It was in the Randolf County, Indiana annual show, but to be honest, I never felt it was as good as it could have been.  To me it seemed to be lacking in depth and vibrancy, and has been bothering me ever since I framed it.

One of the great things about pastels it that they are easily revised.  For some reason today felt like a good day to pull this one out of its frame and make it better.  I removed the tree on the left and decided to define the light and shadow better to give it more depth.  Having a well defined light direction is always a struggle for me, but when I finally recognize that's what's missing, I find the results much for satisfying.

Here is the original version for comparison.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sunflowers in a mason jar

Sunflowers came home with me again last week after a fundraiser at the art center.  This time I tried them in pastel and in a larger size.  At 18x24, this is the largest still life I've tried in pastel.   The multiple, long bright petals are perfect for the sort of loose, gestural quality I've been leaning towards.  And I decided I needed to use more red in the work this time.  It's a color I rarely chose as I seem to lean more towards the warm browns and blues.  I like how just a bit of red here and there in the flowers really makes the color pop.  I'm going to have to use it more often, although I obviously have no intention of abandoning my bright blues!

For some reason I can't get the image to load on the blog, you'll have to follow the link to see.  I'll see if it works tomorrow.

Update:  Still can't load a picture on this post, you'll just have to use the link.  Weird.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

While it is normally hectic around here, the last few weeks have been unusually so.  I've had a number of scrapers, a few that aren't quite finished, and always a lot of ideas that never make it to canvas or paper.  Two paintings were dropped off at the Richmond Art Museum, and the open judging is tonight.  Unfortunately I can't go due to other obligations, but I can only imagine it would be a nail-biting experience.

I was able to finish a pastel recently, though it has been reworked and reworked.  It took me awhile to recognize what the issue was and why it seemed rather bland and boring.  Horizontal lines provide a minimum of visual interest; vertical lines are much better.  After I made those changes the painting improved considerably.  It is based loosely on the view from my front yard.

After the Harvest, 12x16 pastel, copyright 2010

Monday, October 4, 2010

Up and Down Day

Good news and bad news came today.  The bad news first:  I recieved a rejection letter in the mail today from the Cincinnati Art Club's annual show for my oil, Oranges in a Black Bowl.  There were over 350 entries and only 70 spots, so it's a pretty competative venue.  This was my fisrt attempt to get in, I'll give it another try next year.  I'm thinking about entering it into the Richmond (Indiana) Art Museum show, along with Sunflowers.  It will be my second attempt for that show.

The good news came in a box in the form of new pastels.  I was a little leary of ordering pastels on the internet because I like to look at the colors in person, but my choices came out just fine.  There was a lack of dark, saturated colors in my collection, so I chose some rich browns and purples along with a few greens - a landscape artist can never have enough greens!   Some of the colors are from brands I have not used before, so it should be a good way to try them out.  I may be tempted to go back and touch up some earlier pieces, especially with the purples and browns to make excellent, deep shadows.