Monday, April 30, 2012

Ruins of Pompeii

Road to Vesuvius 16x20 pastel, copyright 2012

It's been awhile since I've taken the time to combine my two favorite things - art and archaeology - but thanks to the Cincinnati Museum Center's A Day in Pompeii exhibit, I've done just that.  As part of the promotion for the exhibit, the Museum Center is also having an art show and silent auction of 25 pieces inspired by the exhibit.  How could I resist that?  The chosen pieces will be announced in early June, I'll let you know if I was accepted.

It's been more than 20 years since I've been to Pompeii, so I pulled out my photos and strolled through the excavations via Google StreetView, which made wish I had spent more time there.  There was no on-site museum at Pompeii when I was there, so I never got the opportunity to see the many artifacts that are on display at the current exhibit.  I haven't had a chance to see it yet, but I am looking forward to it this summer.

On a side note, I took a series of photographs of painting as I worked, I'm going to see if I can put them together as a short video and post it on here, along with a few notes about my thought process.  This assumes, of course that I am actually able to create the video - we'll see how that goes.  Also, special thanks to Tracey, Nicole and Jennie for the very helpful critiques!

Monday, April 23, 2012


              Edge of Spring 7x5 pastel, copyright 2012   

                                                                   Towards Evening 7x5 pastel, copyright 2012

This weekend I played a bit with the smaller format for pastel while trying to work from memory.  These two views were glimpsed from the freeway on the way home after a soccer game Saturday evening.  There is definitely a learning curve involved in capturing a barely seen image on a small piece of paper.  Creating a sense of depth and getting the proportions right are probably the most challenging things.  Hopefully by summer I'll have a good grasp of it.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Bank barn revisited

Bank Barn in Early Spring, Late Afternoon 12x9 pastel, copyright 2012

Hopefully no one is tired of this barn - I certainly am not.  It's funny how it seems to be constantly changing, even though I see it every day.  Right now I really only have this one view that is good, but as we are slowly clearing the area around it, I should be able to get different perspectives. 

There is an artist named Kevin Macpherson who created a series of paintings of the pond outside his house.  Over the course of five years he ended up with 386 small paintings.  I had thought that this might be somewhat obsessive of him, but I can now see that over the course of my life I could easily end up doing the same with this barn.  Perhaps there is a least a little bit of obsessiveness in every artist.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Crabapples at Arlington

Crabapple Blossoms, Arlington National Cemetery 7x5 pastel, copyright 2012

In late March my daughter went on a class trip to Washington, D.C.   She was very excited about it, and took more 500 pictures.  Many of the photos were flowers and random buildings that caught her eye - we've taught her well!  The cherry trees bloomed very early this year and were just past their peak when she arrived, but the crabapples were in their full glory.  This pastel is based on photo she took at Arlington National Cemetery specifically because she thought I would want to paint it - and of course she was right.

I plan on painting several of these smaller sized pastels to practice for our vacation out west this summer.  The plan is to take a pad of paper and a box of pastels along, stopping along the way for these quick little studies.  Working this small takes a bit of an adjustment, and like the 6x6 oils I've already done, requires me to simplify rather than fuss over details.  I'm looking forward to seeing how it will work out.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Forsythia in bloom

Forsythia Hedge 12x9 pastel, copyright 2012

The mild winter and early spring has meant an abundance of blooms everywhere.   Forsythia is a common bush around here since it is one of the first plants to flower.  One of our neighbors has a yard lined with them, and this year they were fuller than I have ever seen.  The bright flowers made a wonderful contrast to the dark evergreens behind, especially in the early morning sun.  There is an old saying, "Three snows after the forsythia blooms", but it's looking like that won't happen this year.