Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lake Shore

Lake Shore 9x12 pastel, copyright 2012

This weekend the family spent a lot of time on the water at Leesville Lake, visiting and celebrating birthdays.  It seemed like a good time to practice plein air painting so I packed up all my pastels in a sturdy wooden box that barely fit into a backpack.  Most of them survived although a few smaller bits of the soft ones crumbled, and the pack was pretty heavy.  I'm hoping to lighten the load a bit next time.

Sunday morning I hauled it all down to the lake and sat on the pontoon boat for about an hour, painting the shoreline until the heat got to me.  It was a pretty rough painting, and when I took it home I discovered that I had overcompensated for the brightness of the sunlight and painted far too darkly.  The past two days have been spent trying to fix that issue.

I still haven't decided about the top third of the painting - the foliage of the trees just isn't working.  And it's very green, which is always an issue for the eastern half of the country in the spring - everything is green, making it hard to create a landscape that isn't too monochromatic.  I am pretty happy with the reflection though, so it is definitely worth salvaging even if I do end up cropping off the top third.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cat and Kimono

Scout and the Pink Kimono 18x24 pastel, copyright 2012

Back in April I stayed at a friend's house during a weekend workshop.  Her cats two were of course intensely curious about me, and when it came time to get ready for bed they followed me into the guest room.  One of them, a well fed brown tabby named Scout, hopped up on the bed and settled down to keep an eye on me, leaving the floor to the elusive tuxedo, Detective Sabler.  The light on the bedside table was the only one on, and threw wonderful shadows across the cat and the vintage kimono hanging on the wall.  Scout let me take a few photos, mostly in black and white, before hopping off the bed to chase Deets out of the room.  Those photos inspired this painting.

The kimono was tough, I seem to have a hard time with folds of cloth.  But the most challenging and most interesting part was capturing Scout's very typical cat expression - something between curiosity and distain.  

Friday, May 18, 2012

Blue, red and pink

Blue Pot with Red and Pink Flowers 9x12 pastel, copyright 2012

In our front yard we are lucky enough to have a natural artisian spring.  Many years ago my husband's uncle dug it out and lined it with stone so that his grandmother could have flower beds around it.  Although few of her plantings remain, I've added plenty of my own in recent years.  The miniature rose was a Mother's Day gift  and the pink flowers are spiderwort, donated by a neighbor.  Both plants have gone a bit crazy this spring, overrunning their garden spot.

Yesterday I walked around the yard taking reference photos when it occurred to me that it was a perfect day for a bit of plein air painting - sunny and bright and not too hot.  I painted this pastel while waiting for the kids to get off the bus, then touched it up a bit this morning.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pompeii Art Show

Two days ago I received an email that I have been hoping for, though not really expecting.  My pastel, Road to Vesuvius, was accepted into the Pompeii Art Show at the Cincinnati Museum Center.  Only 25 pieces were chosen for this show, so I'm very honored to be participating.  The show will take place on Thursday, June 21 at 6 pm at the Museum Center.  It's a funder raiser for the Center, so tickets for the reception (which also includes entrance into A Day in Pompeii exhibit) are $35 or $30 for members.  All of the artwork will be part of another fundraiser, a silent auction, with 50% of the proceeds going to the Center.  In addition, the top three chosen by the audience will be featured on a poster promoting the exhibit and offered for sale in the Center's gift shop.  If you would like to go to the reception, tickets can be purchased through the Museum Center's web site - I hope to see you there!

And as promised, I put together a short slide show showing the work in progress.  This is the first time I've remembered to take photos throughout, and the first time I've done this much pre-planning.  A few of the slides are a bit off center - it's hard to get everything in the same spot, especially since I have to move the camera out of the way each time due to limited work space.  And I apologize for the small size of the video, anything larger didn't want to upload.  Obviously I still have  few kinks to work out.  The accompanying music is an instrumental by U2, titled Near the Island.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Morning View

Remnants of an Early Morning Storm 9x12 pastel, copyright 2012

The weather has been a bit crazy all year, and this week was no exception.  Saturday we sat bundled up in cold, cold rain until the soccer game we were watching was cancelled due to lightening.  By Monday I was reading a book outside in short sleeves.  The storms have been coming a bit more frequently and the wild swings in temperature have been making life interesting.

One such storm came during the night, breaking apart by morning.  Our neighbors have a small wetland area that often gathers fog, and morning views can be quite dramatic.  This painting is what my daughter and I saw the other day as we waited on the bus.