Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Two Dimensional View

More monotypes today. My goal today was to try to achieve some depth. To leave the 2D realm behind and see if I can make pieces that you can peer down into.

Mixed results so far.

More here.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Grip It and Rip It

This is another of my gelatin monotypes. Fun with geometry!

The gelatin print process is an interesting exercise in envisioning the result of various sequences of events. Mentally keeping track of the probable outcome of alternative catenations is a real trick. Because (naturally!) as the process unfolds in real time, who the heck has time to keep notes? Yeah, okay, hold on. What did I do first on this one? Oh ha. Best to just let 'er rip.

More monotypes are in the portfolio here.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Jelly Belly

These are monotypes made with my brand spanking-new gelatin printing plate. Great fun and the potential to make a whopping big mess.


My portfolio of Gelatin Monotypes is here.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Park Slope Texture Re-Attempt

This is about 7-1/2" x 9" on textured board, done with pastels.

Here I chose a board that was lilac-toned and textured with random-directional strokes of the brush that I used to put on the ground. Next, I decided  where the foreground/background ridge line was going to be -- where the tree is growing -- and put down a more radical texture below it, using wrinkled tissue paper and bright white ground.

I am not sure if this is a too-obvious use of texture. Yeah, that's supposed to suggest a grassy, weedy foreground. But not scream it. (And perhaps the background slope could have been less textur-y.) So we'll see how I end up liking this notion.

Wait! I wonder if this piece would benefit from some more radical cropping too. Hmmm. Take some of the bottom off and align the ridge line more at the one third mark. Lower in the frame.

Anyway! It was inspired by Donna Timm's wonderful red box, in this posting on WC.


Bonus! ---> The Road Lined with Trees, from Heirloom Philosophy

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Growth Time Lapse

Delightful two and a half minute long vid. Watch THIS.

Texture Experiment

This is about 6-1/2" x 9" on watercolor paper prepared with a radical texture and pastel ground.

My plan on this one was that the heavy texture would preclude any kind of fussy mark-making. That it would force me to be looser and freer.

Wrong. I kept dabbing and stabbing at it and fooling around with it all day yesterday until it wailed STOP. A lesson I need to learn is how to s-t-o-p.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Wolf Kahn

This is a treasure. 

I found it on Casey Klahn's website. Thanks again, Casey!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Yellow Tree Line

This is about 9" x 12" done with pastels on sky-blue tinted sanded paper.

It's inspired by the plein air paintings of BJ Stapen.

I am enjoying the notion of a very high (or non-existent) horizon, where I can play with the layers and the texture of the intervening mid- and foreground. Kind of the exact opposite of my skyscape interest of a month ago.

Que sera, sera. You gotta follow your nose.

This is about the same size, but done on salmon-tinted sanded paper. Quite a different all-over tone and mood.

This was my first piece painted on Sennelier La Carte pastel card. The sanded surface is delicate and can be dissolved very easily with just a touch of moisture or a drop of water, leaving a plain shiny white card stock below. Interesting. (Annoying?) I have a stack of this La Carte paper and need to begin to use it!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Build Trees, Part Two

Here is a 13-minute vid by Leesa Padget, entitled Painting foliage in soft pastels, demonstrating one way to build a tree from the inside out.

(Apologies for the HIDEOUS ad that precedes the video. [shudder])

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Build Trees from the Inside Out

This painting is by Donna Timm, entitled Field Path 2 (10" x 7")

"I would love to see you try under paintings on papers that can take them so you could try to build trees from the inside out. When I paint trees or any kind of foliage, green is the last color I put down. I force myself to think of green as an accent, something to enhance the underlying structure that I've already built. Lavenders, oranges, deep warm reds - they all work to create the right temperatures for various parts of the tree. The fun comes at the end when you get to lay on the sunlight with yellow-greens or push leaves into shadows with cooler greens. You'll notice as leaves move away from the influence of a blue sky toward the deepest, darkest center of a tree that the darks get warmer."

The above is a bit of advice given by pastel artist Donna Timm to a novice plein air pastel painter on WetCanvas. It's a super way to think about painting trees, from the inside --- which is NOT green -- out. Excellent!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

WIP? Dunno. Finished? Dunno.

This is in an in-between state. I usually work on a piece until I am more or less satisfied and then put it up where I can see it when I happen by at intervals during the day. Most often I come back and make substantive changes.

With this one, however, I think it might be finished. I am going to give it more time than usual in this bare-bones state to really decide.

This one began with a horribly mistaken underpainting with wide very dark diagonal swatches and blobs against an almost stark white field. I washed and scrubbed most of the offense off, flipped the piece upside down and incorporated the streaks that remained.

Time will tell.

About 9" x 12" on sanded paper, done with pastels.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


A good friend recently visited Monet's gardens in Giverny and it reminded me of how much I enjoyed seeing Monet's house there, many years ago.

The dining room is particularly French and wonderful.

More on the house is here.

And a delightful blog written by a guide at Giverny and entitled Giverny Impression is here. Nice photos!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Don't lie.

Don't lie. Don't cheat. Don't steal.

But mostly don't lie. The mouth can be vengeful. Careful what you put out through it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Park Slope Again

This is about 8-1/2" x 11", done with pastels on sanded paper.

It was inspired by a painting by Casey Klahn.

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Artists, Dordogne River
Photograph by Jules Gervais Courtellemont, for National Geographic.

Artists paint on the banks of the Dordogne River near Beaulieu, France
(circa 1923; autochrome image)

Park Slope

This is about 8" x 11", done with pastels on sanded paper.

It was inspired by a painting by Casey Klahn.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Yellow Field

This is about 8" x 11", done with pastels on sanded paper.

It was inspired by a painting by Lisa Couper.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Yellow Room

This is about 5-1/2" x 8", in pastel on sanded paper.

The Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory

I have been saying (and thinking about) a lot of prayers in the last few months, what with terrorist bombs, exploding factories, killer tornadoes, collapsing bridges, collapsing buildings, and so forth.  It was a rough Spring.

Anyway, it struck me that both the 'Hail Mary' and the 'Lord's Prayer' have a somewhat abrupt and curt tone. So I have decided to make my own modifications to them. My theory is that you're apt to get better results if you include a bit more courtesy and politeness. Right? It sure can't hurt.

My new versions:

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, [please] pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. 
Thy kingdom come. 
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven. 
[Please] Give us this day our daily bread, 
and forgive us our trespasses, 
as we forgive those who trespass against us, 
and [please] lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, 
for ever and ever. Amen. 

Image above:
The Alba Madonna
c. 1510
National Gallery of Art

Saturday, June 1, 2013


This is about 8" x 9-1/2", done with pastel, on sanded paper.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Imaginary Landscapes

These are each about 5-1/2" x 9" in pastel on sanded paper.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Working Breakfast

What? Me "dull"? No WAY.

This is entitled Mountain Monster, by Chris McMaho. I find this pretty creative and a bit hilarious. Talk about appropriating art to make art. Ha!

"Artists Chris McMahon and Thyrza Segal have each added a fantastic collection of monsters to dull landscape paintings that they found at various yard sales and thrift stores. Prints of the enhanced paintings by Thyrza (Etsy) and Chris (deviantART) are available to purchase online." (from Laughing Squid)

Chris McMahon's collection is here Thyrza Segal's is here. The later's gallery is particularly entertaining, since she includes the before and after. (Beware! Zombies, too!)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

I Like Picnic Bike!

Is this awesomeness, or what? I ask you!

Bike was custom-made at an employee-owned cycle shop in Boulder CO called Fat Kitty Cycles.


 -- Food Timeline -- Picnics
 -- Picnicking Through The Ages, from the blog 'The Salt'
 -- Perfect picnic: How to pack the perfect one, from BBCFood
 -- The Batard: the so-called 'perfect' folding serrated picnic knife
 -- Best Picnic Spots in DC (May 2013)
 -- Best Picnic Spots by the Water (Washington Post, 2011)


Edouard Manet
Dejeuner sur l'herbe (Luncheon on the Grass) 1863
Musée d'Orsay

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Godzilla Pears

The initial title for this was 'Pears in a Field'. Clearly too conservative.

I am regretting missing the Bill Creevy workshop in Albuquerque, so I've rounded up all the old texture-makers that I can find 'round the house. And am playing around. The trees turned out well here.

(About 8" x 11", pastel on prepared paper.)

Sunday, May 19, 2013


This is about 8" x 11" and was intended to be the preliminary pastel/watercolor underpainting for another attempt at a pastel painting of wild field flowers. What has stopped me at this point is that it looks pretty durn great just the way it is. I am loathe to do anything else to it.

Dilemma! Work in progress? Or finished piece?


Here's another, same size, less precious!

OK then. So much for imaginary flarz. Back to skies!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Field Flarz

This is about 8" x 11", done with pastels and watercolor on paper.

I was inspired by Karen Margulis' challenge: 'See how few strokes it takes to paint a blossom.' Good stuff! See her post Fast and Loose...Ideas for Painting Fresh Flowers

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Plein air -- heading out to the field!

Self-portrait on the Road to Tarascon (The Painter on His Way to Work)
Artist: Vincent van Gogh
Date: 1888
Place of Creation: Arles, Bouches-du-Rhône, France
Dimensions: 48 x 44 cm (19" x 17-1/2")
Gallery: Destroyed


Gallery: Destroyed in the above provenance information?

What's this all about?  Hmmm!

Wait! "Destroyed by fire in the Second World War; formerly in the Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum, Magdeburg (Germany), Magdeburg, Germany, Europe". (Van Gogh Gallery)

Who might be responsible for this? Answer: the RAF -- "Magdeburg was heavily bombed by the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. The RAF bombing raid on the night of 16 January 1945, destroyed much of the city. The official death toll was 16,000 - however, it is now believed that at most between 2000-4000 citizens were killed." (Wiki)

More: "Thousands of citizens lose their lives during the most devastating air attacks on Magdeburg on 16th January. A deadly bomb attack wipes out the old city centre and reduces 90 percent of the buildings to rubble. 60 percent of the city is destroyed. The factories of the Krupp-Gruson-Werk, the Junkerswerk and the Brabag are affected to a great extent." (The Chronicle of Magdeburg)

Another version of the story holds that: "In 1945 most of the museum's pre-war collection was looted or destroyed when fire was set to its wartime storage at the Neustaßfurt salt mine." (Lootedart.com) Here it seems the museum made some attempt to protect the collection but it backfired. So to speak. (Awwk.) This is one of those last-days-of-Nazi-Germany stories that may never be sorted out.

Friday, May 10, 2013


Historic pic found online, then 'shopped. I like the turquoise hip mantilla. Olé!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Carlson on Linear Perspective for Clouds

This diagram is on page 78 of Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting (1958), by John F. Carlson.

He explains:
"If a mountain or hill should rise in our landscape in such as way as to obstruct our view of the horizon, the arching and receding sky (or clouds) would ignore this temporary "horizon" and proceed back to the real horizon (out of our vision, of course) at its own ratio of convergence. It is this continuance of the sky back of the mountains, with the clouds coming up over it (and following their own perspective), that helps to give a sense of height to the sky and the mountain in our picture, as shown in Diagram No. 22. Of course, we speak of "converging" lines in the sky in only a figurative sense. We can only feel these unseen lines." (Ibid., page 77)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Colorado Forest Scene with Babbling Brook

This is about 6-1/2" x 7", done with pastel on salmon-toned paper.  I am quite happy with the water in this one. Surprise! Who knew?

(After I photographed this piece and loaded it into Photoshop to crop and re-size it, I noticed a number of areas that could bear improvement. And so promptly returned it to the easel for more work. This was an example of how looking at a piece in a different way, in this case on a computer screen, can reveal valuable information. I am vowing to use the old silver PV hand mirror much more often. Looking at a piece upside down and backwards can be even more revealing.)

Casey Klahn: The Colorist

Casey Klahn is one of my favorite pastelists and general all-around art thinkers. Thanks for this, Casey! I love you!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Springtime Ritual

There are some for whom watching this video induces tears of regret. Aren't those folks the lamest? Jez, get a life!


This is about 7" x 4", begun with watercolors and finished with pastels, on paper


See also: How to Paint Better Clouds, from Karen Margulis. Good stuff!

Monday, April 29, 2013


This is about 9" x 10", done with pastel on very textured paper.

Friday, April 26, 2013


A Garden Path at Augerville
by Eugène Delacroix
Owner/Location: Private collection
Dates: circa 1855
Dimensions: Height: 30 cm (11.81 in.), Width: 42 cm (16.54 in.)
Medium: Pastel on paper


When the Loire Valley Château d'Augerville was owned by Monsieur Antoine Pierre Berryer, an advocate and counselor to the French parliament, one of his frequent guests was Eugène Delacroix. When it was later owned by Madame Alva Belmont, formerly Mrs. William Kissam Vanderbilt, she had the river flowing through the estate widened because she said, as her daughter Consuelo Vanderbilt later wrote, "This river is not wide enough." (Per Wiki)

The Château is now a hotel.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Orange Bow Tie

This is about 8" x 4", done with pen and ink and watercolor.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Plein air. Ready?

Spring is coming. Are you ready to venture forth?

More on the Lyme Art Colony is here.

(Images and quote courtesy of the Florence Griswold Museum.)