Saturday, August 23, 2014

"Tiger" Animal, Pastel, 5 x 5"

"Tiger"  Animal, Pastel, 5 x 5" $50.00

I did an underpainting in blue value tones using diluted pastel on sanded pastel paper. Once dry, I added the pastel.

Friday, August 22, 2014

"Martha at Powhatan" 8 x 10" figure, charcoal,

"Martha at Powhatan"  8 x 10" figure, charcoal,
My friend Bonnie is an amazing costumed interpreter who portraits Martha Washington.  I snapped this photo of her after a show in a restaurant, but the background did not do her justice.  I used a photo of the Powhatan Manor House taken from one of the front rooms and placed her in front of it in the drawing.  Martha and George did visit the Powhatan Manor House on Ironbound road, and part of his signature is still thought to be visible from the left of the front door.  I work there at this house giving ghost tours and ghost hunting lessons, and I have a love affair with the property. I feature it quite often in my paintings.

Monday, August 18, 2014

"Silhouettes" 8 x 10" Charcoal and conte' on gray Canson paper,

"Silhouettes" 8 x 10, Charcoal on gray Canson paper, 
For this drawing I used the soft, non textured side of Canson drawing paper.  It is so smooth that its almost feels like working on velvet.  After drawing in the composition, which I compose on photoshop first, I drew in the darkest values, allowing the paper to remain untouched on the medium and lightest tones.  I actually blend with my fingers and paper towels when working in Charcoal in order to get the smooth affect.  After blending I will use a kneaded eraser and charcoal pencils to reapply the texture.  The last thing I do is add the white highlights using conte.  When working in this method it is imperative that you do not use white conte on top of the black charcoal or you will get mud.  Only use the white on top of untouched paper.  I don't encourage my new students to work in this method as it is a bit tricky.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

"Pinner Cap" 8 x 10, pastel, figure

"Pinner Cap" 8 x 10, pastel, figure, $150.00

I did some experimenting with this one by creating my own sanded paper.  I like how it gives a very painterly result. I used illustration board with gesso mixed with pumis. I did an under painting using pastel diluted with rubbing alcohol, then applied pastels on top. This was my first attempt at the diluted under painting.  I did many after this due to the success of this painting.

Friday, August 15, 2014

"Sheep With Intence Stare" 8 x 10" animals, pastel

"Sheep With Intence Stare" 8 x 10" animals, pastel, $150.00
First I adjusted my photo on photoshop until I was pleased with the composition.  If the composition, value scale and all that stuff isn't right, it doesn't matter how perfect I apply the pastel, the painting will flop.  For this reason my reference photo is often in sepia tones instead of full color.  This is what I use to lay down the value scale underpainting, then I  might go back to the color photo to reference the hue.  I don't always use local colors, but try to get the point across with using temperature.  The underpainting for this little guy was done with warm ochres and reds in hopes of making him glow from with in.  The intense moody stare was accidental, but I like it.  I should rename this, "Make My Day".

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

"Lance" Figure, 11 x 14", pastel

"Lance"  11 x 14"  Pastel, $300.00

Lance has a great face doesn't he?  I have been wanting to paint him for a long time but finally found the right reference photos to make it work.  The image that I used was actually a combination of maybe 3 photos, plus my own imagination of course. I wanted to allow the viewer to see for themselves how hot, muggy and bright our Virginia summers are.  I hope it brings to you the feelings of being right there observing Lance in one of his more pensive moods.  You can almost smell the honey suckle that grows all over Williamsburg.

I used a very different technique here.  For the first time I did a fully finished watercolor painting, then went over it with several passes of pastel, allowing the painting to peak through.  Normally I do an under painting with wet pastels in a warm value scale, so this was a leap for me.  I wanted to make Lance bright to bring him to the foreground, and soften the composition behind him to give a sense of deep depth and the feeling of humidity. The vibrant under painting really emphasized this and gave it a kick... BAM!

 My friend Rita Kirkman,, suggested that I observe the work of  Jeannette Cuevas. Rita ran across some watercolors on my web site which I did a few years ago and thought I should utilize my watercolor chops with my current work in pastel.  I friended Jeanette on Facebook and she gave me some wonderful advice and inspiration for using this method.  Thanks Jeannette!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

"Drummers" Figure, 8 x 10" Pastel

"Drummers"  8 x 10"  Pastel

Sometimes I luck out and find a great photo that I am able to adjust and turn into my own.  This original photo was very old and in black and white.  The boys were standing in front of some buildings and were reenacting  the Revolutionary war.   I used my own photo of the plantation house at the Historic Powhatan Resort and put that behind them with a simple landscape, added color and changed their likenesses. I do a lot of altering on photoshop before I use any photo, including my own.  Be very careful when using other peoples photos.  If it is not royalty free, you should avoid it, get written permission to use it or attempt to change more than 50% of it as I did here. You can find some great royalty free photos that depict American history at the library of congress web site, which is where I found this gem.

Unlike most of my paintings in color, this is very subdued.  I drew it on grey Canson paper and did the entire thing in charcoal before I had this weird desire to add color.  As a result it is rather gloomy and low key, but that sort of fits the subject.

Monday, August 11, 2014

"Taco" Animals, 8 x 10", Pastel

"Taco" 8 x 10, Pastel, $150

I used sanded pastel paper to create this fun little painting.  First I did an under painting using ochre and burnt umber pastels and rubbing alcohol to establish the value tones.  I used warm tones for the under painting so that it would give the appearance of an inner glow under the top layers of green, blue and purple hues. I did many layers of soft Rembrandt pastel applied with the side of the stick using a hatching technique on top of this under painting.  I used Krylon workable fixative now and then to keep the layers from melting into each other and did a final pass with very hard pastel pencils to create the busy strokes. I had fun playing with warm and cool tones to create a feeling of light.  Hopefully the end result will cause a feeling of love, inner peace and happiness for the viewers.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

"Inner Eye", Portrait, pastel

"Inner Eye"  Pastel, 2010
This is a rather old painting I did of my daughter Halee when she was a teen.  The eye on her forehead was symbolic of her metaphysical beliefs that she was just developing at this age.  My work since this time has become much more expressive, but I love the satin like finish of her skin and hair in this piece. I used the smooth surface of a tan sheet of Canson and did a lot of blending with my fingers.   You have to be very careful when blending pastel as it can become very muddy.

I am sorry that I do not yet have the size posted on the title, I need to pull it out of hiding and measure it.  I seem to remember that it was only about 12 or 14 inches high.  One of the reasons I never framed it is because it is not a standard size.  Since this time I have learned not to make paintings in non standard sizes.  Live and learn eh?

Monday, August 4, 2014

"Chicken Trio" animals,pastel,8 x 12,price

"Chicken Trio"  Pastel 2013

The original painting was actually square.  The composition just wasn't zinging so I cropped 1/3 of the top and now it makes much more sense.  Sometimes I forget to work in the golden rule of thirds.  Paintings look much more complete if we divide the canvas by thirds instead of halves.