Wednesday, September 3, 2014

"Buttercup and Son" Animals, pastel, 8 x 10"

"Buttercup and Son"  8 x 10" Pastel
The most successful artists that I know focus on painting what they love.  It took me a while to decide what to paint.  As a long time portrait artist of course I gravitated towards painting portraits of my kids.  When I decided to take my painting more seriously, only a few years ago, I jumped from subject matter to subject matter.  Now I have it narrowed down to animals of the area and paintings of docents from Colonial Williamsburg.  Makes sense I guess, I love all animals, love Virginia and I love local history.  Keep in mind that an artist who hopes to show their work should try to keep subject matte,  painting medium and process consistent.  The best advice I have gotten is from my friend Rita Kirkman.  She says to paint every day, paint small and paint in series.  Check her out at

For this painting I actually started out much larger.  The original (below), was 12 x 18".  I fussed with it and fussed with it and finally decided to throw it away.  One night, just for fun, I put an 8 x 10 mat over the focus area and realized that it might be saved.  I cropped it, sprayed it well with Krylon Workable fixative and went at it. Eliminating the plantation house in the background, simplifying the sky and horizon line did the trick.  I also added more  reflective light.  When I re-created the landscape I just relaxed, went into my quiet happy place in my head, gave up control of my hands to the universe and drew.  When I was done I was surprised to see that I drew my homeland of Bowling Green Ohio, with it's straight open horizons.  I guess I must be home sick.

This was created on Uart sanded paper with a pastel underpainting in warm tones, blended with a brush and rubbing alchol.  I did many passes over thie underpainting using Rembrandt first, followed by harder Nupastel then finishing with a final blending with pastel pencil.  I used Krylon workable fixative between passes.  This process works well to give my paintings an inner glow, which I love so much.  I want them to pulse with life and with love.

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