Saturday, July 30, 2011

20 Paintings in 5 Days - Painting Eight

Last piece of the day. We returned to the lavender farm and the lily pond. Always have loved lily pads and the designs they make. This is an example of the great design you can achieve. And no those are not fish. They are flat leaves floating on the surface of the water. I was more drawn to them and the energy they brought to the composition than the lily pads. So I minimized the detail and just worked with the water color to form shapes and emphasize the leaves.
This plein air piece is 9x12" on LaCarte

20 Paintings in 5 Days - Painting Seven

So the small one I did before this was pretty traditional - I wanted to get back to "me." So, using a different reference photo, this is where I went next. More expressionistic, more colorful. This is looking through reeds, grasses into the distance with mist rising from the bay.
This studio piece is 8x6" on Wallis Museum

20 Paintings in 5 Days - Painting Six

"Ebey's Marsh"
This is the first piece for today, Saturday, done from a photo taken the night before as the sun set. The light was magical.
This is a tiny studio study at 8x6" on Wallis Museum sandpaper

20 Paintings in 5 Days - Painting Five

We found a fabulous lavender farm about 15 minutes up the road from where we are "camping." Yes, I know, this is not lavender. Along with the lavender, there were wonderful bunches of poppies here and there, and being my favorite flower to paint, I couldn't resist. What struck me with this composition were the seed pods punching out of the middle of the bunch of poppies. The color is subtle yet strong and I punched it up a bit with the turquoise. Poppies of course are always a challenge especially if there is a breeze. Love the contrast of the blue sky behind the red poppies.
This plein air piece is 9x12" on LaCarte

Friday, July 29, 2011

20 Paintings in 5 Days - Painting Four

After lunch we headed to the Whidbey Island Winery to set up our easels. I walked around for several moments looking for that "perfect" scene to paint. I wanted to paint the vineyards, but it just wasn't calling me. I kept coming back to this pot hanging on the side of the winery - I love the shadow shapes and colors!
I like the deep red at the bottom and the contrasting purple strip across with the shadow falling over it.
My goal with the flowers was to keep them as simple as possible with only a few strokes each.  I think I succeeded.
This plein air piece is 12x16"  on Sennelier LaCarte

20 Paintings in 5 Days - Painting Three

We are still at the Earth Sanctuary here. I loved the pattern of leaves and water here and tried to capture the abstract designs created with looking through the brush into the pond with sunlight filtering through.
This plein air piece is 8x8" on Wallis Museum  NFS

20 Paintings in 5 Days - Painting Two

This was quite the interesting journey. Thursday morning we traveled to the Earth Sanctuary. A privately owned parcel of land with trails, ponds, bull frogs, herons, water lilies, meditation centers, and even a labyrinth. I happened on what is called a prayer wheel. As I painted, this character appeared along with floating leaves and sunlight sprinkled on the ground. Lots of fun.
This plein air piece is 9x12" on Wallis Museum

20 Paintings in 5 Days - Painting One

So the challenge begins! We're here on Whidbey Island with our Northwest Pastel Society Group of over 30 painters. I arrived Wednesday late afternoon. This is my first piece painted from a photo I shot on my way over Stevens pass of a stand of aspens. Love aspen stands. The way the trunks stand tall and proud. The leaves quivering in the breeze and especially the dark spots on the trunks.
I strive to keep my work quite expressionist with abstract leanings.
This studio piece is 8x8" on Wallis Museum  SOLD

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

20 Paintings in 5 Days

So what are the chances of painting 20 paintings in 5 Days? I've given this a bit of thought (5 mintues worth) and think this might be fun. I leave tomorrow morning for the Whidbey Island NPS Plein Air Paint-Out. I like having goals. It gives me a deadline. 20 paintings in 5 days is totally possible. They may be small - 8x8" or 8x10" or 9x12".  Yup, let's give it a try. I'm already lovin' it! Check back often the next few days and see how I'm doing! 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Aspen Dance

This is my newest pastel. Done in the studio from a photo reference from a hike in the Methow last summer with my daughter. Just love aspen stands - and I wanted to create a more abstract piece and work on portraying just the "feel" of being there.
"Aspen Dance"   9x12"    NFS for now

Demo Fun at Soap Lake Art Guild

I thoroughly enjoyed giving my pastel presentation and demo last Wednesday. Thank you for inviting me! Your hospitality was wonderful and the smorgasbord delicious!

Everyone had interesting questions about the pastel medium and my techniques. I enjoyed sharing about the plethora of pastel paper available today compared to when I began in pastel some 30 years ago. My two favorite grounds today are Wallis and LaCarte.
The surface on the Wallis paper is a neutral pH, pigmented coating with an inert white aluminum oxide abrasive used to create the texture. The durable coating can be tinted or under painted using water, alcohol or solvent based media and will withstand extensive scrubbing and reworking.

Sennelier LaCarte is still my favorite of all time. There's just something about the surface, a finely ground pH neutral vegetable flake and cork that is applied by hand. The surface is uniform and wonderfully abrasive, promoting excellent pigment adhesion without requiring a lot of pastel for coverage. La Carte has a soft "touch" when compared to other sanded pastel papers, but still holds many layers of pastel.

Then I talked about the pastels themselves and all the different brands now available. When you paint in pastel, it's a good idea to have a good selection of colors, values and hardnesses within reach. You can see a small amount of my collection in these photos. I sort my pastels by color and then value.

The time came to dive into my demo. I used a photo reference of a stand of aspen I shot last summer when hiking with my daughter. Since my photo is for reference only, it is not unusual for my finished piece to be nothing like the photo and quite abstract. That's the fun of it - to use artistic license and play with lines, shapes, and colors.

This night was no different. Since I only had a short time, my beginnings had a long way to go, so I invited the crowd up to have their hand at laying on some color. And boy... did they ever improve the piece! They added red, muted bluish purple, midnight blue - hopefully I encouraged a few of them to pick up pastels again and begin a journey of wonder!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pastel Demo at Las Brisas in Soap Lake Wednesday

Jen will give a pastel presentation during the Art Guild of Soap Lake 3rd Wednesday Art Presentation Night at Las Brisas Art Center in Soap Lake Wednesday, July 20 at 6:30pm.

Her signature color-drenched pastels will be the subject.
Jen plans to talk a little about materials and equipment and then dive into a pastel demo while talking about how she creates her abstract paintings using landscape reference material. Watch Jen use rich layers of pure color and broad strokes to create dynamic abstract paintings.

Las Brisas Art Center, Soap Lake, Washington

21058 Highway 17 N - Large white building
From Wenatchee just go to Quincy, to Ephrata and then to Soap Lake

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bluebirds Over Mustard Field

This is the second plein air piece done Saturday in the foothills above Spokane. I was driving around looking for a scene to paint. I drove up a hill and looked around. Nothing really struck me until I turned all the way around and saw the mustard fields below me. I knew I wanted to paint this scene but I also knew it had to be abstract. I wanted to capture the "feeling" of the place. The "soul" of the place. I paused for a while letting the air seep into my skin. The sweet aroma of just-cut alfalfa brought back childhood memories.
Charcoal in hand, I placed a line, a smudge, a curve. Using the mustard field as my impetus, the place became mine.
9x12" pastel on Wallis

Sunset On a Country Road

This is a plein air piece done Saturday in the foothills above Spokane. Love using pastels for abstracts. Using landscape objects as reference to begin an abstract piece is totally fun because with abstract painting you are not locked into what is in front of you. You can move things around, change the colors, play with values and create magic!

9x12" pastel on Wallis