Friday, August 26, 2011

Illusions of depth

Lavender Cascade
Pastel, 18X24

Yes, an underpainting serves as a fundamental purpose, to set the values, and overall color, tone and temperature of a painting. Used beyond the rudiment purpose, underpainting can enhance the energy and interest in a painting, creating a layered effect and the illusion of depth and volume.

Over the past year, I have been exploring the possibilities of underpainting in watercolor and applying it to pastel landscapes...some small, others much larger as this one is. The tone, value, and color are established in watercolor, allowing for the watercolor to do what it does best...create a wonderful mingle of little explosive color blossoms. Then, pastel is applied, allowing for some of the subtle watercolor creation to show through, enhancing the illusion of air and space.

I will have 10 or so of these pastel landscapes on exhibit at Kybecca September 1st through October 31st.

Friday, July 22, 2011

painting again

Finally...seeing again through 'painter' eyes.

Pastel 18X24

Friday, April 29, 2011

View from the island

As often as I can, I walk the path that leads from the neighborhood stables to a little island park nearby. The path encircles the island...and along the path...I see green, blanketing the water, the trees...everything.

From the island, I can see the bridge connecting and the mass of trees...a seamless transition from one land to another...through the island foliage and the haze of green, I see the path clearly...leading me to this point.

View from the Island
Pastel on Ampersand Pastelbord

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Painting as I want

'One day seven years ago, I found myself saying to myself- I can't live where I want to- I can't go where I want to- I can't do what I want to- I can't even say what I want to...I decided I was a very stupid fool not to at least paint as I wanted it seemed to be the only thing I could do that didn't concern anybody but myself...'
Georgia O'Keefe, 1923

Hillside Bouquet
Pastel on Ampersand Pastelbord, 16x20

...painted as I wanted to

...with energy, fullness of color, and an unusual perspective...of one of my favorite places.

On exhibit March 4th-28th as one of the "staff's favorite picks" in the gallery at Liberty Town Arts

Friday, January 21, 2011

Aquabord Surface testing

To my complete enjoyment, this month I have had the opportunity to "test" the new aquabord surface produced by Ampersand Art. (Thank you Andrea and Elaine!) For in painting not only comes from the art of creating, but also from the science and products used and explored.

Painting is much more than simply using some random pigments and applying them to a surface. The 'scientist' in me spends a great deal of energy...and choosing pigments...those properties and qualities that will not only lend themselves to a harmonious palette, but also enhance the longevity of the painting. I apply similar considerations when choosing a painting surface. 'Knowing' your paints, brushes, surfaces all enhance the integrity of the process...and I believe, the integrity of what is produced.

Blind Date
Watercolor on Ampersand Aquabord

For the past 2-3 years, almost exclusively, I have preferred the textured clay surface produced by Ampersand. Below are a few of the elements and findings in "testing" the new surface along with my favorite characteristics of the surface.

Surface Properties:

Durable and reliable support…with beautiful texture effects as a result of air bubbles trapped in the surface that are released with water.

Stands up well to graphite and erasing without noticeable surface damage. Graphite erases more easily and more completely on newer surface. Pencil mark remains visible and clear when wet

The ‘white’ of the surface I would describe as a neutral or subdued white (almost warm) Ivory color when compared to a standard white… that lends itself well to complement pigments/ pleasing color. Similar in color to most ‘rough’ or cold pressed heavy weight watercolor papers, particularly Arches. Coarse and assertive, somewhat ‘gritty’ texture.

Paint went on smooth with even drying of flat and graded washes, resulting in less backruns and blossoming.

Even when saturated, backruns and blossoming were minimal.

Pigments (even staining pigments) lifted cleanly. I would need to test using heavier glazes to compare lift ability.

Pigments maintained their color and intensity…and compared to paper the intensity, value, and chroma are enhanced on this surface.

More "testing" to come...and the excitement of a new and improved surface...

Monday, January 3, 2011


Beginning the new year, my satisfaction has waned with the ultra-real paintings...those in which all the information is given. Where else in life is all the information detailed perfectly in order for you to exactly see the situation, draw the right conclusions and make the right decisions, and predict the future responses?...almost never...Similarly to the ambiguity in life situations and the excitement of not always knowing the outcome, curiosity and intrigue is created through an abstract arrangement of elements...visual elements in a painting that allow for exploration and personal interpretation.

For me, however, there is a point where patience is lost to the vague ambiguity, as is the case with completely abstracted paintings. Visually, I prefer some representation, allowing for degrees of abstraction in shape, color and edges. I need a few answers, some plan...some information...but not everything.

Untitled (for now), Pastel on Ampersand Pastelbord, 16x20

And so, I find myself drawn to these pastel landscapes, responding to the watercolor foundation; those accidents that occur naturally when water and pigment react to the dry, pumiced surface of clay. Subjects still 'representative' but not quite fully developed, interpreted...standing just outside the rows of vines...seeing the vines, but not every leaf...appreciating the balance between the order and disorder of things...given just enough information to draw my own conclusions.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Goodbye colors of fall

Goodbye to fall...warm greens, golds, reds replaced with cool whites, blues, and browns...always in transition...and colors that reflect the transitions in life.

Colors of fall
Pastel on Ampersand Pastelbord

Blessings of joy, peace...and warmth...this holiday season!