Monday, June 21, 2010

A beautiful day...

It's a beautiful day here in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. I finally got my cable fixed and the bedroom furniture delivery is finally complete. Had a few bumps along that road, but all's well that ends well.

Got new pastels last week and have been spending time getting to know them. So far I have come up with these little gems...

I painted this one using my instruction book as a guide.

This one was also an exercise from one of my books.

This one was painted from a picture that I took many years ago at the Peaks of Otter. It's a lovely little area about an hour away from us. Our Mom worked there, and it was where I had summer jobs during my high school years. Haven't been there for years, but it used to be really nice. Rustic, but nice and quiet.

I'm learning as I go with the pastels. I had this last one just the way I wanted, when I decided to reach over and add binoculars to the man crossing the bridge. Got them just so and looked down and realized that my right hand had completely obliterated the fence and most of the bank next to the bridge. I know how to avoid this, I just need to remember. Since pastel is a forgiving medium, I was able go back in and make the necessary touch ups.

Well, that's it for now. Got lots of things to do here on the home front. Birthday presents to make, chores to do and such. Now that my cable is working, I'll be checking on all my bloggy friends more regularly. Hope everyone is having a great summer and staying happy and being creative. I'll be back soon with more artsy stuff. Till then, take care and enjoy life.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cox bundle

Just a quick post, while I have internet to let you know that my cable and therefore high speed internet and telephone keep going out randomly. They are supposed to be here to check it out Wednesday, so if something happens and I don't respond in my usual speedy fashion, you'll know "her cable's out again".

Other that the constant frustration of being without cable and thinking, well maybe it's this, and maybe it's that...anything to keep from having to call the service guys..other than that, our lives are good. Now that I see this in print, it seems a bit trifling to be worried about the internet, but it's really the phone that is important. I have one of those old timey "pay as you go" cell phones that I use periodically, so I at least have something. What did we do before this age of technology?

My question to you is this. What would you miss most, in the way of technology, if it were to suddenly disappear? Inquiring minds want to know. Could you live like a pioneer? I'm just wondering.

OK, let us hear!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

More Pastel

I'm having fun learning to use pastels. I'm still taking advantage of art instruction videos and being reminded of lots of things I had forgotten. About the color wheel, values and such. This painting of water is a combination of two videos that I viewed recently.

I am using watercolor paper, not only because it's what I have, but because you can use water with pastel. Watercolor paper also serves as a great support if you want to make an under painting using water based media.

This next piece is based on a pen and watercolor that I did this past fall. It is looking at my woods from the deck and transferred quite nicely to pastel.

I didn't realize what a nice painterly effect you can get with pastels. I thought I would hate the dust on my fingers, as I'm funny about my hands getting dirty. Really hasn't bothered me in the least. If it does bother you though, medical examination gloves are an easy fix for that and are easily found. I'm still learning a lot about shadows and in this piece I realize that my colors are probably too bright on the shaded sides of the trees. It is a "remembering" process as well as a learning process. Another great thing about pastels is the ability to go back in and change things. They are very forgiving.

This last piece is a still life that I did yesterday. I used a cardboard box and lamp light to get the shadows. The back drop that I used as a drape really was too light, so I changed the color some.

I'm still in the learning stage, so I really haven't grasped the fact that I am going for an impressionist look, instead of photo realism. I tend to want to draw and become detail oriented. I am getting there, though.

So that's what I've been doing lately. I'm having fun and that's what art is all about. I hope everyone out there in Bloggerville is making time for fun this summer. Remember that summer fun is more than gardening and swimming and barbecuing. It's also about working a little bit of art into that fun. So how about spreading a long sheet of butcher paper across that picnic table and let everyone draw and paint. You too, Dad! Put those tongs down and paint with the kids. Have them make pictures of the food you are fixing and then everyone will have a lovely memory of that cookout with Cousin Drucilla.

Well, that's it for today. Have a great week and enjoy life.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Let's do art!

Since it was so hot, muggy and sometimes raining this weekend, the hubby and I didn't venture out much. I used the time to catch up on viewing art demonstrations online. You can subscribe and watch them on sites like Artist Network TV, or if you're not ready to commit to purchasing one yet, you can watch some free instruction on How to Draw and Paint, or you can watch shorter videos on Youtube and other sites.

In any event, I have such respect for portrait artists and am always trying to improve my skills in that area. Using a cosmetics ad from a magazine as my model, I came up with this...

I used the grid method to transfer her features to my paper and I drew my grid wonky and all her features are a bit off. It's drawn with a 2B pencil and blended with a tortillion. It's only practice, so I won't be too hard on myself, but it does go to show that you really need to have your feature placement dead on, to get a realistic drawing. I think that's why every portrait I draw has a "cartoony" look to it. Well, practice makes perfect.

Another thing that intimidates me is painting. I can never loosen up enough to get a painting that doesn't look stilted. I think that I perhaps I over analyze the process, so for this one I just grabbed a small watercolor pad and using acrylic paints and an old plastic plate for a palette, followed along with the tutorial for this little scene...

This was actually a study on how to use masking fluid and a sea sponge for texture. My masking fluid (years old) was dried solid in the bottle, so I used rubber cement. My sea sponge has long since migrated to warmer waters, so I used a regular sponge that I picked little pieces out of. You get the picture??? Once again it is only practice and while I cringe and see everything that is wrong, I'm still not going to beat myself up. I had fun doing them both and plan on doing more soon.

That's it for now. Hope everyone had a great weekend and is ready for whatever this week brings. Just remember, if you're bored or looking for something to do, check out some art videos and you just might surprise yourself.