Gregory James Gallery
Susan Powell Fine Art
VT Artisans/Gallery II
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I will be giving a demonstration “Exciting Underpaintings for Exciting Pastel Paintings” on Thursday, April 28th from 6:30 – 9:00p at Maple & Main Gallery of Fine Art in Chester, CT, followed by a one-day workshop “Pastel Landscapes: Painting Outside The Lines” at Maple & Main on Saturday, April 30th.
The Salmagundi Club of New York is holding its Spring series of auctions this month, on March 4, March 13 and March 18, with over 200 original paintings up for bidding! In addition to the live auctions, online bids for each auction may also be made through www.liveauctioneers.com (search for ‘Salmagundi Club’).
This is a GREAT opportunity to acquire original framed art from some of the best contemporary realism artists out there today, as bids for every painting start at $300! I will have 2 paintings in the auctions this month – Late Light (below, top) will be auctioned on March 4 (Lot #29), and Spring Creek (below, bottom) will be auctioned on March 13 (Lot #74).
I’ve been experimenting with using a very light transparent oil/turp wash on either gessoboard or on this Georgian brand oil-primed paper that’s intended for oils. Since the oil paint is so thin and the surfaces are somewhat porous, the wash soaks in and dries almost immediately. Once it’s really set, I’ve been coating the boards with Liquitex clear gesso that has a slight tooth to it when brushed onto a smooth surface – enough tooth for applying pastels with a light touch. I have been working a little more realistically in my pastel paintings recently and it may be due to that light touch factor.
This one – “Sunk” has been fun to do. The first image is my photo reference, the second image is the oil/turp wash that’s been coated with a layer of clear gesso, the third image is my refined drawing and hard pastel block-in, and the last is the final painting after I finished with the soft pastel layers. I had to keep that light touch going in applying the soft pastel layers so it wouldn’t appear chalky with all the light value areas.
Pastel on oil wash
Also, here’s a detail of the boat (bottom photo). You can see the paper ‘weave’ thru the pastel layers, giving it a feeling of paint on a canvas – but it’s pastel on paper! I will continue to experiment with this surface prep technique.
I also have two large semi-abstract marsh/water scenes in the works as well, and will want them to have some boldness in them – so I may have to fiddle with the gesso layer for a heavier tooth effect. You can see their oil/turp/clear gesso starts in the “Work in Progress” section of this website.
“Last Straw” (Pastel, 24 x 30)
I’m excited to report that my painting “Last Straw” received an Honorable Mention award from The Pastel Journal for its 2011 Pastel 100 Competition, and will appear in the April 2011 issue of the magazine! This painting is a particular favorite of mine as it just returned from the Pastel Society of America’s 2010 exhibition at the National Arts Club in New York. This is my first time getting into the Pastel 100 Competition, so it’s an honor and I’m PSYCHED!
I decided to ‘clean house’ this month and am having a virtual studio sale on eBay – first time I’ve ever tried this but so far it’s been great! Here’s the link to my items – all are unframed for less expensive shipping, all are originals and most are matted to a standard frame size:
I was fooling around with watercolor underpaintings today – the painting on the right was first, with watercolor washes put in and then dark and warm areas highlighted with pastel pencils. I decided it was too linear and harsh-looking so I put the whole thing in the sink and washed it off, letting the color flow wherever. The underpainting on the left is the final one. I like the softness of the edges and will try to keep that feeling in my pastel layering. I might even let the composition morph into something non-representational.
This is a 16″ x 20″ version of the same Swamp River scene (see below), with just the acrylic underwash done. I really pushed the bright colors in this one, but will tone it all down with the pastel layers once I resurface the board. Since getting laid off from my day job in February (!!!!) I’ve been able to throw myself into working on my painting skills – including speed, which I need to do in order to improve my plein air work – and have also experimented more with surfaces, underpainting techniques, etc. So there’s the silver lining to being unemployed!