Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pans Over Gouache

That title sounds like something you would order for breakfast at Denny's.  It just describes how I did this painting.  I have wanted to try the Pan Pastel/ gouache combination for a while and I am glad I did.  The Pastelmat soaked up the gouache nicely and the Pans went on top without noticing any loss of tooth.  I really like the painterly look and I will be doing more paintings with this combo in the near future.

This is another 5 x 7 painting and it took about half an hour.  As you can see, I stayed over at the yellow/ green area of the color wheel which gives some harmony to the painting.  I stopped myself from putting blue in the sky.  Old habits are hard to break.

The photo reference is from the RIL at



Thursday, March 29, 2012

Shuswap Lake

I am sure there will be many landscapes in my future that include beautiful Shuswap Lake.  I get to look at it every day from the comfort of our kitchen while eating my breakfast.  The views of the lake, valley and mountains give me motivation to paint.  We still can't believe we live in this beautiful part of BC.

This is another Pan Pastel painting and I must be getting the hang of things, because it only took about 45 minutes to paint.  I let some of the maize Pastelmat show through the painting to give a warm feeling.  I added the some violet flowers to harmonize with the mountains.  Without the violet in the grass, the mountains looked out of place, but as soon as the flowers were added, it seemed to tie things together.  I think.

This is another small 5 x 7 painting.  The reference photo was taken last summer at the bird sanctuary in Salmon Arm, BC.  I tried to simplify everything in the painting and I didn't do any detail work on it.  I can't believe this is #14 already.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Trying to Simplify

Simplify your painting.  That was my goal for this attempt at the same photo reference as the last try.  I used Pan Pastels, because I find you don't put in as much detail when using them as you do when using regular soft pastels.  When I just use Pans, the painting usually ends up with a softer look.

I am happier with this painting.  The trees don't have individual leaves, but I think there is enough information to tell you what they are.  Simplifying is something I want to explore some more and see where it takes me.

This is painted on 5 x 7 dark grey Pastelmat.  Thanks for looking.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Should I?

Should I post this?  Should I explore a more contemporary look?  Should I throw my gouache away?  Should I give up art?  Those were just some of many questions going through my mind when painting this over the past two days.  It was one of those paintings.

I know there is a learning curve and I also know there are going to be a lot of ugly paintings along this journey.  If you keep painting the same style over and over, how would you know if another style didn't suit you better?  I feel better about it already, just reading my words.  I would be an idiot if I didn't pursue this more.  I know it's not for everybody, but it is closer to what I have in  mind than a lot of my latest paintings.  I think this is close to the style of my still life paintings from a few months ago.

This is painted on 8 x 10 cold press watercolor paper with Daler Rowney gouache.

Here are a couple of Pan Pastel paintings from late last year.   I may try the above painting again using Pan Pastels.  Pans are a more familiar medium and I might have a better chance of success.  I still want to play with gouache, but I think Pans and Pastelmat could help get the look I am after.  Anyway, here are the paintings from last year.

Thanks for looking and listening to my venting.  I am quickly finding out why people urge others to start a blog.  Even if nobody reads it, seeing your thoughts in print is very helpful.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pastel Trees

Here is the latest attempt at trees.  This time I went back to pastels.  There is a more detailed look with my pastel trees than my trees painted with gouache, but I didn't spend any time adding detail.  It's just scumbling light over dark that gives depth to the trees.

This is painted with PanPastels, Unison and Terry Ludwig pastels and is painted on 5 x 7 natural sienna Pastelmat.  Still not pleased with my grass.

Thanks for looking.  Here is #11.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Yesterday was the final webinar with Larry Seiler, and he stressed the importance of simplifying your paintings. The trees don't need to be detailed for the viewer to believe they are looking at a tree.  Let the viewer put their own detail into it.  That way they will be more connected to the painting.

Simplifying sounds, well, simple.  Putting in the least amount of detail, but enough to make it believable is NOT a simple task.  Practice and studying artists I admire will be a way of learning this valuable tool for making better paintings.

This is another gouache painting.  It is painted on 5 x 7 cold press watercolor paper and I used the same photo reference as my first four paintings.  Thanks for looking.



Monday, March 19, 2012

Glowing Trees

This is painted from a photo I took behind our old house in Houston, BC.  In the fall, these trees would glow when the sun was behind them.  I have always wanted to paint them so I figured now is a good time to try.  I am still not happy with the grass.  I have to find the grass demo at by Paula Ford and follow her instructions.  She always has great demos. 

This is painted on 5 x 7 brown Pastelmat and I used a variety of soft pastels.  Thanks for looking.



Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lemon on a White Plate

I think this painting should just be called, Lemon.  Not my best work.  The perspective and the ellipse of the plate gave me problems and it is the first time trying to paint a white plate.  And then doing it in gouache, still an unfamiliar  medium.  What was I thinking?

When I was setting this up, the yellow of the lemon looked more cad yellow than lemon yellow.  I should have known to stop right there.  I chose a split complementary palette of cad yellow, ultramarine and magenta with perm white.  I shouldn't be so hard on myself, because I do like how the lemons turned out.  The plate?  Anyway, it was a good exercise mixing a limited palette and painting from life.  No grid or photo to help out.

It is painted on 5 x 7 Buttercup Pastelmat using Daler Rowney gouache.  I planned on letting some of the paper show through, but that didn't happen.  This surface offers a chance to do an under painting in gouache and using pastel on top.  That is for another day.

Here is number 8.  Thanks for looking.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Pastel Pear and Bottle

I am back to pastels, but did I ever have problems with this puppy.  It was difficult to see all the colors in the pear, bottle, shadow and reflection.  I don't normally paint this late in the evening, but I want to try to paint every day and this was the only time I could paint.  I guess that is part of the challenge and you have to try to find the time.

This is painted with a variety of soft pastels and is done on 5 x 7 Wallis Belgium Mist sanded art paper and took about an hour to paint.  It is painted from life.  That's #7.

Thanks for looking.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Orange and Mug

I stayed with gouache for today's painting.  It was done with a split-complementary palette of cobalt blue (hue), cadmium yellow (hue), cadmium red (hue) and permanent white Daler Rowney and painted on cold press watercolor paper.

I guess I should have used ultramarine instead of cobalt blue.  When the cobalt blue was mixed with cad red and white I ended up with a greyed down red violet.  It all makes sense to me now.  If you mix a green blue with a yellow red, you will end up with a dulled down color.  The ultramarine is more of a red blue and would have mixed a more vibrant color.  So, it depends on what look you are going for.

This was painted without putting down a drawing first.  I just started putting paint to paper and flew at it.  The most difficult stroke is the first one and after that it seems the right brain takes over and you end up with something resembling an orange and a mug.  I hope.

I know it's not the most exciting piece, but it is my daily painting.  Thanks for looking.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Gouache Pear

I don't know the reason, but after I do a few pastel paintings, I get this urge to paint with wet paint.  I thought I would bring out the gouache paint and paint my favorite subject, a pear.  I used a split complementary palette that consisted of lemon yellow, ultramarine, magenta and white Daler Rowney gouache paint.  Most of it is done with fairly thick paint.

It was interesting to see all the different greens I came up with.  I tried to remember what Larry said about "a stroke laid, is a stroke stayed" (I think that was the mantra lol) meaning once you put the stroke of paint onto the paper, just leave it and move on to the next stroke.  I also tried to remember to reload the brush every stroke or two.  I enjoyed the challenge.

Anyway, thanks for looking.



Sunday, March 11, 2012

The First Steps of the Journey

Here are the first four paintings of the challenge.  I was working on this little experiment before I decided to accept Larry Seiler's challenge of painting 120 small paintings.  I wanted to see how different colored under paintings would affect the painting, so I painted the same scene with under paintings of violet, magenta, turquoise and yellow ochre, using Pan Pastels.

I used the same colors in the tree, other than a few accents, but I used the hues I felt would look the best for the sky and field.  As you can see, the under painting has a huge influence on the outcome of the painting.  They all have a distinctive look.  This was a valuable experiment to actually group the paintings together and  see the difference.

One thing I know I have to work on is the foreground.  I have to go study some pastel paintings of some artists I admire and see how they do it.  Tree foliage isn't making me panic anymore, but I know there is still a lot of room for improvement.  I still have plenty to work on, but I guess that's why I started this blog and accepted Larry's challenge.

Here are the first four paintings.  I am including the under paintings as well.  They are all 5 x 7 and are painted on UArt 400 grit paper using a variety of soft pastels and Pan Pastels.

Thanks for looking.