Monday, February 28, 2011

Energen Art Competition

These two pastel pieces, "Change of Shoes" 16x20 and "Passing Time" 18x24, have been accepted into the Energen Art Competition...March 14-27 at the Energen Plaza in Birmingham, AL. I am happy to be a part of this prestigious show and looking forward to seeing all the wonderful art!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hoover Library Artisans on the Plaza

I love creating art and I love teaching art. On Sunday, April 17, I will have the great privilege to demonstrate my techniques and methods for creating pastel paintings at the Hoover Library in Hoover, Alabama. It is a free event and will begin at 2:30 pm in "the Plaza." I also have about 14 pieces on display for sale at the library. Stop by if you can!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Once you go bord, you never go back

There are so many "surfaces" upon which you can create your pastel drawings...papers of a spectrum of colors, smooth, rough or in between; Wallis paper, a card-stock thick paper with a sanded, toothy texture; Sennelier La Carte Pastel Card, a bit thicker with a sandy texture (my preference when creating small, off-size, or art that is to be matted); and Ampersand very favorite. Pastelbords are sturdy, like masonite, with a wonderful gritty texture that will hold layers and layers of pastel. Easy to frame with spacers in between the board and glass; easy to transport and never bending or curling. Although I stick to pure pastel painting, you can paint an acrylic wash on the board to tint the background, letting your color of choice show through. It lends itself well to thick pastel application and great coverage. You can put green over red and it doesn't smear and blend unless you want it to! You can use the texture as a tool, dragging your pastel across and letting the toothy texture grab the pigment as it will. In my art classes, it is almost a joke that you can try all sorts of surfaces, but once you go "bord," you never go back!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Darker the Better

When my long-awaited shipment of art supplies arrives on my doorstep, the joy of opening this little white box almost compares to the few times I have opened those special Tiffany blue boxes...oh, the rapture of the perfect black pastel! Okay, maybe I'm overdoing it a bit, but these black pastels are something special. I have tried many other brands, high and low-end, but no back pastel compares to Sennelier number 513. My art students and family will attest to my love of the black pastel; it is the foundation and the finishing touch to all of my pieces. When I run out of the Sennelier black, I am never fully satisfied with my back-ups, which are never as rich and dark. So when reinforcements arrive, it is a very happy moment for this pastel artist! The darker the better, hooray for Sennelier!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Forest Park

Forest Park, 10x10 Soft Pastel

Despite living in Alabama, where we may see a bit of snow each year, we have had an abnormally snowy winter. Because schools, roads and businesses close on snow days here in the South, we have had plenty of extra opportunities to rest, to stay home with our families, to enjoy warm fires and watching the snow fall. I usually find these late winter months deflating, entering "the winter blues" around early February, but this year the icy air, the bleak skies and the gray hours seem more restful than usual. Patient.

On a recent trip to St. Louis, where we saw snow on the ground for the whole 9 hours, I took a photo of a frozen river in Forest Park. The simplicity of the scene and the colors in Monet's Snow at Argenteuil inspired this rendition of the landscape as it rests in the long patience of winter.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Passing Time

Passing Time, 18x24 Soft Pastel

When creating this piece, I wanted to convey a sense of stillness, waiting, and patience; the slowness of time. I chose colors of Fall turning to Winter, a time of rest, dormancy, waiting for renewal. The decay of the barn, the stillness of the cow, a calm golden day...all bringing to mind the slow and lazy passing of time.

Still experimenting with color, and the way unexpected hues can work together to create a more vibrant piece, I splashed in lots of blues, greens and reds in the hay to bring it to drab browns here! The cow came together swiftly, layering the colors carefully...a feat in itself because I had a sick 3 year old boy in my lap and a dancing girl next to my chair! Moments like that make me smile, grateful that I can be an active mother and an active artist at the same time. The passing of time often seems slow, but when it comes to children, it sure seems to move quickly! This picture reminds me to take a breath, and enjoy the moments as they come, slowing down and taking it all in.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Change of Shoes

A Change of Shoes, 16x20 Soft Pastel

In the ever-changing process of growth, I have in this piece attempted to be more intentional and free with my color and technique. I gave greater thought to the placement and order of the colors and strokes, using the gritty texture of the board as a tool, not just as a surface. I also used quick movements to apply the pastel, to avoid being too polished.

As I designed this piece, I wanted to convey a soft, pensive mood; a pause before a beginning; a still moment, preparing for a transition; a change of shoes. As humans, we make constant changes that shape our lives for better or worse, daily choices that define us. We often change our shoes without thinking, and find ourselves in an unknown dance, retracing our steps to see how we got there. Sometimes, we pause and consider our moment, purposefully preparing for the next step, changing into the shoes that will help us live in richness, in fullness, in peace. The innocence of the child reminds me of the simplicity we hold in hearts, no matter our age. If we search through mature exteriors, responsibilities, and grown-up worries, we find fragile, equal humans...all in need of love, assurance and a chance to live out this dance in our own shoes. I hope the soft blues, greens and whites will invite a pause in your moment, and that the warmth of the reds and golds will encourage you to a vibrant life.