About Me

My photo
Portrait artist, fine artist, educator, student. Trying all means to keep from getting a day job in the tough times, but still supporting myself as an artist! deejaystar@yahoo.com Follow any and all of my blogs. THANK YOU!

Friday, June 4, 2010


Normally I like to be thought of as perfect. For that reason, I like to save the mistakes and not show you... but this is a rather large landscape and it was GOING to give me fits.

First. I wanted to have a sense of the clouds in front of the thunderhead. I also liked the definate dominance of that shape. The hills in my reference actually dropped off to the right and the bushes sort of merged into a mass down in the corner. So I redrew my horizon and cut a bit off that last ranged.

And that left me with a very tricky color thing on that butte in the middle range. I am really off with it... tomorrows brain power.

Second, that landscapey part at the bottom. Don't enjoy it, not too fond of it, so I have it in my head to eliminate.... but as I did that ONE good thing happened. I widened the path of earth making the reason for all that salmon color more functional.

The bushes are still to spotty, the sense of land is there, and a bit too polka dotty. I LIKE my cactus in the middle. Problem is making it part of a sequence that makes it work. I am still working on it to see if I can keep it....
So here we are today.

As a portrait painter, I always tell people how I am trying to portray a scene with the intensity I do a face. The details kill me! I see a zillion leaves, not a tree.

I think this may be called successful enough but from a portrait painter, not really a landscape painter. I have a few more ideas, but I am learning (perhaps ONLY by the mistakes) a few thing I want to try again in the next picture...

Oh, by the way... it would be a really good time to enroll in my workshop in Prescott. After Monday there are no refunds, so risk it! Call them.

See you there!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Done. But not finished.

Or is that finished but not done???
I have accomplished the first objective I set for myself and it covers the page nicely and shows what I wanted.

I use fixative. When I see what I want, I usually mist the whole thing with workable fixative so it is more sturdy and I can work back into it. The big drawback to simple paper is that it fills pretty quickly. The pastel medium is much more toothy, but I still am used to "sinking" the piece.


I believe pastellist should learn to use fixative. It is a terrible burden on your framer to hand him a pile of dust and say make it stand up and not fall off. There are geniuses who will, but especially amateurs on a budget, it is awful to get an inexpensive, art supply store novice who will either spray it themselves for lack of knowledge, ruin it with mishandling, or not know how to deal with the dust and end up with colorful white mats. Learning to use fixative is, again, working from the darkest areas up. When you fix the basic piece it WILL often darken. SO, lighten up the areas and don't fix the last layers. Still an improvement for your framer.

Back to me...
I have received some valuable input from a good pastel landscapist and I am going to ponder it now. I want to look at the piece and see what I don't like.

I will read the advice of my friend and see if it applies to my problems and get back into it and fix up the lighter values and possibly repaint some of it.... but I DO like my cloud!!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

When you have an underpainting and are too anxious.

Having had to leave for an appointment I came in and was having so much fun with my cloud, I really felt the need to make that sky very flat. The nupastels I use were not hacking it. Because I used the Medium, I decided to try another experiment and took some sanitizing alcohol (the hotshots use denatured stuff, but I am not a hotshot and it makes it look all watercolory, which is EXACTLY what I want it to look like!

These are a real pain to photograph because the early light on the sketch was perfect. As the afternoon wore on, the skylight got darker so I turned on a lamp. LOTS of color wackiness. I will try to balance the pictures, even if they are not really true representations of the painting....

After tackling the sky, I decided the foreground plants were not right either. My limited palette was discouraging, so I just added some pure viridian watercolor to juice up the bushes.

Remember I am not a landscape painter, so this is going to go on instinct for a while and when I have what I call "covered" which is something I do in oil as well (I give myself permission to live with it a while and the rest will be tweaking. Sometimes it turns out to be done, but I reserve the signing for a while.)I will hit it with some workable fixative and let it darken a bit. I am having most fun playing with the multiple colors and their value properties. The simplest combinations can make radical changes... and the photography is really going to be hard to show it... ah well, back into the dust!


I hate to say it, but there is NOTHING as fun as making pastels. It is so controlable and out of control at the same time!! I have to leave for an appointment and have been..."wrapping up" a bit for almost two hours....

Better than drugs for depression!

Fingers crossed.

It is not that my technique is better suited to figurative, in fact, most people would think the opposite, but I have challenged myself to do the impossible: A landscape.

I have some pretty nifty reference that I have been mulling over in my mind quite a while. This is a nearby view that I think will suit my needs as far as shapes and values. And one big cloud.

For this I did something new. I used an underpaint of a pastel medium by golden.... WHY WOULD I SPLURGE? I had some sample jars and a friend gave me three more. Time to play on someone else's penny.

It has ONE good quality. The paper did most of the buckling when it was applied, but because it is a little dryer, when I made my underpaint, it shrinked down a little and stayed relatively flat. No photos, as I was sort of stuck in my brain, but here is the first stop this morning in daylight.

We will keep in touch with this one.