Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Buzz and Baby

This is a Christmas present for a good friend of mine. Buzz is the sweetest dog you’d ever meet. He’s also my dog’s boyfriend (does she have good taste or what?). They are fun to watch together – she puts up with his kisses, and even shares her bones and toys with him, something she’s never done with any other dog. When the family took in two underage kittens, Buzz was their surrogate dad, allowing them to snuggle with him and even try to nurse. I've painted him with one of the babies as a Christmas gift to his mom. Isn’t he handsome?

Soft Pastels on Suede Matboard

Happy Holidays to you all!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Painting Different Folks

This is my portrait for the current Different Strokes From Different Folks challenge. We were paired anonymously with another artist and given their photo. Since no one was going to see the reference photos, we could free ourselves up and use unusual colors or not even worry about getting a good likeness. Sounded like wild and crazy fun to me.

I had just finished rereading “Harley Brown’s eternal truths for every artist” when I received my photo reference, so I grabbed a piece of suede matboard and smeared pastel over it to “show it who’s boss,” as Harley advised. I was really impressed with myself for a couple of seconds, but I had no idea what to do next (I thought I had learned something reading that book, but it’s so easy to get distracted by the pictures). So I decided to block in the shapes as usual, but do it colorfully with blues, greens, yellows and oranges. Am I wild and crazy or what? It didn’t last long, though.

Here’s what I learned about myself: I have to get a good likeness. I can’t not do it. It makes me crazy. I started layering on normal colors and turned it upside down to check my proportions. Pretty soon my portrait was looking like the original photo. Just to compensate for my boringness, I put some wild color into the background. Plus, I’m slightly off and I’m not even going to correct it. Yep, that’s me, living on the edge.

Soft Pastel on Suede Matboard

One thing that did stick with me from Harley's book was this: "You can't go looking for style."

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I painted this for the current challenge on the Different Strokes From Different Folks blog. Since this was a simple subject, Karin suggested we push ourselves in a different direction. That was truly my intention when I started this painting. I blocked in the basic shapes with the side of a pastel, and everything was going fine. But then my brain took over and by the time I realized it was not going how I’d originally intended, I was having too much fun to stop.

Soft Pastel on Suede Matboard

Speaking of fun, I got a nice surprise when the results for last month's EBSQ shows were tallied. In the Portrait Swap show, my portrait of Frankie won Member’s Choice award, and Tracey & Poe won Patron’s Choice. My portrait of Obama won Member’s Choice in the Campaign Art Show. Thanks to all who voted for my work! It was definitely a fun surprise!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Buddha & Hydrangeas

This is my submission for the latest challenge from Karin Jurick’s Different Strokes From Different Folks blog. I procrastinated on this one, so I painted it in pastel in order to finish it quickly. This time I blocked in the shapes, then refined from there. I originally left out the thin vase directly behind the Buddha, but I wasn’t wild about the empty space. I thought it might look better with the vase and the reflection, so I drew it in. I’m not sure I like it better, but since it’s there now I’m going to pretend I do.

Soft Pastels on Suede Matboard

I used mostly Sennelier soft pastels on this painting because I wanted to see how they work on suede matboard. I’m impressed! There was very little dust, and the color stays put. After using them on velour paper, I was ready to give up the Senneliers, so I’m thrilled they work so well on the suede matboard. They are so nice and soft and creamy, and I love them.