Sunday, December 9, 2012

Loosening up

Just sharing my last piece. I started this with Janet and I went crazy with purple – my favorite color. The lightning is what makes it look so strong.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Wrapping it up

Most my friends and family know that when I start something - anything, it can be a class, a project, organizing around the house- or in this case a pastel painting, I have to finish it.
Otherwise, it will just sit there to remind me that there is stuff that needs to get done.

Well... I do this to myself. Pastel artists I know would put the painting aside. And I mean aside in a drawer, or stored in another room where they dont have to see it. I, however, put it on my painting table, right against the wall as a reminder: you need to finish this Ale! :)

I left this still life - my first attempt under the wonderful and excellent guidance of Janet Hamilton- undone. I left the grapes half way and I refused to get them done. For some reason, I didnt feel like filling up a bunch of grapes with color. It didnt seem fun.

But the rest of it, the apples, the bowl, had turned out pretty good and so thats what pushed me to start over. As always, once I reach the finish line - though, do you ever reach it in art?- the magic feeling of accomplishment comes once again to feel my soul with gratitude. I am grateful that I can work on something like this, put it together and make it look like four apples and a bunch of grapes in a copper bowl!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Paintings with meanings

Last month or so, a friend of mine asked me to paint a picture he had taken here in Washington state. He was on fishing and on vacation. It's probably the best piece I have so far in my portfolio. Everyone who has complimented me for it is amazed by the colors. Purples - my favorites - right? :-).
My friend truly loves it. I heard him say he looked at the painting and it reminded him of being there... such a privilege to be able to make people feel this way. Thanks for the opportunity!

Sunrise in Methow River, WA.

And then there is another very special friend of mine. Someone who I have known for years now. He has been there for me when I needed him the most. He is born and raised in Seattle. He took this picture very early in the morning of our beautiful skyline. What a great shot! The reflections are so perfect that make it hard to accomplish. It was a fun work to do.

The sun comes out in Seattle

Saturday, October 6, 2012

I am still here

I have not blogged in a while and a lot has happened since then.

Reality is that it´s hard to find spare time to paint when you are working full time. So it´s so true that you have to make the time to do it. Still, when I am home, I have a strong tendency to procrastinate.

I went down to Argentina for vacation and then I went back for a family emergency just 15 days after I was back in the states... grandpa passed away. It surely marks the end/beginning of an era in my family.

So this time, in seven days, I decided to stay home with Mom, and concentrate on one of the things I seem to love, painting. My Mom has a lot of art supplies - she is currently working with oils-. I decided to give acrylics a shot. It was my first time with brushes and on a canvas.

Then I ventured at something I had never done... painting buildings. Its crazy how detailed you can get with a tiny brush. I like acrylics because they allow me to do what I do with pastels: block a whole section with a base color, then let it dry - which does not take more than 5 minutes- and go back to add more colors on top of it without them getting all mixed and messy.

Now my Mom shows the two pieces when friends come to the house. -Look at this one, and then, look at that one! it took her one day to do it!-

"Nothing more rewarding for me that seeing my Mom in proud mode ha!"

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bellevue Arts Festival and Marla Baggetta

Super excited about meeting my favorite artist, I decided to walk by who knows how many booths of the Bellevue Arts Festival to find Marla Baggetta. The goal was to get to meet her and of course buy one of her paintings! yeah, go Ale! ...

This fair has gotten big - I was telling myself - as I walked and walked almost about thru all of it and when I started getting kinda dizzy (didnt have water with me ha) I saw it. The beautiful paintings that I had only seen online or in the form of prints were there in front of me. Marla was not there at first but I met Mike Baggetta - another great artist- and chose one of her crazy awesome pieces.

After a while I got to meet her. She has a great smile all the time and she is very warm. She remembered me from facebook! (see she doesnt have just 200 friends there ha).

This is a picture I took with my shaky hands - I was a bit excited.

the one on the left side of the picture is the one.
I stop many times of the day in my living room to look at it. It gives me a deep feeling of peace. Thanks Marla for doing what you do!

Monday, June 4, 2012

would you like to tango?

Mi Buenos Aires querido! cuando yo te vuelva a ver... no habra mas pena, ni olvido...

I had never painted the human figure, until this last weekend. One of my argentine friends (she is one of my best friends here) gave me a bunch of pictures with tango couples dancing. Most of them are already paintings, but there was one that was an actual photograph of the real stuff. That is what I picked.

"you paint from photos, not from paintings. A painting is that painter's interpretation of the picture, not yours!"

And so I did. The pictures take away most of the color transitions. They blend in the colors too much. What I like about this piece is that the further you go, the more "real" or "picture like" it looks like.

sky holes

I took a private lesson for the very first time in my life. Barbara guided me thru the process of choosing the right values, before and after the underpainting. We used some kind of turpenoid (the smell was quite intense we were getting all dizzy).
We spent more time talking about art than actually doing the stuff. So I left with this much done...

I spent the next day working on this. Note the detail of "sky holes" or breaking thru the red of the tree with a background color (either the sky blue or the mountain purple coming thru). This is an effect that I like a lot, noone ever thinks that one would first paint the tree to then add "sky" parts in between branches! but that's the only way to do it, or at least, the one that turns out more realistic.

trees in midday light

It was almost a year ago when I decided to start investing more time working with pastels.
And now is the time when I am getting some good results out of that investment. I love colors and I love drawing, so much that I usually paint at night, yes! with a big day light. Nights are quiet and it helps me relax. Get my brain filled with something other than work for a change.

I grabbed this photo from my cousin's album. A trip she did to the south of our beloved Argentina. The first attempt was colorful (nature is always hard, the picture is all green), but there was something fake about the trees. I could not figure out exactly what. I had the piece sitting on the easel for a loooong time until I realize it was the shape of the trees, yes! they looked like bushes and they needed to be more pointy.
First attempt:

So there! orange and blues to cut the green a bit. Lots of detail in this one. It's almost like a real picture.
After reshaping the trees, we have "On the way to Tronador" (Camino al Tronador). The picture was taken on the hike to the Tronador volcano in Argentina.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dramatic skies

I am not quite sure how much an under paint gives me - this one was done with purple values and rubbing alcohol. The picture on the right has some blues and yellows layered on top of it.

So I am not convinced about the advantages of under painting and when or not to use it.... You sure use less pastel because you don't have to rub in so much chalk to cover all of the white spots in the sand paper.

The key to realistic clouds is to paint the sky into the cloud - negative painting. It gives the clouds their typical transparency and "cuttony" appearance.

I got some compliments on this one. It started as a study and it turned out to be very soothing to the eye. I love the fact that there are so many blue transitions. Now I am going to have to frame it!


I finally pushed myself to join one of the local pastel workshops.
Barbara Van Dyke Shuman's monthly workshops are a treat. I got to know one of the most kind artists and teachers in the area. I also got to meet new people that share the passion for pastels as much as I do. By working in her studio surrounded by all her art work it was easier to engage and complete my work from start to finish.

This was a big step for me. With her guidance I painted a very realistic shadow/light contrast landscape using a reference photo. We started by doing a little sketch where we identified values, lightest light and darkest dark are so important! I realized how sketching makes finding the right values on your palette much easier.

I would have never picked purple and pink for the mountains. Barbara's suggestion was the critical touch that made the yellow in the field look even more luminous! Plus she let me use one of her best pastel sets :).