Tuesday, December 15, 2015

How do I have time to paint

I don't. I don't have time in my day to paint. I have to make the time.
I am always tired. My engineering job, which I love, leaves my brain pretty much done by 6pm.
All I want to do is watch some movie, read a book. Something "light".

But then I realize that during the day I think about how much I would want to stop for an hour and paint. By the end of the work day, I have thought about painting probably 10 times if not more.

It's amazing how much disinclination I have to start. I will do all kinds of chores, even if they can wait, before going to the easel. Then, when I am done with those, guess what? I have the best excuse: I am exhausted. Now, I am not going to be able to produce a beautiful perfect painting.

Yes, "perfect". It actually goes thru my mind. Perfection leads to procrastination. Procrastination leads to paralysis. The "PPP".

This is when I stop and say, "Ale you need to fight it".  Tired or not, I go to the studio, and find a reference photo - gotta watch out that one too or you can end up browsing thru photos all night long...
Then something starts to happen. I grab that first grey hard pastel and make a drawing of shapes. Tonight, I wanted to paint a barn. A distant barn.

After about maybe 15 minutes or so (I really don't know) I am on the other side. The side where I lose track of time. It's all about the color choices, the light and the shadows, how to keep color harmony among other things. I was tired I guess, but not enough to make me stop once I start.

Today I realized a bit late, that I was having problems with the foreground. I am not able to get flowers realistically, and I kept going back and forth making the foreground abstract and then detailed. I was getting frustrated. At some point, I decided, hey, all you wanted to do was to get to paint something, remember?... and just left it as is. Sometimes, you have to let it go.

The feeling of accomplishment is there, whether the painting is perfect or not.

"Purple patch" 9x12 pastel

Revisited and now sold.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Holiday warmth - pastel 12x16

This is my last painting that I will be sharing in my christmas card this year!

Some of the images of the setup and progress are below:

Click to Buy

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Painting Skies and Water with Liz - October 2015

Liz Haywood-Sullivan painting a landscape and me sitting watching her was one of my dreams for years. She is the president of IAPS (International Association of Pastel Societies). Yes, it sounds big, and it is big.

I had been following her and her work since I came back to pastel 5 years ago. Her handling of light and atmosphere are incredible.

I am a big fan of strong colors, but with her, I learnt that grays and neutrals can enhance that vibrancy that pastel only has even more!

Liz is also a beautiful human being. I had the privilege of hanging out with her for dinner and walks up by Mt. Vernon. It was a wonderful experience. She connects with her students beyond the art class.

What she teaches is invaluable. It changed the way I think about painting. She also convinces you (and you dont even know) that you can approach painting with a plan so you dont get overwhelmed. This is very important for any artist.

I also had a first time deal staying at a house where the owner rents out room. It was great. Everything was clean and organized - just like engineers like it :). The lady renting the other room next to me was also attending the same class so... that was fun to.

As always, Lisa, Craig and the rest of the Dakota's Art Center staff hosted and made the 4 days as pleasant as it could have been.

Thanks guys!

Liz painting water and skies

The classroom

My work during class

Liz shows us how to make ripples

My try at ripples 

Lets take a pic together!
Ale, you dont have enough pastel on your face
Yeah... I think I am ok 
Lucky Craig gets a trophy
Breakfast at the Bed and Breakfast yum!
The owner of bed and breakfast was a bit OCD :)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Painting small with fall colors

I have been digging into painting red fiery trees in the fall. My reference photo gave me the idea of light and shadow areas and a sort of stormy sky to make it more dramatic.

"Dont let fall go" pastel 6x8in.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Small painting 5x7

I like painting small at night, because I can get something almost done or even done very soon.
I try to keep it simple and paint fast with bold strokes. Its very easy to start fiddling around with detail and all that.

I am testing different papers. This is pastel premier paper in terracota. Holds many layers and it grabs the pastel almost with a "sticky" feel.

"Bursting Sky" available

Friday, September 25, 2015

Focus on your strengths and book a nice hotel

"Focus on what you are doing well".

This sentence sums up the way I felt during and after my last workshop.
It is very easy to immerse yourself in art and landscape painting when you take a workshop with Marla Baggetta.

Marla telling us to be brave

Though some unexpected happened, like me driving from and to Mt. Vernon every day (I live an hour and 15min from there) because the hotel I booked was well... lets say I didn't feel like I was going to be safe staying there ha! The weekend unfolded in lots of small paintings produced and lots of money spent on materials at the Dakota Art Store - taking a class right at the back of the store can really get dangerous when it comes to $$$ in art materials.

Marla is so good at making you feel welcome. She reads to us from different book references to help us fight that fear we have when in front of an empty canvas.

Marla demoing

It was amazing to see how we got to painting right away after her demos. We were all motivated and ready to start putting pastel down the surfaces. Even the slowest painters moved fast. You could feel the energy in the room. Everybody heads down trying to loosen up and not being afraid of color. Everyone encouraging one another.

Some of my small paintings

The message was clear: concentrate on what's coming out well instead of what's not so good on that painting. Take that and put it in another painting. Make it even better! I never thought about it that way because in the art world we are used to constructive criticism and normally overlook making note of what we are doing really well.

Sharon showed up every day even though she had to roll on that

I met many awesome ladies too. Big part of why I like workshops. You get connected with people that love what you love. You don't have to explain yourself much really. Which is different from everyday activities, jobs, etc.

And I was lucky to be able to purchase the demo painting. I am going to get those trees one day!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Guest artist: Vickie Stokes

Vickie is dear friend of mine and a talented artist.
I met her about 3 years ago in one of Janet Hamilton's workshops and we have painted together many many times.

A woman of many talents, Vickie finds the time for family, business, art and sports and ... she does a very good job in all these fields!

As a person, she is one of the nicest gal's. She is always supportive of the people around her. I can speak to that. I have experienced her nice words of encouragement whenever I feel my art work is not going well. She is always there to cheer you up and give you confidence. It does work for me. Hence, it is very enjoyable to be around her sharing a common activity or just hanging out.

Her paintings are bold and full of color. She can come up with something striking in a very short period of time.

She can paint the landscape (our favorite thing) but has no trouble with figures and nature subjects.

In her pieces you can quickly get a very realistic 3 dimensional feeling as she finds the right colors and values to set the light and shadow in the composition.

Vickie's art work was for display recently at  Gallery North in Edmonds  where she won "First Place" for her pastel painting "Oyster Dome"at their "Beauty of the Northwest" annual exhibition.

-Oyster Dome-

Another aspect of Vickie's artistic side that I admire very much is that she is not afraid of working big size paintings. She usually goes for 16x20 at minimum. Here she is showing what I mean by size. Crazy!

Vickie loves outdoor activities. She runs marathons, which to me, makes her a full blown athlete. One time she showed up to paint with me at a workshop after running a 20 mile marathon. I could not believe it.

Finally but not even close to finish my list, she owns a restaurant. Yes! she owns an italian restaurant and pizzeria in Marysville called Cristiano's. Which I have to go check out soon.

I could write a book about all the things she does and more of her talents and gifts. But you can just ask her! 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Art Journal


Pastel on Uart 400 paper. 9x12.
Definitely fun to paint.
I first made the drawing and applied an alcohol wash using a dark blue Nupastel stick.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Edmonds Art Walk! June 2015

Again, thanks to Michael from Christopher Framing and Gallery my latest work with pastels are on display at his gallery. This time, you can find a series of new brilliant colors and contrast in local landscapes - Bothell area - and some wildlife as well. The work will be on display for a month until the next month's Art Walk (July 16th). Stop by and check it out!
The opening was June 18th and a lot of people showed up. I got a lot of compliments and also some of the landscapes representing familiar areas to the visitors were drawing a lot of attention. I actually had a couple people tell me they remember me from the last art walk when I had my first exhibit. How cool is that!