Saturday, February 13, 2016

Why do I make art

Walks thru the woods were different before I started making art. It was just a walk. I did it just to hike and exercise and to reach a point, a finish line.

Things have changed. I now walk differently. I observe. I stop many times and look at the trees, the leaves, the texture and the color. I take pictures of the simplest things- well, they are not really simple. I am possessed by the sky. You may think I am crazy. But when you like painting like I do, everything you see becomes painting material. Everything.

"Tomorrow will be sunny" 6x8 pastel

So Nature inspires me. Its the center and focus that drives my art. Hence, I paint the landscape. Yes, I can draw other subjects. But the landscape has something that I cannot let go.

The first time I remember wanting to make art was bittersweet. I was suffering from bad depression for years, and was trying to find something different than my engineering job that would help me relief some of the ugly symptoms. I needed to concentrate some energy excess into something different. I took a class with acrylics to force myself to do the work. And it worked.

After the class I made the commitment to go back to pastels and move forward with it. And that was the beginning of the journey. About 6 years ago. And here I am, still moving.

Why pastels? Ok, I am not a very patient person. I like to get stuff done fast and even though this is not a good thing when painting, soft pastels allow me to draw and paint at the same time without having to mix colors. I don't have to worry about paint drying up too fast, or not getting the same color right if I ran out. I don't have to wait for paint to dry to fix a mistake.

Sunset in my neighborhood

The second reason is the color. I love brilliant colors. Pastel is pure pigment. Its not mixed with anything. Unlike oil - pigments dissolved in oil- and other mediums, soft pastel is the pigment in the most original state possible, that is the most brilliant pure form of color. And once you put that on paper, it never changes, it never fades... I could keep going.

I don't paint realistic landscapes. I chose impressionism because I feel more free when I don't have to make it look real. It doesn't have to look like a photo. I am always amazed at artists that can accomplish realistic landscapes but I honestly think its too hard and it would be scary - don't need more of that really.

In the future, I see myself painting definitely larger pieces. I am still trying to find my style. But I know I want to find a specific place in terms of audience, style, and subject in the short term.

I would like people who look - and hopefully buy - my work to do it because they are attracted to the light and dark contrast and the strong colors. I really don't see my work going to soft neutral color or just being "pleasing to the eye". I might hurt someones eye with too much color or by being too bold, but well... that person won't be in my audience.

Ruby and Matt

Documenting the process

Through the fields of color - pastel - 9x12 - price $100 Available

This was a quick painting I did today to document my own steps.

Blank "canvas". I was trying a new kind of paper today... did not like but worth to give it a shot.

Started with the drawing and blocking dark areas.

I covered the whole paper by blending all of it.

I start adding the next layer,  defined the path, trees in the back and some foreground grass.

More grass in the background area, and warm green on the trees.

Now I start with some of the flowers. Also made the sky more interesting. I added definition where the trees meet the sky.

Warming up the path so that its more inviting. Also started some white flowers.

Fun part: more flowers and defined grasses in the foreground.

Added some pink to the background trees/mountains, lightened up the background grass area and overall marks to unify the whole painting.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

A view from the Olympics

"Lake Cushman", 18x24, pastel, @Alejandra Gos, $225, Available

This painting's reference photo was taken on my last hike to the summit of Mt. Ellinor.

The first 3 hours of the hike is in the woods. After coming above the tree line, at about 4,500 feet, the trail opens up to wildflower meadows, and then veers to the left of a steep avalanche chute. This takes you all the way to the 5,944-foot summit. That takes one more hour.

From the top you can see Mt. Rainier, St Helens, Baker and even Hood. On a very clear day you can see Seattles' skyscrapers way out there.In the view in the painting I was looking south west over Lake Cushman. The water after that is the Puget Sound close to Hoodsport on Highway 101. A bit more to the left is (not in the painting) Mt. Rainier. The trees on the bottom left are on Mt. Washington. 

It is a spectacular view totally worth the hike.

Me sitting at the top of the world

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Nobody can tell you "you got it wrong"

'Tomorrow will be sunny'  pastel  6x8 $75  @Alejandra Gos Available

Thanks Marla Baggetta for writing it yesterday... when it comes to skies, you start from a reference picture but it quickly evolves into your own thing. And... nobody can tell you you didn't get it right. The sky is always different in color and shapes, but constant in one way: it leaves me speechless.