Saturday, February 25, 2012

Plein Air as Still Life

Thinking about the plein air event that starts next weekend at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, AZ. Each Saturday in March the artists from Scottsdale Artists League spend the day painting in the gardens. They have been doing this for about 17 years. The first weekend in April the works they create in Plein Air go on display at the garden for a show & sale. It is a great experience and fun to see what wonderful works are created.

As I think about plein air for me it is not always the grand scene, the landscape but the up close that intrigues me. I look out at the vast desert and mountains become overwhelmed. But, as I zoom in, look down, focus I see the smaller scene. The rocks with a feather laying on them, the cluster of leaves blowing together, the bark of a tree, the nest, the eggs, the bird, these are the still life in my plein air experiences.

Sometimes as you walk through the woods, the garden, or down the street, stop, turn around, look down see what you might have missed seeing. Take a moment to look at the small details.

DSC_0016_edited-113 color correctDSC_0020_edited-1

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Something New

A few weeks ago, I clicked a button to change the look of the blog. It lost several things, the slide show, the list of other web sites, books and more. Took me a while to get it back to what it was but could not find the background of leaves. So for now we will go with this nice neutral look.

Along with trying something new for the blog background I have been playing around with sealing pastels. I did a quick drawing on a small canvas using soft pastels. First coat I used water to push the soft pastel into the canvas. I thought this might help to set the pastel but not really. It still could be moved around with your figures or a brush. I did a workable fixative to stabilize it some. I worked up the image, a bird using sticks and pencil pastels. Again used workable fixative, which knocks the whites back some. I reapplied the lights and whites, sealed again and then sprayed it with a UV-Resistant Clear Matte Acrylic Coating.

The Acrylic Coating, made the whole thing dark and lost all the whites. After it dried, I added whites and brights with a heavy hand, harder pastels, sprayed again and the whites held this time. Lost some of the bright colors, one more time added brights, sprayed to seal. Still darker then I would like but held better. And the whole point to this experiment was to see how pastels work on canvas and if they can be sealed so they will not come off if they are rubbed. This allows the pastel painting to be hung without a frame or glass.

I continued this test on paper, the colors stayed closer to true, did not lose as much brightness. The next step will be to adhere the paper to board or canvas and seal it so the painting can also be displayed without glass.

                                          Soft Pastel on canvas sealed with acrylic coating

                                   Soft Pastel on cotton rag paper sealed with acrylic coating

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Pastel Demo Rocks & Eagle Feather

video
Trying something new, made a step by step slide movie of my latest pastel. Rocks from Fox Island, Alaska Beach & Eagle Feather.

Square Art

I have heard that it's hip to be square. I know pushing it again, but, thought I would try one of the tree pieces as a square format. It...