Thursday, July 30, 2015

Little Stars

While on the west coast Rick & I went looking along the rocky shore line at low tide to see star fish or sea stars. The rangers told us we might not find many as they have been affected by the "wasting disease" very sad to hear. This problem appeared in 1983-4 and the star fish came back from it's affects. This time it seems it is a lot worse, scientist have determined it is a virus. We have not read or heard what can be done to stop it as of yet. The star fish are disappearing all the way up into Alaska. I never thought about star fish being that far north.

We did find a few and hope that they will return to us. Too much has already been lost.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Today is about the S's - sun, shadows, sea, sand, surf, and sounds. This blog is about nature, travel and the inspiration these things attribute to creating art. It has been a very busy year, lots of travel,  art shows, friends and family. Sometimes, you need to get back to the sea, sit. listen to the sounds of the waves as the break on the sandy shore and watch peacefully as the sun sinks behind the clouds.Take a moment, breathe, let things go, relax, so creating can just flow.

I am working on a project, it has had lots of interruptions. As all the small parts start to come together I need a block of time just to refine the ideas. This week having the sounds, sights of nature as a gift - my hope is my mind will relax, my hand will flow freely, the results will come to pen and paper.

The sun, creates the shadows, the waves take shape, and the sounds are calming. These are the moments in time that help me see more clearly. The stirring in my head, now can come smoothly through my hand.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Flaps Up

Finished one of the paintings I started as the demonstration for reductive technique on Rives BFK paper. One of my favorite subjects, the great horned owl. I used a photograph reference from the  free flight at Sonora Desert Museum. The owl was just about to take off, the power it takes is seen in his wings as they pull up and together to give him lift.

The technique starts by using powdered charcoal toning the paper. A kneaded eraser is used as a drawing tool pulling out light areas. At this point it can be finished with a charcoal pencil and kept a gray tone work. I took it a step further and showed how you can introduce color using soft pastels. 

The finishing touches are done with pastel pencils. They allow me to do the fine line work in the feathers. There are areas that fade away giving a feeling of movement.

Now it just waits to be framed and hung in a show, most likely the Fine Arts in the Valley exhibition this fall. Unless, someone buys it before October.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Not Too Late

No Copyright Infringement
Today is the last day to send a letter to the Copyright Office regarding new copyright laws that will change how others can use an artists work for their own profit.

Here is a link with additional information regarding the changes and where you can send your letter. Today is the last day, it is not too late to put your voice out there.
 I used this link, Brad Holland has listed some writing guide lines to use in your letter and a link from his blog that you can use to send your letter in either word format or PDF.

thank you

Saturday, July 18, 2015


This week I am still playing catch up from last week being out of town. I looked at what shows to enter or to let go this time. What pastels to finish first. Will they be done in time for fall shows? I have several works in process, some from demonstrations at Common Ground, others that have been waiting for me just to finish them. There are always options, work big or small, toned background, paper type, pencil work or sticks. Throw in the mix maybe this would be nice in oils.

Entering shows, setting up shows, what work will go to what locations? What are the dates for delivery, pick-up, reception, can I ship it or does it require hand delivery?Is there a size limitation for the work or the frame? This does not include galleries and changing out work so it is fresh.

As I sit in my studio with my computer and coffee I pick up a charcoal pencil and do some corrections on the owl piece on my easel. Rick comes in and comments I thought you didn't like to work this early. I am multi tasking this morning. I am just working out the options, looking at the details and just moving forward, one stroke at a time.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Don't Forget

Don't forget to stop by the Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center, 40 S. Carroll St., Frederick, MD the featured artist this month, Marilu Tousignaut. Plus, the International Society of Scratchboard Artists exhibit that Marilu help to coordinate. Last day for show July 26th.

This event will show you the diversity in which these artists use scratchboard. If you do not know what scratchboard is check out Marilu's web site for a demo
In a nutshell it is scratching through a black surface to expose the white layer below.

Here are a few works by Marilu.

Add caption

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


One of the things I enjoy about teaching workshops is that it reminds me to go back to basics. To clean up some of the habits I may have fallen into while focusing on just working.

I start my students out with charcoal. This year we toned paper with powered charcoal and did a reductive study. Using the kneaded eraser as a drawing tool. Later I should them that this simple gray tone study could be gone back into with a touch of added color.

Most of the students used the same image from their charcoal study to created a full color painting in pastel. Can you believe these are student works? I will post a few here and create an album on FaceBook to show the range of work created in one week.

My demo piece has not yet been unpacked. I will finish it this week and plan to post it next week. Until then enjoy my students creations.

Charcoal - Julia Girard

Charcoal - Heather Gibson

Charcoal study - Dottie Troxler

Dottie Troxler - pastel

Bonnie Kauffman - charcoal with a touch of red

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Coffee, Tea or Pastels

Pastel workshop going on this week at Common Ground on the Hill. We have been having a wonderful time creating and experimenting. This week has been about trying new things with pastels. We have worked on many fine papers, yesterday was wet medium day. Coffee and tea stained paper, watercolor under-painting, using water with pastels and even used watercolor crayons.

A few experiments using alcohol with charcoal, created some interesting effects. In teaching I always learn something new. The students work will be on display this Friday, from 6:00 - 7:45 at McDaniel College, Art Studio Building, Westminster, MD. If you are in the area come on by, we will be in Room 100.

Just outside the Art Studios they are doing a paper kiln fire for the ceramic projects this week. There are hand carved and burnt out canoes being made. The work will be amazing, come out, take a look and maybe next year sign up for a class or two.

2014 Student Show

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Pushing Paper

This week I am teaching at Common Ground on the Hill. My students are getting a sampling of soft pastels and a variety of paper. I am pushing them to try new things, new techniques and see what best fits their hand, their style.

I love working on paper, as many of you know I do a yearly paper making workshop. Yesterday, I introduced my students to Rives BFK, my personal favorite paper to work on, so much so that I even use it for oil paintings.

Most pastel artists use a sanded paper with a very soft pastel. This is one of the options for this week. Canson Mi-Teintes a lighter weight paper with a texture on one side is maybe my least favorite paper. It is nice for sketching on the textured side, and this paper is often used on the back, smooth, side to do fine line work.

So, yesterday and even into today it is all about the paper.

Rives BFK with soft pastel

hand made blue jean paper

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Finally On The Fourth

Over the last five years I have been trying to catch the wild rhododendron in bloom at Pandapas Pond. Finally, we took a walk around the pond today and went down the side trail to see flowers everywhere. It was a nice surprise for the fourth of July.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Break It Down

This spring and summer have been non-stop. We have been on the road, seeing friends, family and trying to get art ready for shows. Coming up next week is Common Ground on the Hill, I will be teaching a Tips & Tricks pastel workshop, do an Artists Talk, have work on exhibit at the Rice Gallery and at the CG Gift Shop at McDaniel College, Westminister, MD.

I needed a break, well, really my mind and body are pretty good at letting me know when I need to just take a break or it will break down. Yesterday, I gently worked in the studio and on my notes for the class. This morning I took a walk around the yard. Taking a few photos of the flowers, which can be used in the class, here on the blog and for my mental break time.

Last night was a little too cloudy here in Blacksburg to see the planets. The moon did come out for a brief viewing. Just before the thunderstorm rolled through.

Break it down, take a moment, take a breathe and enjoy a few summertime photos.

What's That Sound???

You know you are in Wyoming when you wake to the sound of horses. With limited wi-fi service it has been a lot harder to get blogs written a...