Every week in the HowToPastel Facebook group, we have a Friday Challenge. The challenge could be to paint a specific subject or create a painting in particular way. Last week, inspired by the interviews with Jen Evenhus and Tony Allain, the challenge was to create a 10-minute painting. Yup you heard me. A 10-minute painting. Since it was my challenge, I thought I better darn well take part!
Summertime…and the living is easy. And that means hanging out at the beach be it by the sea, lake, or river. There’s something about water especially warm, gently moving water that shifts our inner spirit. When I think about being at the seaside, in my mind up pop the wave paintings by Jeanne Rosier Smith.
I happened to pass Jeanne in the hallways of IAPS back in June and casually called out, “I’d love you to write a guest blog – are you up for it? And if so, can you manage to get it done for July?” Happily Jeanne said, “For Sure!” AND she came through even though she only had about a month to put it together!
Visiting my Mum and Dad last weekend, I was struck by the light and colour of summer flowers in a vase on the living room table. The thing that really got my attention though was the way the red coaster was visible beside the vase but disappeared behind it even though the vase was transparent. It then ‘appeared’ in two other places ‘on’ the vase. Well I wasn’t about to figure out why and how that happened but I did become interested in capturing the effect. This painting was so much about painting what you see, not what you know! So let me take you through the process.
Can someone please tell me how in the world we’re already halfway through the year?! I mean really! Okay so it’s July which means it’s time fooooorrrr (drum roll) June’s unique pastels! Here are the ten I’ve chosen from the many pastel paintings collected over the month of June. As always, I’ve tried to cover different genres and styles. And as always they are a very personal choice. I look forward to hearing your response!
As you know, I was recently at the 12th pastel convention of the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS) in Albuquerque. One of my self-set tasks was to create as many short artist interview videos as I could during the four days and incredibly packed schedule. I’ve created these interview videos over the past three IAPS conventions and this time, I was pleased to interview 17 artists! I asked each a single question. Some of the same questions were answered by a few of the artists. And happily, two artists (Albert Handell and Bill Creevy) answered two questions!
Painting en plein air is a rewarding experience but usually has challenges. My own work is often done in a quiet(ish) spot as much as possible away from people and activity. This is not the case with this month’s guest blogger Nancie King Mertz! Nancie seems willing and able to set up just about anywhere – she sees something she wants to paint, she sets up. Often this is in her home town of Chicago but it can be anywhere she travels.
I’m back from four amazing days at IAPS!! This pastel conference connects and reconnects you with wonderful people who are all passionate about pastels. It also inspires you through demos, workshops, and the exhibition of amazing work from around the world. It’s also a place to stock up on pastel supplies at the ‘candy store’ where you can converse directly with the vendors – offering feedback, finding out about new products, getting the best deals you’ll probably find. While there, I had the opportunity to demo with Sennelier pastels at the Savoir Faire booth. I thought I’d share the progression and results of this demo with you.
It’s June!! The months fly by don’t they? So let’s have a look at my picks for May. As always, I collected a number of impressive pastels through the month, anything and everything that appealed to me. Then I whittled it down to ten (this is NOT easy!). Part of the selection process as I get closer to the allotted ten is to make sure I have something to say about the pieces. “Wow” just doesn’t cut it! And so, I came to these choices. Let’s have a look!
There’s a pastel painting I’ve always loved – it’s Édouard Manet’s “George Moore”.
I was reminded of it today when, searching my book shelf for something else, I came across a book, Édouard Manet Pastels by John Rewald published in 1947. This book is particularly special to me as it first belonged to my grandfather Newton Brett and was then passed on to my Mum, Joanne Sibley. The thing is, it also survived the devastation of sea and sand in Hurricane Ivan. My Mum’s note when she gave it to me for Christmas a number of years ago said, “Another ‘Ivan’ escapee – almost. I am sure Dad would love to know that you are now enjoying it.” Like I said, very special!
I’ve been wanting to do another ‘Close Look’ blog and as far as I was concerned, this was a sign to do it today! It was difficult to decide which of Édouard Manet’s pastels to choose – there are so many luscious ones of women! – but in the end, I chose this one of George Moore, executed in one sitting.
Have you ever used Sennelier’s iridescent pastels or indeed, any iridescent soft pastels? I hadn’t and I was curious about them. So I acquired a box of 24 Sennelier’s iridescent pastels.
I just created and published a video showing my unboxing of the set for the first time, recording my initial reactions (YUM!).
I also tried out all of the iridescent pastels on three different types of paper:
- the mid-value La Carte Pastelcard provided with the set,
- a piece of black Canson Mi-Teintes (the smooth side),
- and a piece of UART 280 (the company’s coarsest grade of sanded paper).
I then did a demo with ten of the iridescent pastels, copying a demo piece I’d recently done in a workshop using regular Sennelier pastels.