Anna Wainright, "Night Comes," 2015, pastel, 9 x 12 in, Private Collection

Anna Wainright And Her Evocative Landscapes

The pastels by Anna Wainright have awed me over and over again ever since I discovered this artist a couple of years ago.  I featured one of her pieces in one of my first monthly round-ups and I remember having the dickens of a time choosing between three paintings! So I’m tickled pink that she’s here to tell her story and share how her paintings evolve.

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Why Go To Pastel Conferences? Let Me Count The Reasons

I’m slowly settling back into normal life after my trip to Ontario at the end of May where I taught three workshops for Pastel Artists Canada at the ICAN Pastel Conference in Aurora. While there, I was reminded why I love going to pastel conferences! Let me count them.

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May's Marvellous Pastels: Denali Brooke, "Ghost Ranch Morning," plein air pastel, 5 x10 in

May’s Marvellous Pastels

Yay! It’s time for another pastel round-up. Apologies for the delay. I was in Ontario last week teaching at the ICAN Pastel Conference (fabulous experience and students!!) and also visiting my sister and her family. Then, on my return home, I headed straight into a five-day workshop which just ended today. I pulled this blog post together over a series of evenings and here it is finally! I started with 81 choices and, as always, was distressed about cutting down the list to only 10! Let’s have a look at May’s marvellous pastels.

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11. A few more tweaks and for now, it's done! "Garden Corner, Schminke pastels on Wallis paper, 9 x 12 in

Garden Corner – An En Plein Air Progression

There’s so much in a garden to paint – long views and closeups, flowers and garden accoutrements, seasonal changes or a single season, a garden corner or an entire garden – all make for great subject matter!

I’m in Ontario to teach at the ICAN Pastel Conference in Aurora during the week. Happily the plan is to spend both weekends with my sister and her family. Last weekend at her place, I found some quiet time to pastel en plein air. It’s been awhile since I’ve painted on location – Mexico in February was the last time – so this was such a pleasure. Hot weather standing in the shade painting. What could be nicer?

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Vianna Szabo, "Blue," pastel, 14 x 11 in

Vianna Szabo On Making Your Pastel Palette Work for You

I first met Vianna Szabo at the 2013 International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS) Convention. I was doing short interviews and I asked her what got her into her studio everyday. (You can see her answer at the end of this post!) Since then I have been an admirer of her work and featured “Pause” in last May’s monthly round-up. I realized it was high time I asked Vianna if she’d consider guest blogging and when I did, Yay!! she said Yes.

First, a wee introduction.

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Joan Eardley landscape pastels

Joan Eardley And Her Pastel Landscapes

Okay, tell me straight, have you heard of Joan Eardley (1921-1963)? I was introduced to this artist’s work in 2012 and have been an ardent admirer ever since. Whether or not you know her work, I’m delighted to introduce Joan Eardley and her pastel landscapes.

Although born in England, Joan Eardley is considered a Scottish painter. Her Scottish mother and her sister (her father had taken his life earlier) moved to Scotland to avoid the bombing in London during the war and with only a few exceptions of time spent in London and on the continent, Eardley spent most of her life there. In 1954, she started living in Catterline, a village on the coast of Scotland. It was here she painted her landscapes and seascapes.

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April's Astounding Pastels: Crawfurd Adamson, "Lying Man," pastel, 29 x 21 in

April’s Astounding Pastels!

It’s time for another round-up of my ten picks from pastels collected through April.  A number of landscapes persisted through the selection process and remained in the top ten – I think they brilliantly show off the many possibilities in pastel! There are also two unusual still life paintings, one amazing portrait and one dynamite figurative piece. So let’s get on and enjoy these astounding pastels!


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The Importance of Play In Art: 7. I decided I like the painting in the second orientation so back it went upside down. I kept working on it. This is as far as I got. I quite like it as is but I need to give it some time. Then I'll come back and see what it needs. I'll let you know if and when I change it. (This photo is a bit darker than it actually is.)

The Importance Of Play In Art-Making

Today, I’m thinking about the importance of play in art.

I feel pulled in so many different ways on a daily basis. There’s so much to get done – finishing my new course, writing and organizing blog posts, updating my websites (hah!), nevermind painting. And oh yeah, what about fun time, downtime, a balanced life?!

I’m reading a fascinating book called Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less which is all about doing more of the right things. This morning, I skipped to the chapter on ‘Play’. Author Greg McKeown defines ‘play’ as, “anything we do simply for the joy of doing rather than a means to an end.”

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