The Art of Cropping: Three crops together

The Art of Cropping…And What It Can Do For Your Painting

Recently I was asked about cropping – why do it, how to do it, when to do it. Indeed, the question was: Is there a ‘formula’ for cropping?

I’ve written a previous post on using a viewfinder to help you crop your reference photo to get the best view to paint. (A reminder – try out a number of thumbnails!!) This post is about cropping your finished pastel painting.

I can’t say enough good things about cropping. Cropping is about trimming away everything from your painting until only the essential remains. Cropping has the potential to transform your work from ‘meh’ to ‘wow!’. Yet we don’t utilize this great tool often enough. Why not? Before I get to that, let’s look at why you might consider cropping.
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February’s awe-inspiring pastels

Awe-Inspiring Pastels From February

I love love LOVE looking at other people’s pastel work! And because this is such a pleasure, it’s also a treat to share some of these awe-inspiring pastels with you each month. I collect so many wonderful pieces through the month and then it comes time to select 10 of them to analyze and share with you. Hope you are both awed and inspired by them!

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Change Things Up: Gail Sibley, "The Pink Wall," Unison pastels on UART 400 paper, 9 x 12 in. Available.

Change Things Up When Painting En Plein Air

I don’t know about where you are, but here in Victoria, it’s still toooo damn cold to go painting en plein air! That’s why it was so lovely to work on location while I was in Mexico (I’ve been back just over a week). I painted en plein air a number of times, partly for the pure joy of it but also in preparation for my workshop in Spain in a couple of months. (You can read more about the workshop here -there’s still space so why not join us??) One of the things about working en plein air that I love is that you can change things up.

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Marcia Holmes, "Floating at Dusk," 2016, pastel, 26 x 26 in. Sold.

Marcia Holmes – From Realist To Abstract Expressionist

For years, I had known Marcia Holmes as a representational painter but in the last couple of years, I’ve seen her blossom into a full-blown abstract artist! I featured one of her newer pieces in my March 2017 round-up and have followed her career ever since.

I was curious to know about her path from realist to abstract expressionist so I asked her to write a blog and I’m delighted to tell you, she agreed!

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Chaos of Light And Shadow: 9. Tweaked and finished. Gail Sibley, “Gone to the Beach!,” Unison pastels on UART 400, 9 x 12 in

Chaos of Light And Shadow – Painting En Plein Air In Mexico

In this post, I want to share with you a piece I did where I tried to sort out the chaos of light and shadow.

I’ve been in Mexico for two weeks. One of my projects was to paint en plein air as preparation for my painting holiday workshop in Spain at the beginning of May. (Easier to paint outside here than in the rain and cold of home in Victoria BC at the moment!) To that end, for the first time when coming to La Manzanilla, I brought my easel. Usually I have a small box of pastels and board and paper so as you can imagine, way more than I usually bring! Still it’s been a treat to stand at an easel rather than have a rock, a log, a chair if I’m lucky, or flat on the ground if I’m not, dictate the scene I’m going to paint. Now it was only the need for shade that I looked for. The light is bright here, the colours vibrant, the shadows defined and dark.

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January’s Striking Pastels

We are well into the New Year but we’re still at the start with these picks from January. Many pieces have a subdued feeling. I don’t know if this is a result of the number of subdued paintings I saw and collected over the month or due to my own recent subdued feeling (see last blog). Whatever the reason, enjoy this collection of ten striking pastels!

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Grief and art: Gail Sibley, "Farewell (for Ray)," Great American and Mount Vision pastels on Canson Mi-Teintes Touch (white), 14 x 20 3/4 in

Grief And Art – Using Art-Making To Deal With My Sadness And Anger

WARNING: This is a very personal blog post. In it, grief and art come together.

Yesterday I was shocked and stunned: I found out that Ray Dorge, my former life partner of 25 years, had died. Even though Ray and I separated 10 years ago (by my instigation), we kept in touch with the odd email. As much as I wanted a closer connection, Ray said he wanted to keep me at arm’s length. He said it hurt too much to spend time with me. I respected his wishes even though it saddened me that we rarely got together to catch up on our lives nevermind recall shared memories. I kept meaning to push him on it but I never did.

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Maria Marino – Responding Emotionally To The Landscape

When I think of the work of Maria Marino, I think of pastel paintings full of vitality, texture, and colour. And when I say paintings, I think with Maria Marino’s work, they really are paintings! She applies the pastel so thickly, you feel you could be looking at a thick brush stroke of oil paint.

I’ve featured Maria in my monthly selections and have always been intrigued by the process by which she works. I’ve also been amazed by her very textural ink drawings full of density and dark. So, as you can imagine, I am delighted to have Maria Marino as a guest blogger!

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Do something, anything!

Do Something, Anything! Getting Started…On My Self Portrait

One of my 2018 New Year Resolutions is to PAINT MORE. I want to get in the studio and do something! I spend a lot of time on my computer – responding to email queries and enquiries, and writing blogs but also, for the last six months or so, sitting for hours editing and preparing videos for my next online course. And sometimes, it seems that I’m just not painting. Argh. So today is blog writing day and I wanted to share something about my pastel work. So, it was a good reason to get into the studio and do something.

So there I was this morning, in the studio, and stuck. I was overwhelmed by the many choices of subject matter. Sooooo many possibilities!

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December's pastel treasures

December’s Pastel Treasures!

Hey hey, we’re already well into the New Year and happily, I now have December’s pastel treasures ready for your enjoyment.

As always, I’ve selected ten pastel paintings from the many I collected throughout the previous month. I look at all the technical aspects but foremost, I make my selections based on a certain something that comes through. I try to understand and then share what that certain something is in my analysis of each painting. Often it takes time to sit and be with the painting before I truly see why it appeals to me. I also try to curate a selection that covers different styles and genres to inspire you with the magical potential of pastels!

Let’s take a look….

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