Jacob Aguiar, "Evening Calm in Blues," pastel on paper, 12 x 18 in

Jacob Aguiar – On Painting The Glory Of Sunsets

What happens when you watch a sunset? Chances are you’re in awe and glad to be alive. It may make you laugh or move you to tears. And inevitably, as an artist, you’ll probably feel the urge to paint it. But dang, painting sunsets can be tricky. For one thing, the sun sets so quickly! It’s almost impossible to keep up. And so what do we do? We take photos and plan to paint from them later. And when we do, our paintings just don’t live up to our experience. Jacob Aguiar is a fantastic landscape painter in pastels but it was his sunsets that stunned me – each one evokes the emotions that often accompany the setting sun.

How does he do that??

Continue reading

Lack of colour choices: feature image

Lack Of Colour Choices Will Get Your Creativity Flowing

If all you have is a limited palette, a lack of colour choices can stop you from painting some subjects. I’m here to persuade you to take up the creativity challenge with the pastels you have available – you may be surprised!

Take today’s demo – a box of tissues as its subject. It’s a lot of off-whites on off-whites. But say my palette only has a few colours to choose from, what do I do? Well let’s check it out.

Continue reading

March's Notable Pastels: Leo Loomie, "Cross Wave," pastel on UART 600 mounted on archival foamcore, 24 x 36 in

March’s Notable Pastels

I can’t believe the first quarter of the year has gone. Anyone else think those three months went by in a flash?? Well, yup, it’s the beginning of April so it’s time for me to choose ten notable pastels from the many I collected over March. These are paintings that either reached out and grabbed me or those that worked themselves quietly into my soul. In both cases, I keep returning to them. And then comes the hard part – after choosing only ten, articulating why I have chosen March’s notable pastels. Okay, let’s go look at them.

Continue reading

Breaking the rules: I wanted to bring the parts of the floor together and make it all less colourful. So I scumbled a warm black pastel (Unison Grey 13) over much of the floor area. And it's done. Gail Sibley, "Night Slippers on Black," Unison pastels on UART 320 grade, 12 x 12 in.

How Breaking The Rules Can Overcome Blank Canvas Syndrome

I’m back in my studio after a wee getaway to Seattle and then Salt Spring Island. The DK Project is pretty much wrapped up so I can do what I like in my studio. But being able to do anything often means I do nothing! And so the blank canvas sits starring back at me. I’ve spoken previously about the usefulness of boundaries and restrictions in pushing creativity so I decided to set up a challenge. This time, it would be about breaking the rules.

Continue reading

PSA Feature Artist: Gail Sibley, "Saturna," pastel on Wallis paper, 9 x 12 in

PSA Feature Artist On The Pastel Society Of America Facebook Page

I’m in the home stretch of the DK Project so have very little time to do much else. So no monthly round-up today but I will try to get to it for next week. In the meantime, here’s a selection of my pastel paintings being shown on the PSA Facebook Group page where I am, this month, the PSA feature artist! Truly a totally unexpected honour!!

Continue reading

Do it! Illustration from Sol LeWitt's letter to Eva Hesse

Just DO! Words Of Wisdom From Artist Sol LeWitt To Artist Eva Hesse

Recently I came across a catalogue of an exhibition – Converging Lines – that showed the artwork of Sol LeWitt and Eva Hesse. Yes I know their work isn’t about pastels but what I want to share with you is a letter that LeWitt wrote his friend Hesse on 14 April 1965 while she was in Germany.

His letter is in response to one from Eva Hesse in which she must have moaned about the state of her work. If you’ve ever suffered self-doubt in your work, or if you do in the future, get out this letter and read/listen to it. You’ll find wise words to help motivate you.

Here’s a photograph of the first page of the five-page letter.

 

First page of a letter from Sol LeWitt to Eva Hesse, 14 April 1965

First page of a five-page letter from Sol LeWitt to Eva Hesse, 14 April 1965

 

Rather than reproduce all five pages here, I decided to make a vocal recording of it. You’ll find more good stuff from LeWitt!

 

A very short background on these two artists: Sol Lewitt met Eva Hesse in the late 1950’s. “I was sort of wowed by her..” (Converging Lines, p64).  He was eight years her senior but they became best buddies. Eva Hesse married the sculptor Tom Doyle (who is referred to at the end of LeWitt’s letter). Sadly Hesse died of a brain tumor at the age of 34 on 29 May 1970.

Learn more about Eva Hesse here. And Sol LeWitt here.

Also, check out the book that inspired this blog:

 

 

Speaking of JUST DO! why not join me in Croatia this September!? I’m jiggling with anticipation 🙂

Read more on my workshop page.

 

Croatia Banner

 

So what did you think of Sol LeWitt’s letter to Eva Hesse letter? Were you nodding, saying, “Yup I needed to hear this”? Or perhaps you’re going gangbusters right now and it didn’t resonate. Either way, let me know by leaving a reply!

 

Until next time,

~ Gail

 

PS. This blog  is rather short because I’m still deeply immersed in the DK Project, and probably will be for at least another couple of weeks. Still, I wanted to get something valuable out to you. Look forward to hearing what you thought of it!

Maureen Spinale, "Joy, Peace & Hope," pastel painted on UArt 400, 18x18 in. I was just so taken by the light in this stand of Aspens, made me thankful to be among them.

Maureen Spinale: Painter Of Trees, Guardians of the Earth

Last year I featured a painting of trees by Maureen Spinale that just blew me away. (See that painting and what I wrote here.) Since then, I’ve seen more and more of her paintings, and each piece takes my breath away. A lover of trees myself, I definitely wanted Maureen Spinale as a guest blogger. And here she is!

Continue reading

Creating colour studies: three colour studies with first layer

How Creating Colour Studies Can Improve Your Paintings

I know how tempting it is to get right in there and paint when you’re excited about a subject. But hold on, did you do a thumbnail?! And what about creating colour studies, have you drawn up a couple of those?

I know I know, I hear you – it all takes so much time!! But you know what? A bit of time spent in preparation can save you frustration and disappointment in the long run, and also help you produce an exceptional painting!

So what are colour studies?

Continue reading