The Importance of Paly 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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Pastels on black aper: Gail Sibley, "Untitled [at this point], Mount Vision pastels on Sansfix pastel card, 5 1/2 x 7 3/4 in

Using Pastels On Black Paper

Occasionally I get asked the question: Do you ever use soft pastels on black paper? And the answer is: Well no, I don’t. Mind you, when I first started in pastels over 20 years ago, I worked on a dark green mat board. So I have worked with pastels on dark paper, just not black paper. But once I discovered sanded paper, ie Wallis paper which came in the warm mid-value colour known as Belgian mist that I used at first, it was bye-bye dark paper!

When thinking about what I could do a new pastel demo for YouTube on, I recalled the question about pastels on black paper and here you have the result. I’m using pastels from Mount Vision’s workshop set of 50 pastels on Schminke’s Sansfix pastel card.

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30 Paintings in 30 Days: Takeyce Walter, all pastel, all 6 x 6 in. Days 18-21. From top left clockwise: “Sunset Clouds,” “Hudson Shadows,” Winter Sunset Over The Cornfield,” Winter Shadows”

30 Paintings In 30 Days With Takeyce Walter

30 paintings in 30 days – that’s quite the challenge. One artist who was successful in taking on the challenge recently is Takeyce Walter. I featured one of her lovely pieces in January’s monthly curation and it occurred to me that it would be fascinating to hear all about the process of creating 30 paintings in 30 days – the ups, the downs, the struggles, the triumphs. And Takeyce agreed!

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Pastel Workshops: Gail Sibley, "Gordes," pastel on Pastelcard, 9 x 12 in

Pastel Workshops Coming Up!

Many subscribers have been asking me, “When are your next pastel workshops?!” So I’m pleased to tell you about a number of them that are coming up.

First there’s the three I’ll be teaching at the Pastel Artists Canada Conference, then two pastel workshops on Salt Spring Island in August, and then there’s the potential one next year in France (but I’ll need your help to make that happen!). There’s also a teaser…..


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Februarys Fabulous Pastels: Barbara Berry, "Light Touch (Self-Portrait)," Terry Ludwig, Nupastel, and Sennelier pastels on UArt paper, 27 x 21 in

February’s Fabulous Pastels!

Wow, February is already a week over so here I am with my ten choices of fabulous pastels from that ones seen that month. As always, soooo many pastel paintings to choose from, sooooo difficult to make the final choices, soooo hope you enjoy them. Nothing changes :-)  In any case, I hope you will be inspired, surprised, and delighted by them!

I also want to point out that today is International Women’s Day and it just so happens that all ten of the fabulous pastels this month are created by women!! Cool huh?

So let’s get on with the viewing!

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Thérèse Schwartze , "Woman Wearing A Hat (Portrait of Theresia Ansingh)," n.d. (after 1906), pastel on paper, 71 x 57 cm (27 15/16 x 22 7/16 in), Private Collection

Thérèse Schwartze – Painting For A Living

I came across the painter, Thérèse Schwartze (1851-1918), a year or so ago. The piece I saw was a pastel of hers posted on Facebook. I was stunned and thought, Why have I never heard of this artist before?

Have a look at the image I saw. Look at the bravura of stroke, the softness of skin, the sheen of fabric, the life in those eyes, those skillfully painted hands.


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