Author Archives: Gail Sibley

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?

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January's Noteworthy Pastels: Tom Bailey, "Peace in the Valley," pastel on multimedia board, 18 x 24 in

January’s Noteworthy Pastels

Well I promised you a round-up for of January’s noteworthy pastels after missing the December edition due to the DK Project so here it is!

It’s interesting how sometimes in some of these monthly posts themes emerge and subjects repeat. That’s certainly the case this month. See if you can spot what I mean among January’s noteworthy pastels!

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DK Project: Pencil sketch for "Taking a Sip"

Curious About What I’m Working On? It’s the DK Project

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that I was working on a BIG project that was going to consume a LOT of my time hence my skipping the round-up of December paintings and also missing last Tuesday’s blog. (Thanks to those of you who wrote me noticing that a blog hadn’t arrived in your inbox last week!) I’ve been given the okay to tell you about it. I can’t share all but I can give you hints. Curious? Let’s call it the DK Project.

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Richard Suckling, "Horadada," Unison and Sennelier pastels on Sennelier LaCarte 9 ½ x 12 ½ in. Painted from a lovely tapas bar in the village on the sea front with a nice bit of shade.

Richard Suckling – Studio Artist Takes On Plein Air Painting

Bright and bold were the words that came to mind when I first saw the work of UK artist Richard Suckling. His work dazzles with colour and light. I featured his work last March and since then have been awed every time he posts a new piece.

In October, I noticed he’d started to post pieces done en plein air in Spain. They startled me with their immediacy and had a quality of fearlessness. And so I invited Richard to contribute a blog about these pieces. Little did I know that they were indeed daring as painting on location was out of this studio painter’s comfort zone!

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Life drawing: Ten-minute pose

Life Drawing Or The First Time Is Always the Hardest

You know when you take a car trip somewhere for the first time – say to a new friend’s house – and then the return trip always seems to take so much less time? That’s because in the first journey, everything is unfamiliar. We don’t know where we’re going, how to recognize the landmarks or signposts, what to do when we get there, we’re unsure of what the parking arrangements are like, who will be there, and what may be expected of us. Once we take the first step and do it once, ever after it’s easier. This is the same for doing anything new including going to a life drawing session.

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Survey Results Are In! Curious About What Others Said?

Happy New Year!!! A big thank you for being a subscriber – it wouldn’t be nearly as rewarding without you! I was delighted that so many participated in the year end survey (360 responses!). The survey results will give me guidance going into 2017.

Generally it seems like I’m on the right track. I received all sorts of comments and suggestions, many of which I am still reading through. Many of the results are what I’d expected (based on earlier feedback from readers) but there were a few surprises too. So let’s have a look at the survey results.

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Alain Voinot, "At the Nature Park," pastel on black Canson Mi-teintes paper, 25 x 19 in. The same composition, this time on black paper. Can you see the difference the paper makes?

Alain Voinot – Illuminating The Landscape On Black Paper

I am delighted to have Alain Voinot from France as my guest blogger this month. I featured one of his pieces back in March and have always been astounded how he uses black (or dark) paper as his support for landscapes.

A particular skill is needed to work on black. Yes, it shows up bright colours wonderfully, but what about light, subtle, or landscape colours?  I’ve done a few experiments on black paper (you can see one here) but I found the experiences, so far, unsatisfying. Alain Voinot is a master at using black as his paper colour. The fact that he uses it for creating landscapes, often very green landscapes, is doubly impressive.

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November's Terrific Pastels: Jessica Masters, "Wave III," pastel, 24 x 36 in

November’s Terrific Pastels!

Writing this blog, I look up and notice there’s SNOW on the ground! Whaaaaaat? It’s December in Canada so I guess that makes sense, mostly makes sense, except that we West Coasters are more used to rain in the winter and above zero degrees (centigrade) temperatures! All this to say, it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas and wintertime. And hurray, the solstice is around the corner so for us in the northern hemisphere, that means the return of the sun. Yay!! (Sorry to rub it in southerners…) Oh yes, and it’s time for November’s terrific pastels so let’s get cracking!

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To Blend Or Not To Blend Pastels, OR Why I Don’t!

Is it really December already? (Someone tell me no, it ain’t true!) Look out for my monthly picks next week. In the meantime, this week I made a video about why I don’t blend pastels.

I frequently get asked the question – Gail do you blend your pastels? OR Gail why don’t you blend pastels? In the video below, I set out to show, with sample swatches, why it is that I prefer to layer rather than blend pastels.

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No Time to Paint? Gail Sibley, "The Plug," Unison pastels on UArt 400, 3 1/4 x 6 in. Finished after a few tweaks.

No Time To Paint? No Excuse! Painting A Plug In 20 Minutes

So you think you have no time to paint? One of the things I learned doing the 31 in 31 challenge last month is that there really is always a way to carve out time to create art.

I spend a lot of time on my computer these days, e.g. working on my blog, connecting with members of the HowToPastel Facebook group, or developing my online courses. I often feel desperate for and incapable of finding time to get in my studio, but having done the challenge, I realize that’s a crock! It’s easy to make excuses about having no time to paint. So what to do about it?

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