Category Archives: In their own words

Pastel artists who either guest blog or answer questions in an interview with me

Carol Peebles, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door! –Emma Lazarus, Inscribed on the Statue of Liberty," 2016, mixed hard and soft pastels on Colourfix paper, 14 x 19 in. I drew this while trying to recover from the Presidential election results, contemplating what was inscribed on the greatest symbol of America: the Statue of Liberty. This piece is meant as a symbol of hope and strength to work in solidarity for our values.

Carol Peebles – Awakening The Spirit With Pastel Portraits From Life

I’ve been enjoying portraits by Carol Peebles for some time now. You’ll find one of her pastels features in October’s monthly round-up. Her demos are extraordinary. I’d be pleased to create any of them in the quiet of my studio never mind under the intense gaze of students!

The other thing I love is that Carol uses fabulous and pertinent quotes for the titles of her pieces. They make you think about each piece at a deeper level.

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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??

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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!

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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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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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Duane Wakeham, "David Sleeping," pastel on Canson Mi-Teintes, 12 x 16 in

Duane Wakeham – Drawing The Male Nude

Duane Wakeham. For me, the name conjures up luminous paintings of the California countryside. These take-your-breathe away paintings have perfect composition, values, colour combinations, and edge. Duane Wakeham is a master landscape painter so worthy of emulation (and if you want to get better at landscape painting, study his landscapes!).

So, if you’re familiar with the work of Duane Wakeham, you may have been surprised by this blog’s title.

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Emily Christoff Flowers – Find Your Path By Painting What You Love

Sometimes it takes a crisis to allow your unique creative soul to emerge – the part of you that’s ALL you, not someone else’s expectation or belief of who you are. Someone who found their true creative path in this way is Emily Christoff Flowers.

I came across her work not too long ago and featured “Listening to Maynard Ferguson” in my March roundup. I was totally taken with the piece and wanted to see and know more! I’m so happy she accepted my invitation to share her story, process, and work with us.

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Nancy Nowak, "Out In the Sticks," pastel on UArt 400, 11 x 14 in. This scene is from the north Georgia mountains, along a side street, literally out in the sticks. I purposely used a limited palette of blues and its complementary color of light orange-ish color.

Nancy Nowak – Making the Mundane Magnificent

Last year, I featured “Right On The Corner,” a stunning piece by Nancy Nowak, in my monthly round-up (you’ll see it below), and not surprisingly, that pastel went on to be a winner, taking 1st place in this year’s Pastel Journal Top 100 Competition! Since then I’ve seen more of Nancy’s fabulous work as she’s posted them on the Pastel Society of America FaceBook group. What may look like a mundane scene to some, to Nancy’s eye, has the makings of a painting. I invited Nancy Nowak to write a guest blog about how she goes through the process of choosing a scene and then painting it. Lucky for us, she accepted, and I can’t wait for you to read her post!

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"Even after decades I find portrait painting a challenge. Getting a facial expression just right is a real task! Everything must work together well in order to get a likeness. Working and re-working many areas seems to be the frustrating norm, but with perseverance there is a big reward. You have a taste of the steps I follow and teach in workshops. These steps apply regardless of what I am painting."

Lisa Ober – An Artist’s Life Seen Through The lens Of The Painting Process

Do I have a treat for you!! Lisa Ober is this month’s guest blogger. I’ve admired Lisa’s work for sometime now. She does these large, often colourful (that appeals to me!), super realism pieces in pastels. I featured “Blue Vases” in one of my monthly round-ups. Click here to see it and while you’re there, notice the size! This is what Lisa had to say about the piece:  Continue reading