Category Archives: In their own words

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

Jeanne Rosier Smith, "On the Edge," detail

Jeanne Rosier Smith On Finding Her Artistic Voice

Summertime…and the living is easy. And that means hanging out at the beach be it by the sea, lake, or river. There’s something about water especially warm, gently moving water that shifts our inner spirit. When I think about being at the seaside, in my mind up pop the wave paintings by Jeanne Rosier Smith.

I happened to pass Jeanne in the hallways of IAPS back in June and casually called out, “I’d love you to write a guest blog – are you up for it? And if so, can you manage to get it done for July?” Happily Jeanne said, “For Sure!”  AND she came through even though she only had about a month to put it together!

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Artist Interview Videos From IAPS – 19 Of Them!

As you know, I was recently at the 12th pastel convention of the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS) in Albuquerque. One of my self-set tasks was to create as many short artist interview videos as I could during the four days and incredibly packed schedule. I’ve created these interview videos over the past three IAPS conventions and this time, I was pleased to interview 17 artists! I asked each a single question. Some of the same questions were answered by a few of the artists. And happily, two artists (Albert Handell and Bill Creevy) answered two questions!

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Nancie King Mertz, "Irving & 18th," soft pastels on UArt paper, 14 x 11 in. Plein air painted in Grammercy Park as a demo for a class I taught for PSA last fall.

Nancie King Mertz – Urban Architectural Painter Extraordinaire

Painting en plein air is a rewarding experience but usually has challenges. My own work is often done in a quiet(ish) spot as much as possible away from people and activity. This is not the case with this month’s guest blogger Nancie King Mertz!  Nancie seems willing and able to set up just about anywhere – she sees something she wants to paint, she sets up. Often this is in her home town of Chicago but it can be anywhere she travels.

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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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