Category Archives: Other stuff!

small box of pastels: Here's everything I took with me in my carry-on suitcase.

A Small Box Of Pastels – Perfect For Travelling With Carry-on Only!

Last month I participated in HowToPastel’s 31-paintings-in-31-days Challenge. Somehow I only missed one day despite the fact that I was travelling two of the four weeks. And what’s more, I only travelled with carry-on luggage! So how could I fit everything plus art supplies? The answer was a small box of pastels and small pieces of paper (and a pared down collection of clothes!).

Through the whole Challenge, I decided to use only Unison Colour pastels as a way to acknowledge the honour of being invited to become a Unison Colour Associate Artist. (They are updating their website but soon I’ll be able to direct you to my page there!)

While in the studio, all work was done with pastels from their classic starter set of 36. But on the road, when every gram and square centimetre count, this was too bulky and heavy!

I looked at taking a small Sennelier set but decided to stick with the Unison Colour theme. I had a small box of pastels – I’m talking small!! It has 16 half-sticks and is extremely light. Here’s a picture of the pastels in the box:

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work in a series: collaged image

Work In A Series – Some Lessons Learnt During The 31-Pastels-in-31-Days Challenge

October is Challenge month at HowToPastel. In the 31 days available this month, participants attempt to pastel every single day (posting in the HowToPastel Facebook group). One of the things I decided to do during the challenge was to work in a series. There are some subjects I’ve yearned to paint and the Challenge is an opportunity to dig into a couple of these themes. One of these is laundry on a clothesline.

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Painting Holiday workshop: Student work on the theme of dominance

10 Reasons To Go On A Painting Holiday Workshop

A year and a half ago, Mario Vukelic invited me to lead a painting holiday workshop with Pastel Workshops Croatia. And early this September, it happened! I had an amazing group of six students who were dedicated in their pursuit of pastel painting knowledge. There were times of concentrated silence and times of uncontrolled laughter – all of which filled my heart. And as an instructor, there’s nothing like hearing  ‘Aha!’ exclamations!

Happily, although the weather was sometimes iffy, we had a spacious studio in which to work. The weather prevented us from going on the Istrian tour (boo hoo) but on the bright side, it gave the students more learning time from me in the studio and I was happy to share more!

The Hotel Villa Gloria is small and beautiful, rooms are comfy and clean, staff are incredibly friendly and accommodating, food is plentiful and delicious, and there’s a gorgeous pool for swimming or just contemplating life with book and cocktail in hand at the end of a hard painting day. Perfect!

 

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From Stumbling spread for DK's Artist's Drawing Techniques

DK’s Book – Artist’s Drawing Techniques – It’s Here!

The postman delivered a very special package yesterday – two brand new, hot-off-the-press copies of DK’s Artist’s Drawing Techniques. The pastel section of this book is filled with my pastel paintings as well as my words about the techniques and about my beliefs around working in pastels.

Before reading further, refresh your memory about this project by clicking here to read my blog about how it came about and the work I’d done for it in January.

I worked on this project for the first three months of this year – intense but rewarding days of painting, writing, editing, emailing. It was wonderful but I sure couldn’t keep up for that pace for many months! The project required completion by the end of March (hence the intensity) so there was no Mexico winter getaway for us this year 🙁

But when I opened this gorgeous book, I knew that all the work and the sacrifice of other projects and travel were worth it!

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10 minute painting: Gail Sibley, "Hair Care," Unison pastels on UART 320 paper, 5 x 6 in

A 10-Minute Painting? Yes You Can!

Every week in the HowToPastel Facebook group, we have a Friday Challenge. The challenge could be to paint a specific subject or create a painting in particular way. Last week, inspired by the interviews with Jen Evenhus and Tony Allain, the challenge was to create a 10-minute painting. Yup you heard me. A 10-minute painting. Since it was my challenge, I thought I better darn well take part!

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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!!

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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!

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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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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