Paint Like No One’s Watching (Or Cares About What You Are Doing)

You know that saying, dance like no one’s watching? Well I think you could also say, paint like no one’s watching!

I’m in Croatia to teach a 7-day workshop (very excited about that!). And it’s time to write a blog for you. I was going to pastel some landscape or townscape. A good plan until I suddenly realized that within an hour I was to hand over my pastels to Mario, the workshop organizer. (He’d bring them with him when he drove to Istria for the workshop. Cam and I were trying to relieve ourselves of a lot of luggage so as to travel light over next few days before the workshop.) But this meant I had to paint something in an hour!

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Tweaking my plein air painting in the studio: Gail Sibley, "Shepherd Hills Hideaway," Great American pastels on Wallis Belgian Mist mounted paper, 9 x 12 in. Available.

Tweaking My Plein Air Painting In The Studio – How I Did It

A couple days ago I was on Salt Spring Island visiting my parents and one of the things I really wanted to do while there was to work en plein air. It’s been awhile since I’ve painted on location and as I’m preparing for my workshop in Croatia, this was on the to-do list. It was a perfect day for painting and although I went through the angst of I-can’t-remember-how-to-paint during the process, I was quite happy with the result. Of course the outcome wasn’t as important as the doing of it but still, it’s nice to have some success. This post reveals my thoughts on tweaking my plein air painting back in the studio as well as the progress of the painting on location.

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July's uncommon pastel paintings: collage of details of eight of the paintings

July’s 10 Uncommon Pastel Paintings

We are well into August but still not too late for my roundup of ten uncommon pastel paintings selected from all the work collected over the month of July.

Each choice brings with it some thoughts as I examine and ponder the paintings. As always, you’ll find a range of styles and subjects. And remember, these are truly personal and subjective picks, paintings that move me or capture my attention in some way. I select many paintings through the month. In the days leading up to this post, I slowly whittle the choice down to ten. This time I got to about 16 picks and was stuck. A couple of pieces were by artists I had recently featured so I let go of those and then thirteen were left. After writing notes and seeing which I could really speak about, I determined the final ten uncommon pastel paintings.

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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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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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Detail of Summer Flowers in a Vase

Summer Flowers In A Vase…Or…The Case Of The Disappearing Coaster!

Visiting my Mum and Dad last weekend, I was struck by the light and colour of summer flowers in a vase on the living room table. The thing that really got my attention though was the way the red coaster was visible beside the vase but disappeared behind it even though the vase was transparent. It then ‘appeared’ in two other places ‘on’ the vase. Well I wasn’t about to figure out why and how that happened but I did become interested in capturing the effect. This painting was so much about painting what you see, not what you know! So let me take you through the process.

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June’s Unique Pastels – All Manner Of Subjects And Styles In Pastel

Can someone please tell me how in the world we’re already halfway through the year?! I mean really! Okay so it’s July which means it’s time fooooorrrr (drum roll) June’s unique pastels! Here are the ten I’ve chosen from the many pastel paintings collected over the month of June. As always, I’ve tried to cover different genres and styles. And as always they are a very personal choice. I look forward to hearing your response!

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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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