Tag Archives: Gail’s work

Chaos of Light And Shadow: 9. Tweaked and finished. Gail Sibley, “Gone to the Beach!,” Unison pastels on UART 400, 9 x 12 in

Chaos of Light And Shadow – Painting En Plein Air In Mexico

In this post, I want to share with you a piece I did where I tried to sort out the chaos of light and shadow.

I’ve been in Mexico for two weeks. One of my projects was to paint en plein air as preparation for my painting holiday workshop in Spain at the beginning of May. (Easier to paint outside here than in the rain and cold of home in Victoria BC at the moment!) To that end, for the first time when coming to La Manzanilla, I brought my easel. Usually I have a small box of pastels and board and paper so as you can imagine, way more than I usually bring! Still it’s been a treat to stand at an easel rather than have a rock, a log, a chair if I’m lucky, or flat on the ground if I’m not, dictate the scene I’m going to paint. Now it was only the need for shade that I looked for. The light is bright here, the colours vibrant, the shadows defined and dark.

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Do something, anything!

Do Something, Anything! Getting Started…On My Self Portrait

One of my 2018 New Year Resolutions is to PAINT MORE. I want to get in the studio and do something! I spend a lot of time on my computer – responding to email queries and enquiries, and writing blogs but also, for the last six months or so, sitting for hours editing and preparing videos for my next online course. And sometimes, it seems that I’m just not painting. Argh. So today is blog writing day and I wanted to share something about my pastel work. So, it was a good reason to get into the studio and do something.

So there I was this morning, in the studio, and stuck. I was overwhelmed by the many choices of subject matter. Sooooo many possibilities!

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Finding Your Style – What’s The Secret?

“How do I find my style?” is a question I get asked from time to time. The easy answer to finding your style – which is really your artistic voice – is to paint, to do the work. But is it really that easy? I’ve put some thought into this question and created this video to give you some ideas and tips on the ‘finding your style’ journey.

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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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Detail of final pastel painting

Improve Your Paintings With The Power Of Negative Space

I’m writing this sitting in Frankfurt airport as I travel home from my 7-day Croatia workshop. Teaching this workshop got me thinking a lot about negative space – both its power as a visual device and as a tool to aid in the creation of a painting. My demo and lesson on the last day touched on the use of negative space.

Here’s my demo:

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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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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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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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Gail Sibley, Red Onion, Terry Ludwig pastels on UArt 500, 5 x 6 in

Take One Small Set Of Pastels (Terry Ludwig In This Case) And Then…

You know I’m always on about the benefits of limiting your palette. When you’re starting out in pastels, the choice (and price!) of soft pastels can be overwhelming so I always suggest beginning with a small set of quality soft pastels. Play around with that set, get to know what the pastels in a limited palette can do, and then start adding sticks as you find your way. Starter sets are definitely not going to have an ideal range of colours and values but they are a good place to start. So I thought I’d practice what I preach and show you a number of pieces created using only the pastels from the Best Loved Basics set from Terry Ludwig.

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Past the ugly stage: Gail Sibley, "Waiting for a Refill," Schminke pastels on UArt 500, 5 3/4 x 5 3/4 in

Working Through The Ugly Stage – Yes You Can!

Have you ever had that experience when you look at what you’re working on and think, “Good grief this looks so awful [or something a bit stronger!] – I may as well quit now!”? I think we’ve all been there. This reaction usually happens at what I call the ugly stage.

So what do I actually mean by the ugly stage?

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