Friday, September 5, 2014

Pears and Turner

You’d think my studio would be in perfect order. Isn't that what happens when you procrastinate? You clean and organize everything in sight rather than do the work you should be doing. But... my floor is unswept, am totally disorganized, and my work area is a mess. So it hasn't worked for me.

And then there has been the pre-crastinatation (a word my grandson, Joseph, made up - he says this is what you do before you before you procrastinate).  Doing both because I've been trying out new techniques in painting. Jumping from one thing to another. I have at least four projects (maybe its five) in progress but they're going nowhere.

What has happened though is that I have neglected this blog. Ugh! I need to get back to the drawing board ... and ... clean up my studio. I'd do better work and feel better, I'm thinking.

In the meantime I thought I'd post an old pastel painting that I did, I think, 10 years ago. 

Still Life of Pears    Pastel on Canson Paper

I took time out to go to a Turner Exhibit at the Peabody-Essex Museum in Salem. Awesome show. It was tremendously inspiring. He is one of my favorites. It was an exhibit of his seascapes: oils, watercolors, prints. There were a few other artists thrown in but the only one other than Turner I really liked was Constable. There were two of his seascapes shown which I loved. Turner had such a wonderful way of making his paintings come alive. The drama of rhythm and movement is unsurpassed.

Sunday, July 27, 2014


We have lots of white and purple irises in our yard. I never know if they are called wild iris, Japanese iris, beardless iris, or Siberian iris. Anyway they don't have the decorative fan-like leaves. They multiply like crazy. Maybe they are called wild irises. My daughter found one random white iris at the edge of the property and I transplanted it near the house. It has now taken over a whole section of the garden and I've transplanted it in several other areas. 

Irises   Pastel on Paper   18 x 16 Framed

Found this perfect vintage frame at the Cider Mill where I have my studio. It may look a little blue on some computers but it is nice soft blue/green. The painting almost fit - only had to trim less than a quarter of inch on two sides.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Using Wallis Paper

I had said that I would try Wallis Sanded Paper so here is my painting. The problem I had with the Wallis paper is that is didn't stay flat as I worked. Curled at the edges. Maybe I should have taped it down instead of just putting clips to hold it. 

Studio Window, Pastel on Wallis paper, 9x11

I had some geraniums overwintering in one of my south facing studio window. Six plants which I managed to save for spring. The two large windows are perfect for this and the geraniums are now in our garden.

Ignoring the propane tanks that are outside and way below my windows, which I saw while painting this picture, I just put in blue sky and a hint of green of the trees which are behind the tanks. I was standing close to the window working at my easel. My studio is on the first floor but it is pretty high up and my usual view is trees and sky. Very cheerful.

It would be ideal to have north light instead of light from the south. I guess. But I find that a room with only north light is depressing (I took a class years ago at the Art Students League in NY in a studio with only north light). There are a lot of good hints on the internet about fixing south windows to get a north light effect. Really it is only relevant for me when doing still life painting and I don't do portraits. Anyway, it is nice to have a cheerful place to work.

In this painting I wanted to get the effect of the sun shining in the window. Still learning. Do we ever stop? No, never.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Here again after a long break!

I'm finally posting after more than a month's break. I was determined not to let this happen but life gets very busy, time passes, and things (I won't mention anything in particular) interfere and other things don't work out the way one would expect. I'm one of those artists who is always agonizing and then accomplishing little. Sigh...

Anyway, here is a painting that I had done when we lived in Dedham (as in Massachusetts). Am not sure this building and surroundings still look like this since I haven't seen the site in years so I hope those who know it will forgive me.

Endicott Branch Library, Charcoal and pastel on paper, 12 x 14, NFS
It is the back of the Endicott Branch library. The building was an old stable on the original estate. All the buildings, which include a beautiful mansion, and grounds were willed to the Town of Dedham by Katherine Endicott. Endicott Estate is an awesome city park. Besides the public and private activities that go on there it is a wonderful place for children and adults to play. My grandchildren have many fond memories of it. Every year Leila and I would rent out a small space in the wonderful greenhouse to plant seeds for our garden. I do hope the greenhouse is still there.

Rosie, asked for this painting. It started out as a charcoal sketch but I quickly decided to add some color with a few pastels. It was done on a type of paper that I would not ordinarily use for pastel so that alone is iffy. Before sending it off to Oklahoma I had decided that it needed a little re-touching with another layer of pastel which I've done. Typical me.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Flowers, Peaches, and Wine

A pastel still life painting.

Flowers, Peaches, and Wine - 11 x 14 Pastel on Board

I did this on Ampersand Pastelbord with Rembrandt Pastels. It was a different experience. The board has some tooth but the pastel builds up pretty quickly and then it is necessary to make it all smooth. I do like working this way. Very different from pastel paper or Wallis sanded paper. I've tried working on Wallis paper but don't have the knack. I'm doing a still life today on Wallis paper. Hope it works.

Picture from

Monday, May 5, 2014

John Singer Sargent

One of my very favorite artists is John Singer Sargent. In January Leila, Bridget, and I (Like Mother Like Daughter) went to the Boston's Museum of Fine Arts to see the exhibit of Sargent's watercolors. (The visit and awesome lunch was a birthday present from Leila.)

It was wonderful. Sargent's watercolors are so spontaneous. 

Sargent Watercolors at Brooklyn Museum
I certainly learned a lot from seeing his work up close. I have a couple of books of Sargent's work, including some of his watercolors, but it is a different experience to see the pieces in all their glory. For one thing, the colors can never be reproduced truly in a book. There were a lot of paintings in this exhibit. Almost too much if you are studying every painting very carefully.

Seeing great art up close is important. One can examine a piece closely, see how the artist worked; the nuances of color and brush strokes, and the surprises. And then, you can step back and see the whole. See how it all comes together. As an artist I like to contemplate a work and imagine the steps taken to complete it. Makes you realize how important it is to step back from your own work. Paintings are meant to be viewed at a distance.

I've read (Notes on Sargent) that he would tell his students to "Stand back -- get well away -- and you will realize the great danger there is over overstating a tone. Keep the thing as a whole in your mind. Tones so subtle as not to be detected on close acquaintance can only be adjusted by this means."

After seeing the Sargent exhibit I was very inspired to start using watercolors again. I had given it up a few years ago because nothing ever turned out the way I wanted.

Also, I need to remember to make more trips to museums. Boston isn't far and Worcester is very close with their fine arts museum: Worcester Art Museum. The WAM does have excellent collections.

Monday, April 14, 2014


I love to garden: mostly flowers and herbs. For some reason I have not had success with daises which is pitiful because they are really wild flowers and should grow like weeds. This year will try again and hope for the best.

I remember as a child seeing fields of wild flowers including daisies. What a beautiful sight.

Here is a painting I did of daisies. They were store bought! Sigh...

Daisies - Pastel on paper 9 1/2 x 7 1/2

Finally, spring is here. After this long, hard winter we see green! I planted some daffodils and tulips last fall and just can't wait for them to come up.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Fallen Tree

Here is a Plein air pastel that I did many years ago. I do like it a lot since it was done very quickly with minimal touch-ups after bringing it back to my studio. I get frustrated if my paintings get overworked.

Fallen Tree Pastel on Canson paper 17 1/2 x 23 1/2
I love going out on a beautiful day and making myself comfortable to spend a couple of hours sketching or painting. Pastels or pastel pencils are easy mediums to take along on such a trek.

I'm looking forward to some nice weather (after this long, cold winter) to get out to sketch and paint. I know that there are hardy artists who will paint outdoors in the cold weather and snow but, alas, I'm not one of them. I do wish I could.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Pastel Painting

I like using pastels because it is closer to drawing than using oils or water colors and I love to draw. Then I end with a painting. It is also very satisfying to sketch with good pastel pencils.  

Here is a pastel painting that I just finished. I started it last summer while on the Rail Trail in Sterling and completed it in my studio. I very often work like that. 

Lake View on the Rail Trail
Pastel on Canson Mi-Teintes Paper - 16x20 unframed

Pastels are made from powered pigment using a binder. There are soft pastels and oil pastels. I use soft pastels which are easily blended. I start out with Rembrandt pastels: they are harder than other brands and makes the initial drawing easy. After my basic composition is done I go to a softer brand. Right now I'm using Winsor & Newton but I understand that W&N has discontinued their pastel line. Disappointing. I had wanted to add some colors to my basic collection and I do like their pastels. 

Have never had a desire to use oil pastels. Always thought I'd rather just oil paint which, as a matter of fact, I've recently been teaching myself to do. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


I'm an artist living near Worcester, Massachusetts and recently decided to start a blog about my art and art in general: thoughts, insights, inspirations, master artists, etc. Whatever works.

My studio is located in the The Cider Mill which is in Sterling. The mill is a great place to shop if you like vintage and antiques. I'm tucked back in a corner of the mill (Corner Art Studio) painting, teaching, and puttering away.

I am part of the Like Mother Like Daughter blog and occasionally post but my daughter and granddaughters do most of the work. LMLD is about babies and children, keeping a comfortable and beautiful home, homeschooling, our faith, the way we live and so on. It will be very worth your while to check it out.  Leila, my daughter, and my granddaughters (Rosie, Sukie, Deirdre, and Bridget) are super intense about posting faithfully and they do a wonderful job.  

I have made giclĂ©e prints of some of my pieces. Prints are a great way to go, and can be reasonably priced to sell. Original work has to be priced high. To produce a piece of art (even a simple drawing) is the result of a lot of study, struggle, and work.

Here are a couple of my prints. One is a copy of a pastel and the other a copy of a charcoal drawing with white pastel. 

Petunias  Giclee print of pastel with charcoal drawing.

Lilies   Giclee print of charcoal drawing with white pastel    4.5 x 6.5
Signed and numbered for sale on Etsy
I'm so happy you are reading my blog and hope you will continue to visit. My goal is to post at least once a week.