Thursday, August 31, 2017


"Sydnie" 11"x 14", Pastel

Sydnie is the daughter of one of the members of our portrait group. This was her first time to sit and she did a marvelous job.
Simplicity is my manta, which a limited palette suits perfectly. 
I used Blue Earth's Portrait Sample pastels and found the only colors I missed were orange and blue. Upon reflection, I am so happy they weren't included or the feel would have been very different. 
I am very pleased with Sydnie... the model and the painting!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Taos Hollyhocks

"Taos Hollyhocks" 10"x 8", Pastel

You may have noticed that I have been doing a lot of florals recently. I love the garden and in a vase on my table, but they have not been something I cared much to paint. My passion is painting people and New Mexican landscapes. 
One of the lecturers at the Art of the Portrait Conference emphasized the importance of painting things you don't necessarily like to paint in order to strengthen your skills. I'm glad I took his advice because this has been a lot of fun. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Kachina Lodge

Kachina Lodge, 8"x 10", Pastel
Last October I had the wonderful experience of taking a week-long workshop with the one and only Albert Handell. The workshop was held in and around Taos, New Mexico, my spiritual home away from home. 

Albert suggested that we set up as close as we could to his easel and paint along with him. He expresses his thought process as he paints so, whether one paints along or just listens, there is so much to learn. 

The group stayed at the Kachina Lodge, which was the subject of one of our lessons late one afternoon. I set up as near Albert as I could and tried to follow along. My results were less than stellar but I learned a lot by watching, listening and taking copious notes and photos.

Last week I decided to revisit one of the studies I did in the workshop and try it again. I started a new one of the Kachina Lodge, using the original as a reference and applied the things I learned.  I am happy to say that this one is a great improvement over the initial one and it went a lot better, too. I may end up doing several with somewhat different color schemes. 

NOTE: Things you are told in a workshop often take a little while to gel so be sure you always take notes and pictures, if at all possible. I suggest transcribing your notes when you get home. Seeing the demos, hearing the lectures, taking notes and then transcribing them will go a long way in committing the entire experience to memory. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

There Are Always Flowers...

"There Are Always Flowers", 8"x 8", Pastel
There are always flowers for those who want to see them. - Henri Matisse
In honor of the eternal optimist who looks for the good in everything.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Studying Degas #2

"Studying Degas #2", 7"x 5", Pastel

Another study of one of Degas' ballerinas. There is so much left to learn from him. He was a master of saying "just enough".  His color choices were wonderful, his compositions were perfect, the application of his medium...everything. He was truly a master!