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Pink Roses Pastel Painting

My flower garden is in full bloom with rose and Lillies of all sorts! It smells so wonderful and all the colors are a treat for the eyes! So here is my first floral painting of the year, called Pink Roses Pastel Painting.

Last week I picked some of my pink roses and brought them inside to enjoy, because they were suffering in the heat. It was really hot outside, in fact unusually hot for our area. We have been having some extreme hot temperatures for the last few weeks, so I have stayed inside! I’m not a fan of extremes in temperature, especially heat. It was the perfect time to do some still life paintings and pink roses made a great subject! So I thought.


Pink Roses Pastel Painting

It’s been awhile since I have painted floral genre and I’m out of practice. Needless to say this pink roses pastel painting was a challenge for me. As I look at the photo of the painting, I see lots of areas that could be improved, but I’m going to leave it as is and call it a learning piece.

I used wine Pastelmat paper that was 9″x12″ in size and soft pastels. After blocking in my sketch I set out to paint and after a few hours I was really unhappy with the way things were going. I took the paper off the easel and threw it in the trash. After taking a break, I came back in the studio and took the painting out of the trash and taped it back on the easel. I decided to use a brush and water to paint out what I had done, and create and under painting. Taking out my frustrations on the painting with water was great fun. I left it to dry and called it a day.

The next morning I turned on the easel light and was surprised to see that the painting could be salvaged and I could see a path forward. So, again, I played with textures and edges and ended up enjoying the process. I worked on staying loose and not blending the pastel.

Roses have always been hard for me to depict in a painting so now the challenge is on! I’ve got to figure this out! Pink is also a difficult color to portray especially in pastel, so maybe I’ll try some of my other roses that have red and orange in them. For now, I’m taking a break from roses and will sneak up on them another day.


Currently on my still life table is a white Lilly from the flower garden. I’m painting it in pastel and it’s coming along okay. The flower smells wonderful!

White Lilly

I’ve painted these Lillies in oils mostly, and created one pastel last year that came out great. I’m haunted by these beautiful flowers and every year I have to paint them. They only last a few weeks, so now is the time to capture their beauty, if at all possible.

I’ll be back soon to show you how the painting turned out. I hope I don’t wreck it! I am struggling with what color to make the background. White isn’t going to work, so I’ll have to invent something. I was thinking I’d make a high key painting by placing the flower on a white background, but now I wonder if that was a good decision. I’ll need to play around and see what happens.

Much love ~ Rhonda

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A Plein Air Adventure

This past weekend was just beautiful and perfect for a plein air adventure. We loaded up the boat with all our gear for a day out on Lake Pend Orielle which consisted of fishing rods, pastel gear and lunch.

We left early before the weekend crowd hit the lake, and launched during a sailing regatta which was so much fun to watch! It was wonderful to see all the colorful spinnakers as the sailboats headed downwind to the first buoy.


Sailing

After watching the sailboat race for awhile, to which I took lots of photos for future paintings, we headed out to find a spot to beach the boat. We came to a place on the lake called Granite Peak and found a beautiful lagoon where we had the place to ourselves. It was time for lunch so we broke out the cooler and made some delicious sammies.

After lunch, I rounded up my plain air pastels and accompanying gear and found a nice spot on the beach to paint a beautiful scene, while my husband fished.


Plein Air painting at Granite Cove

Plein air painting with pastel

I took the mini pastel box so my pastel was small, approx. 6″x8″. I used grey PastelMat paper and a variety of soft pastels. It’s hard for me to use such a small amount of colors on a painting, and longed for my big palette back in the studio. The next day, I revamped my colors in the box and hopefully now have it worked out to the necessary landscape colors I need for my next adventure. As you can see, why would I need so many pink colors? Beats me! Those are now gone and I added in more greys and browns.


The scene and mini pastel box

I love the lime green color of the water as it reflects the trees and then how it blends to blue from the reflection of the sky. It’s like eye candy to me! At one point my husband moved around to a rock on the bank in front of me so he became part of my painting. He had a great day fishing and caught six trout within the first hour! I had a great time on my plein air adventure too!

My depiction of the scene isn’t exactly like it was, but I feel I captured the essence of the landscape. This painting is titled Granite Peak Pastel and will become an addition to my series called the Beauty of Idaho. Here’s the finished piece:


Granite Cove pastel

The reason for the name of this area is all the rock walls of granite. There’s also a lot of granite rocks on the beach and in the shallow lagoon. The trees on top of the granite outcrop are leaning over from all the strong storms we’ve had this year. There were a few fallen trees laying on the top of the granite wall. I am always amazed that trees can grow in such rocky areas. Further up the mountain is a cave where someone long ago did some mining.

I think I will tackle a sailboat painting next and see how that works out. I recently purchased some pan pastels and am looking forward to trying them out. I’ll share my experience with them in my next post. Until then, thanks for stopping by! Please hit the like button so my posts can move up in the algorithm stats and more folks will be able to see these blog posts! I really appreciate it! Much love and Blessings! ~ Rhonda

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Chives Pastel Painting

This week I took a break from my landscape series to create Chives Pastel painting on PastelMat paper. I planted chives in the greenhouse last year and now they’ve tripled in size and have beautiful purple flowers. I cut a small bouquet and brought them in the studio to use as a reference before they are gone.

I honestly don’t know why I planted chives because I really don’t use them in my cooking. I like chives on baked potatoes every once in awhile, but that’s all I know to use them for. I guess it’s the pretty purple flowers that I really like most of all.


Chives Pastel Painting
Chives Pastel

Chives pastel painting is about 7.5″ x 10.5″ and painted on dark grey paper with Terry Ludwig and Unison soft pastels. I laid in the initial drawing with hard Nupastels and used a chamois to smooth out the background underpainting. Once all my underpainting was complete I used the soft pastels to build up the flowers. The vase was just a combo of all the colors smoothed into the shape of the vase and then highlights added at the end to define the shape.

It all came together rather easily but I’m still finding holes in my palette with respect to sticks I still need. I think to my self, “I need this dark color here” and go to my box to see if I have what’s in mind and no stick! Bummer. So earlier this week I made another order for more sticks! Once they arrived I made color swatches of each one in my sketchbook to make reordering easier later on.


New pastels

Can one actually ever have enough pastels? I don’t know. But opening a box of brand new pastels brings me back to childhood when on the first day of school, each student would find a brand new box of crayons, a new pencil, books and paper at our desks. I loved opening the box of crayons and seeing all the shiny new colors. I guess the art monkey found me at a very young age! I still remember finger painting in kindergarten and thinking that was the most fun a kid could ever have.

Well, that’s all I have to share this week. I hope you have a fabulous weekend, and I’ll be back next week with another pastel painting to share. Thanks for stopping by! Remember to hit that like button so my posts can move up in the algorithm rankings! Much Love ~ Rhonda


Note: If you click on each image above you’ll be able to see a larger single image in a Lightbox effect which is pretty cool!

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An Art Manikin Review

Here’s a fun thing to do: an Art Manikin Review!

What is an Art Manikin? Well it is a tool meant to help one learn to draw the human figure. An Art Manikin with respect to the spelling is different than a regular mannequin. An Art Manikin is a small human figure originally made of wood; whereas a mannequin is a full sized figure meant to display clothing in a store. Now that we have the correct terminology, let’s have an art manikin review!

I have several art manikins but I’ve never used them to help me learn to draw the human figure. I am of the opinion that one should learn from life, so that is what I did. I took life drawing classes with models that would pose in the nude. It was great! At first it was a little intimidating, but once I got over the initial shock and looked upon the models as an art form, all was good.

So why do I have this collection of art manikins when they just sit on my shelf collecting dust?

studio shelf
Art Manikins

I don’t know why I purchased these art manikins! The first one I acquired was the tall wooden one on the left. I bought it from Blick.com many years ago. The small wooden art manikin, I have no idea where it came from. Maybe I bought it because I thought it was cute.

Wooden art manikin

These wooden manikins are totally worthless in my opinion. The face jumps out at me as the first thing wrong since no human head is that elongated. Secondly is the pelvis area, why is that indented? And lastly the feet are too big. Also the hands are useless for learning to draw a hand. They don’t make a pose very easily and tend to fall over a lot, which is very annoying!

Art Manikins Alistair and Cordelia

This is Alistair and Cordelia, the Art Manikins you’ve seen in my previous posts, as the snobby art critics who like to critique my work. Instead of sitting on the shelf collecting dust, I thought I’d put them to use as the studio mascots.

I bought these art manikins at Blick.com a long time ago, because I thought they were very cool. I never used them to draw with but they’ve been a part of my studio ever since. Sadly, Blick doesn’t sell them anymore and I was quite upset to find this out when Cordelia’s arm broke last week! I was posing her for a picture and her arm just fell apart at the elbow. Luckily I had already taken the photo. My husband was able to glue her back together and now she’s good as new!

I think these are the best art manikins I’ve ever seen. Their proportions are correct and they pose quite easily. I put them on doll stands because their main draw back is they don’t stand up on their own. Cordelia arrived with no hair, so I gave her a full mane of red curly hair. I think I’m going to paint in their eyes, because they have no eyes just a blank stare, with no pupils, hence the sunglasses. It’s kind of creepy.

One day I got the idea to see if Barbie and Ken clothes would fit them and they do! It’s just too much fun. So now they are dressed to the nines and I find myself perusing the kids toy aisle for more clothes.

Alistair and Cordelia look at a new art work

These art manikins are called BYIA Body Kun Dolls and are TOTALLY worthless! I bought them when it looked like Cordelia was going to be armless last week. I thought they were as large as Alistair and Cordelia, but they are tiny, only 6″ tall. One needs glasses to see them for drawing with! I guess I didn’t read the description well enough before ordering. Oh well.

They are no bigger than my small wood manikin and are so ugly! They feel awful to the touch and their heads are too small for their bodies. The plastic stands they came with are a joke as they are hard to maneuver. It’s difficult to get the plastic tube into the hole in the back of the manikins. Their joints don’t move easily and the expression on the male’s face is one of anger. Kind of weird.

I was so disappointed upon opening the package. I would not recommend buying these manikins unless you want to waste your money. I didn’t save the packaging or I would have retuned them. So now I’m just going to give them to my grandson. He will have more fun playing with them than I will ever have any use for them. I don’t even want them on my studio shelf!

So thats my Art Manikin review. I hope this helps a bit if you are looking to purchase an art manikin. But truly, you’d be better off drawing from life. You don’t have to draw someone in the nude to get practice. Ask a friend or family member to pose for you and have the model change the pose every 15 minutes. Learn to draw the gesture of the person then later you can add details. Use a large newsprint pad and some vine charcoal so you can easily add shading.

Thanks for stopping by! I’ll be posting my latest pastel landscape in a few days. Until then, Much love! ~Rhonda

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“Summertime” pastel painting

It’s been a busy week, but I was finally able to get a photo uploaded of my latest work. “Summertime” pastel painting is the next piece in the “Beauty of Idaho” series. This painting is my favorite so far and I will be entering it in the Dakota Art Pastels 2nd Quarter Pastel Competition. I’ve been entering the juried competitions on a regular basis and always have been accepted but have never placed. Maybe with this one I’ll get lucky?

The juror of the pastel competition is Marla Bagetta, who paints in a very loose and impressionistic style. So I’ve always been curious to know if a judge who is an artist, paints in certain manner, does that mean they will be only drawn to those paintings that are similar to their style? If that’s the case, then I have no prayers chance in hell of placing, because I paint in a photo realistic style. I’ve often thought that artists shouldn’t judge art contests because it’s like the fox guarding the hen house. Similarly, photographers shouldn’t judge photos.

I used to belong to a professional photography association and the monthly photography contests were judged by other photographers in the association. The same photographer always seemed to win because he had a unique style that everyone knew whose photo it was. Everyone knew it was the association president’s photo so how could he not win? I thought his stuff was bad, because it was underexposed and grainy. As if he invented grainy photos. I think someone from the public should judge artistic competitions because after all, it’s the public that buys the art and they know what they like. What do you think? Anyways, I digress. Here’s my piece:

"Summertime" Pastel Painting

“Summertime” pastel painting was created from a reference photo I took at the waters edge on Lake Pend Orielle, in northern Idaho. This beautiful blue canoe was tied up next to a floating restaurant and the lime green color of the water with the green umbrella on the patio was gorgeous! Plus the blue railings around the restaurant matched the canoe color perfectly. All those luscious colors were reflected in the still water. (The Tamarack Mountain Studio watermark is not on the original).

I have an affinity for canoes because of their unique shape. There’s just something about the design of a canoe, kind of like tug boats, that I find appealing. I would love to have a canoe but my husband doesn’t want one. He says they’re tippy, so we have kayaks instead. Maybe some day I’ll take a ride in one and see if that’s true.

“Summertime” pastel painting was painted on light green PastelMat paper with hard and soft pastels. I used a cool palette with complimentary warm tones to offset all the cool hues. The pastels used were from Terry Ludwig, Unison, Sennlier and Nupastel. No underpainting was done on this piece. I did a thumbnail sketch to map out the values and picked out a palette before beginning.

Thumbnail sketch of "Summertime"

As usual the studio mascot art critics, Alistair and Cordelia chimed in. They both gave “Summertime” a thumbs up! (Well as good as their mannequin hands would allow). A thumbs up with no snarky comments? I’m shocked! Thanks guys!

Alistair and Cordelia Give "Summertime" a thumbs up

Cornelia has a broken arm! While adjusting her hand her arm came apart at the elbow! I’m so bummed. She’s in the hospital having surgery now. If the doctors can’t fix her arm she’ll have to be “put down” and a replacement will be made. Stay tuned to see what happens!

That’s all I have for now. Thanks for stopping by. Until next time, much Love! ~ Rhonda