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Monday, July 18, 2011

Fast portraits

This weekend, our community celebrated the Arts & Sciences with their annual da Vinci Days festival, and I was invited, along with other local artists to draw portraits at an art booth on site. It was a great experience working with willing models, happy to sit while we sketched quickly before they lost interest! The first day I worked with pastel pencils and a set of Hi-Fi Grays. I'd practiced on a couple self portraits at home the night before, timing myself, trying to complete a finished-enough portrait within 10 minutes. Though I didn't manage to keep under my imposed time limit, I headed off Saturday morning with my supplies, and did a few portraits before leaving to catch the Kinetic Sculpture parade.

Here's part of one of the portraits I finished Saturday - a bit distorted since it was laying on the table when I thought to take a photo.

Another artist that had been working with a ball point ink pen was just racing through his portraits, so that night, I practiced again, using a papermate profile black pen, working light and loose, pressing harder with the pen to add more detail once the "bones" of the drawing were complete.

Here are 3 of the portraits I finished and gave to my willing models Sunday:

This was a terrific experience and I wished I'd taken more photos of the finished portraits and the models on Saturday. There was a sweet little girl, about 4 years old that would only sit for a portrait if she was in her Daddy's lap. I had fun drawing the both of them, she sat surprisingly still! The little boy, above - the first ink drawing, was a squirmer --- though he requested we draw him, he kept sinking into his jacket, covering his mouth, chin, while his older brother sat still as stone right next to him. I was all set to draw the older boy when this little guy showed up & personally requested I draw him! He had fun taking his turn drawing the fella next to me once I finished. It was a good place to work, under a canopy during the multiple rain showers that dampened the festival, but didn't seem to discourage people from attending.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Poppy Step by Step

Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting one of the coolest nurseries in Oregon - Dancing Oaks Nursery with my friend Laurie. This nursery was the plein air Vista and Vineyard site for this week. We wandered the grounds, admiring and photographing the lovely flowers, then I settled down in a comfortable spot to paint one of the poppies. Once again, I was captivated by the intense reds, and a whole new variety I hadn't yet explored with pastel. This photo below shows the my preliminary drawing in red pastel pencil on a 12x12" primed and watercolored canvas I prepared ahead of time.

This next photo shows the first layer of pastel just before I sprayed the canvas with diluted pva size which helps adhere the pastel to the canvas. Behind the painting you can see my poppy model. This bed of poppies was just humming with bees!

This last photo shows my painting about 95% finished. After studying it for a bit I'll correct a few minor issues that are bugging me. As much as I adore this red, I'm sure this won't be the last poppy I paint this year... especially if I can get back out there before they're through blooming!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011


After taking a firework photography webinar from creativeLive last Friday, I had to try out some of the tips and tricks I learned last night! Here are 12 of my favorites---right click and open in a new window or tab if you'd like to see any of them larger:

This one I especially love!!