Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Goat WIP

After I completed the donkey, I started to do this guy...and was asked by a few people to do it in pastel. OK...I hit a few bumps in the road since I haven't really worked a lot with pastel. This was my first pastel animal (before the Alaskan Malamute).

I was working on two photos, but not on purpose. My reference was the black and white copy at the top. I realized I needed to go back to my photos and print out a color copy to work with pastels. The photo I chose wasn't a perfect match, but I went with it anyway. (Not to self...delete the reference photos you decide NOT to use...or...don't take so many photographs!)

Basically, blocking in color...but I guess I didn't use a lot of charcoal in the beginning of this one.

Here's a close up.

Adding more to the nose and face...note the lavendar/purple?

Working on the head and fur a little bit....and background still hasn't been started! (There should be warning sounds here...) 

Because, what was a I thinking? I wanted to add a little more color to the background, I guess, but it wasn't working. I should have stayed with the photo reference, but being used to close ups and values with charcoal, backgrounds could be abstract. That's what I was going for, but my attempt to add color didn't work at first. The goat started to recede and not pop out as much.

Starting to blend the background. There are certain colors that will be banned from my pastels...Olive green is one of them...

I decided to stop here for a while and even signed it, thinking that it would grow on me and that maybe, it was the goat that I wasn't fond of. Maybe it was the subject matter after all...

Except it wasn't. I like goats. I think they're cute, so...

After I finished the malamute and went to the pastel class, I thought that maybe I overworked the goat. That I blended too much.

Part of what I love most about pastels is the texture that you can SEE. Some pastel artists do blend and create beautiful paintings. I love them! But...I want to go another way. I want to see the strokes of the pastel stick. To figure out when the artist used the flat end of the pastel or sharpened the end of it like a pencil. That's the beauty of pastel to me.

So I worked on the goat a little more...and added some warmth to him and the background.

I'm getting there.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pastel Workshop

I went to a pastel workshop this morning taught by local pastel artist Bill Gramley. I was so excited, not only because of my recent fascination with the medium, but also because I realized this was the same artist of whom I previously purchased 3 mini paintings!

There is another class on March 31st at Fine Art Carolina Gallery in Mebane if anyone is interested.

Bill demonstrated 3 themes: pears,

an autumn tree,

and a seascape.

It was amazing to see the paintings appear so quickly. After each demonstration, we were left to do our own version, either from a photo or our imaginations. Here are my versions...I need to provide better photos once I take them out of the "class provided frames" (except for the seascape, that's my own frame).

The pear... (I don't eat pears, so I struggled with this!)

Autumn tree...I wanted to do a horizontal image, but didn't realize the mat would cut off so much on the top...a new photo to come soon...

Seascape....I'm not worried that the photo is blurry and too reflective for you to figure out the highlights on the clouds are wrong...(did I just say that out loud?). No will be corrected.

The class was very inspirational and made me realize that maybe I can do some landscapes/seascapes, etc...

Stay tuned for an update to the alpine goat...and a new pastel painting of an East African animal. Here's a hint...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

New Pastel Painting: Alaskan Malamute

So the original post disappeared shortly after it was highlighted on another webpage. Sorry it's taken a few weeks for me to get the energy to piece it back together. (Very strange and since I don't know WHY it happened, or even know HOW to find out why, I'm just going to add the photos back and go from there).

The beginning didn't start out the way I wanted and I quickly discovered that my sketch wasn't right. I remedied that by covering the entire panel in charcoal and then bringing out the lighter pieces with a kneaded eraser. At this stage, it's pretty loose and messy looking.

Beginning stage using vine charcoal and a kneaded eraser

Now I'm adding more detail now that I'm satisfied with the placement, but still using just charcoal and eraser. (There might be a little bit of pastel on the right ear).

Refining the detail

It becomes more obvious that I'm adding color now, mainly a soft blue - both to the background and to the fur.

Next step, adding pastels over the charcoal

Adding a second color, mostly a peach color to the fur, to play with the warm and cool sections. Blurring your eyes on the photo helps pick out different colors. I also take a piece of paper with a hole in it and hold it over the photo to identify colors. It's amazing what you see there that your eye didn't pick up before.

Adding peach

Getting into the nitty-gritty of the painting, playing with the colors and adding more local color to the nose and eyes.

Playing with the peach and blue. Also added some pink to the nose and orange to the eyes.

Is this like watching paint dry? I can't help but take tons of photos. I'm adding more black, darkening sections of the fur. I've also refined the nose a little more.

Darkening the fur and softening the nose

The final can see that I've softened the fur a little. One of my favorite spots is under his chin. It's really soft there, almost as if he's shedding and you can gently pull the hair right out. (Does anyone else love to do that? I could do that to these long-haired dogs for HOURS!)

"Wooly Malamute" | 16x20 | pastel

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Donkey: WIP

I've been working on my newest animal piece on pastelbord. As you've seen, I did this cow with charcoal and a kneaded eraser. (For you city folk, this is NOT the donkey...)

 I used vine charcoal only - which are the skinny ones on the left.

This eraser is my progress stops completely if I can't find one of's called "kneaded" because...well, here's what Cheap Joe's says on their website:
"These erasers are great because they can last just about forever. Many beginning artists don’t understand just how great a kneaded eraser is because no one ever shows you how to use one.
But, here is a tip. These erasers are stretchy. This is great when you want to shape these erasers to fit into tight spaces or when you want to ball them up to eraser a swath a few inches wide. They are also kind of like silly putty in that you can shape them, then place them on an area that is a little too dark, press down and voila! You can instantly lighten an area and fix a compositional nightmare in an instant. But, here is the especially great part.
To clean these erasers just stretch them out, fold them over, stretch it again… and again. These erasers come out clean and brand new all over again. There aren’t too many art materials that are your friend and last practically forever."
 They're great stress relievers too. My kneaded erasers are usually pretty clean.

Since pastelbord has a rough surface, I also used a stump for the blending. The white of the drawing is the actual pastelbord surface in the cow drawing.

OK, so enough about the supplies. Let's talk about the new piece I have. It's a juvenile donkey from a reference photo I took while on vacation. I started off with a quick's different than regular sketching since I wanted to preserve the white of the surface. It's pretty rough looking and reminiscent of a zebra.
I was mainly blocking in the values, but this eats up those charcoal sticks quickly! 

I added more texture to the fur and backgound.

 I played with this for a while, trying to get the right balance of background texture...I ended up using white pastel on the lightest areas.

I'm not ready to call it "done", but ready to set it aside for a day or two.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Art Supply Addiction: Flat Files

Hi, my name is Janae, and I'm an art supply addict.

By supply, please don't just think of pencils, papers, brushes, paint. Feel free to include drafting tables, bookcases and my favorite...FLAT FILES! I have such an obsession with these, that I decided to do a whole post dedicated to them. Maybe I'll write a series of posts...because each one has a special place in my heart...

It doesn't really matter that I have a 29 1/2" x 40 1/2" black metal flat file with 5 drawers,

or a behemoth 36x45 1/2" wood flat file with 10 drawers.

I love them all. I google flat file images. I browse them on craigslist. I pin them. It doesn't matter that their use is rather limited. They are coveted by artists and the going rate for a 5 drawer flat file around here starts at $150 on craigslist. I'm still addicted.

Maybe one day I can have a coffee table again, and turn a flat file into one like this...

Or I can put it in a dining room and put really cool wine on top. 

Or I could paint mine black and put craft supplies in it.
 Look how organized this is! She states on her blog that printer trays fit perfectly in them. I had to google that since I was envisioning my canon color printer.

Ahhh...I don't have the guts to do this to my flat file, but this person aged this flat file on purpose, taking a perfectly fine metal flat file and making it rusty. It looks absolutely awesome!

 Just check out the wheels!

And of course, let's take a look at Martha's collection...

While this isn't your traditional flat file, it does provide good ideas. I could easily build a hutch on top to hold craft paper. I think she was reading my mind...because I was totally searching on craigslist for a heavy duty craft paper cutter. You know...when people come by my studio to buy my art, I'll have to wrap the frames. It could happen...

Again with the organization in the drawers...paint brushes, pencils, etc...
 Magnetic strip on the side...for something...that I haven't thought of yet...oooh...framing gun maybe? I'll just go around the studio with a heavy duty magnet and anything that sticks will have a home.
 Craft paper and tissue paper. Oh, and twine! In case I have to ship my art!
And of course, the bags have to be stored somewhere.

 So, am I the only one that's addicted to flat files?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Art Forums

The previous post about art websites required me to go to those sites to grab the link and post here. I found that one of the websites I was going to include didn't have my art. Oops. I guess I decided not to use them, but it's a website that may be useful to others and I think the community there is awesome of you take part.

I've listed three forums I browse for information and inspiration.

DeviantArt - I'm not sure what the demographic is for this site, but it might be younger than me. Just the name sounds like a high school and early college demographic. However, there are some useful reference photos that can be found here, as long as you read what the photography will allow in terms of copyright.

ScribbleTalk -I have a soft spot for this site since this was THE website that inspired me to return to art. It was totally by accident and only due to a username matching a google search. The site is full of talented artists, mostly colored pencil artists, but there are sections for charcoal, pastel and pen. It's mainly a site for art made with a "drawing technique".

Wetcanvas - I've saved my favorite for last. I tell everyone I know about this site. It's for ALL artists and it's large enough to accomodate everyone while still allowing you to get acquainted with other artists similar to you.

It's a massive forum with subforums for each medium and each subject. It's sort of like having cable, where you can choose which channels to watch...Here's about HALF of what they have:


So, I browse the following forums:
and many many others.
The reference library on wetcanvas is a great resource as well. Artists add photos there for others to use in their art. You can find anything from countrysides to cityscapes and everything in between.

I know there are many many other websites out there, but these are the ones I've gone to the most.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Art Websites

It seems I've created profiles on most of the art websites, but there is one that has stood out among the others in terms of professionalism, pizazz (did I just use that word?), and user told you I'm not a writer, but you get my point, right?). I've listed three that I've used in the past/present...

 Zazzle - I use zazzle to order my own magnets, since they seem reasonably priced. The magnets are hefty things, not just a magnetized business card. The kind you actually buy in stores nice. I don't really sell anything there, so I can't comment on any of those aspects, but I do offer notecards and magnets.

CafePress - one of the first sites I added my art, mainly for notecards, but I got too crazy with the other merchandise, so I added tshirts and some other items. Honestly, I can't tell you what's there right now. The website became too time consuming and confusing to me...too many choices muddled my mind. I think it's easier now to navigate, but I haven't taken the time to play around. I did sell a few things there, but I think mainly tshirts.

Fine Art America - one of my favorite places because of simplicity. It's just a site to sell/buy prints, originals, and cards. Period. I have most of my art there (which isn't saying a whole lot). It does not have any of my earlier pieces - either because I don't have a high resolution image to upload, or because it didn't make sense to put a portrait on there if I sell prints. To be honest, I've sold one thing, and it made my month! I mean, really, I'm an artist! I'm just another guppy in a sea of guppies and fish and...whales. Anytime someone takes time to look at my art (in a good way) makes my day.

EDIT: In order to create this post, I had to go to my websites to get the links. CafePress has updated quite a bit! I may have to add more stuff there, but I might take out those aprons...