Saturday, January 29, 2011

Bird Watching

"Bird Watching" 5 by 7, Pastel Painting

I have to start out this post by thanking Nancy Rose again for allowing me to use one of her beautiful photographs as a reference. Thank you Nancy!

I've been going back and forth between pastels and watercolors and I'm really enjoying it. I definitely want to dedicate some more time to painting animals in pastel so I have a pile of photos ready.

This sweet little kitty was painted on pastelbord with pastel sticks and pencils. It's available in my Etsy shop if you're interested.

Don't forget about the "Painting a Day" event that Laura Trevey is hosting on her blog this month. It's almost over! Click here if you're interested in sharing your work.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Interview With Artist Paula Ford

I recently interviewed an artist who I greatly admire, Paula Ford. Please take a moment to read about Paula and to view some of her beautiful paintings.

"Blue Boat" - Pastel

Can you share a little bit about your art background?

My first exposure to art was when I was a kid. My mother was an artist. She painted abstracts in oils. She would paint at the kitchen table during the day before my father got home from work. She would enter shows, and win too! She was really good! My brother also liked to draw and he was really good at it. It really didn’t interest me in the least, though I loved to watch while they created.

I remember taking Art History in college and found it to be boring. I was a business major with a very left brain.

It’s funny, when I was about 12, one day I got the urge to draw so I got out a piece of paper and a pencil and was sitting at the other end of the couch from my father, who was taking a nap. I drew his profile and it looked exactly like him!! I was shocked! I never picked up another pencil for 30 years.

"Wenatchee River" - Pastel

Which mediums do you work in and why?

I work mainly in soft pastels and am re-learning oils.

Years ago my husband and I lived in Abilene, TX. For a kid from the northeast (Upstate NY), Texas was quite different. It was really hot and flat and there weren’t many trees. I missed the northeast so bad that one day I decided if I couldn’t find anything beautiful to look at, I was going to learn to paint something beautiful.

Fortunately Kay Walton was teaching at the local Hobby Lobby. She is a famous bluebonnet/landscape artist and is represented by many galleries around the country. I attended her classes for almost 2 years. Then I found I went to many of the forums and ended up in the pastel forum. I didn’t even know what pastels were. That began my journey with pastels. Again, as luck would have it, Paul Friske, PSA, lived in Abilene (was this all meant to be?? I think so!!) and taught pastels. I studied under him until we moved away from Abilene about 5 years ago.

Pastels are much quicker to use than oils. You don’t have to wait for them to dry and if you make a mistake, brush it off and reapply pastel over the top. Clean up is a breeze too. Just wash your hands and you’re done!

Now that I’m more experienced, I’ve gone back to oils again and am loving the challenge and it’s so much fun to do something different.

"Dandelion Dance" - Pastel

How often do you paint?

I paint almost every day. Once in a while if I don’t paint, I’m still puttering in my studio.

How would you describe your painting style?

I would say, besides representational, soft, romantic, and happy.

"Aspen Valley" - Pastel

Can you tell me a little bit about your painting process?

I always start out by doing thumbnail sketches. That shows me if the composition is good and if the painting is going to work. I may take it one step beyond that and do a value sketch to show me where my darkest darks, and lightest lights will go. I believe in being prepared before painting. Can’t remember who said this, but in my head I can hear the words, “An unprepared painting is a failed painting.”

I then make a quick sketch onto my surface, making sure I accurately follow my chosen thumbnail sketch.
Most of the time I work on either Ampersand Pastelbord or Uart and almost always do a wet underpainting by using pastels for the first layer and then washing it in with rubbing alcohol and a ½” flat synthetic brush to set in the colors and unclog the tooth. It’s just a matter of putting in my darks first, then mid tones, and then a few highlights to finish the painting. I work all over the painting all at once, going back and forth, back and forth throughout the painting until it’s done. Layer, layer, layer.

"House of the Rising Sun" - Pastel

Did you set any art goals for this year?

Not really. I just always try to paint and study as much as possible, exercise every day, eat right, and stay healthy.

How has blogging and the internet changed your life as an artist?

Oh my gosh, I am such a hermit and recluse and hardly ever go out. Most of my social interaction is online, except when I teach workshops, that is. I have a huge blog, a website, belong to tons of art groups online, am on FaceBook, use Twitter and several other social networking sites, and sell my paintings online. The internet has changed all of us! I wouldn’t be able to live without it!

Do you have any advice for artists just starting out?

Do something artistic every day. Try to paint and sketch every day too. Go out into nature and study everything you see. Study everything you can get your hands on about composition and color. Learn to draw accurately. Study other artists’ work every day. Start a blog with your real name (that’s a pet peeve with me! How do you think you will ever be known if you don’t use your real name?) and blog all the time about your paintings, your thoughts about the painting process, and about other artists. Join a local art group, join FaceBook, join Think art, breathe art, live art, and share art, all the time.

Thank you for the interview Paula!

Click here to visit Paula's website.

Click here to visit Paula's blog.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bleeding Hearts

"Bleeding Hearts" 5 by 7, Watercolor Painting

Here is a piece that I have been working on the past few days. I'm beginning to get a better feel for these watercolors. This photograph drew me in because of the strong highlights on the flowers. I actually took this photograph along with the tulip photos that I've been painting lately, on the same day at a local park.

This painting was completed on 140lb cold press with Winsor & Newton watercolors and it's available in my Etsy shop.

Just a little side note, Laura Trevey featured me on her very popular Bright, Bold and Beautiful blog yesterday. Click here to view the post. Thank you Laura for your kind words! :)

Don't forget about the "Painting a Day" event that Laura Trevey is hosting on her blog this month. Just a few days left!

Monday, January 24, 2011


"Peppers" 5 by 7, Pastel Painting
I'm back to pastel today. This lovely woman on Flickr, Nancy Rose, has given me permission to use her photographs as references for my paintings, and this one called out to me. I was attracted to the bold colors and soft curves of the peppers.
This painting was done on pastelbord with pastel pencils. The colors are more fresh and bold in person, than they appear in the photo.
Don't forget about the "Painting a Day" event that Laura Trevey is hosting on her blog this month. Here is the link.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


"Tulips" 4 1/2 by 7, Watercolor Painting

Well here is another watercolor painting. I'm thoroughly enjoying using my watercolors again and I plan on dedicating more time for them. This painting almost didn't make it.. I was removing it from my gatorboard and accidentally ripped it! Luckily it was a little rip and I was able to trim it a little.

This painting is available in my Etsy shop for $50 plus free shipping! I've got a little tulips in watercolor series going here. :) I think a still life in pastel is next.

Also, don't forget about the "Painting a Day" event that Laura Trevey is hosting on her blog this month.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

Saturday, January 22, 2011


I just uploaded a bunch of paintings and photography to Imagekind. I've been meaning to do it for a long time but just kept forgetting. Imagekind is great because after you've chosen your image you have a bunch of options. You can order just a simple print, have it framed or printed on canvas. I kept the markup low so that everything is affordable. Definitely check it out because there is so much to choose from.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Red Petals

"Red Petals" 5 by 7, Watercolor Painting
I am having a lot of fun with my watercolors. My previous watercolor, (Shades of Pink), took about three times as long as it should have because I had a difficult time keeping my paper wet. My studio is in the warmest room of my home and it's very dry. I would wet a small area of my paper and by the time I reached for my paint, the paper was already starting to dry. It was ridiculous. So, I decided to take my watercolors out to my old studio (the sunroom of my home). I have a big drafting table out there and it wasn't as dry.
I thought you might like to see a photo of my set up today. I know that I'm always curious about other artists work space.

Here you see everything I needed to complete this little watercolor painting. I actually really enjoyed painting there today, with all the natural light coming in. The only downfall is that it's Winter and it's much colder out there.

This painting is available for purchase in my Etsy shop.
Also, Laura Trevey is hosting a "Painting a Day" this month and allowing us to post recent works on her blog. Click here for more information.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Item Of The Week

"Pears" is this weeks item-of-the-week in my Etsy shop. It's a 5 by 7 pastel painting on sale for $45.00 plus free shipping. Sale price good until Sunday the 23rd at midnight (central time).

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Shades of Pink

"Shades of Pink" 5 by 7, Watercolor Painting

I know what you're thinking, does that really say "watercolor?" Yes! I have been itching to take out my watercolor palette and I finally did this weekend. Sometimes I just miss mixing my own colors and using a brush.

I had a lot of fun with this painting but I forgot how tedious watercolor can be. I spent a lot more time drying the piece than actually applying paint. I've probably only painted a handful of watercolor paintings in the past year. One of my goals for this year was to dedicate more time to my watercolors so that's what I plan to do. After completing this piece I realized I need a lot of practice! :)

Just a little side note, Laura Trevey is hosting a "Painting a Day" on her blog this month and allowing everyone to share their daily paintings. Click here for more information.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Custom Pet Portraits

I'm officially offering custom pet portraits. I so enjoy painting animals and would be happy to create a lasting memory of your beloved pet.

The portrait will be done from your photograph(s). So you will need to find your favorite photo or take one that captures your pets personality and character. Photos are very important to this process. The quality of the portrait depends on the quality of the photo. Here are a few tips for capturing a good image of your pet:

- Take the photo at the eye level of your pet. Don't take it from above or below.

-Light is important. Try taking the photo with your pet near a window with light coming in, if indoors, or outdoors. Natural light is best.

- Don't take the photo too close.

- Take a bunch of photos so you will have several to choose from.

After you have chosen the photographs you can email them to me or send them by mail (they will be returned to you) along with any requirements that you have.

Your pet portrait will be painted in pastel on acid free and archival paper or board with the finest quality pastels. Pastels on archival surfaces will hold their color for centuries without fading, cracking, or yellowing as other mediums do.

To purchase you can either view my Etsy shop, or contact me via email (


5 by 7 Pet Portrait - $75 + shipping

8 by 10 Pet Portrait - $100 + shipping

11 by 14 Pet Portrait - $125 + shipping

If you're interested a different size than listed above, contact me for a quote.

Please note that these prices are for one pet. If you wish to have multiple pets in one painting there will be an additional charge.

I will ask for 2-3 weeks to complete your painting.

Also note that framing isn't included, but available at an additional cost if you're interested.

You are certainly not obligated to purchase the final painting if you are unhappy with it.

Payment is due when the painting is complete. I may ask for a nonrefundable deposit before I begin.

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." ~ Anatole France

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


"Maverick" 11 by 14, Pastel Painting Commission

My first pet portrait commission is complete! Maverick was just a joy to paint. I was a little nervous about this because the customer wanted an 11 by 14 and the largest I've ever painted a pet portrait is a 5 by 7. But it turned out not to be a big deal, and I'm very happy with the way it turned out.

Maverick was completed on pastelbord and with mostly Mount Vision pastels and a few pastel pencils.

If you're interested in a pet portrait of our own, just let me know. I will be working on some pet portrait commission listings to add to my Etsy shop also.

Have a nice afternoon!

Maverick Update 2 & 3

This is Maverick, the little sweetie I've been commissioned to paint. I gave the first update on him yesterday.
Here is update number 2. I finished the background and completed the eyes and nose. I always begin the actual portrait with the eyes. The eyes bring the animal to life, and if I can get them right, the rest of the portrait seems to come together nicely.

Here is update number 3. I put in an initial layer of pastel all over. I always like to fill in the tooth of the board first because then I am able to achieve finer lines and details.
I know he doesn't look like much now, and please excuse the poor quality of the images. All paintings reach what I call the "yuck" stage and that's probably how I would describe where I am at. Something we have to keep in mind is that painting is a progress and you have to be able to envision the end result. I think this is especially difficult for non artists.
I hope to finish this today or tomorrow so stay tuned! :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Maverick Update 1

This is Maverick. He's the sweetie that I've been commissioned to paint. The customer requested progress photos so I thought I would also share them with you.

This is the original photograph. I decided to keep the background because I like the sunlight.
This isn't the greatest photo, but you get the idea. I started the background today and I probably won't do too much more to it. A lot of it will be covered with his wispy hairs off his face. I feel so terrible for Maverick and his owners because he has a brain tumor and suffers from seizures (and he's 14 years old). As a "mom" of two puppies of my own, this just breaks my heart. But I am happy that I can create this lasting memory for his owners.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pears On Deck - Painting of the Month

"Pears On Deck" 8 by 10, Pastel Painting
$95.00 plus free shipping

My painting of the month is finished. This turned out a little more loose than I was originally going for, but I like it. I have to thank Aran Goyoaga for allowing me to use her beautiful photograph for this painting.

This painting was completed on Ampersand Pastelbord with pastel sticks (mostly Mount Visions) and a few pastel pencils.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Pears On Deck - WIP

I don't generally post works in progress, but I thought I would today. The picture isn't that great, but you get the idea. I'm working on my first "painting of the month." It was a goal of mine this year to begin doing a painting of month, which is just a larger more detailed piece. This painting is only an 8 by 10, which isn't too large, but I'm low on large pastelbords.
I'm quite happy with the way this painting is progressing so far. I couldn't wait to get to the pears. I used masking fluid around the edges so that I wouldn't completely lose the lines when I did the background. Removing the masking fluid was a nightmare.
I'm going to continue working on this today, but wanted to show you what I have so far.
I hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Nap Time

"Nap Time" 5 by 7, Pastel Painting
"Nap Time" is my entry for the Contemporary Fine Art International January art challenge. The word for the month is "cuddle." This sleeping kitty definitely said "cuddly" to me.
This painting was done on pastelbord with pastel sticks and pencils. I actually had a difficult time with this one and it almost ended up in the trash. I'm glad I stuck with it, because I'm quite pleased with the way it turned out. :)
This painting is available in my Etsy shop.
Have a great day!

Monday, January 3, 2011

January Snow

"January Snow" 5 by 7, Pastel Painting

Here's my first painting of the year! I decided to start the month with a painting for the Artists Helping Artists monthly challenge. One of my goals for this year is to participate in monthly painting challenges. Next I will be working on one for the Contemporary Fine Art International website.

My uncle was very kind in letting me use his photograph to paint from. He is an award winning photographer and you can view his work here.

Happy New Year!