Handling Your Medium

Handling Your Medium

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Decades ago I taught my self to surf in the little bohemian neighborhood of San Diego named Ocean Beach. It was an earlier chapter of my life…definitely with a lot less responsibility… single, employed as a nurse at UCSD … no kids…I had a keen 1966 Dodge Dart convertible white with red interior that had push button transmission…it was a good time.

I remember, after watching the locals surf the spot next to the pier for sometime and becoming bored with boogie boarding, I marched down to one of the local surf shops and bought a used 8 foot plank that I dubbed the Poseidon. I donned my used wetsuit and walked down to the break. With the leash firmly placed around my left ankle, I plunged in, belly on board and began paddling….and paddling…and…I not only got nowhere where I wanted to go but was taken briskly by the current right for the pier pilings. Somehow I got out to re-evaluate my circumstances and spent the next 6 months just learning how to handle the 8 foot long piece of foam and fiberglass that was attached to my left ankle like a ball and chain ready to drown me!!
I eventually learned how to handle the board…and it took lots of time and wiping out…

So too it is with art medium. Pastel is a very delicate medium. I have been at this seriously now for about a year and a half…painting most everyday. Learning just how much pressure to put on the paper and how to handle the bulky sticks….It is not an exacting practice but rather using the luscious sticks of pigment to “suggest” form and composition…to give my viewer a painterly expression of my intention. I am beginning to feel the rewards of perseverance and patience. Many of the colors you see in the piece I painted above, were done with one swipe of the stick…some were manipulated a bit more. The point is…patience and perseverance pays off ..

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Coastal California

Coastal California

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Christmas Day 2017 spent walking a lovely stretch of trail hugging the central California Coast at the historic Wilder Ranch property! Living in paradise!

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Grocery Shopping for Ideas!

Grocery Shopping for Ideas!

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Need ideas for your next painting? Go to the grocery store and pick out some produce! Yep! That’s what I did today on my weekly run to Safeway. I saw those red, yellow, orange peppers stacked ever so artfully and I perused the pyramid for the one with the most interesting stem!

With what I thought was skillful deftness, I tried to pry my prize from the near bottom of the stack….much like a lively game of Jenga….

Down they came tumbling around me in an array of orange! Looking around, I spotted another shopper quietly giggling at my predicament. My daughter scurried over to my rescue and between the two of us we had the pyramid rebuilt in no time.

So, next time you need some inspiration…just go shopping! But do take care where you pick from !!

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Support Matters!

Support Matters!

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In the art world, there is a language one must learn. Outline translates to contour. Form to mass. Lightness or darkness of an image to value. Color = hue.

In the pastel world, the surface you apply your pastel to is referred to as support. There are an array of supports one can use… sanded surface, un-sanded surface, prepared surface with a grit substance called gesso. Each has its own unique properties when receiving the application of pastel.

I have tried them all and am convinced that SUPPORT MATTERS…

Today I can put a vote in for Pastelmat by Clairfontaine. It’s like no other surface I have worked on before. It takes the pastel in a unique way. Difficult to describe. You’ll just have to try it for yourself!

Support matters….in life, too. Sometimes it’s the make it or break it moment when the support you ask for is given or not… As a parent of two adult children who are in the productive “making it” phase of their lives, I am their cheerleader. I am their support. Their coach. Every moment is an opportunity to make their day …. or break it. Support matters.

As an artist…an emerging artist…I am selective to whom I reach out to for support…Usually it is my fellow artists who offer the best support…they’ve been there. Making art is a solitary journey…even if you are in a studio full of others making art at the same moment. Each one of us is putting our creative juices out there for everyone to see…and judge. Be kind. Encouragement goes a long way for one to reach success……Support matters.

~ Be nice to people of your way up because you’ll meet them on your way down.
~Wilson Mizner

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Variety….The Spice of Life!!

Variety….The Spice of Life!!

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I needed a change. I love change. I used to rearrange the furniture often before I lived in our small quaint house…drove my family crazy!!

Creating tabletop displays was a favorite childhood activity of mine. My dream job was to be a “window dresser”…in today’s world that’s referred to as Merchandising…I like “window dresser”better.
The landscape is what I am most comfortable painting. However, I am drawn to the figure. In fact, I studied figure drawing for several years at our local college and then through our Art League here in Santa Cruz. To me, there is no greater challenge than to render the human figure, or animal figure believably….capturing the gesture and movement of the figure is captivating ….

So today, I changed it up a bit…I painted a figure…I got my need for change fulfilled and I didn’t have to move the couch!!

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