“Facets” Abstract Pastel Painting

I’m naturally drawn to geometrics and patterns.  I really enjoy doing all this fine repetitive work.  It probably has to do with being high functioning autistic.  I also love, love, love color.

I started out drawing a grid of 1 inch squares.  Then, I hand drew circles, and divided them into fourths.  Within them, I drew triangles with either straight or curved lines.  The black in half of each sets off the color quite well.  The gray background also sets off the colors.  I just let my creative juices flow, and went with that flow.

My color palette was analogous, as well as complementary.  The complementary colors were yellow and violet, and then all the colors in between on the color wheel.

How fun is this?  It is original.  I doubt you would find another like it.

Here is the online store listing.

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Facets, pastel on pastel board, 18 1/2 x 26 1/2 inches

World’s Fair Pavilion in Forest Park

I did this one en plein air (meaning outside).  It was a cool and very windy early spring day, so I stayed in my minivan to paint this.  My husband was with me.  It is the back of the World’s Fair pavilion.  I loved how you could see the sky and the pink crabapple trees behind the archways.  It is soft pastel.

I go crazy with color.  I find the spring greens amazing, as well as the bright colors of blooming things.

worldsfairpavilion

Steps To Spring

Here is a soft pastel I did a few weeks ago.  This is a scene at Francis Park here in south St. Louis.  One of my favorite things is to combine architectural elements with nature.  This makes for an interesting contrast.  I like the structural, geometric forms, and how they interrelate with the soft, flowing elements of nature.  I also like how the light and shadows play off of one another here.  See how the tree shadows define the geometric lines of the steps, and the curb along the steps on the right?  The open space in the background adds depth and dimension, contrasting with the vertical aspect of the plant leaves on the left.

StepstoSpring
Steps to Spring, soft pastel, 18″ x 24″

Another Plein Air Sketch the Next Day

My husband, son, and I decided to go to Pere Marquette State Park in Grafton, Illinois.  On the way to the hike, I’m reading an issue of Artists’ Magazine, and there is an article on a specific technique for how not to get all bogged down in detail.  It was great timing.  The article said to see your scene as just an arrangement of large abstract shapes, and to draw a rough line drawing of these shapes in pencil or charcoal, and then color them in, and then work on from there.  It was very helpful.  I decided that for the next several months, I would do just that.  And, I would be very intentional about simplifying what I saw, and not feeling compelled to record every small detail.  I would also figure out what I liked about the scene, and then make that the focal point.

My guys wanted to hike, and I wanted to sketch.  All of the redbud trees were in bloom this day, and it was sunny and warm.  Gorgeous!  It was another windy day, so this time I painted from inside my van.  Today I would experiment with oil pastels.  I’m not used to them, and they are big and blunt, so not much detail.

Here is what I came up with.  It has a completely different look than regular pastels.Pere Marq redbud

Back Into My Art Again Full Time

So I had been working at the kitchen of my son’s elementary school, but am doing so no longer.  I’m back into full on art making mode! Woohoo!

A week ago, I made my first attempt at plein air painting for a VERY long time, at Francis Park in south St Louis.  I was very drawn to an elderly crabapple tree, just starting to bloom.  It was dark pink.  It was a day with almost ridiculous wind (gusting up to 40 mph or more), so I needed to keep a low profile.  Therefore I sat in a chair that was low to the ground, used no easel, and just painting a small piece.  However, I was gobsmacked by all of the details, and quickly got overwhelmed and frustrated.  After I brought the piece home, I knew it would need major work, but I had already filled in all the tooth in the paper.  So I sprayed it heavily with workable fixative, and reworked it.  As I already had a good structure in place, I had only to add some details.  Here is what I ended up with.  I love how pastel is so forgiving.  Windy Crabapple

Royal Sunshine Painting Completed

RoyalSunshine

You can’t beat pastels for color that just knocks you into the next county, as my artist mentor Jerry Thomas would say.  I’m very happy with this piece that I just now finished.  Believe it or not, the brilliant magenta is from a Nupastel.  I’m almost out of it, and need to order some more right away.  I also need to order some deep dark shadow blues and violets.  I mostly used them up on this.  This is a complementary color scheme of red-violet and yellow-green.  I used a photo I had taken in the Missouri Botanical Garden 2 or 3 years ago as a jumping off point.

I like the warm glow in the lower right corner.  The effect of bright sunshine is in this piece.  I lightly stumbled orange and yellow orange over the light areas in the leaves, and in the main flower.  It doesn’t shout “orange”, but it adds a warmth and vitality to this piece.  It looks so much better in real life than in a photo like here.  I like how the dark blues tie everything together.

Today is a very cold January day.  As you can tell, I love warm, sunny, colorful days, so I’m trying to stay “up” during this winter weather.  I will go to the gym now and work out.

Color Effects in Art

Hey guys.  The wind chill was minus 10 Farenheit when I awoke this morning.  I am enjoying my day of staying at home and cooking and doing art.  This morning I baked banana bread and started beef goulash in the slow cooker.  Now, I just got done working on a pastel painting.  I’m using a rough, toothy pastel board of about 20 inches by 16 inches.  It is brick red on the front.  This will help create unity in the painting, as little splotches of this will show up throughout.

I use mostly Nupastels and Unison pastels.  I also use other brands, such as Schmincke, Sennelier, and others.

I started this several weeks ago.  I’m using a photo as a reference point for it.  I took the photo at the Missouri Botanical Garden several years ago.  It was a potted plant – some type of daisy.  Color is my favorite aspect of art. I’ve been told I have a strong sense of light in my paintings.  I’m very glad, because this is what I aim for – color and light.  Since I’m on the autistic spectrum, I also can’t help but be detailed.  That is how my mind works.

As you can see, I’ve painted in the background around the flowers.  I think the flowers will be easy.  I’m doing a secondary color triad (green, violet, orange).  I realized that there is quite a lot of gold and orange in the greens, and an orange influence in the flowers, too.  I really love the lighting effects on the leaves, and on the sphagnum moss. The trick to achieving an effect of strong lighting is to contrast light with dark mainly, and secondarily to contrast color temperatures between light and shadow areas.

I’m seeing that the background is quite busy.  I will just go ahead and do the daisies, then see if and how much I need to soften and simplify the background.

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