View to the Future

This is an abstract colored pencil drawing I did yesterday.  It’s done on Canson Mi Tientes Touch heavy duty pastel board.  It has a toothy, rough surface that holds many layers of pastel or pencil.

When I do an abstract, I start with a basic idea.  However, I let the artwork unfold and I let my idea evolve.  This makes it more fun, and more of an adventure.  When I first started drawing and painting, I was very rigid, and mainly wanted my art to look like the objects I was representing.  That’s probably because I was learning the skills of how to render real life objects.  Doing abstract work is freeing, and more relaxing for me.  I can express a concept, or a feeling, not just physical objects.  It’s also fun to play with color, lines, shapes, values, and so on.  I love doing geometric forms.

Two things happened with this, that I had not planned.  First, the fact that my lines are closer together and less diagonal in the background gives this piece a feeling of one point perspective.  Second, I like the striations of light and dark violets in the upper 1/5 of the piece.  It reminds me of a sunset with a couple of cloud banks down by the horizon.  The green areas remind me of a rural landscape.  The yellow/gold/orange in the middle reminds me of the path life takes us on.

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View to the Future, 15 1/4″ x 10 1/4, colored pencil on pastel board

Phases

I really love this Art Spectrum Colourfix Paper.  For one thing, look at the rich, colorful violet blue background.  Using colored pencils on this is so smooth and buttery.

I was inspired by an image I saw in church of a cross with spots of light, like stars.  The “stars” were soft and dim, bright and clear, or in between.  That made me want to do something similar.  I went with a variation of a split complement color scheme.  Blue and orange are opposites on the color wheel.  Red and yellow are close to orange.  So, I used lots of variations of red, pink, orange, yellow, and cream to make these various balls.  I love how the blue shows through on some of them between the circular lines, so I left them that way.

I got the idea to put shadow tails on some of them (like a comet’s tail) because the drawing looked flat, and just reminded me of a fabric print.  I think this really helped add a sense of mystery, and made for a much stronger value system, which is the system of lights and darks.  I used indigo blue for the shadows.  I like the the shadows form a veil over some of the other orbs, and create a greater sense of being three dimensional.

Here is the listing in my online shop.

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Phases, colored pencil on pastel board, 16″ x 12″

Yes, I’ve neglected my blog…

… because of a veritable storm of family issues.  There have been 3 significant injuries over the past 2 weeks – 2 dislocated shoulders, and a dislocated toe.  My older son Jonathan got his car totaled on a 3 week road trip all over the western USA, then got stranded in Colorado (we live in Missouri) because a freak hailstorm with tennis ball sized hail ruined all the rental cars.  My husband and I were spending the week dealing with the various health issues and auto insurance claim stuff.  Many other things have gone on too, which I don’t want to bore people with.  I’m extremely thankful that he and his girlfriend came out of this unharmed.  Thank you Jesus!  I had been praying for him every day, and the Lord was with him.

Fortunately, I have been able to still squeeze in some time for painting.

I like to walk every day if I can.  I go around my neighborhood.  I’m fortunate to live in south St Louis, where there is quite a lot of old and beautiful architecture, and tree lined boulevards with shady parkways in the middle.  One day, I walked past an alleyway, and saw a charming wooden fence.  Someone must have planted some meadow mix along the base of it. There were some colorful wildflowers growing along the base of it.

There is a subtle complementary color scheme going on here.  It is yellow and violet.  The fence is based on yellow orange, and the alley and some of the flowers are blue violet.  I went impressionist on this by using broken color on the fence and pavement.  I also have an interesting contrast between the urban elements of street, power line shadows, dumpsters, and fence, with the organic plants, tree, and flowers.  The rather austere appearance of background dumpsters and garages emphasizes the beauty and grace of the blooming things.  Here is the listing in my online store.

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Alley Rhythm, oil on canvas panel, 24″ x 18″

Breakfast at Shaw Coffee Company

I had a marvelous breakfast of quiche Lorraine at the Shaw Coffee Company yesterday with my husband and younger son.  After I finished the quiche, I really liked the way the colorful fruit looked against the whites and grays of the plate, napkins, and table top.  I took a picture of it.  I painted it yesterday and today in acrylics.  I’m very happy, because in the past, I had trouble getting the right values.  Acrylics darken as they dry, so I compensated by adding a little more white to the paint mixtures.

The palette I used was titanium white, cadmium yellow dark, cadmium red medium, quinacridone magenta, dioxazine purple, prussian blue, burnt umber, and phthalo green.  I used Golden acrylics.  I mixed optical darks and grays with the blue and burnt umber.  I got a nice cold bluish gray.  I mixed a speck of yellow into the white to warm it up.

My goal in this painting is not to copy nature, or copy the photo.  I am going into a semi abstract mode here.  I like how the bright colors of the fruit contrast with the achromatic surroundings and background.  The plate, napkins, and table make for a nice abstract pattern of whites, grays, and darknesses.  I’m trying to simplify and eliminate detail.

By the way the fruit was exceptionally good.  The cara cara orange slices have a touch of pink mixed into the orange color, and were so sweet.

Here is a link to the listing in my etsy store.

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Breakfast at Shaw Coffee Company, acrylic on canvas panel, 24″ x 18″

Banner

Here is another abstract I did today.  I did this in colored pencil (mostly Prismacolor) and Prismacolor Art Stix on Strathmore gray scale paper.  I started by drawing wavy lines and boxes within with charcoal.  Then I did the rest with the art sticks and colored pencils.  The nice thing about Prismacolor, is they have a nice system of grays.  There is cool gray, warm gray, and french gray in various values.  I decided to make most of the squares in various shades of gray, black, and white.  Only a few of the boxes have color in them.  In my experience, life is mostly mundane, punctuated with occasional times of joy and excitement.  However, the mundane grays make the good times all the more happy by comparison.  Here, the grays really show off the bright colors.

Here is the link to the listing in my etsy store.

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Banner, colored pencil on heavy paper, 18″ x 12″

Homes in Soulard

Several years ago, I had an art studio in the Soulard neighborhood just south of downtown St. Louis.  One half block west of there, on Menard Street, I decided to plein air paint these intricate Victorian turn of the century homes. I painted this on a blue toned pastel paper, and allowed this to show throughout the painting. This is a celebration of color and light!

I had great fun painting this.  I remember standing on the other side of the street, and a guy who owned the nearby bar whistled his appreciation and said he would consider buying it.  I remember soaking up the warm late spring sun (it was June), and enjoying the violet red roses growing right nearby, and the backyard garden of said nearby bar.  I like the way the shadow looks on the building to the left.  I love detail, as you can see from this.  The Soulard neighborhood has blocks and blocks of houses like this, as do surrounding areas of Benton Park and Lafayette neighborhoods. This is only a few blocks from the famous Anheuser Busch Breweries, an old St Louis tradition, as well as Soulard Market, an open air market that opened in the 1700’s.

Here is the listing in my online etsy store.

Learn more about the Soulard area here.

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Homes in Soulard, pastel, 17 3/4 x 13 1/4

Riot of Spring Blooms

I will never, ever get tired of spring flowers.  I also love architecture.  I love the way the architecture combines with growing things.  The flowing, soft lines of nature contrast well with the hard, straight, geometric lines of things built by humans.

One day last spring, my husband and I were driving around in his truck looking for something to paint.  We were driving around the Tower Grove south neighborhood of St. Louis.  As we drove down a side street, I was drawn to this whimsical, charming and delightful home filled with all kinds of flowers and neat things.  I introduced myself to the owner of the home, and she was just as delightful.  I started this painting in the bed of my husband’s truck.  It was so windy, he ended up holding on to the easel as I started the painting.  After about an hour of this we both became quite uncomfortable (it was cold, too).  So I took a photo, and finished the piece in my studio.

Here is the listing in my etsy store.

Riot of Spring Blooms
Riot of Spring Blooms, oil on canvas panel, 16″ x 20″