Saturday, August 30, 2008

How to Frame an Oil Pastel

Watch the Demonstration... CLICK HERE!

I have spent the last  few days framing the rest of my oil pastels for my show Monday at The Neptune in Seattle... I managed to capture the process I go through on camera for your viewing pleasure! The unique way I frames these is due to the fact that the paintings are done on Ampersand Hardbord - they can't be framed like regular works on paper... I always make it more difficult for myself! But they turn out wonderful in the end.

Visit my website for a selection of slideshows on techniques for framing, painting, and more!
(or click the link at the top to go right to the demo for how to frame and Oil Pastel painting)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ouch! My Art Finger!

First of all... Bert grew his eye back. It's a miracle. Second of all... I slammed my art finger in a car door tonight. Yes. My art finger. I am full of swollen hurtie-ness right now. I am still crying inside. Not only does my pointy finger have it's own heart beat, it has to wear a band-aid because it split open like a baked potato! (sorry, that was graphic.) 

I tried to paint this evening, but when I picked up Bert, it totally freaked him out. He would have run away if he had legs. I think I even heard him shriek like a little girl, but I am not sure. So since Bert was such a wimp, and I may throw up from the pain, I decided not to paint this evening, but to post one of my favorite "Landscapes in My Pocket" that I did the other day...  


(Almost as colorful as the bruise I am gonna have on my fingernail.)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Six Days Left!

There is something about planning for a show (or two) that always sneaks up on me. I make my lists, check things off as I do them, bite my nails and cross my fingers that I won't forget something really important... but no matter how much I plan, things always take longer than I expect. Actually, I find that life is like that. I wonder if I will ever learn to plan farther in advance? After each show, I make a pact with myself to start on things sooner... it just never seems to happen. Does anyone have any advice for such a slacker?

Above is the start of my layout to display my Landscape Pocket Series at my next shows. Been busy painting a little larger too, but have had a hard time taking good photos due to the weather here in Seattle... rain, rain, go away! 

I love the sound of pitter pattering rain drops at night. The smell of the pavement outside and the cool breeze passing through my window. Very peaceful. Sometimes I long for a thunder storm like I used to experience back when I was a kid in the burbs of the Chicago area.

Oil on Panel

NOTE: This painting is not levitating in the middle of my studio... I'm holding it in my hand trying to avoid the awful glare of my studio lights.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A New Size of Pocket Landscape!

Tree 1

Introducing the 2x4... my newest edition to the Landscape in Your Pocket series! Still fits on the miniature easel it comes with - to see more click here

I took my studio outside today, on the porch to be exact. Didn't get vary far past the front door to have my little plein air session. There are just so many inspiring trees on my street that I just decided to stay there for the day. Right now I am on this kick - painting a single tree in an empty landscape. I let the colors and the edges create the mood, it's really quite serene. 

Had fun assembling these little guys into groups of two four to hang together at my next shows starting September 1st at the Neptune and Makeda Coffee. After painting from 12:30 til about 8:45 pm, I finally put the brush down and called it a night. (my butt hurt and was getting dark, but mostly my butt really hurt - hard slate for a seat just doesn't cut it.)

I will be assembling some of my oil pastels into their frames over the next couple days and will try to document it for my next post. Trying something new, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Awakening

Sleepy sleepy Bert... Woke up early this morning to do a painting. Just a mini. But boy did it take me forever to pull my friend outta bed. He was in a deep sleep dreamin' about something I will never know. Maybe he was dreaming about the hottie Round #2 that lives two containers over from him on my desk. I guess there must be something about a soft fluffy pillow of titanium white oil paint that make a brush just wanna sleep forever...

The Connection

Friday, August 15, 2008

Disaster Averted

Oil pastel on hardboard

No that is not doggie doo doo on Dozer's toe nail. It's my painting. Number 37 Sennelier Oil Pastel to be exact. 

Had my painting on the floor to get an arial view, and my little buddy came down stairs to pay me a visit... I looked up an noticed him trying to wiggle between all my other paintings strewn across the floor to get to me. Instant panic set in and I boasted a command that I use quite often. It works fairly well on dogs. Especially if you want them to panic like you are panicking.

I yelled something like, "DOZER!" and he jumped wondering what just hit him. Then I squealed like a little girl, something really fast like, " OUT! Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god!", with my hands flailing all over the place... You know in cartoons when the character is trying to run really fast to get away and their legs are a circular blur? Well that was poor Dozer. He couldn't move fast enough, as the slippery basement floor didn't help with traction at all. So during his scramble, he managed to take out one of my paintings, scooping up some grassy field and soft blue sky under his long sharp toe nails. Ahhhh, fantastic.

Wouldn't have happened if I hadn't raised my voice. If I would have said the same words in whisper mode, it would have been just fine. So I picked up my injured painting and with MY tail between my legs and a few profanities, I went back up into my studio and repainted over the damage. 'Cause four big nail scratches across my painting didn't really fit into the composition.

So everything worked out in the end. Painting fixed, Dozer and I licked and made up, and I learned from my experience. Guess it pays not to loose your composure. Ironically, this piece was titled "Composed", so it is very fitting.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Table for One Please

Oil Pastel on hardboard

So tonight I sat down at my table for a wonderful dining experience. On the menu was a feast for the eyes, including a massive spread of big buttery oil pastel sticks for me to munch on... my favorite. I grabbed them by the handfulls and inhaled their beautiful aroma. I almost began to chew on color number eleven, but managed to snap out of it just in time! Instead I put them to better use and produced a few more paintings. 

I am so in love with the texture they produce... the past couple days of painting have been rough ones for me. Was having trouble painting in general. It actually felt so forced. Instead of giving up though, I pushed through it. Now I have a few new oil pastels unlike any others I have done before... so I guess I had a break through.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I've Been Published!

"Wooded" 10x30 
Oil on canvas, mounted to hardbord (prints available)

I am excited to announce that my painting above has been featured in the new Daniel Smith Artist Materials reference catalog for 2008/2009! I was honored to have worked with them to help design a new oil paint set back in July. The set contains the colors I currently use based on a warm and cool of each primary.  You can view these colors and a tid bit that I wrote here... it is a virtual version of the catalog - just flip to page 25 when you get there. 

Also worked on a few new pieces today AND took on another project... ANOTHER SHOW IN SEPTEMBER. Yes folks. I will be having two shows simultaneously on the same street! Check out it out on Greenwood and 78th on September 1st at Makeda Coffee (and wine and beer!) and then pop on over to Neptune Coffee (and wine and beer!) just down the street! 
Whew! I have soooo much MORE painting to do now. 

But as you can see, I can't seem to stop my blogging.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Return of Bert

Pirate Bert 
(photo courtesy of a cool artist friend - thanks Dana!) 

Well, Bert must have read my blog entry from last night, because he got all up in my grill today... Every five minutes... asking me if we are gonna paint or not, "When we gonna paint Jen? Yew gonna paint or yew gonna walk the plank?"... Jumpin' around acting all like a pirate 'n stuff cause he's got one eye. So, I gave in. I painted two new miniatures tonight. You can see them here.
Titled: "Mini Maple" 5x5 inches

THIS JUST IN - I am a huge procrastinator. I after enjoying my blogging session last night, I decided to review my "calendar" to see what I need to prioritize before my show... Then I had a panic attack. Not really, but it was like the Flying Spaghetti Monster's noodlie appendage smacked me up side the head real hard. I have sooooo much to do - 5 major projects all due at the same time-ish. Sooooo I might miss a couple blog nights here and there, but rest assured, I will be posting my paintings to my website as they're born.

BLOG RECOMMENDATION - I stumbled upon a very creative and inspirational person who has a blog called "Penscratches - Lightfast Blog" and it is very worth checking it out. This entry here is what caught my eye first as I share some of the same feelings about allowing art into our lives. Thank you Wakar for adding me to your blog roll and for your nice comments. I am a fan of yours.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Arrival of Jen TV

Titled: "Highway 26 Black & White" 12x12 
Oil Pastel on tinted Ampersand Hardbord

SWEEEEET! I'm on tv! 
What a cool tool... not me silly, the slideshow playing above... 

Anyway, last night I documented my full painting session in order to post to my bloggie today. It took a little while, as it was unfamiliar territory uploading all the pics, but I now have a tool that I can post videos and slideshows of my work and techniques to share with all of you! Eventually if you click in the upper right side of the window above on "Shows", you will be able to view whatever is playing on Jen TV at the time! Kinda like flipping through channels on a regular tv at home... it even has sound, just click on the musical note! I'm a genius (not really).

I will be working on a series of new oil pastel paintings over the next week for a show I am having at Neptune Coffee on Greenwood this Sept. 6th from 6pm-10pm. So, yes, Bert (my brush-incase you are new) and I will be taking a little break for a week. Probably good, as he is still recovering from his eye injury. 

My newest friends are a box of Sennelier Oil Pastels. They don't have eyes, so there is less chance of injury with these guys... I chose to do a black and white version this time, in order to play off the idea I typed about in my "Wipe Out" post a couple days ago... eliminate color and focus on playing with value and composition. Plus, I just really like doing pieces that have high contrasting values - creates a glow and a little drama. There are techinquie things going on in this painting that I intend to provide at a later date explaining my step by step process, including a final posting about how I frame these puppies...

So, why was last nights image upside down? No, I haven't lost my mind. In fact you may already do this yourself. I often will turn my paintings upside down in order to get a fresh view of them from a different angle. It helps me to identify issues I may be having with composition, value, or color. Once inverted, problem areas (usually) stick out like a sore thumb. I often continue to work on the piece while it is upside down. This way I can turn off my brain and stop it from recognizing what I am working on. I can then focus more clearly on compositional elements.

I can also get a fresh view of my painting by looking in a mirror. I have a HUGE mirror behind me in my studio. My husband thinks I am vain. Ok, maybe a little, but seriously - it is so nice to be able to quickly turn around and instantly I have a different view point of my painting... or my hair, or my new shirt... 

Another thing I do is look at my painting from a distance, either during the process or after I have put the brush down. I have this habit of leaving my painting out in the open for it to "catch my eye" when I least expect it. I will leave it sitting in the corner of the living room over night sometimes. In the morning I wake up, climb out of bed, pop my contacts in, and jump out of the hallway into the living room like I was at a surprise party! OR I will walk through the hall and peak around the corner at it as if I was to sneak up on it. My eyes instantly fall on my painting and I can then determine what areas are problematic. I will leave it out for several days until I finally decide if it is finished or not. Yeah, I'm crazy (not really).

Geesh, my blog posts are getting wordy. Sometimes I just like to type till my fingers swell. Thanks for leaving your comments... please don't "dine and dash", let me know your thoughts...

A final note before I pull another painting out of the night... Thank you to Nina in Stockholm! Nina Aidas mentioned me on her blog today - seems I inspired her all the way over in Sweden! (my tail is wagging!) -check out her blog


Why am I painting upside down you ask?
... Did I trade Bert in for a crayon?
... is Bert wearing a Halloween costume?
... Have I lost my mind???

All the answers to these questions and more... to follow ... after I sleep off my sore back from slouching for 4 hours while I painted this evening! I barewee tieward.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Wipe Out

Discovery Park oil on canvas 11 x 12

I love to work in warm hues. It is an addiction, a habit, or maybe an obsession...I don't quite know where it comes from... almost every painting I do begins with an under-painting of some sort of warm reddish color. The red often peaks through the added top layers of color, creating areas that seem to glow while creating a unity in my work with out even thinking too much about it!

The process of under-painting for me is one of my most favorite moments with a brush and rag in hand. I use a wipe out method - literally slathering the surface of the canvas or board with color and wiping back the white areas of the canvas where I want to reveal the lighter values in a painting. I can accomplish several important things in the early stages of a painting this way:

1. Tone my canvas
2. Establish my Compostion
3. Play with Value (light and dark)
4. Find a balance between hard vs soft edges
5. Get familiar with my subject matter before introducing color.

I am a firm believer that besides being able to accurately draw your subject matter, composition and value are the back bone to a successful painting. Color is just the icing on the cake. Under-painting is a great way to work out these elements. And for those that are afraid of color (like me!), it is an amazing way to empower yourself to paint with out fear!!! 

Way back when I was in school I discovered a paint mixture that I still use today to do all my under-paintings. I call it Saparindian! It is a mixture of Daniel Smith brand Sap Green, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, and Indian Yellow. It is the most beautiful transparent rusty red I have ever found. Sure you can buy transparent red oxide or something close at the art store, BUT what is the fun in that!? Mixing my own allows me the freedom to play with the formula... I can make it browner or redder, or even yellower, depending on my subject matter! I mix up a whole bunch and tube it myself for later use... Which makes me think... if want to have one to try, I can make one for you, just email me. Even though I just gave away my secret formula... sigh... I just really like to share...

I often will do a painting like the one above, and fall in love with the soft glowing quality so much that I will not paint on top of it as originally intended. This one is complete. No color needed. It says what I needed it to say, all with one color (or three depending on how you look at it!)

Happy Painting!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Road Trip

Welp, I haven't been painting this week. Guess I needed a much longer break from last weekend's festivities than I thought. Had a few things to catch up on at home... simple things that got pushed to the way side, like doing laundry, cleaning dishes, showering, brushing my teeth, and walking my attention starved dog... all easy to put off when you are planning a big art show.
Saturday I decided to treat Dozer and I to a road trip up north. We went to the Anacortes Arts Festival for the day! What a treat! It was one of the first times I actually got to attend an art fair as an observer - cause I don't have a real jobbie job! Yeeeah, my schedule is fairly open.
I was able to stop and take several new reference photos for paintings that I will conquer this month, so it was well worth the trip, and kind of dangerous as I was taking photos while trying to drive (worse than talking on a cell).
Before we left Anacortes I found this look out called Cap Sante Point. It was so gorgeous! It was a rocky ledge that overlooked all of the town and marina with a 360 degree view of the ocean. You need to check it out if you are ever in the area.
So I promise to make my next post a new painting. I have several new events I am painting for this month. Once again I will be painting feverishly trying to make my deadlines! I am excited to be showing at Neptune Coffee September 1st as well as writing a how to article for Ampersand this month! Additionally I am VERY honored and ecstatic that I have been invited to show at the Howard/Mandville Gallery in Kirkland in November for their 18th Annual Miniature Show! Check out my website for more details!