Landscape

June 3, 2019

Sharing a few landscapes here. All are oil stick on paper. Enjoy!

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Thin Place

 

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Edge of the Day

 

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Half-mown

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Crow #1

Crow #1: The Dark of Black

 

Crow #2

Crow #2: Still Point

 

Crow #4

Crow #4: Shimmer

 

Thanks to a few unseasonable days of warmer weather, I was finally able to photograph the rest of the crow series of small soft pastels in natural light. So much dark and black can be tricky to photograph accurately, and how these images appear here depends on my camera, my screen, and your screen. The process of making these drawings was an engaging bit of research on blacks, darks, and the effect of a slight shift in color or value on the light in the piece. To read more about this group of drawings (and see the missing crow), just scroll back a couple of posts. It’s always best to see the work in person!

 

Crow #5

 

Crow # 5: Sheen

 

Crow #6

Crow # 6: A Measure of Light

 

It’s All in the Dust

January 28, 2019

 

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Light and Shadow

 

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Of  the Mountains

 

Soft pastel is pure pigment held together with a little binder. The medium is the color; the color is the medium. What could be more satisfying than laying down a film of pure color and then layering another on top, each veil changing forever what had been put down before. Or that color dust can be rubbed and pressed into the paper with the next color applied on top – rubbed in or not.

 

There is no going back with soft pastel, only change and moving forward. Even if a section is removed, swept off with a stiff brush (like a small broom sweeping up the dust), it is never possible to go back to a clean surface; some of the color remains as a record of what has been and also a ground for and part of what will come.

 

Art making has always offered me a model for life, teaching me useful lessons in an accessible way – a sort of experiential guide book. For a few examples, drawing with soft pastels shows and reminds me: not to lament the parts that are lost, to be open to surprises, to pay attention and respond to what is happening in the drawing, to take joy and delight in the richness resulting from the evolution of the drawing process (which was most surely difficult or painful at times), and on…all easily more than lessons for art making alone.

 

Soft pastel drawings can be strong, rich, and solid and their color even bold, but the dust is fragile and potentially transient. Even a fixed drawing will dust off a bit over time. This is certainly a reminder that I am not in control. And I love the thought that even after I have finished my work, a drawing will continue on to have a life of its own, changing and evolving, however imperceptibly, over time.

 

The difficulty of soft pastel is in the dust, the messy dust that covers studio surfaces, me, and everything I touch when I am working. But that dust is the essence and beauty of the medium. It is what makes it so pure, direct, elemental, and appealing.

 

The drawings in this post came from a need to work larger than the 8” square Crow series as well as a craving to bring in more color while still making room for the mystery and depth that the blacks and darks allow for. The drawings from this group are all around 12” by 21”, and these were the first two.

Flown the Nest

January 21, 2019

It seems right to start the New Year with some updates about the work and images of new work. I am happy to say that a few more of the small pastels based on birds have found new homes including these three:

 

Flicker

Flicker

 

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Chickadee

 

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Indigo Bunting

 

 

There are still a few more perched on the wall, so give a shout if you want to see images or if you are interested in stopping by to see them in person. And check in here soon for a look at the newest work in the studio.

[Work]

June 25, 2018

The annual faculty/staff/board show [Work] is open in the gallery at VisArts and will be there until August 19. The exhibit is interesting and diverse and includes work in many different media. I’m showing some small (4 1/2″) soft pastels including these:

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Hummingbird

 

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Dove II

 

There are quite a few more of the soft pastels in the studio, so stop in to see those too. Here are a couple:

 

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Dove

 

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Indigo Bunting

For a bit of information on these drawings and how they came to be, scroll down a few entries to the one titled “For The Birds.”

Birds Continued

December 6, 2017

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Cedar Waxwing

 

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Chickadee

 

These are two more of the soft pastel drawings based on birds. Both of these are 4 1/2 inches square. Stay tuned for more work to be posted soon@

Rewind and Recharge

January 23, 2017

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Air & Light (side)    It won't float

Collected stories1

 

Tomorrow I will have these and other 3-dimensional mixed media and assemblage pieces out on view for a couple of artist friends who are interested to see them. The timing is good, because I need to spend some time with them too. I am looking forward to the next new thing in the studio, and I think there are clues for me here in these pieces. At the moment I am interested in working two dimensionally with mixed media and perhaps adding in some monotype and other printmaking to that. Another springboard might be the most recent mixed monotype/drawing pieces that I only began to explore in a short summer class. Here are a few of those.

 

Scavenger Notes

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For a stretch of time my studio work was focussed primarily on a couple of large landscape commissions, so I am happy to have some space and time to experiment, explore, and research the next thing. Revisiting past work can be a good way to recharge as I move forward.