Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Painting a glass blowing glory hole

Glory Hole WIP
10 x 8 soft pastels on sanded paper
by Miki Willa
This is another gift painting. Our oldest son is a glass blower, so I used a reference photo my husband took of son blowing a vase, which I have on my mantle. I wanted to capture the intensity of this part of glass blowing. The fire is so hot, the edges around it are blurred. There are subtle shapes and forms in the dark areas. I still have to flesh them out a bit and clean up some of the lines I want to be sharp. I am pleased with the colors and values, so far. This has been a challenge, but a very enjoyable one. It took me outside my normal comfort zone and there is not a speck of green here! I am adding this to my small spaces series.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Snow in Seattle

It has been snowing in the Greater Seattle area off and on for over a week now. I spent part of that time painting and part of it creating Christmas stockings for five family members. This project all started because I wanted to make a stocking for my new granddaughter. Her parents wanted new stockings as well. Then my husband spoke up, so I had to have a new one also. Next year, I will make for the rest of the family. It was a fun project. I haven't sat at the sewing machine very often over the last ten years or so. I think I will be doing more fun projects now that I have it set up again.
I lived in the Seattle area for many years before I moved to Hawaii and don't remember real snow in December. This has been a great adventure for me because I haven't had to try and get around in it. I thought I would share a couple of photos of the yard. I don't remember too many white Christmases in my life. I am sure there have been a few, but they are rare. This snow is supposed to stick around until Christmas day, when it will begin to rain. I wonder what the rest of winter will have in store.

This is a view of part of the back yard. We have a wonderful yard that has great character all times of the year. Notice the two bird feeders toward the distance.

This is the maple tree by the front door. I love the structure of the branches and trunk. You can see a fall foliage shot of this same tree near the bottom of this post.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Paintings as gifts

Bread, Beer, and Edam
8 x 10 soft pastels on sanded paper
by Miki Willa
Doing a painting as a gift is always a tricky thing, I think. Unless you really know someone really well, you may easily create something that will reside in their storage closet until you are expected for dinner. For instance, I would never paint something for my daughter unless she requested it because she really knows what she likes. My son's, on the other hand, have asked me to do paintings for them for a long time. They each have paintings by my husband, their father, but not by me. I decided to remedy that this year. Our oldest is a pastry chef who enjoys a good beer. He has been giving me bread making lessons, and I have become very popular with my daughter and sister every since. I decided to do this still life for him. I threw in the Edam for color and shape. Besides, we really like to eat Edam now and then.
I had some trouble with the beer in this painting. I expected the foam to last much longer than it did. Fortunately, I took a photo before it went away, and I didn't pour it until I had the sketch done. I started on that part. Another thing was the glass. I haven't painted glass in a long time. I am pleased with the final results, but it was difficult to get there.
I hope he likes this painting. My other son is a glass blower. That painting will be an even greater challenge.
I have not been idle between paintings. I spent several hours making Christmas stockings for five people. I haven't had a sewing room for many years, so it was good to get back to that sort of creativity. In the new year, I will be splitting my time between quilting and painting. I am really glad I named this blog Pastels and More. That way, I will be able to share all my endeavors.
If I don't get back before the 25th, Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate. To my readers who worship in another way, a blessed season to you all.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Lower Falls - finished at last

Lower Falls
20 x 27 soft pastels on Art Spectrum Colourfix
by Miki Willa
I think this is finally finished. It was quite difficult for me to resolve the left side of the painting. Partially, it was because the area was not as geographically interesting as the right side. The other part was a color and value problem. I had originally used pale green for the distant river valley above and behind the falls. As soon as I realized this was not working, I rubbed it out and used purples. This gave me a much clearer vision of what I needed to do to the left side. I may have more to do on this one, but it will have to wait until I haven't been staring at it for a couple of weeks.
I have a few smaller paintings to do in the next couple of weeks, so I will be back in my size comfort zone. It is good to push yourself to grow your skills, but it is also fun to get comfortable once in a while.
Now that I have discovered somewhat of a routine to my weeks, I am going to take a look at where I want to be in 2009. Over the next few days, I will we working on some goal setting and a business plan. I will post some of this as it formulates.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Lower Falls WIP 3

Stage 1
Stage 2

Stage 3
I had a request to put all the stages of this WIP on the same page for comparison purposes. I hope this helps.
For this stage (3), I worked more on the farthest ridge on the right of the painting, the left ridges, and some on the far distance. As I work, I am constantly adjusting for value and temperature. One of the things I want to do next is darken the foreground of the hillside on the left. I will add some purples to indicate that this side is more in the shadow than the right side. The purple will also help the golden foliage pop more and send it further forward. I have all the elements I want to use from the original reference photo, so now it is all about the painting and what will make it work.