Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holiday Greetings...and a BIG THANK YOU!

A heartfelt THANK YOU to all who have taken classes and workshops from me and who have purchased my work. I feel honored and blessed that I have the opportunity to share my passion for art with all of you in this way, and to have established such wonderful friendships with so many of you. 

I've appreciated all of your comments on my blog, Facebook, etc., and it's always a thrill when I have the opportunity to meet some of you in person! With a busy workshop schedule that will take me all over the country in 2014, while continuing to teach both pastel and oil from my studio in Roswell, GA, I hope to cross paths with many of you again. 

I wish you all a joyous holiday season and much happiness in the New Year!


Barbara Jaenicke

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Grays of Winter - pastel

Along the Corn Field, pastel, 8x10

I had students tackle winter grays once again, this time with pastel for today's class. (Yesterday's class was the same topic but with an oil demo.)

Again, the discussion centered on scrutinizing the subject matter to determine the warm grays from the cool grays in both the darks of the trees and the lights of the snow. For the corn field, it was a balancing act of the warms with the cools as well, realizing that the color choices made for this area needed to be much more subdued that you would initially think, since it's within the context of very grayed colors surrounding it.

The value shifts that were needed to capture the small amount of light streaming from the right side were subtle, but important to show accurately.

Below is the underpainting I used to get things started:

For anyone who's worked in both pastel and oil, you quickly realize the pros and cons for each medium. Big upside for oil: you can mix lots of grays with only a few tubes of paint. With pastel, if you don't have many grays and neutrals in your supply of pastels, they're difficult to achieve by graying down brighter colors. (This is certainly possible to do by visually mixing compliments, but more difficult to keep clean color in the painting using this method.)

New students (or students who don't yet have a good range of colors and values in their supply of pastels) often experience frustration when they realize they're missing these key color options. I've wondered if I need to stick with class exercises that steer clear of these colors that don't usually come in basic sets. However, I think it's important to still include this topic because it helps students realize how critical the use of grays and neutrals are to a successful painting, and also helps them to know what they'll eventually need to add to their supply when their budget allows.

Next month in my studio classes, we'll explore the sunnier side of snow!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Grays of Winter - oil

Hidden Creek, oil, 8x10

Many artists love to paint because they love color. However, learning to handle grays is a key skill.

With today's class, I demonstrated from a reference photo that had lots of gray and very little color, but with a little "push" from Photoshop, I was able to very slightly exaggerate what little color was there. And it wasn't so much about figuring out the color that was in the photo, but determining if it should be a warm or a cool. This takes the pressure off of trying to mix an exact color.

Most of my demo was spent talking through the block-in portion (in which I simplified the busy trees into one large shape, plus the snow on the ground, the sky area at the top, and the three creek shapes) and the warms and cools I mixed using only ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson, yellow ochre, cadmium lemon yellow, titanium white, and small amounts of cadmium red light and cobalt blue. Sorry, I forgot to get progression photos, but here's where I left the painting at end of the demo portion of the class:

After the class, I took my time fine tuning and adding the small details.

reference photo

I'm holding class again tomorrow, this time in pastel. Same topic, different snow scene.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Upcoming Workshop at Terry Ludwig Pastels!

Gearing up for my Colorado adventure next month! I'm finalizing plans for my workshop--The Pastel Landscape Simplified--at Terry Ludwig Pastels in Littleton. While I'm out there, I'm hoping to also do a little skiing and plein air painting, so I'm not kidding about the "gearing up" part!

Dates for the workshop are Jan. 24, 25 & 26 (Fri. - Sun.) and the fee is $325.

In my workshops, I lead you through well defined exercises to help you learn or improve very specific skills. The focus for this workshop will cover various approaches to editing the unnecessary details in the landscape and achieving a more simplified, poetic look.

If you're interested, just email me at for more details and how to register. All payments must be made by Dec. 20, so don't put it off if you want to sign up!