Monday, July 28, 2014

Back from Michigan and on to Wisconsin!

Top O' The Dune, pastel, 11x14

Last week I made another visit to the Traverse City area of Michigan, along beautiful Lake Michigan. I was there last year around this time teaching elsewhere in that area, and thoroughly enjoyed both of these visits! This one was for ArtCenter Traverse City, where I spent three days with a real friendly bunch.

Above is my one of my completed demos from this recent workshop, and directly below is another.

Snow and Stripes, pastel, 14x11

Shown below are these demos about  90% completed during the workshop, alongside the reference photo (on my iPad) and the thumbnails showing how I divide up shapes and then simplify those shapes. Sorry my thumbnails aren't showing up better here, but possibly you can zoom in on them if you're viewing this on something that allows that.

I typically cap off my workshops with some minimal stroke exercises. Shown below is my demo completed in 100 strokes.

100-stroke demo, 6x8

Next month it's on to Wisconsin to teach a 4-day pastel workshop for Dillman's Art Workshops Retreat, August 18 - 21. Details on my website at or at

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Workshop News and some Plein Air Studies

Just a quick update on workshops I have quickly approaching...

If you're near the Traverse City, Michigan area, I'm teaching a 3-day pastel workshop there next week, July 23, 24 & 25. I was teaching in this area last year, visiting there for the first time and was amazed at how gorgeous the scenery is in this part of the country! There are still some spots available in this workshop! Visit for details.

Next month, I'm teaching another pastel workshop in Wisconsin at Dillman's Bay Resort & Workshops, August 18-21. I haven't visited this before, but am looking forward to it, since I understand it's like a resort for artists, with lots of other fun activities to do besides paint! This one is just about full last I checked, but there might be a couple of spots left. Visit for details.

My full schedule is on my website at, with more workshops to be added soon to my 2015 schedule!

I thought I'd also share in this post a few field studies I painted this week. It was a fantastic day of painting with a couple of artist friends in Ellijay, GA (North Georgia). We had perfect weather with cool summer temps, low humidity and LOTS of sunshine! Makes for a pretty day, but for those of us with real light-sensitive eyes, it really messes with judging color and value in the painting. So these sure needed some correcting in the studio.

Morning in Ellijay, oil, 8x10

Afternoon in Ellijay, oil, 10x8

Evening in Ellijay, oil, 8x10
The advantage of painting on location is having the ability to see firsthand the accurate values and color temperatures of the landscape, especially during the early and late hours of the day. When I need to make corrections in the studio, I try to do it very shortly after I painted them on location, so it's all still fresh in my memory.

In these studies, I tried to capture the lighting effects of each time of day. The "afternoon" painting has much more flat lighting while the early and late day paintings have more contrast in both values and temperature, with the later day painting having slightly warmer light.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Screamin' Greens

This month I decided to tackle a subject with my local students that has always been--and still is--a challenge to me...painting green foliage, especially when presented as the dreaded wall of green in the landscape.

To simply try and match the hue that you see in the landscape (from either your photo or painting on location) can produce a monotonous painting. And I find that matching an accurate color temperature rather than a particular hue can capture the look and mood of the landscape more accurately, especially when working from a photograph.

Below are my demos from my oil and pastel classes. After I finished up my oil demo (study 1), I later decided to make an exercise of it for myself and continue to play around with color temperature, and try a slightly cooler palette overall (study 2). I have to say I think the first one captured the warm light a little better with the emphasis on the warms. But I suppose I just had to try the difference for myself to see that. (If I wasn't out of small panels, I would have painted a second version instead of on top of the first one!)

green foliage study 1 - oil

green foliage study 2 - oil

green foliage study 3 - pastel
With my pastel demo, the more muted treatment of the brighter greens indicated in the reference photo allows the area at the base of the trees to become a stronger focal point.

reference photo for oil study

reference photo for pastel study
We'll probably revisit those tricky screamin' greens again next month!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Spattering of Workshop and Show News

It's never good to fall behind. But as I sat down to post this blog, I realized it really would have been better if I posted some of these things earlier. June was a crazy month with lots of events happening one after another, and I'm just now finding time to get back to my blog. I have lots of exciting things to share, but I'll try to make this brief...

A couple of weeks ago I taught two workshops in Massachusetts for the Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod, and also judged their annual show. This group is packed with exceptional artists! Below are my demos from the workshop, and my demo ("Bright and Sunny") completed during their opening reception...

A Winter Day's End, pastel, 12x12. SOLD
Morning Mist, pastel, 11x14, SOLD
Springtime Memory, pastel, 11x14, SOLD
Into the Shadows, pastel, 11x14, SOLD
Bright and Sunny, pastel, 11x14, SOLD

Right after I returned from Cape Cod, I did a few loads of laundry, repacked it, and headed right back out to judge a show and conduct a demo for an incredibly nice group at Cape Fear Studios in Fayetteville, NC. Below is my demo for this group...

Evening's Shade, pastel, 11x14
Among other recent news is that I've had paintings juried into the 2014 Oil Painters of America Eastern Regional show (Cincinnati, OH, Sept. 12 - Oct. 9), the 2014 Pastel Society of America show (New York City, Sept. 2 - 27), and also was awarded second place in the Plein Air Magazine April-May Salon Contest! Each of these paintings are shown below...

Lingering Light, oil, 11x14
Juried into the 2014 Oil Painters of America Eastern Regional Show
Winter Evening Serenade, 12x16
Juried into the 2014 Pastel Society of America Show
The Six O'clock Show, 16x20
Awarded 2nd Place in the Plein Air Magazine April-May Salon

And finally, I wanted to mention two summer pastel workshops I have coming up that are almost full but each still has a few spots left. One is later this month--July 23-25--in Traverse City, Michigan. The other is next month--August 18-21--in northern Wisconsin. More details on these and all my upcoming workshops are on my website at

Sorry to pack so much into this one post. But at least it's mostly pictures. :-)