Sunday, June 28, 2009

Florida Skys.

Skys of FL are like nothing else.

I never saw anything even similar at any other place.

I can talk a lot about it, but I can do better then that and just share with you what did I see  .

Plein Air Palms.

 Yesterday, before we left FL, I did some late evening Plein Air Sketching.

It turned to be a one I actually liked, so I took a picture of it.

Palm Trees

Black Canson paper.

Pastel Pencils (Kooh-I-Noor)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Everglades etc.

Today we went all the way down south till the end of the land and beginning of the waters.
My general idea was to show Irina all wanders of Everglades and also - to collect some reference
materials for future paintings. Two in one. Love it!

Trip was sort of long, but nice. However (surprise!), I have discovered that you can not see even half as much of wildlife around as we did few years ago during the winter... Plus, of course, all those bugs...
Not a big deal, but at winter I love Fl the best and when will be traveling here next time, I'll make sure that it is a winter!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Somewhere in Florida.

I'm back to one of my favorite places in FL - Hammock State Park of Sebring with my new camera. Unfortunatelly, it is too hot and not much you can see now. Animals are hiding, plants are not blooming, lot of bags everywhere... still pretty.

Hope to use some of new photos for future paintings. Here is a some of it :

Tomorrow we are heading for Everglades.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

HDR photography, updated.

"Applied carefully, High Dynamic Range-technique (HDR) can create incredibly beautiful pictures which blur our sense of the difference between reality and illusion. In graphics HDR imaging is a set of techniques that allow a far greater dynamic range of exposures than normal digital imaging techniques."

I was introduced to the world of HDR photos by Phil Bates, wonderful photographer and talented artist. He was one to open my eyes on existence of this technique and (thank you. Phil!) I absolutely love it. 

If you are taking your time and doing things right (and have a little bit of luck on the top of technicalities), results can be simply amazing. Plus, if you like to paint, you can get great reference pictures for your future works. However process is not an easy one, takes a lot of time, patience, yet - right equipment. Out of many pictures you take only few may produce real quality images. I spend several hours this weekend playing with my new camera and software and got some nice photographs. One of them will be a beginning of my new painting. I have no name for it yet, but place is very beautiful and we are planning to take many more photographs of the same area over this summer.

So, here is my first HDR reference photo

And below- begining stage of new painting in Soft Pastels. I'm going to take my time with this one, because I need to finish few Oil Pastel paintings first, but I just had to try it! 

And finally I finished that very OP painting... and few others!.. And Now I'm back to this one and really want to have it done ASAP, it is already sitting around way too long.

Here is a next update to it. I wish I can finish it today, but hard to tell, if I'll be able to do it. We will see.

And of course Irina managed to sneak on me with camera, while I was working on this one yesterday night. My normal workstation was busy with new Oil Pastels, so it was a kitchen table this time!... (1AM, I really don't care what table).

Now I'm finally back to this one...

Gorgeous greens!.. You bet! I wanted it so bad, so finally ordered some from different makes and in different shades... not us many, as I'm sure, many of you have, but I like my "green kit".

It this picture I like the most that very mossy green structure of stones and bright green lives. .. Water, of course too. So it is all about green a first place.

I'll be honest - I'm sort of afraid of this painting, very demanding... usually if I don't give up, those demanding things are coming to be the very best ones after all, but yes, I do afraid of them and sometimes have no idea what i'm doing right in the middle of my work.

Tonight I go some free time and went back to it. Mostly I'm working on the top right corner for now and moving from there left and down. Will post more updates us it will be ready. So far just a photo of my setup with a little progress on this painting.

Had to put it on my easel too. Came to the point that can not work with it flat. Oh, well!...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Late evening sketching.

I'm under very strong impression that all I do lately is grooming of my dogs...

Till the glorious time when new kennel fence went up they all became look like muddy monsters... No comments here.

This evening I got Irina and camera and bunch of pastels and went out to the school in weak hope to catch some pictures of burning sky.

It was very pretty. We took some nice photos for future paintings and I spent whole 40 minutes working with plein air sketching of that sky and mountains behind. 40 minutes were all I had before it became dark.

I'm sort of disappointed with my Senneliers softies... some are not so softies and feels more like river rock and some... just totally wrong color. Fortunately I had few sticks of Mount Vision and it safe the situation... sky came out almost right. Greens on other hand... Well, see for yourself, here it is.

Erengy OP sale @ ASW art supply

Just a short note for everybody. I got my catalog of ASW art supply and found out about Plein Air sale 2009. 

Their web site URL is: .

Sale items are incuded Egerngy art grade oil pastel with very low price. 25 colors set is only $10, 50 colors is $19.60, 92 colors in wooden box (very nice box, I have one!) is only $59.99

This is not a top of line OP at my opinion, but still very good pastels and I love them for sketches. If somebody is iterested, check it out. They have open stoke too!

Of course other sweet things are also availble! :lol: 

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Cove Creek. 4 x 6 Miniature. Soft pastels.

Soft pastels and pastel pencils on illustration board covered with Colourfix primer. Coating didn't come out very good, so I have some problems with this one, but still - it is fun to work with.

It is my first soft pastel I downsized to standard miniature size of 4 x 6 in the hope that it will be sort of easier with framing issues.. :)
I wish they would have a normal Ampersand pastel board in this size, but they don't.

It is one more painting of our local creek, known as "Cove Creek" from one of my reference photos taken earlier this spring. I have few bigger works started but not enough free time to finish it, so in between I can sneak one- two smaller art works, keeps me motivated, but not so obligated!..

I hope to finish this one tonight and figure out what I'm doing with frame for it.

1) Full size of this painting.


Unfortunatelly Colourfix coating didn't come out right, not smooth enough and not enough tooth on it either. Still - fun to work with. Hope to try my next small work on something different.

I call it finished.

Unfortunatelly only so much I can do with this support, but it is not too bad after all. Also I found out, that taking of good pictures of small art works is even more complicated that big ones!.. (here is a discovery!...:wave: :lol: )

It was a fun to work with this one.

Full size image 4 x 6 "

Enlarged fragment:

Time to figure out a frame for this one!


Monday, June 8, 2009

Night is coming.

One more smal pastel work on Ampersand pastel board.

5 x 7 ", mixed soft pastels and pastel pencils.

Red Rose. Oil Pastel WIP.

I started this WIP as a demonstration for others and practice piece for myself, just show some techniques and ideas on how to work with Oil Pastels and what exactly I do when I'm working on some of my paintings.

So, here we go...

1) Reference image.

Most of the time I take my reference images from life. Even if I do flowers, I rarely will use a cut flowers. For this particular painting I use a photo of our Climbing Blaze rose bush beautifully waving around the entrance to the kennel playgrounds.

I took this photo at broad day light with portrait settings to blur my background naturally, so later on it will  be easy to get read of it, since I want to do this rose painting on black.

Here is the original photo:

2) Photoshop.

Next, I open my reference photo is Photoshop and resize it to the actual format of this painting.
I don't do it every time, but this is exactly what I'm going to do with this one, since it is for demo purposes only. The size of this painting will be 5 x 7, so I'm formatting it down to this size.

Next, I'm using BURN brush (100%, shadows) to turn background dark, till all of it will be gone, just like I want to see that.

3) Choice of tools etc.

For this particular work I have chosen an Ampersand pastel board for its durability and other great qualities. I know nothing what I don't like about this support. 

You can use any tools and solvents, when you working with it. 
You can wash it under the running water, if you need it.
Colors are going on brilliant and looking great.
No problems with mounting and framing! 
It is by far my support of choice, BUT... I wouldn't recommend you to use a watersoluble underpainting on it, since it will be feathering due the structure of this sand paper.

In fact on this very work I tried some gouache and even egg tempera - neither one was laying down on the way I wanted to see it, so I finished with using of Lyra pencils to complete my underpainting.

Sometimes I'm just putting underpainting and even sketching my future work as-I-go. At other cases, I use a transfer paper to transfer outlines of future work quickly and precise. It is up to your choice how you want to do it.

After I finishes underpainting, I started with first layer of actual Oil Pastels.
To spread them on a way I want most of the time I use silicon shapers #2 (firm) and occasionally soft. They come with different tips and in different sizes, once again - it is up to you, what you may like the best.

I also will use some sort of dental scaller or similar tool to get a small pieces off pastel stick and transfer it on my painting precisely where I need them to be.
My last tool will be a good sable brush or two, more likely in size #0, unless I need something bigger or smaller. Good quality synthetic brush will do just fine too.

Last step - choice of pastels. With this painting I'm working with combination of Holbein and Sennelier, because of their softness and great qualities. 

4) Underpainting.
 Just as I mentioned, after I transferred outlines of future painting on a pastel board, I started with underpainting, and did it in Lyra Oil pencils.

When I finished with Lyra, I washed background with Sable brush and Terpenoid Natural solvent to make it more even.

5) Painting.

After I completed underpainting,(what took a while, not because of this work is big, but just since we have a pretty busy time here) I found out that I have some amount of dust on it and had a brilliancy to attempt wash it out under the running water. Just like I mentioned at one of my previous postings, it works just fine, if you do it accurately with actual OIL PASTEL painting. Pencils however don't have that wonderful adhesive abilities what OPs do and you can wash them off just fine! What I almost did, but stopped right after underpainting started to come off. I did nothing, just let it dry. Then I went with first layer of OPs right over it.

I finished putting my general (sick) layer of OPs and spread it with shaper. I had to add some Senneliers, to make it look more like oil painting with all the structure of such (Holbeins are just a little bit too hard for it, when you work with small work, Senneliers do better trick with spreading). Then I washed the rose over with sable brush #0 and solvent to make sure that no part of painting is underpainting, but actual OP!.. NOW I CAN WASH IT, if it will be dusty again! :-)

You can see a work of shaper on background of painting, what I'll have to smooth better later on. As for now, picture needs some rest from me, so pastels will settle down a little and next layer will go on better, without mixing too much with initial one.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Blooming fields.

Another 5 x 7 painting of our local fields and mountains. Everything started blooming and looking so beautiful, that I just couldn't let it go.  Started yesterday, finished today. 

Mixed pastels .

Ampersand Pastel Board.


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