Friday, August 31, 2012

King's Guard - Award Winner!

"King's Guard"  (pastel, 8x6 inches)

Word has just come to me from Rae Smith herself, president of the Pastel Society of America, that my painting "King's Guard" has won the Allied Artists of America Award at the PSA's 40th Annual Exhibition. The show runs through September 29, 2012 at the Bernhard Gallery of the National Arts Club in New York City.

UPDATE as of 9/4/2012: Just received news that "King's Guard" has been selected to be included in a show at the Butler Institute of American Art following the PSA show! Tentative dates for this show are December through January. More news later!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Frog #12 (All Dressed Up)

"Frog #12 (All Dressed Up)"  (pastel, 5x7 inches)  click here to bid

This one had beautiful patterns, and the most amazing turquoise fingertips, which had a slight transparency that was beyond my skill to capture!

I like how the curly pattern on his cheek creates a smile.

And here's just a note that my upcoming workshop still has a few spaces left!

"Pastel in Miniature" One Day Workshop
Saturday, September 15, in Marble Falls, TX

For Beginner to Advanced.
Never used pastel? Or just want to improve your technique?
This workshop is for you!

Demos and open discussion will cover valuable hints and tips from my 30+ years of experience with pastel, as well as marketing tips for today's economy.
 Instruction will emphasize composition for a small format and application techniques to control detail without the 'mess.' All questions will be answered!

Call TaDa! The Spot to be Creative, at (512) 201-4071
or register at this link!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Frog #11 (Sticky Baby)

"Frog #11 (Sticky Baby)"  (pastel, 6x6 inches)  click here to bid

This baby frog was about the size of my thumbnail. While trying to find his brothers in the foliage, I almost missed this little guy stuck to the glass on the other side of the terrarium.

This was a real challenge in pastel. To capture the close focus from the macro photo, I had to do some strategic blending on the rear legs.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Frog #10

"Frog #10"  (pastel, 6x6 inches)  click here to bid

Feeling blue? Take heart! You can't possibly be this blue.

Those spots were a real bugger, but I think I made them work.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Frog #9 (Scaredy-Toad)

"Frog #9 (Scaredy-Toad)"  (pastel, 6x6 inches)  click here to bid

The expression on this one clearly says "Oh, No! Does it see me? I'm going to hold really still until it goes away...

"Please...Go away!

"...You don't see me."


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Frog #8 (Happy Toad)

"Frog #8 (Happy Toad)"  (pastel, 6x6 inches)  click here to bid

Today I learned that not all frogs are toads, but all toads are frogs. According to Wikipedia, "A distinction between frogs and toads is not made in taxonomy, but is common in popular culture." That's convenient because now I can continue this 'frog' series without having to positively identify every frog or toad in my files. This one looks like a toad, and he looks happy to be one.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Frog #7

"Frog #7"  (pastel, 6x6 inches)  click here to bid

Is this not one cool dude? What a face! And that green -- a perfect blend of mint, lime, and fresh grass.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Frog #6

"Frog #6" (pastel, 6x6 inches) click here to bid

In a 6x6 painting, this frog is much larger than life. Poison dart frogs may be warning predators away with their intense colors, but it's really no wonder we humans find them so appealing. My kids introduced me to the game "Pocket Frogs" last summer, and I'll always think of those cute little jumpers when I see these colorful amphibians.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Hungry Pete

"Hungry Pete"  (pastel, 6x6 inches)  click here to bid

I just love aquariums. Especially with a good camera on my shoulder. I know next to nothing about fish but I do know what the piranha look like. I especially love how pretty they are with the sparkly sides, which was quite difficult to translate into pastel. I caught this ones expression though, which is the important part!


Sunday, August 19, 2012


"Albinogator"  (pastel, 6x6 inches)  click here to bid

I found this handsome dude at the New Orleans Aquarium (or it might have been Atlanta..) Like most albinos, an albino gator doesn't often survive long in the wild. The lucky ones end up in aquariums and zoos instead of hanging from a rich woman's arm.

This painting was so much fun - I love this kind of water distortion!


Friday, August 17, 2012

Caution: Fingers Beware!

"Caution: Fingers Beware!"  (pastel, 6x6 inches)  click here to bid

Thank you all for your wonderful comments and warm reception of my latest little batch of cow paintings this week. I can see that I won't be able to give up painting cows entirely. After about 150 cows, however, I really am getting low on reference photos (ok, and just a little tired of them too) so for the next few days I've forgone the mammals entirely, and hunted out some exciting shots from the other end of my almost endless spectrum of animal photo files.

Every vacation, we manage to visit some of my favorite vacation hot spots - namely aquariums and zoos! This fellow was actually a resident at the Austin Zoo, and in fact, I've painted him before, in "Old Man Tortoise."

I caught a lot of shots of him that day, as his younger cousins darted back and forth across the pen too fast for me to follow. He obligingly sat in one spot and changed his expression every now and then for the camera.


Thursday, August 16, 2012


"Braith"  (pastel, 7x5 inches)  click here to bid

I've been wanting to paint this one for a while now, but the photo was quite blown out in the highlights. I finally felt comfortable with my skills to compensate.

"Braith" is a Welsh name derived from the word brith, meaning "diversely-colored," especially black and white or red and white.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012


"Hetty"  (pastel, 7x5 inches)  click here to bid

This one is Hetty because I've run out of good spicy red names. I thought she looked more like a Hetty than a Hot Mama.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


"Zeta"  (pastel, 7x5 inches)  click here to bid

I'm back to the cows for a bit, and back to the Greek alphabet for name inspiration. I called this girl Zeta before I realized that she does sort of have the same sultry expression in her eyes commonly seen on Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Monday, August 13, 2012


"Button"  (pastel, 7x5 inches)  click here to bid

If this one looks familiar, he is from the same photo as "Shadow Bubba" but reversed. This one was just too cute to only paint once. In fact, it's just as cute as a ...  ok, I won't say it.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Park Trail #28

"Park Trail #28"  (pastel over watercolor, 6x8 inches)  click here to bid

Here was another part of the magical park of yesterday. I allowed a little more impressionistic feel with the pastel, to help convey the dreamy feeling of that day.

Like the last three posts, this was finished with pastel completely from memory and imagination, after getting the foundations of the scene down with the watercolor underpainting. I've really enjoyed this experiment, and will probably do more.

Here's the underpainting:

Friday, August 10, 2012

Park Trail #27

"Park Trail #27"  (pastel over watercolor, 6x8 inches)  click here to bid

This was from a lovely park on a cool, dry, sunny day (not in Texas!) I especially remember the magic of the streaming sunlight occasionally coming through between patches of shady woodland.

The painting was finished with pastel completely from memory and imagination, like the last two posts. I believe I'm getting the knack of it!

Here's the watercolor underpainting:

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Park Trail #26

"Park Trail #26"  (pastel over watercolor, 6x8 inches)  click here to bid

Here's a scene very familiar to me, one I've painted several times already and so this experiment was a little more successful than yesterdays.

Once again I did my watercolor underpainting of the scene, and then later finished with pastel completely without any reference photo, allowing the watercolor painting to tell me what pastel was needed. This is beginning to be fun!

Here's the underpainting:

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Park Trail #25

"Park Trail #25"  (pastel over watercolor, 6x8 inches)  click here to bid

These two conjoined trees stood sentinel over this patch of sunlit path.

This is the first of four new park trail paintings that I tried something different with.  After capturing the scene with a watercolor underpainting, I finished later with pastel completely from memory and imagination. I did take photos of the scenes, but I didn't use them after the watercolor was done. Instead, I tried to let the impression I had caught with the watercolor guide me in finishing the painting, using only my experience with values and color temperature, and my memory of the place.

My underpainting:

It's amazing, for one, how freeing it is to work with watercolor when you know you can 'fix' the icky parts with pastel if you need to (lol!) I think I may have overworked the pastel a wee bit on this one, but I like the light as I remembered it, and the mood of the two central trees.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Park Trail #24

"Park Trail #24"  (pastel over watercolor, 6x8 inches)  click here to bid

I believe this is my favorite so far. If it looks familiar, it's from the same reference as Park Trail 14. I might need to do more of these horizontal. I like how this turned out!

Here's a progression:

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Park Trail #23

"Park Trail #23"  (pastel over watercolor, 8x6 inches)  click here to bid

I'm starting to get the hang of this! I enjoyed this one and how I was able to keep the underpainting visible in many parts.
I also managed to get a few progression shots, approximately evenly spaced through the process:

Thursday, August 2, 2012

King's Guard

"King's Guard"  (pastel, 8x6 inches)

My very latest in the ongoing Renaissance Portrait Series, "King's Guard" has been accepted into the Pastel Society of America's 40th Anniversary Annual Exhibition "Enduring Brilliance: The Pastel Society of America at 40". It will be exhibited at the Bernhard Gallery of The National Arts Club in New York City, September 4-29, 2012. The awards ceremony is September 23, at 4:00pm.

Wish me luck!

Below are the progression photos that I managed to get while working on him:


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Park Trail #22

"Park Trail #22"  (pastel over watercolor, 8x6 inches)  click here to bid.

Another view from my favorite path (of Park Trail 16) This time a little shadier.

Here are a couple shots of the beginning of the pastel -- then I got distracted and finished it!