Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year Baby (Pencil Portrait)

"New Year Baby" (conte and pastel pencil, 8x10 inches)  sold

So here's my most New-Year-ish portrait for today's post. Isn't she adorable? This is the newest Great-Niece of a client who has several portrait drawings from me over the years. I've changed the baby's name here to protect her privacy.

I hope that the New Year brings all of you much Health, Happiness and lots of Power-Naps!

(For information on commissioning a portrait like this one, visit RitaKirkmanDrawings.com)


Monday, December 30, 2013

Familial Bliss in Southwest Art Magazine

"Familial Bliss"  (pastel, 22x28 inches)

Here's my other painting in Southwest Art this January 2014 issue! This one I submitted for my half-page paid advertisement that was part of the 'deal' for the half-page editorial and publishing of the award-winner "4 And a Half Sheep". But hey, it was a two-for-one at a really good price!

"Familial Bliss", my latest large cow painting, is on page 86.

I have progress shots on my first post of this painting, Here.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

4 And a Half Sheep in Southwest Art

"4 And a Half Sheep"  (pastel, 16x16 inches)  sold

My goodness, where did December go?? I'm so rusty at posting I'm getting tongue-tied (key-tied?) Anyway, I had a busy month of pencil portrait commissions (some of which I will post in the next days) and I have no new pastel animal 'dailies' yet, but I wanted to brag about my painting in Southwest Art Magazine.. "4 And a Half Sheep" is included in their Juror's Choice section highlighting some of the winners of the Artist's Magazine Annual Art Competition (mine was a Finalist) and is on page 64. I got a Half Page with some editorial!

You can order the issue at northlightshop.com. (in print or instant download!)

PS: I'm happy to report that my collarbone is healing up as expected. The bone is well-knitted and time will straighten it out. I've begun the process of rejuvenating the muscles which seems to be as long and slow a process as the bone healing was. They have me using the pulley, and will start me on some real exercises on Tuesday. But I feel slight improvements each day, and tonight was able to wash my hair with both hands!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

All Dressed Up

"All Dressed Up"  (pastel, 7x5 inches)  click here to bid

Here's a fancy turkey from a photo that I found online yesterday at womansday.com when google searching turkey photos. Normally I don't like working from an image that's not mine, but this pic was so gorgeous with the back-light and his dressy colors, and it wasn't an obvious artist's site, and I cropped in close for a 'portrait' shot, I thought it might be ok just this once...

Hope everyone is enjoying a delicious meal and warm fellowship of friends and family today!

(Here are some progress shots of today's beauty:)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Mr. Tom T. Giving

"Mr. Tom T. Giving" (pastel, 8x6 inches)  click here to bid

Mr. Tom Thanks Giving (or just "Mr. Tom" for short) is a handsome turkey. I looked up examples of him on Google and found out he is called a Royal Palm Gobbler (I learn something new every day!) He's also from possibly the only good photo reference of a turkey that I have in my collection that has any sort of decent light in it. I don't remember where I saw him; it's an old photo. But I thought he'd be perfect for wishing you all a Very Happy Thanksgiving!

I also painted a lovely portrait of another turkey from a photo that I found online (not from a photographer's or artist's website) and I'll post that one tomorrow with a link to the photo source.

Meanwhile here are some progress shots of Mr. Tom:

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


"Casper" (pastel, 6x6 inches)  sold

Another demo from my Breckenridge workshop. This was my demo right after our color and speed exercises of Friday. Casper was named and purchased by one of the attendees.

Our speed exercises consisted of one simple still life subject painted with 40 strokes or less. It was really difficult. I couldn't remember the number of strokes Carol Marine used in her lesson (from which this was inspired) so I simply did mine in as few strokes as I could, and counted how many... 40 it was. We did this limited-stroke painting with the same 9 pastels we used in our color layering exercise, just to keep things simple.

Then I let them add a couple of choice colors to the palate to help with the color of their subject, and we did 3 more small paintings, not counting strokes this time, but one timed for 10 minutes, one in 5 minutes, and the last not timed at all, but hopefully keeping in mind speed and economy of strokes.

Here are the results (mine first, which I didn't do the last painting, and then the students')

(her first '40-strokes' is on the bottom left here)
They did a terrific job! And they all said they learned a lot, so left me with a well-stroked ego as a teacher!

Btw: here are some progress shots on Casper;

Thanks for watching! Please share!


Monday, November 25, 2013

Spunky (and the workshop)

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

I've decided to post my last workshop demo first, since my first workshop demo was sold. At least this fellow has a chance on the auction for a little while.

We had a fun and educational 3 days up in Breckenridge, Texas. It was a small but vibrant and talented group! Tailoring my instruction to the majority of the group who had very little or no experience with pastel, I pulled a couple of exercises out of my head that I'm sure were influenced by various other workshops and classes I've attended over the years. I didn't really have a plan so I was kind of just winging it.

Our first exercise on Friday was a color-layering practice, which I hoped would have multiple benefits. We took 3 light, 3 medium and 3 dark pastels each in a warm, neutral and cool color, and layered them in stages dark, to medium, to light, on various colored papers.
It was still amazing to me how different some colors will look next to other colors, and especially depending on the color and value of the surface, even though I knew this to be true. I hadn't actually done this sort of exercise since college (and back then I really didn't know what I was doing!)

This also helped the students get a feel for how pastel colors can layer up (and then we tried some darks over some lights so they could see how that wasn't so attractive.) But mostly it was good to let them play with making marks and handling the pastels without any pressure to create a finished image.

When we were done with this, we did a 'limited strokes' painting followed by some timed minis (a' la Carol Marine!) I'll show those results on my next post!


Sunday, November 17, 2013


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

I have two bits of bad news and two bits of good news.

One good news is that Maxine will be going with me as a sample to my workshop in Breckenridge, TX later this week, Nov. 21-23. So the bad news is this auction will be a short one unless there's a bid by Wednesday, because I like to offer these for sale at my workshops.

My other bad news is I cracked my clavicle while testing for Second Degree Black Belt (Tang Soo Do Mi Guk Kwan) on Saturday. (I'd like to make it sound exciting and say it was a hit from a jump-spin downward heel kick that did it, but the boring truth was that I fell wrong when playing the attacker during a sleeve-grab demonstration.) As a result, my painting schedule is going to get even slower during the next 4-6 weeks.

The good news is it's my left clavicle, and I'm right-handed. So I'm only canceling a couple of events that involve putting up a canopy by myself, but I'm not cancelling any workshops, or events where I've got help with lifting and carrying. This weekend we'll see how well I can paint on pain killers (lol) and by my next workshop in January I should be well on the mend.

Here are some progress shots of Maxine (who I painted last week with Calypso):

Thanks for watching, please share!


Thursday, November 14, 2013


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

I felt this fancy-dressed cow needed a fancy-party name!

See progress shots below:

Thanks for watching! Please share!