Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hill Country Creek (and New Workshop listing!)

"Hill Country Creek"  (pastel over oil wash, 9x12 inches)  sold

This one was done in Richard McKinley's workshop that I took at the last Pastel Convention. He's a master of the underpainting. I'm using this image to promote my next workshop, coming up quick on March 2 & 3, 2013, called "Underpainting the Pastel Landscape," in which I hope to share what I've learned about underpainting from Richard's workshop and my own explorations since.

Here's "Hill Country Creek" with it's underpainting, along with another, "Park Trail #26" that I did last summer.

“Underpainting the Pastel Landscape”

Add extra vibrancy and adventure to your pastel process! Underpainting with watercolor or oil is a great technique for pastel users who would like to loosen up, add more color, or simply play around with a different approach. Not only can it help improve your values, but by using judiciously placed pastel, it can add a look of freshness and spontaneity by allowing the underpainting to “speak.”
Students will work from their own photos of their chosen reference on Saturday. The Instructor will have extra photos if needed. The second day will be held at the Apache Pass venue which is on the El Camino Real de los Tejas National Trail. A perfect location for the plein aire portion of the workshop! (An indoor option - with big windows - is available in case of bad weather.)
Daily demos and individual attention will be given.

Rita Kirkman - Instructor

For Beginner to Advanced. 
March 2 & 3, 2013, 
Sat-Sun, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
First Baptist Church Family Center
240 Green St., Rockdale, TX


*Includes breakfast & lunch, entry to the Tejas Book Fest Reception Friday evening, and a combined area in the Book Fest for you all to sell some art, if you wish! (a volunteer will man this.)

For questions / more info contact: 
Rita Kirkman
or Joan Ratliff   (512) 446-2361

Register online at  or Print this Mail-In Registration Form

Online Flyer with Images

Recommended lodging: (512) 446-2361

"Park Trail #24" (pastel over watercolor, 6x8 inches) sold

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Too Close!

"Too Close!"  (pastel, 15x8 inches) $475 framed

This fellow was on of many bison we were able to get 'up close and personal' with at Yellowstone National Park last summer. They literally have the run of the park, and treat the roads as their own.

Below is my edited reference photo with the primer underpainting. I used a combination of a darker gold primer with my usual terra cotta.

I left out the drool.


Monday, January 21, 2013


"Sunbathing"  (pastel, 8x15 inches)  $475 framed

Here's the same white calf from "Ivory Light," catching some morning rays!

This painting was approached in the same method, using the gold and the terra cotta pastel primers, and layering up the gold (semi-transparent) primer to create a kind of value study underpainting.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


"Daisy"  (pastel, 12x12 inches)  $550

I almost called this one "Snow White" but somehow the name didn't quite seem right.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013


"Buddies"  (pastel, 15x8 inches)  $475

"Buddies" is one that I thought was finished when it actually wasn't. I was going by the photo and included a hoof of the left goat that I later realized served no purpose other than to clutter the composition. After all, who's to say the left goat didn't have his front legs tucked under him?

...While I was fixing that, I softened up the ground shadows and 'fixed' up the fur a bit... It's so hard to let a painting be done sometimes. But I do like this final better than the first 'finish'. Below is the early finish, the original reference photo and the cropped, color-adjusted photo.

"Buddies" is available at Cactus Jack's Gallery in Gruene, Texas through January 28, 2013.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Morning Reflection

"Morning Reflection"  (pastel, 24x18 inches)  $1600

The river was smooth as ice. The sun started peeking through the trees, gilding the water with gold.

This painting is still available at Cactus Jack's Gallery in Gruene, Texas, through January 28, 2013.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Afternoon Reflection

"Afternoon Reflection"  (pastel, 24x18 inches)  $1600 framed

Another fascinating exploration of water, trees, sky and reflection.

This one can still be found at Cactus Jack's Gallery in Gruene, Texas through January 28, 2013.


Friday, January 11, 2013

4 And a Half Sheep

"4 And a Half Sheep"  (pastel, 16x16 inches)  $950 framed

One of my most daring compositions yet. When composing, I came up with several different crops from the same reference photo; this one was my favorite.

I also used a stippling technique when applying the pastel primer, which perfectly replicates the natty sheep hair! I love the effect but I'm not sure if I'll do it again; it used up a horrendously large amount of pastel! See my entire process in pictures:

This one is still available at Cactus Jack's Gallery until January 28.


Monday, January 7, 2013

Before the Dance

"Before the Dance"  (pastel, 18x12 inches)  $770 framed,  click here to buy

This was a lovely young dancer who sat for us at the Coppini Academy of Fine Art. This was painted live from a 3 hour sitting. She had the intent expression of one who is perhaps waiting her turn for the stage, hence the title.


I'm happy to announce my listing in the new Gallery of San Antonio Artists on the main page of You can see this piece as well as 3 others. The site gets 300,000 hits per month, so these works might not last long in that traffic!


Saturday, January 5, 2013


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

I was getting a little more adventurous in my colors today (or maybe I was just in a hurry - sometimes that works...) and I found one of my favorite color combinations in her shadowed side. I just love pitting that warm green against the hot orange of the same value. It makes the green look very cool in comparison. I really did see these colors in her coat... sort of. She was probably standing next to another brown cow that sent that warm afternoon light bouncing back.

Anyway, when thinking of a name, I thought, hey, these are all great Fiesta colors! I know Fiesta is not until April, but... the name already stuck.


Friday, January 4, 2013


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

I seem to be running out of black-&-white-related names and might have to go back to just making up an ordinary person-name for some of my cow paintings. Although I do also like the name "Chess" and may use that one on the next black & white cow. My son and I have been playing a lot of chess over Christmas break.

On a down note, I missed 3 days of posting because of a really stupid computer error of my own doing (Don't ask!!) and now I'm slowly getting things back into my computer after reinstalling Windows. I'm ashamed to say I also used the techno-confusion as an excuse not to paint! Arrg! Checkers is from the same day as Starry.

I'll be sure to get out to that studio tomorrow....

...If it wasn't so darn cold!!


Tuesday, January 1, 2013


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

I had just got started on this one today when I almost balked at the spots. I literally had no idea how to approach them. But I had just send an inspirational email to an artist friend for the New Year, and couldn't not take my own advice, so I ignored the hesitation and said "just do it!" Luckily I got lost in the zone while listening to Pandora and I believe that was the only way I could have accomplished it without letting the frustration overwhelm me. I came out of the zone to see it didn't turn out too badly!

So with great relief I have a post for today, and I decided to name her "Starry" since she sort of looks like a starry night.

About the advice I sent my friend, I thought it sounded just wise enough to make a nice post on my Art Journal Blog, so click that link to read it!