Wednesday, January 31, 2018


"Pippin" (pastel, 12x12 inches)

Here's my demo from Sunday afternoon with the Austin Pastel Society. I got a good start on this one after the meeting because I already had the underpainting, and since I only had 40 minutes my audience voted for me to "just work!" instead of "painting and explaining." So I was able to get mostly done, with just a little polishing up in the studio...

at the end of the demo

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Monday, January 29, 2018


"SnuggleBun" (pastel, 8x8 inches) $275 unframed for a limited time

This was my demo from the little half-day workshop with the Austin Pastel Society on Sunday. It was a great workshop! They were so patient with me having only about 3 hours to give a late morning workshop, and then moving everything across the street to another location for the member's meeting and another demo! An eventful day all around, but I got two great paintings out of it!

I didn't quite get done with this Bun in the workshop, but finished it today in the studio.

Some progress shots:

This was how far I got in the workshop demo

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Wednesday, January 24, 2018


"Lauren" (pastel on YiCai medium gray Premium pastel paper, 12x9 inches) sold

This is the pastel portrait commission that's been taking up most of my January. I accepted the commission last summer, got started on it last fall, and had set it aside during my busy Christmas Season of many lower-priced pencil portraits. After all, the client had spoken those dangerous words: "No rush!"

But since I've got three excellent art festivals this spring, and with the Rodeo in February, have only about 4 weeks of uninterrupted studio time to create new inventory by the middle of March, I had to check this job off my list first!

The client (Lauren's mother) provided the photo. I really loved the challenge of the soft ambient light on Lauren's face combined with the direct sunlight shining from behind.

I had these two photos to work from, the second was for more accurate light and tone. So my first step was adjusting the primary reference photo:

 Then I set to work!
 The paper is the new (to the US) YiCai Premium sanded pastel paper from China, in medium gray.
 Early on in my progress I was inspired by a portrait by Anatoly Dverin, which was one of Gail Sibley's pastel picks for December. Sweet! I was struck by the similarity of pose and mood!
"Maria" by Anatoly Dverin

  I try to get in all the base values and colors quickly. This leads me into what I call the "messy" phase, which I usually have to push on through in one day or I get easily discouraged. If I pause when it's messy, it takes a herd of elephants to get me back to it!

 Once I have everything looking like it's about in the right place and the tones are coming along well, then it becomes a continuous tweaking of the smaller details, more subtle adjusting and layering of values and colors...
 ...The work slows down and becomes more careful. From this photo above to the last below, I actually had as much or more time invested as I did up to that point.

 The final tweaks include smoothing the skin tones with pastel pencils and some Girault pastels, and minute adjustments to the features and fingers to increase accuracy of the likeness. These last steps are ones I don't always take with my own competition figurative paintings because with those I don't feel compelled to attain that degree of likeness (except in some that I've done of my daughter, lol!) But curiously, these are the moments that I'm most able to get "in the zone" with a commission, and the very pressures of attaining that perfect likeness are forgotten in the act of refining the details to more closely match the photo. I make sure I step back frequently during this phase, so I can determine when it's "done"!
(When is that, you might ask? Basically, it's done when I can compare it with the photo, looking back and forth, back and forth, and nothing strikes me as being "off", whether that's a shape, an angle, a value or tone somewhere. The face is the main focus, and as the distance from the face increases, I allow more leniency and looseness in the details.)

Visit my website to see more portraits and commission pricing info!

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Friday, January 19, 2018


"Taffy" (conte and pastel pencil, 10x8 inches) sold

Another adorable pooch from the Holiday Season. See more samples and ordering info at


Saturday, January 13, 2018

A Tender Moment

"A Tender Moment" (conte and pastel pencil, 16x13 inches)  sold

One of my favorites from the Christmas Season.  It's not too soon to be thinking of Valentine's Day!

See more samples and ordering information at


Saturday, January 6, 2018

Chloe through the years

"Chloe" (conte and pastel pencil, 10x8 inches) sold (commission yours for $150!)

I've drawn Chloe every year since she was two. Some years I've drawn her two or three times. I think she must be about 18 now, but I don't like to think about it because it makes me feel old, lol! No, really I think it's wonderful to watch a beautiful girl grow up!

Here are some other portraits of Chloe through the years...

Chloe and her mom

And last year Chloe's mom Clover added an album to Facebook, showing many of the portraits I've done for their family, including some of the cousins and others... See it here! (if it's public)


Thursday, January 4, 2018


"Bosco" (16x12 conte and pastel pencil) sold

One of my clients' orders this Christmas Season. Usually I ignore backgrounds, but this was a new fence just built by Bosco's human, and it had special significance. The wood texture was actually quite fun!

To see more pencil portrait samples like this one, and for ordering info, visit Now's the best time to order for Valentine's Day!


Tuesday, January 2, 2018


"Glimmer" (pastel, 12x12 inches)

My first painting of 2018! (sort of...) This was a demo during my workshop with the Central Texas Pastel Society in early December. I just tweaked it a tiny bit so I could post it today.

I found out last month that I will be in three excellent art festivals next spring (Bayou City Art Fest in Memorial Park Houston, Woodlands Waterway Arts Fest near Houston, and [finally!] Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival) so I've got to start filling out my inventory now!

Here are some progress shots of Glimmer:

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