Wednesday, October 31, 2018

November's 30-in-30 Challenge! Day 1 - Blanca Bunny

"Blanca Bunny" (pastel, 7x5 inches) click here to bid or buy

My tradition for November lately, is to take up the challenge of creating 30 paintings in 30 days. This is a popular endeavor for artists who don't quite have the time for true 365 daily painting. Instead, we take things one month at a time!

Most of my November paintings, like this one, will be auctioned at Follow me there, or simply subscribe to my Blog, where I will post each painting first!

Thanks for following my journey! Please share with your friends!


Monday, October 29, 2018

All-Inclusive Pastel Art Retreat! - Summer 2019

Abbey of the Hills, Marvin, SD

 Join me for An All-Inclusive Pastel Art Experience

"Paint the Light in Pastel"

July 15-19, 2019

...among the eastern South Dakota Glacial Lakes

I'm so excited to announce my first scheduled 5-day inclusive workshop, at this fabulous location in the center of North America!

Immerse yourself in the tranquility of this former monastery while stimulating your creativity with  my classic Pastel Workshop! The 5-day workshop will give you plenty of time to exercise and improve your pastel abilities (all skill levels welcome) in the classroom, while leaving extra hours to explore the beautiful grounds, paint outside, sketch and take photos, or simply relax!

One price includes the workshop tuition, on-site lodging and daily home-cooked meals.
(as low as $807/person for a shared room!)

For more info and to register visit my website at

some of Rita's paintings

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Leo - a pastel portrait commission

"Leo" (pastel, 28x22 inches) sold

This was one of my most time-consuming commissions from October. But what a sweet face! Leo was a joy to paint. The client had this photo. She knew just what she wanted; Leo centered, 24x30 and not larger than life. We decided on 22x28 to keep Leo from getting too large. Towards the end she gave me a second photo that showed Leo's features more accurately. (The original photo must have used a zoom lens, because the features seemed smaller and flatter.)

She and Leo's mom were thrilled! I introduced her to my local framer and I'm looking forward to seeing how he looks all framed up and on their wall!
Photo (cropped) with permission of Katie B. Photography, Beverly Hills, CA

client photo

Some shots of my painting process:

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Thursday, October 25, 2018

Golden - Earning Her Keep!

"Golden" (pastel, 12x9 inches) $1350

I've been in the habit of using my extensive collection of images from Renaissance festivals to create new works in my Renaissance Portrait series and send them off to shows to try to win stuff. I've learned it's a lot more economical to compete with a small gem of a portrait than a larger figurative work. Saves a lot on shipping, for one thing!

My most recent Renaissance portrait, Golden, has been working hard this year and has come up "golden"! She has most recently won the HK Holbein Inc. Award from the Connecticut Pastel Society Renaissance in Pastel 25th Annual National Juried Exhibition. (Which, by the way, is my third award as a member of the CPS, and earns for me the right to apply for Signature Status! Whoo yay!)

At the same time, I received notification that she has been selected as one of the Fav15% in the September 2018 BoldBrush Painting competition hosted by FASO.

Her earlier awards have been First in Show at the Austin Pastel Society's 2018 Annual Juried Members Exhibition and the Terry Ludwig Pastel Award at the Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod annual exhibition For Pastels Only on Cape Cod 2017.

To start off her exhibition career, her first exhibit was with The Cultural Association “PASIT Pastellisti Italiani” First International Exhibition of Pastel Painting in Tivoli, Italy (Province of Rome) in 2017.

What a great run! She's nearing the end of her show life, as most exhibitions want work that has been created in the last two years. No worries though, as I'll be enjoying this weekend with my daughter at the same Texas Renaissance Festival where I've gotten most of my reference pics -- and the weather is cooperating! Cool air and sunshine! Yay!

See Golden's original post HERE, with progress shots!


Sunday, October 21, 2018

Astro on the Road - a unique commission

"Astro on the Road" (pastel, 27x27 inches) sold

October has been largely a commission month, among other things. I'm still getting a few done. This one was one of my favorites, and since it was NOT a Christmas gift, I'm able to post it already! :)

The clients had a favorite photo of their dog, Astro, who they say is "getting up in years." This is how they will best remember Astro; faithfully leading the way on all their walks! I thought it was a wonderfully refreshing change from the usual pet portrait. Astro's parents already owned a couple of my small landscapes, so they were inspired to come to me with this road and Astro.

 Here's the original client photo, and my quick thumbnail sketch of how I pictured it in the requested square format.

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Thursday, October 18, 2018

Transience of Innocence - Honorable Mention in Pastel 100

"Transience of Innocence" (pastel, 26x19 inches) sold

I've been bursting with excitement, and had to wait to brag that my painting Transience of Innocence has won an Honorable Mention in the Portrait & Figure Category of the Pastel Journal's 20th annual Pastel 100 competition. A very grateful thank you goes to Diane Rappisi who juried the category!

An image of the painting will be published in the April 2019 issue of Pastel Journal. This is very exciting, as there were more than 2,000 entries!

You can read a bit of the exhibition history of Transience of Innocence on this earlier blog post, and see all the progress shots here, including the photo composition!

Thanks for reading! :)

Friday, October 12, 2018

Excuse Me?

"Excuse Me?" (pastel, 10x10 inches) $490 framed

These cute bunnies started as a demo at one of my summer workshops. I was happy to finally get to finish them!

They will be with me at the Bayou City Art Festival in Downtown Houston, this weekend October 13-14, 2018. Kick off your fall with one of Texas' finest art festivals! Find me in booth #350 on McKinley Street.

Here are some progress shots:

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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Cluck Kent

"Cluck Kent" (pastel, 8x6 inches) $300 framed

Today I learned a bit about how to tell a young hen from a young rooster. Needing to name this one, I wanted to get it right, so I found this handy blog and decided that this is a cockerel (a young rooster) based on the size of his growing comb and wattles.

Cluck Kent will be with me at the Bayou City Art Festival in Downtown Houston, this weekend October 13-14, 2018. Come out and enjoy the weekend and this glorious fall weather! Find me in booth #350 on McKinley Street.

Here are some progress shots of Cluck:

Thanks for watching! Please share!