December 15, 2009

Winter Show December 19 & 20, 2009

Come and Enjoy!

December 19 & 20th, 2009
10 - 5 pm
Coupeville Recreation Hall
on beautiful Whidbey Island

November 16, 2009

Calendar Art Project

This past month has been pretty much wrapped up in making calendars which I thoroughly enjoy doing but I do find myself longing for the feel of pastel dust between my fingers or the smell of a freshly laid palette of oils. I admit to sneaking in a day here and there just so I could get that "ahhh" moment.

So, I thought I would share what I've been working on that's kept me so far from my easel's edge. They are little desk-sized calendars of my art. I think it's a really good exercise to see one's own work grouped together and to have to scrutinize and make the tough choices about which images get cut. It reminds me of the submission process for exhibitions. It's not always about being the prettiest picture. Sometimes it is a matter of balancing how one image looks when grouped with 11 other images. I also found that, on occasion, I couldn't include the image I initially selected because when it printed, the colors didn't hold up to the original as well as I would have liked. I find that happens most often when there are strong complementary colors competing with each other.

I really wanted to focus on these calendars as miniature art which is why I included the mini easels as part of the package. Besides that, I think these easels are just adorable. With that in mind, the paper and image quality were paramount for this project. For those of you who might want to try this at home...I decided on Moab Lasal double-sided Photo Matte paper. It's spendy but worth it if what you want is a top-quality feel to your little print (or big print). Even though I'm not printing on both sides, I like that the paper is thick, rich and is the same color on both sides. The colors come out beautifully on my Epson printer. Well, now that those are done, I am off to the easel! Yay.

The calendars I did for this year are CATS, SEASCAPES and BIRDS. You are welcome to view (and purchase) them on my wesite:

October 05, 2009

Why Use Colored Pastel Paper?

I love, love, love different surfaces to paint on and a variety of them to choose from is an important factor for me when trying to plan for the best outcome for a painting. While posting this painting, “Return Ever Safely,” I was thinking about what an important role the color and texture of the paper can make in the outcome of the piece. The paper I chose for this is Sennelier La Carte Light Grey. The name of the color is deceiving because in reality, it is a nice warm brown tone. I chose this color because I wanted that color to dominate the painting. I also chose Sennelier La Carte paper because it has a wonderful sanded surface that enables the pastel to just skim the surface and that’s just the look I wanted for the driftwood highlights. I stayed away from the buttery-soft pastels because I wanted the brands that would tend to sit on top of the sanded surface. I therefore chose primarily Unisons and Diane Townsends to get the effect I was after.

11 x 14 pastel
a bit more about this painting...
The swallow was often the first sign sailors saw when approaching land and, as such, they became a symbol of hope and, later, one of honor. They were so revered by sailors that after sailing five thousand miles a sailor would have a swallow tattooed on his chest to proudly display his ability to weather many storms at sea. After ten thousand miles a second swallow-tattoo would be added to the other side of his chest.

I was reminded of this legend while visiting our nearby beach on Whidbey Island (Washington). I saw this swallow resting on a stump of driftwood and wondered if it was beckoning to a certain sailor in the nearby ocean.

Purchase information is available on my website.

September 29, 2009

A poem for my pastels

Be still my heart whilst I paint
so that I might hear the pastel
as it glides across its sanded surface,
textured like a sweet cat’s tongue.
The sound, like a violin
and the sight becomes the orchestra.

                                           ~sandy byers

September 21, 2009

Waking Up...and happy

One thing led to another and I found myself at a friend's blog that I contributed to last year. I still feel the same today as I did when I wrote this (then) and want to share it here. I also want to share Robin's Paint a Positive Picture blog because I think anytime we share something positive, that's good for all of us.

This is the painting:

"Waking Up"
Soft Pastel 11"x 14" (sold - thank you :)

And this is the positive thought that went with it:
The blessings of each day are not always obvious unless they are the very first thing one looks for when opening your heart's eyes in the morning. Already being blessed with health and a perfect family seems enough for any one person. For me, when you add to that the joy of rubbing pastel dust between my fingers, and the sound of the pastel gliding across a sanded surface, that cup begins to spill over onto everything. This pastel painting of Camano Island, the morning view from my studio on the east side of Whidbey Island, is just one more reason I can't help but put on my happy face when I open my eyes in the morning. From where I stand, each day is a day to look forward to and that makes me smile.

September 14, 2009

Peace after All

Happily, I am back to say that after three failed attempts, the painting that “wanted to be” delivered itself on my easel. Whew. I was really beginning to think I had lost my touch. In fact, what I just did was gain my loss of control. What a sense of freedom that is! It is difficult to let go and just allow the painting to take over, especially when I think I know what needs to happen; when I have “a plan.” Funny, I think I’ve already learned this in life and now it is manifesting itself right on my easel. Right in my face. That is reinforcement. So, I am going with it. And, I can say it has been a bit tough lately but I can also say I have made the longest and most rewarding strides in my work since I’ve made these latest “allowances.”

It isn’t always about the result. Sometimes, it is about what I learn as I move from one phase to another and that is what I see when I look at a piece of work. That is why I can love something I finished years ago and, even though it is technically incorrect, it may hold personal value to me – it may hold an entire life-lesson. I am not running around trying to “fix” what I did back then. I am trying to build upon the knowledge I have spent a lifetime investing my heart in since then. This is the piece that would not be refused and would not succumb to my directives:

Proof of Peace
16 x 20

As always, thanks for stopping by and, for you artists....
may you find peace at the easel.

August 26, 2009

Bye Bye Painting!

I’m currently working on my next body of work for a gallery show in Anacortes, Washington; one of my favorite little coastal towns in the ever-beautiful Pacific Northwest. I’ll be showing at the Scott Milo gallery and I really enjoy showing at such a warm and welcoming place. Kathy, the curator, always selects nice pieces (oh, I hear a horn tooting) and does a wonderful job of displaying the paintings alongside some gorgeous sculptures and jewelry.

The topic that came to mind while working on this new body (no not mine, though it could use some work) is how tough it is to give up on a painting once I’ve committed to it but can’t get all the way in to it. Yes, this just happened. While I think commitment is a great thing, and has served me well in lots of ways, I’m learning to let go of some of it. Finally. So, I am tossing more paintings lately. Well, okay, not completely tossing them but stopping them in their tracks and using them for something else later.

Here’s my analogy for this; I liken this to a bad relationship that consumes lots of time and energy but you know it’s just not working. I could just keep putting more and more paint on the canvas and try to cover up all the ugly stuff I don’t like but if I did that several things would happen:

A. I wouldn’t be happy while I was doing it.
B. I would be wishing I was working on something else.
C. I’d be grumpy because deep down I would know I was wasting my time and creativity.
D. I would be working on this which means I wouldn’t be working on my potential masterpiece.

I’m off to work on something I love. I'll be back...

August 21, 2009

Tuxedo Maine Coon Oil Painting

"One Good Scratch"
8 x 10
Oil on Panel
SOLD (thank you :)

I often ask myself what it is that seems so endearing about every single move Biscuit makes. In this painting I have captured one of the activities she probably performs at least twenty times throughout the day; that yummy little scratch right behind her left ear. But, look how graceful she looks when she's doing it! Even when she is scratching, her inside beauty radiates through to the outside.

In this oil painting on panel, I combined fine-detail brush work and highly textured palette knife work to create an exciting piece of textural art. Once completed and dried, I hand-brushed 8 coats of crystal-clear varnish, patiently waiting (not my strong suit) for each one to dry before applying the next. Parts of the painting look like shattered glass because of the richness of the varnish. In other parts of the painting, the texture of the panel is apparent. The overall painting has a very "deep" feel to it because of the varnish. I used what I think is the best varnish available - it's Gamblin and it is as clear as it can possibly be. Yum.

July 10, 2009

Original oil painting, gold cat

Master of the Harbor, Oil
SOLD thank you :)
partial funds to Pasado's Safe Haven
Ropes are slung along the docks and boats creak against the weathered boards. Sailors come and go and some stop to bid good-day. But this cat’s heart is as strong as the sea and he sits steadfastly waiting for his master to return. He will; he always does. No one doubts that there is only one love for this Master of the Harbor.

June 17, 2009

Original pastel painting, gold ginger tabby

Reflecting Gold, dry pastel
Sold $280
partial funds to Sarvey Wildlife Care Center
Everywhere I look, I see Gravy. Everywhere Gravy looks, he sees me smiling back at him with my heart.

June 02, 2009

Gallery Show

I can't believe how time is flying past and how long it's been since I have posted. I am just finishing details for my gallery show that opens this Friday at Scott Milo in Anacortes, Washington. I really had fun Celebrating Summer for this show! We continue to have gorgeous weather on Whidbey Island so I am completely in the mood, still, even though I am framing which isn't really my favorite part of the process.
Stop by if you get a chance. Here are the details of the show.
June 5th, 6-9 Artists' Reception (I'll be there from 6-8)
Show runs June 5th - 30th.
Hope to see you there!

April 15, 2009

Pastel Study, Seascape

Water Me - a study, dry pastel
18 x 15
Sold partial funds to Pasado's Safe Haven
As part of my upcoming gallery show, I am doing some color studies and experimental pieces to figure out which ideas I want to pursue further. I will be offering a few of these on eBay. This study is from a beach along the Oregon coast which has always been one of my favorite spots to gather some inspiration.

This is some smashing fun water! I mixed up the media a little and used a small amount of acrylic in this, mostly for the rocks. Oh, and as usual, I probably used most of the colors in my pastel box for the water :). This is usually what goes on under the water before I start putting final coats on it. You can see all the activity starting to build. In this case I liked it so much at this stage, I put it in a frame and called it Macaroni. Just kidding, I called it
Water Me.

March 23, 2009

Original pastel painting, Golden tabby cat

The Beckoning Cat, dry pastel
5 x 7
Sold $256
partial funds to Animal Dreams
I have used this pose of Gravy in a previous painting and just love it so much I decided to use it a little differently this time because I felt it so fitting for this piece.

My niece first introduced me to Neko by gifting me with this little porcelain version (that I used as the model for the painting) after one of her trips abroad.

The story is about a cat in Japan (Maneki Neko) who beckoned several samurai to follow it into a temple, near Tokyo, by raising its left paw. There the samurai took shelter from a storm and then spread the word of the shrine and the cat who found them shelter from the storm and brought them luck. Since then the cat with the raised paw has been a symbol for good luck and wealth.

My story is about (our) Gravy who, like Neko, brought nothing but good fortune to those he met. When we found him, he raised his paw and placed it directly and very intently on my husband's leg and there and then he entered our hearts forever. He always brought us a wealth of love so I guess that paw thing works!

March 02, 2009

Tuxedo cat,original pastel painting

Love bug
5 X 7
Sold $205
partial funds to Animal Dreams
Another "caught by the sun" moment with Biscuit. I was actually trying to work on a landscape painting when she pulled this little number on me! Look at that face ~ just begging to be painting. So, this is how we spent our afternoon together. Sweet, huh?

February 26, 2009

Pastel 100 Competition, Wee Three

I’m happy to share some great news with you. One of my pieces, “Wee Three,” was selected as a finalist in the Wildlife/Animal portion of the Pastel 100 Competition and appears in the April issue of the Pastel Journal. My thanks to the Pastel Journal for including my work alongside some great art! I have to admit, it is really humbling to have my piece be one of only nineteen (in the animal category) selected in an international competition.

You can see a closer view of the painting on my website, by clicking here.

February 23, 2009

ORIGINAL Pastel Painting, Tuxedo Cat

A reason for the sun
partial funds to Animal Dreams
Biscuit never ceases to be inspiration for me at the easel. It is more than her external beauty. It is much more than what you see with her long flowing mane and those beautiful sun-catching eyes of hers. It is really much more than that. She has the sweetest, kindest, most generous little personality I have ever encountered in an animal.

February 21, 2009

Tuxedo Cat Vintage Rose Pastel Painting

Always B, dry pastel
5 x 7 framed
partial funds to Animal Dreams

Time and distance have little meaning when it comes to matters of the heart. I do know our hearts beat softer when we see a loved one. No matter where I hang my heart, no matter the space or time, Biscuit will hold her own special little key that will always, ALWAYS, get her back where she belongs; next to me.

February 13, 2009

Ram Pastel Painting

Rings of Honor, dry pastel
partial funds to Pasado's Safe Haven

Seriously? I almost named this "Wooly Bugger" but it just didn't seem an honorable enough name for this fellow. I met him at one of my favorite hangouts - a local nursery in Skagit Valley. My goal was to show him in a very traditional pose (side profile) and to keep the background fairly simple since there is so much going on with his wooly coat and rings of honor. He's so serious, isn't he? I just feel like telling him the joke about the ewe, the duck and the rooster.

Oil Painting, Peony

Sweet Heart of a Peony, Oil
11 x 14
partial funds to Pasado's Safe Haven

More of my Spring fever series. This is about how close I got to this peony every day as it bloomed. I would wake, have my coffee, get my slippers on and go check on my "Lacey" peonies. Can you smell this one? Oh, wait, that's oil paint! It's probably not even dry yet :).

February 02, 2009

Pastel Seascape Whidbey Island

Wave Seekers, dry pastel
11 x 14
partial funds for Sarvey Wildlife Care Center
Sunny days, ocean breezes, the lapping of water and just waiting for those two pieces of driftwood to make it out to the waves....Now THAT is a perfect island day in my book!
This piece is done on a panel I prepared myself using pastel ground, gesso, marble dust and Quinacridone Gold acrylic paint. I used broad brushstrokes, leaving a nice thick, layered and textured surface for the pastel to dance upon when sweeping across the tops of the "waves" created by the texture. I am really happy with how this came together, from beginning to end it just seemed to want to "be."

January 28, 2009

Big Joy, dry pastel
8 x 10
partial funds to Pasado's Safe Haven

This is a Bernese Mountain dog I met while visiting one of our local islands, Lopez (one of the Washington San Juan Islands). He was patiently waiting outside a cafe while his people sipped on their espressos and ate bagels. He didn't seem to mind much since the sun was nice and toasty. I'm pretty sure the next order of the day was a nice long nap!

January 24, 2009

Dog and Cat pastel painting

Buster and His Shadow, dry pastel
8 x 10
partial funds to Pasado's Safe Haven
This is Buster, my aunt's dog, and his shadow, Goldie. If Buster went to the greenhouse, Goldie went to the greenhouse. If Buster got a drink of water, Goldie got a drink of water. If Buster went to round up the cattle, well, there went Goldie right beside him. What a pair and what a hoot to watch them together!

January 22, 2009

Bird Pastel Painting

Singer at Heart, dry pastel
14 x 18
available for a short time through eBay
Yes, typically flickers can't sing, but you won't convince this flicker who discovered a grand piano and an open window.

After initially finishing this piece, I lived with it for awhile. Some paintings just want to stay close to home longer than others and I have found there is usually a reason. Either it is a heart tug so strong it can't let go or there's just a little something that needs tweaking. This one wanted a little more of something, it just took me a while to figure out exactly what that was. You have to be verrrrrry quiet to hear what a flower wants. I recently added the fallen flower petal and I feel that the petal gave this painting the balance it needed. Ah. Silence.

January 19, 2009

Pansy Pastel Painting, Pansy Paradise

Pansy Paradise, dry pastel
11 x 14 (sold)

I can hardly wait for Spring! It's my favorite time of year, when everything is in bloom and gardens are full of God's amazing array of saturated color.