Friday, August 30, 2013

Afternoon Delight

"Afternoon Delight"
11x17 inches
pastel on archival UArt 500 sandpaper
$375 ready to be matted and framed (mat and frame not included)

This pastel was painted on location on one of Minnesota's Parks. What a delightful afternoon it was sitting along the creek listening to the sounds and painting from life.

The water moved slowly creating beautiful reflections from the foliage and trees along the banks. Most of the pastels sticks used in this painting are ones that I made by hand.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Along the Path

"Along the Path"
12 x 12 inches
oil on linen panel

This summer seems to be flashing by in seconds. The above oil painting is one that I did on location at one of Minnesota's parks. Shadows flickered across the pathway in the park with dancing tall grasses and black-eyed susans.

One of the things that is on my list of things to do is post to this blog more and do more small studies in oil and pastel. More of what I have been painting will be posted in the upcoming days.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Morning Delight Dance

"Morning Delight Dance"
pastel (handmade) on UArt paper mounted to gatorboard, unframed
size: 8 x 16 inch

This is my first attempt trying to utilize all of my handmade pastels. This painting is 95% done with those pastels. It is delightful to have beautiful gray tones in warm and cool temperatures that provide those subtleties that are my favorite part of painting.

With this pastel, I wanted the trees to just pop against a subdued and soft background. Everyday I see this little grove of trees on the other side of my dirt road at the end of my driveway. I wanted this painting to be all about those trees and how they dance in the morning sunlight on a crisp winter morning.

More on handmade pastel sticks:
Last week I put in another order for some new pigments for making pastels from Kremer. I really like their site as they also give the lightfastness ratings for the pigments along with the data sheet. Another site that I have used to order pigments is Sinopia. They have a wonderful selection, but it is more difficult to determine what exactly makes up the pigments. They did state in an email to me that they only sell pigments that are of the best quality and have excellent lightfastness, but the chemist/engineer in me wants to see the data. I do plan on taking a sample of each pigment that I have and putting a pigment sample on a piece of pastel paper, wetting it in with alcohol, taping half of the sample off to protect from sunlight and exposing the other half to a south window in my house. I will let them sit for a year and see what happens.

I also learned a new trick for dealing with those water-insoluble pigments that are also light in weight. When making handmade pastels, the mixes commonly used are water soluble. However, some pigments are not soluble in water. To fix this most pigments will wet-out in alcohol, but if they are light in weight (many of the organics compounds are), then mixing them with a little of the French chalk and letting the mix dry is suppose to help make them easier to use. After the mix is dry, it is crumbled up and used as the starting pigment. Apparently, the pigment dyes the chalk and this adds weight to the pigment and it is then more versatile for making pastels along with being able to mix with water. The pthalo blue pigments are a nightmare to work with due to the high tinting strength (everything turns blue) and their inability to mix with water and light weight. I hope to try this method on that pigment to see what happens.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Winter Corn Field

"Winter Corn Field"
size: 9x12, pastel on Wallis paper mounted on gatorboard, unframed
copyright 2013 MaryAnn Cleary

This is today's study of a corn field along the dirt road to my house. I liked the shadows form the trees and the design of the cut corn stalk rows.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mangled Birch

"Mangled Birch"
pastel on Wallis board, size: 9x12 inches, unframed
copyright 2013 MaryAnn Cleary

This week I had planned on going outdoors to do some painting, but the temperatures became too frigid along with gusting winds. I did managed to do some sketching while sitting in the car with the heater on and take some photographs. "Mangled Birch" is the result of a pencil study and photographs.

This pastels uses many of my own handmade pastels. I am finding that I reach for them more than the purchased ones. I did make up many handmade pastels that are dark in value and also ones that are warm and cool grays. For the gray tones, I used complimentary colors for the initial mixture and then made lighter graduations. So far, most of the handmade pastels are exceeding my expectations. To date, I have had only one failure where the end result gave me a pastel that is extremely hard and refuses to make a mark. I will probably crush this one up, re-mix it and add titanium white/French chalk to it to see what happens. The French chalk (calcium carbonate) is what gives many pigments that soft feel.

For my next handmade pastels, I am also going to try adding a little carbon black to some of the pigments to see what happens. Just a touch to try to deepen that values. Typically, I do not use black when I am painting, so it will be interesting to see what happens. My goal is to keep the pigments vibrant and fresh looking versus flat and dull. I have a feeling that a little black will go a long ways.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Rising Sun on the River

"Rising Sun on the River"
size: 8x10 inch, acrylic on linen canvas board, unframed
copyright 2013 MaryAnn Cleary

This is my first attempt at using what are called "open acrylics". They do not dry as fast as normal acrylics and tend to behave a bit more like oils. I purchased a limited number of colors to try them out. Titanium white, titanium white buff, ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow, cadmium red, cobalt blue and the open acrylic thinner.

The open acrylics tend to be a bit goopier than oils, but they can be worked wet-into-wet or alla prima. They dry fairly quickly if the layers are thin. I also could load up my brush and do a dry brush technique. I definitely will do a few more paintings to try them out.

I also tried using regular acrylics on a painting that is similar to one that I just finished up in oils of the sun setting on the Rum River - just to get a feel for the difference between oils, acrylics and open acrylics. I love the subtle colors that one gets with oil paints compared to regular acrylics that do dry quickly...very quickly, unless using a gel or medium to slow the drying down. I prefer the open acrylics to the regular acrylics, but I can see where each type would be useful for different techniques. More experiments to come.
"Setting Sun"
size: 8x10, acrylic on linen canvas board, unframed

I hope that you are enjoying the small studies using different types of paint. I will continue to offer paintings at Daily Paintworks with a low starting bid. If the painting does not sell at auction, it will then go to my normal pricing. This is an opportunity to purchase one of my works at an affordable price. Here is the link to my gallery at Daily Paintworks or click on the link in the sidebar.


Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Sunset on the Rum River

"Sunset on the Rum River"
oil on linen
size: 8x10x1.4 inches (gallery wrapped canvas with sides painted)
Ready to frame or hang as is.

This is an oil painting after the first big snowfall along the Rum River. The sun is setting behind the trees and left a beautiful cast on the fallen snow.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Birch Trees

"Birch Trees"

size: 8x10 inches
oil on linen canvas on board
copyright 2013 MaryAnn Cleary

This painting is an oil study that I did from a photograph on my monitor in the studio. With sub-zero temps outside, it did not make sense to freeze in the -20F temperature.

I hope to do more studies and I will be offering them on Daily Paintworks on auction at a very reasonable price. Stay tuned for more.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Lily Pads

"Lily Pads"
12 x 12 inches
Pastel on archival paper mounted on board

This is a pastel that I started late this summer. I finally decided to try to finish it up. Many of the pastels used in this pastel painting are ones that I made by hand. I have been working on making a better selection of dark tones.

This past week I gave my first drawing class at the Cambridge Center of the Arts. What fun! For this initial class, I went over the various pastel surfaces and different types of pastel. Since this is the very first class at our local Art Center, we started with a basic drawing class using conte and paper. They did a great job!