Friday, May 6, 2016

Gifts for (and from) Rhonda Jean

 Watercolour; Hanno's Hettie
 Rhonda's lovely gifts to me
A quick pastel portrait of Rhonda's little grandson for the swap theme "something blue"

I belong to a forum which was begun by the famous author/homemaker/home life blogger Rhonda Jean Hetzel.  Last year we did a swap and I was fortunate enough to be paired with Rhonda herself. I think the theme of the swap was "something blue or purple..."?  Not sure.  Anyway, Rhonda had seen some of my artwork and she so sweetly and humbly requested that if it *wasn't too much trouble* could I *please* do maybe a picture of a chicken, or a cat?

Well...I managed to be very ill right around then (yet again) but I didn't want to leave poor Rhonda without a gift, so I did a very quick pastel portrait of her little grandson, as he was wearing this adorable blue Captain America outfit, which matched the theme! and mailed it off to her.  But I filed the "cat or chicken" thought back in my mind for a later date as I really wanted to give her what she had asked for.

In return, I had received from her a beautiful linen apron -- made from linen she had used in the photos in her new book -- (A gorgeous book, may I add) -- and a quilted table runner with 8 cloth napkins, all lovingly and skillfully made by herself.

A few months later, I had recovered enough to get the paints out again.  It had been a long time since I had painted anything by that stage, but she had a striking photo of their old white cat, who had recently unfortunately died, and as I was sure they might want something to remember her by, and the photo was so striking to me, I took it on as a challenge.  I really wanted to get that white light and reflected lighting just *so*.  I felt that I succeeded.  Hanno's Hettie is my favourite painting so far.  Maybe because I just got exactly what I was looking for. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Adventures in Pastel Painting

 Pastel #2; Katy on Tasha Tudor Day
Pastel #1; Study in Red
 Pastel #3; Grip
Pastel #4; Clay

It's been ages since I blogged.  I honestly can't remember what all happened in what order last year.  We had a lot of really not very nice things happen whilst I was attempting to make art and we are still trying to recover time lost half-way through this year. 

Nevertheless.  I hope to catch you up-to-date within the next week or two. 

So mid-last-year, I was invited to attend a workshop/art session on Wednesday nights at a local art gallery.  I wasn't feeling very inspired at the time due to the factors written above, so rather than bringing my watercolours, I brought along a very nice set of pastels I had bought years ago and had always been too afraid to actually use. 

My dear friend Jeanette Giroud, a skilled artist, helped me with my first attempt.  That was the little sketch of the red-headed boy with the red chicken Study in Red.  Obviously I had no idea what I was doing but I found the pastels extremely easy and intuitive to use and almost even relaxing.  Not being one of those people who finds art-making in the least bit soothing, this was quite a novelty to me, and the following week I did the little portrait of Katy, which I was very pleased with.  Then there was an art exhibition at Ellis House shortly after that, for which I did the larger painting, Grip, and also the painting Clay, which never made it to the exhibition at all due to it having sold before the exhibition started.

I have done one other pastel painting since then but I will save that for a future post. 

I will try to be better about posting!  It is hard to make art a priority, and I even tried to give it up altogether this year because my schedule is so tight with working, volunteering, and studying.  But I found I wasn't happy at all giving it up, and so I've decided to do the complete opposite and prioritize it instead.   I never know what to do with myself. :)