Monday, December 7, 2009

Pastel Christmas and 20 minute sketches

"Christmas Time in the City"
16" x 13"

"Birthday Celebration"
Rosedale Inn, Pacific Grove
6" x 9 " 20-minute sketch

"A Birthday with Wolf Kahn"
Rosedale Inn, Pacific Grove
6" x 9 " 20-minute sketch

We've been out of town and far away from my blog world. I start off today with work done in this morning's drawing class. To be truly done, this piece would need more work, but it's what I could accomplish during class and a half hour this afternoon. This proved to be a very challenging subject - I always struggle with value, and that tissue paper gave us all a run for our money. The center ball is most successful because Bob came over and added a few strokes of pastel to give me that "aha!" experience.

We went off mid-week to Pacific Grove to celebrate my birthday for a few days at the coast. We stayed at the Rosedale Inn, across the street from Asilomar. We walked the grounds at Asilomar and to the beach. If you know this stretch of Monterey Bay, you will recall the wonderful crashing surf on rocks. On my birthday we rode our folding Bike Fridays (travel bicycles) to Carmel by way of 17-mile Drive. I always wonder just where Clint Eastwood lives along there. No matter, the invigorating sunshine and cool ocean breezes made my day.

I received several wonderful art books as gifts from the family. Thus I did lots of reading in front of the fireplace. I also did two twenty-minute sketches inspired by Katharine Cartwright. Kathy is an amazing artist and provides some really wonderful discussions of art literature. Check out her website - her name is a live link. Kathy also started another blog challenging people to create a sketch in twenty minutes. Kathy did this for herself when traveling years ago to develop her technical skill and style. You just sit in your hotel room and sketch something in your medium of choice. You can see some results of her followers.

So at two different times during our mini-vacation, I sat and did a quick watercolor. The second one is especially meaningful to me because it includes the Wolf Kahn book that Bob gave me on the nightstand. I love Wolf Kahn's amazing work in oils and pastels, with his unusual color choices and minimal detail. In this book, the artist has brief vignettes about his travels and the resulting art. Because he now lives both in New York City in the winter and Vermont in the summer, I can really relate to many of the pieces that he painted, especially the Vermont paintings from my tiny home state.

I also received a Betsy Dillard Stroud book, a book on composition, and one on doing portraits. Likely you will see future references to them on this blog. My art library continues to grow.


Kathy said...

Mary, thanks so much for these submissions to our post. They're wonderful and your intimate story makes them even more so. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday! Sounds like you had a wonderful and productive holiday. The books sound really interesting. Do you find pastels more challenging that using watercolors?

Mary Paquet said...

Kathy, thanks so much for creating the blog. What great fun and I am just fascinated with your scholarly discussions.

Mary Paquet said...

Hi, Jeanne. I find pastels quite challenging at the moment. In watercolor I work light to dark. In pastels, our instructor has us establish the darks first. Not sure that is the way everyone does it, but I have to reverse my thinking.

Pastels remind me of my coloring book days, though, and I enjoy them.

janice said...

Happy birthday, Mary! Thanks for sharing your 20 minute sketches-that's a great idea.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mary, Wonderful work and, as usual, great narrative. Your personal stories are interesting.

Your 20 minute challenge work if fun! There are some fun shapes to play with.

Mary Paquet said...

Thanks, Janice, for the happy birthday wishes. You might like to submit some 20-minute challenges to Kathy's blog.

Peggy, as always, I appreciate your encouragement.