I’m a member of a group of six women artists, we call our group FeminArts. We are all different, “young and younger” and we work in different media; oil, pastel, watercolor, ink, collage and photography… and one of us is a talented writer and singer, too! We have fun when we meet, and in 2016 we decided to go on sightseeing together in our home town. The process resulted in a much appreciated show in Ateljé Torni during the Night of Arts in August 2016. Here are some of my paintings from this event… starting with the chaos in my study….
A nice surprise – my Lake series won the Lib challenge!I believe that anyone who begins to paint must start by allowing herself / himself to copy good paintings and photos. After a period of replicating, when you have learned the technique for your medium, color theory, composition, rules of proportion, etc. you then have to let go and begin to compose yourself to get further with your artistry.
Here The Pastel Guild of Europe’s, (PGE’s) Image Library is an example of a very useful source of images. Any member can use the free Library photos. If you need good images you will find photos of all types to work with, and those who want to start composing their own motifs will also find material here. I wanted to show these possibilities with my series of Lake paintings.
I liked Dorothea Schulz’s photo of the alpine lake. It was perfect to create something a little different from, and still maintain the original image to some degree.
First, I changed the picture to a portrait orientation. I cropped the picture, in other words.
My first version was my interpretation of a fresh and perhaps a bit chilly late summer landscape (Figure 1).
For the second version, I decided to change the colour scheme completely, and wanted to create a night scene with a completely different atmosphere, (image 2). I wanted to show that simple means can change the mood of a seemingly similar view, and therefore I chose the more dramatic and bold colours.
Picture No. 3 shows the same view again, but now with a lighter, softer, more dreamy colour scheme.
Finally, I decided to return once more, this time with the cold winter feeling (photo No. 4).
All 4 paintings are painted on Pastelmat, with a dry value underpainting. I use a variety of hard and soft pastels, Rembrandts, Winsor&Newtons, Petersburg, Unison, Sennelier and Blue Earth. I often start with the harder ones, then go for the softer, and often blend with a hard Conté stick. Finishing touches with the softest ones!
I hope this can inspire someone to attempt a similar project. Do not just copy, but learn to use simple means, such as changing the colour scheme, cropping the subject, add or leave out details, etc. to change the subject into something that is your own interpretation.
Thank you very much Dorothea Schulz, for choosing my Lake series as the winner of the Lib Challenge!
I love it when this happens!
Yesterday after a really enjoyable and productive day with lunch together with art club board members, errands, fetching my painting from the framer and having coffee with artist friends, I sat down at my easel in the evening, still influenced by the 21/21 challenge.
The idea was to begin a larger winter landscape, but I wasn’t really in the mood for it…
I picked up a tiny sketch with colour notes I made several months ago, and without the more thoughts, I began an under painting in red.
Then the magic happened ..and in 15 minutes it was finished. It turned out that it was one of those work that paints itself. It’s strange when it happens, everything is flowing, and you do not think at all, no problem, no breaks, it’s like a dance without effort. I really wish it happened to me more often, even if it mostly means that the result will become something completely different than planned.
I did my 21 days, painting a quick (20 minute) painting every day!
It was a very good exercise. Karen Margulis gave the workshop group this challenge in order to make us start a new habit of painting every day. For me it is usually hard to do.. there are so many excuses, the house is a mess, the phone rings, I must cook and it goes on… it is never my turn to just do my thing. I think this really lowered the threshold for me, and made it easier to just START a new painting. At least I can say I have never before painted this often! Before I often thought I had no time, and ended up painting nothing!
The point wasn’t to create finished pieces for framing, but to just paint for a while every day. It gets you going, You should try!
How do you frame your pastel paintings?
I was taught to frame pastel paintings with double mats / passepartout, normal glass and a light, thin frame. I am not always satisfied with that. For some work it is ok, but sometimes it feels, and looks, very old-fashioned.
Last year I also tried framing my big pastels against the glass, taped tightly to the glass so the painting won’t move. It looks good, I could not see any problems with it, but some say there might be a problem with humidity, maybe even mold, later on. Right now it looks very nice, clean and bright colors, no smudging.
The alternative is using spacers, as I can read about in different forums, with a bigger frame, no mats. It would be nice to try.. but the problem is how to find someone in Vaasa who knows how to do it for me! It seems to be mostly watercolor and oil paintings getting framed here…
The glass is also a problem, museum glass costs a fortune, 200-300 or more € for a bigger painting, I was told!!! Some time ago I read that people use a new acrylic (?) glass that is lighter than the normal glass and has less reflections without losing the brightness of the normal glass. And here we go again, where do I find the framer that knows what these materials are, where to find them, how to use them? How do you frame your paintings?
We have a very interesting tradition here in Vaasa. The “Night of Arts” happens every year in early August!
People go out, walk around in the city. There are shows, dancers, music. Shops are open until midnight. There is food and performances on almost every corner – It doesn’t feel like Finland at all!
As the Chair of the Art Club in Vaasa it was my job to arrange this year’s event at Ateljé Torni. Very interesting… I had 4 hours of non-stop programme to fill… Would not have managed without my friends! Here are photos from the event.
In a moment of insanity I promised to do a demo on painting with soft pastels. I wanted to take the chance to promote pastels, because we aren’t that many pastel painters in Finland. I did 3 quick demos, shown here.
The weather was nice enough and we had lots of visitors, everything went well… my demo too. I am pleased that the demonstration gave me the opportunity to talk to people about pastel, and I got a number of new students for my pastel class, as well as a few new members for the Art club!
The Art Club in Vaasa was a crazy place today!
Maggie and I have been busy from 10 am, putting an exhibition together from artwork made by 36 different artists. That’s about 80 artwork, mostly oil, watercolor, acrylic and pastel paintings, and also a few ceramics and some concrete statues. I expected more people to participate… but we have some really nice art on show from Thursday 6.8 until 23.8.2015!!!
Here are my entries… small ones this time, they are about 30 x 40 cm, on Pastelmat, Canson Touch and UART paper!
Workshop with Karen Margulis!
I have arranged two workshops so far. The first time was scary, not sure how to do things, what to think about, how much activities and sightseeing people would want, and so on. The second time was different, it was easier to make the arrangements with a little experience! Here a pic from this year’s workshop in Alskat, Vaasa.
So… why arrange a workshop? I think the answer is the same as for the question ”why attend a workshop”; you will be INSPIRED, get NEW FRIENDS and you always LEARN something new. You will be REMINDED of the things you knew but had forgotten, you have time to FOCUS on painting in a way you can’t at home where life seems to take over all the time. For me these are the reasons why, plus the fact that it is hard to find workshops with very good artists in my part of the world – if I want something to happen here, I have to create it!
It has been a couple of weeks now, since our ”Workshop in Alskat 2015”. We were 10 artists from USA, UK, Germany, Sweden, Croatia, Finland … painting in our summer house in Alskat outside Vaasa. We had the best teacher! We were all excited and inspired by the absolutely wonderful classes / lectures and demos held by our fantastic tutor, pastel artist Karen Margulis. If you ever have a chance to join one of her workshops, don’t miss it!!! It is worth the trouble, be sure of that!
This workshop was a very nice experience also for me, as I managed to participate more this time, and I even had time to paint a little.
I think we will all remember and cherish this time we had together these few days. It was so special. I am so happy to have met all these fabulous artists from all over the world. How can we repeat this fantastic experience? I want to do it again!
… making plans… 🙂