Thursday, December 31, 2015

Day One of Thirty Paintings in Thirty Days

6x6" Acrylic and Ink on Masonite board.

Decided at the last minute to join in on the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge with Leslie Saeta. I decided to jump in and do it because I missed the last one in September because I was taking care of my Mom who had open heart surgery. I am happy to say she is doing well now and I am thanking God for that.  
This is my 4th time to participate in this challenge and each time I like to focus on something different, so this time I am going to do abstracts! I am looking forward to getting back into a routine of painting again.
I went to Michael's today and picked up a tube of  Liquitex Heavy Body paint in Bright Aqua Green, anything in the blue-green turquoise family of colors I just love. The warm red, orange and yellow color is Nova paints that I have in jars. 
I am looking forward to seeing all the wonderful art that will be produced by all the artists participating in this challenge!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Persimmon and Gladiolus

watercolor journal

Working in my journal lately with watercolor. Watercolor was the first medium I studied and I seem to be going full circle. It is calling me again! I love the transparency you can achieve and just how clean and simple it is with not a lot of messy clean up.
My daughter brought home a bag of persimmons a friend had given her and knew I just had to paint them! I have also been playing with adding a little ink to my watercolors. I just used a sharpie fine point for the persimmons.
Next I painted the gladiolus, that is the flower for my birth month of August. I used a Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen XS to add some details.  
I used a set of watercolors that I have had for years and they worked beautifully, I am amazed at how long they last. I do know what is going to be on my Christmas list this year and that of course is a few more watercolors to add to my "vintage collection".

watercolor journal

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Circling Around

"Circling Around" 5x7" collage on watercolor paper

I am experimenting with paper collage lately using many papers and magazines I have collected over the years. For this collage I used magazine papers and some decorative papers I bought at an art supply store in Santa Barbara. The circles were made by an almost used up roll of paper towels, I love the uneven textured look it produced. I also used bubble wrap and scratched into wet paint for extra texture.

I am still adjusting moving from a big studio to a much smaller home studio but I think it is going to be okay, there is a lot of perks to working at home plus the rent I was paying for my studio can go toward art supplies and I do love my art supplies! And now that dinner is over and everything is cleaned up I will be going back into my studio to work a little bit more before going to bed and that is definitely a perk to having a studio at home!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Discovering Alcohol Inks


I have discovered alcohol inks and I love playing with them. This flower was done on a 6x6" white tile I got from Home Depot. You don't have complete control over the inks but have to let them do their own thing while you guide them along. They are so colorful and vibrant and I love the happy accidents that happen along the way.

With change comes opportunity

Sowing and Reaping, 10x10" collage on canvas

Going through some changes this month and change is always hard at first and a little unsettling. Because of finances I am moving my studio from a large art center to a small room at home that is half the size. The move has challenged me to throw a lot of things out that are not needed, it is so amazing how much stuff you collect as an artist. One of my artist friends told me that with change comes opportunity and I really believe that. The opportunity that came with this change was that in the move I rediscovered all this wonderful ephemera and beautiful papers I have collected over the years and decided to use some of it in this collage. I had a wonderful time working with the papers, some I found at art supply stores and others were wonderful discoveries in antique stores. My message with this collage is to always try to do right and plant good seeds because it is a universal law that I have seen and experienced over and over again that when you send kindness out into the world it does come back to you.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Museum of Ventura County "Art Alfresco" 2015

For more Information go to www.museumofventuracounty. org

I have been busy this week getting ready for the Museum of Ventura County "Art Alfresco" which is taking place this Saturday 8/15. It is an invitational art exhibit and this is the 4th time I have been invited to participate. They have this invitational every 2 years, it's hard for me to believe it's been 8 years since the first one. It is a great event with over 30 talented regional artists.

I have managed to get this little pastel done even with all the business of preparing for the exhibit. It is inspired by a group of trees growing along the water in Santa Barbara. I love the challenge of painting trees, trying to get the essence of the tree but not too much detail, just enough to get the feeling. Well, better go for now lots of things still to do to get ready!

"Water's Edge" 8x8" pastel on paper
www.casselldesigns.etsy.comhttps://www.etsy.com/shop/CassellDesigns?ref=hdr_shop_menu


Sunday, August 16, 2015

My Latest Oils

These paintings are available in my Etsy Shop - www.casselldesigns.etsy.com

These are my latest oils done with a palette knife. I am working in small formats first to get acquainted with the palette knife application, these all measure 6x6" and are on masonite board.  I love texture so that is one thing I am loving about the palette knives is the texture I can create with them. I also like the way it is easier to keep the color fresh and clean too. I think I am ready to start on a larger piece hmm......maybe a 12x12", I have some framing to do tomorrow for an upcoming show this next weekend but maybe I will be able to fit in a little painting also!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Palette Knife and Yellow Mustard

Blooming Mustard, Oil on Board 6x6"

This is my first palette knife painting and I must say I really enjoyed the process!  I used water-soluble oils because I want to stay away from harsh solvents. I decided to use a palette knife because the water-soluble oils where a little sticky and they didn't seem to go on to the board very smoothly. The palette knife worked great and seemed pretty easy to handle for me. The next thing was to see how long it would take this baby to dry! I am a pastel artist and have worked with acrylics also and am spoiled to the fact that I don't have to wait for them to dry. It took exactly one week for this little 6x6" to dry, so I think I can work up the patience to wait that long, I just have to wait a week to make them available for purchase.
I am excited to get started on my next oil painting!

Monday, July 27, 2015

My First Student

Billowy Clouds - 9" x 12" Pastel on Paper

This pastel was a demonstration for a student of mine, actually my very first student! It has taken me a very long time but I have finally stepped into the world of teaching! I have been very hesitant and down right scared to start teaching. I have a book full of people that have left their contact numbers because they are interested in lessons but I have never responded. Then one day I got a message through my website from a very nice lady that was interested in lessons and wondered if I gave them or if I could recommend somebody. The old me would have very quickly recommended somebody else but for some reason I said to myself, just do it! Well! It has been a great experience, my student is happy and I am enjoying helping and watching  her learn.  I don't know how long it will take me to add student number two or if I even will but I am so glad I pushed through my fear of teaching. It is a great experience and you do learn from your students, they really push you to be your best. So all in all I believe that becoming a teacher and passing down your knowledge is definitely a win-win situation and I would recommend it to anyone thinking about teaching. Oh, and it wasn't as scary as I had built it up in my mind to be.....at all!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Inspiring Skies Today

"Prairie Sky" 24" x 24" Acrylic on Canvas

We have been having some unusual weather here in California. It is July and we have had heavy down pours of rain plus lightning and thunder! Today was quiet but there where beautiful cumulus clouds hanging out over the mountains and there is suppose to be more rain to come. It was the perfect day to finish this painting of a prairie with beautiful clouds passing over the plains.
I started this with icing the canvas with lots of texture paste, I love texture! Then when it had dried I just jumped in and started splashing paint on the canvas. One reason I love painting skies so much is how abstract in nature they are. I can get dramatic as I want! 
I just looked out my window and the dark clouds are coming in to bring more rain. I must get my camera out tomorrow and hopefully photograph more inspiring clouds!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A New Direction

"Tangled Dreams" 30" x 40" Acrylic on Canvas

This is what was on my easel today or I should say on the floor! It was way too big for my little aluminum easel, so I threw a tarp on the floor and painted it. I have to say it was good exercise getting up and down as I painted. 
I seem to be going more and more in the direction of bigger pieces that are leaning toward a more abstracted look. It seems like I can throw myself into the process more and unleash more creativity the bigger I paint.
I look forward to seeing what will transpire the next time I am in my studio!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Look What I Found

"Days Finale" - 8" x 8" Pastel on Paper
 I organized my flat files today and found this little pastel underneath a stack of papers. I had put it away for safe keeping several months ago and forgot that it was there. I took it out and saw that it had been smudged a little and needed a little TLC! I got my pastels out and added fresh life to it. I really like the way it turned out and from now on will try to keep my files more organized!




I am so happy at how more organized my flat files are now! Here is a view of one of my drawers with my small pastel paintings that are in my Etsy shop.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Blue Skies on the Fourth

Blue Skies, 5" x 7" Pastel on Paper

Painted this little pastel at home yesterday instead of going to my studio. It was the 4th  of July and I was just enjoying a lazy day at home with my family. I set up a little work station in the corner of my living room, it was in front of the computer which made it perfect to bring up the reference photo on the computer screen. It was actually a pretty nice set up and I enjoyed painting while my husband watched a documentary on the television. We had a great BBQ with my daughter later that day and then sat out on our front porch and watched the fireworks.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Afternoon Walk

Afternoon Walk
8" x 10" Pastel on Paper

This pastel was inspired by a walk I took at the Carpenteria Bluffs one day. It is a beautiful wild park that looks over the ocean, a favorite for people to walk. There is also a seal sanctuary that you can see the seals sunbathing on the beach.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Flowers in Vase

8" x 10" Pastel on Paper

I worked for a couple of hours yesterday on a pastel that just didn't come together. I didn't want to give up and wanted to end the day with a finished piece. So I admited defeat and started another pastel on an 8"x 10" piece of LaCarte pastel paper. I wanted to do something fun and happy after struggling so long with the other piece. So I ended the day with this sweet little pastel of flowers in a vase.
I will be back at the studio again today and am always excited about what I will come up with next!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Flowers and Thoughts on Daily Painting


Having fun with painting flowers in pastel lately. I love vibrant, rich colors and flowers are the perfect subject to use them. 

I have not thought of myself as a daily painter but basically I  do paint every day!  I go into my studio and start painting and usually can finish a small to medium piece in one day. So.....I am going to jump into the daily painter blogging routine. 

I may have to skip a day once in a while because life happens and other things take priority but as a rule I will be painting and posting every day!

So I will meet you here tomorrow!


Compliment of the Day

Compliment of the Day - 8" x 10" Pastel on Paper
Click to buy

I love the complimentary colors of orange and blue! That is what I used with this landscape, the brilliant orange flowers pop against the background of the blue mountains and sky. 
I have been concentrating on my pastels this week doing several small pieces, I have actually painted several flowers in pastel and decided to do this landscape as a change of pace.
If you are interested in any of my artwork you see on my blog, it is usually always available to buy in my Etsy shop, so go on over and browse if you would like.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Loving Texture

The Red Tree, 20"x 20" Acrylic on Canvas

I love texture in my acrylic abstract paintings, it adds to the personality of the piece. I always start my textured pieces with an acrylic paste applied with a palette knife, then after it dries I begin to add color. I usually start with a darker color and allow it to show through the layers of paint.
I have been loving the pink and green combo in the last few paintings I have done, this may be the start of a series!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Painting the Sky


I love the abstract nature of clouds in the sky. They are so soft and billowy and I love painting them sometimes with soft pastel colors and other times with dramatic hues. Like fingerprints no sky is exactly the same from day to day and that's what makes them so wonderful to paint.
For this sky I used pinks, yellows, blues, warm grays and just a little white for highlights. The paper is called Premier Pastel Paper and this is only the second time I have used it and so far I really like it. It takes several layers and gives the pastel strokes a real painterly look when applied.
My pastel selection for the sky

Instead of using one solid color for the sky, I use several colors layering them being careful to let the layer underneath show through.  Remember the sky is the light source and sets the mood for the scene!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Vibrant Bouquet

Vibrant Bouquet, 19" x 19" Pastel on Paper

I have been doing a series of flower paintings and this is my latest in pastel. I loved using all my rich vibrant pastels for this painting. This pastel is framed in a black plein air type frame and the colors just pop against the black! 
I have also done some flowers in acrylic on canvas with lots of texture, I will be posting those soon. Flowers never cease to inspire me!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

California Poppies

"Abundant Poppies" 5" x 7" pastel on paper
Click here to buy

These little poppies where inspired by a trip I took to the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens where the poppies are in their full glory! My wonderful husband took me there last week for a photo opportunity and I took many photos only to return home and because I did not format my camera card I lost most my photos! That has happened to me before but I guess I did not learn my lesson but will remember to format the card from now on. 
These poppies where done totally by memory and I am really pleased with how they turned out. I am beginning to paint more and more from my heart and memories than using photo references. Not that using photo references are bad and I am sure I will use them along but this is something new for me and very freeing as an artist.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Floral Abstract

24" x 30" acrylic on canvas

My latest in my series of bigger pieces in acrylic on canvas. I wanted to represent the rich color of the flowers starting to drip down the canvas they are so beautiful yet temporary and fragile. 
These days I am desiring to leave more mystery in my paintings so that they will allow the viewer to fill in the rest with their own imagination. I am very excited about my new direction of painting bigger on canvas and am looking forward to seeing where it will take me.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Springtime Melody - Abstracted Landscape

Springtime Melody, 24" x 24" acrylic on cradled board

I have the need to paint bigger now, especially after doing so many little 5" x 7" pastels for my 30 in 30 challenge. I also wanted to try my hand at a semi-abstracted landscape. This was done with acrylic on a board that I textured with acrylic paste and papers. The bright blue was suppose to represent a mountain range at first but it actually reminds me of a beautiful blue ocean! This is a direction I would like to pursue more while still doing more of my traditional landscapes, it feels very freeing to work with the paint in a more abstracted manner. I love to create the feeling of the landscape whether it's abstracted or more representational it constantly inspires me!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Collage of all 30I


I made this collage in Picmonkey and then put it into Photoshop and added the Sherri Cassell Fine Art border on the bottom and the grey frame. It is so neat to see all thirty painting together and a sense of accomplishment for not giving up! I am already working on a bigger piece based on one of these smaller ones and I will be posting my progress soon. Congrats everyone that took part in this challenge and I wish you all happy creating!
If you would like to follow my Facebook Fan Page where I will be posting more of my work the address is www.facebook.com/sherricassellartist

Thursday, January 29, 2015

30 Paintings in 30 Days - Day 30

Colors of Santa Barbara - 5" x 7" pastel on paper

Another scene inspired by the beauty of Santa Barbara! This is a 5" x 7" pastel on LaCarte pastel paper. This challenge has been such a positive experience for me, first it has helped me start a good habit of painting everyday and second has helped me begin to see a direction I am wanting to move in with my art. I have decided to keep on with the daily paintings or I should say 3-5 days a week. I want to allow a little extra time for me to work on bigger pieces of art too.
I have opened an Etsy Shop where I will be posting my daily paintings for sale, the link is www.casselldesigns.etsy.com. I want to thank Leslie Saeta for bringing us all together for this challenge, this was my third time participating and definitely my most successful. I have enjoyed also seeing what all the other artists have been creating for this challenge, it is amazing all the talent that is out there!

30 Paintings in 30 Days - Day 29


This is a little tree out by a farmers field that stands by itself. Someday it will grow up and be a beautiful shade tree!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

30 Paintings in 30 Days - Day 27 & 28

Sunning Seagull 6" x 6" on paper - Day 28

He made such a great subject when I photographed him just standing there like he knew he was being admired, I just had to paint him! I had someone mention to me that this was not their favorite bird! I know that they are quite the scavenger and can be very annoying at times, they can also do a number to your car! But they will always represent the ocean to me and I love to see them soaring high over it looking so free.
Wild Flowers - 5" x 7" Pastel on Paper - Day 27

I loved these flowers growing out in the wild with the purple mountain as their backdrop! I am linking up with Leslie Saeta's 30 Paintings in 30 Days today.

Monday, January 26, 2015

30 Paintings in 30 Days - 25 & 26

Rocky Cliff - 7" x 5" Pastel on Paper
Day 25 is a rocky cliff I spotted on a recent walk I took. I loved trying to recreate all the wonderful colors in the rock formation.

Day 26 was a scene I did from my imagination and l really loved using the intense saturated colors in this meadow painting. This one actually went through many transformations before I was satisfied with it. I used a pastel paper called Pastelmat and it held up really good to my watercolor underpainting and all the dusting off and starting all over again.....twice!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

30 Paintings in 30 Days - Day 24


This is one of my favorite trees to paint. It is in Santa Barbara, California near the UCSB campus. It reflects beautifully in the still waters of the lagoon, a favorite of many artists in the area. I live less than an hour away and it is a beautiful drive up the coast to get there.
This is the third time I have taken part in the 30 Paintings in 30 Days with Leslie Saeta and I feel it is my most successful one. I have limited myself this time to just pastels unlike the last two times where I did oils, acrylics and collage. Focusing on the pastels have helped me build up an inventory of smaller works and has also helped me realize how advantageous it is to focus on one thing. I tend to get distracted by all the wonderful art materials out there but this year is going to be about my work in pastels. I will be working on some larger pieces after the challenge but thinking about continuing on with the daily painting, it has been daunting but I have experienced a lot of satisfaction at the same time. Happy painting everyone and only 6 more paintings to go!

30 Paintings in 30 Days - Day 23


Another pastel inspired by a beautiful sunrise yesterday morning. It's fun doing these skyscapes because they are abstract in nature and yet recognizable. I would like to explore doing abstracted landscapes.......Hmmm, maybe that will be my next challenge for myself. Well, it's 2:30 in the morning so I better get to sleep!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

30 Paintings in 30 Days - Day 22


Took an early morning walk and got to see this beautiful sunrise! It certainly pays sometimes to get up early. I love doing skyscapes because it's my chance to do an abstract that I still recognize as something I know. All the beautiful colors in a sunrise or sunset just fascinate me and I love to try and capture all the nuances. I can't believe only 8 more days to go, I am still considering continuing on and becoming a daily painter......hmm......I just may do it.

30 Paintings in 30 Days - Day 21


I was so excited to get out and do some plein air painting on Tuesday. It was the first time in about 5 years and I certainly don't want to go that long again! It was a cold day and no sunshine but the colors where bright and scenery was so beautiful and peaceful. I had a built in audience with joggers and people walking their dogs, they would always say positive comments as they went by.
I am posting this late, it is the 22nd and I have not finished the days painting, of course I have time it is only 4:00 in the morning! I couldn't sleep so plan on getting to the studio early this morning! I better go get my first cup of coffee for the morning so I can wake completely up and start the day!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Thirty Paintings in 30 Days - Day 20


Yeah! I am 2/3 through the challenge as of today. I am actually truly enjoying this challenge and will be sad to see it end but I know I still have 10 more to go. Today I am going Plein Air painting and am really excited. It has been over 4 years since I have taken my easel out for a spin, I use to go weekly but life got in the way. Recently I have had a lot more time open up and am ready to get going again! I will do my stretches this morning so I don't pull my back lugging my easel, pastels, etc. down the trail, the big thing is putting the easel together! I still have the old school French Easels with all the nuts and bolts but someday would love to get one of the more modern and easier easels to set up. So I will post about my adventure and let you know how it went.

Monday, January 19, 2015

30 Paintings in 30 Days - Day 19


This pastel was inspired from a walk I took in a beautiful state park yesterday. The greens were abundant so I made the mountains a violet/purple color in the painting to help calm them down. Everything was so gorgeous that I am going back tomorrow with my easel! I have not been plein air painting in over 4 years, I am very excited to get back to it again.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

30 Paintings in 30 Days - Day 18

"Cypress Sunset" 5" x 7" Pastel on Paper

My inspiration for this pastel was a trip to the beach side town of Cambria, California. My husband and I sat at a little cafe and watched the sunset, it was such a lovely evening.
I used LaCarte sanded paper for this and an assortment of different pastels. I just recently got a box of pastels called Blue Earth from Dakota Pastels and I love there soft creamy texture. The set I got was called Land and Sea and all the sets come assorted by value, they are quickly becoming my favorites!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

30 Paintings in 30 Days - Day 17

5" x 7" Pastel on Paper

This little pastel was inspired by a walk Jeff and took in Santa Barbara on New Years Day. He is always happy to take me to a local beach or park where I can get photo references and ideas plus we always have a great time together. I am linking this up with Leslie Saeta 30 Painting in 30 Days site where you can see what all the other talented artist are doing for this challenge.

Friday, January 16, 2015

30 Paintings in 30 Days - Day 16


This is another one of my favorite scenes near Santa Barbara. I love the way the purple mountains peek through the trees and how white the cliffs are looking over this outlet from the ocean. This area is a sanctuary to many kinds of sea birds.
I used LaCarte paper for this little 5" x 7" pastel painting and an assortment of different kinds of pastels, I love the very soft buttery ones and sometimes just jump in and use them for some of my first strokes on the paper. Conventional teaching says to start out with harder pastels and work your way up to the softer ones which sometimes is the best way to go. The reason for that rule is so your paper does not fill up so quickly with pastel and therefore you can put more layers on. I have painted this subject many times and new I could get the look I wanted with a minimum amount of layers, so using the soft pastels at the beginning worked fine.
Well, I am off to my studio now to see what I will come up with next, I never quite know!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

30 Paintings in 30 Days - Day 15


Yeah! Day 15 and half way through the challenge of 30 paintings in 30 days! It is getting easier and little less stressful now, thank goodness! I never know what I am going to paint until I arrive in my studio for the day, but an idea usually comes to me. This challenge is helping me to fight that old resistant feeling I get when know I should start painting, it's all about fear and this is challenging that fear. I am commited to paint every day and I push through those feelings of fear and am amazed at what I can do when I thought I had no ideas at all! I would recommend this challenge to anyone that is in a slump or needs motivation it really does help to commit yourself to a painting a day, it helps build habit and a realization that you don't have to wait until you are in the mood to pick up that pastel or paint brush, you just do it!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

30 Paintings in 30 Days - Day 14


Something a little more dramatic for day 14 of my 30 in 30 with Leslie Saeta. Sometimes before I start a painting I take my photo reference and put it into photoshop to change or enhance the colors and contrast. I did that with the photo reference for this painting, instead of blue skies and cream colored  clouds, I turned it into a bold red and green palette. Photoshop is a great tool for artists, when wanting to increase value or remove something from your photo reference that you don't want to include in the painting. You can also turn your photo into a black and white which give you a better since of the value structure.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

30 Paintings in 30 Days 9-13

    I am behind posting the last 5 days so here they are all in one post!



5" x 7" Pastel on Paper
This is Goleta Beach also a scene near Santa Barbara. I don't live in Santa Barbara but it is just a 45 minute drive away and such a gorgeous area.I have painted this scene more than once.

5" x 7" Pastel on Paper
This scene was inspired by a view from where I work, or I should say where I used to work as of last week ( but that's a whole different blog post!) it is a beautiful vista.

5" x 7" Pastel on Paper

Some beautiful flowers reaching up towards a sunny sky with white billowy clouds. Spotted these on a walk after the rain.



5" x 7" Pastel on Paper
Day 13 are two palms I pass on my daily walk. I decided to throw caution to the wind and ignore the rule of odd numbers when you are composing a painting. This works for me and I call it " Just the Two of Us". 
So now I am caught up and am going to try and be better at posting daily!

Friday, January 9, 2015

30 Paintings in 30 Days - Day 7 & 8

"Path to Somewhere" 7" x 5" Pastel on Paper

"Passing Through" 5" x 7" Pastel on Paper

I was running a little behind but now I am caught up with days 7 and 8. I am linking this with Leslie Saeta's 30 in 30 challenge. I just love skys and I have a whole file filled with beautiful sunsets and sunrises I have photographed over the years. When I feel I need a little extra peace I choose one to paint and it always lifts my mood.