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.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

30 Paintings in 30 Days - Day 6

7" x 5" Pastel on Paper

"Now, if God made the clouds so beautiful, did he not mean us to gaze upon them and be thankful for them?" ~ Alfred Rowland

Monday, January 5, 2015

30 Painting in 30 Days - Day 5


Thinking of Springtime when I painted this little scene. My husband and I went to some local botanical gardens the other day and they were closed because of being really muddy from some recent rains.So I tracked up behind the gardens and took some photos of this oak tree sitting on the hilltop above. The real scene was grey and there were no flowers but I decided to use my artistic licence and add them! I am learning to use that licence more and more and just use my photo reference as a jumping off point and paint the scene how I want it and not necessarily how it is.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

30 Paintings in 30 Day - Day 4

"Carpenteria Sand Dunes"  5" x 7" Pastel on Paper

On New Years Day my husband and I went for a drive to Santa Barbara. I of course took my camera to collect some photo references for paintings. We took a walk in a big park with a lake and I got lots of wonderful photos it was a beautiful day. On our way back we stopped in a beach side town called Carpenteria and we ate at a little burger joint and then took a walk down to the beach. I found these wonderful sand dunes with that broken down fencing and new I wanted to paint that scene! 
I am finding this challenge is taking a lot more of my time than I thought it would. It seems to be all consuming some days and it's only day four! I am going to try and limit my time I spend on a painting to an hour but don't know how that is going to work.....but I can try.....two hours the max!
I am Linking this up to Leslie Saetas website where you can view all the other wonderful art that others are making during this challenge.

30 Paintings in 30 Days - Day 3

"Tree Tops" 8" x 10" Pastel on Paper

I love to take photos of tree tops and this pastel was inspired by a photo I took while on a walk. The sun was hitting the trees and making them glow against the sky.
I used Ersta 600 grit paper for this and started it out with a watercolor underpaintings. I sometimes get carried away and cover up all my underpainting but I was careful to let some show through this time. I think it adds a little sparkle to the pastel. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

30 Paintings in 30 Days - Day 2


For day two of my 30 in 30 challenge with Leslie Saeta I did a landscape inspired by another one of my favorite places near Santa Barbara. I used LaCarte paper again and a combination of Blue Earth, Unison and Mount Vision pastels.
I had to start all over with this one because I lost most of the value and contrast, it looked a little blah. I took it outside and dusted off all the pastel I could until all that was left was a faint image and then started all over making sure to pay attention to my values and I am much happier with the results.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

30 Paintings in 30 Days - Day 1

"Still Waters"  5" x 7" Pastel on Paper


I am excited to be posting my first pastel of the Leslie Saeta 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge! My theme will be pastels on paper. This little piece was done on Sennelier LaCarte paper, I love the fine sandpaper texture of this surface, it is definitely one of my favorite pastel papers. On this painting I used mostly Blue Earth, Unison and Mount Vision pastels.
I will be posting all my paintings for the month of January on my blog and writing a little bit about what paper I used, pastels or my inspiration for the art.