“He’s Dead, Jim”

Sometimes you just know the death of a painting is imminent. You try and try to pretend that he is a main character in your work, that he has a phaser for a reason, but no… he is the extra that was meant to die so that the others can learn from his death….. I have...

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The Art Police

My daughter was home from college this weekend ( hooray!) and she had some friends over for a study-fest Saturday night. While making curry, the girls got to talking about the awful teachers they had when they were young….. Kind of half-listening, I heard about how in...

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Aurora

"To everything (turn, turn, turn) There is a season (turn, turn, turn) And a time to every purpose, under heaven….." The words to this song (from the Byrds, Pete Seeger, and the book Ecclesiastes) has been stuck in my head for the past few weeks. It started when we...

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Pancakes

I am not a weepy person. I think the years have coated me a bit in a tough, cynical shell, but sometimes I come across a painting that breaks through my armor, reminds me of why I became an artist and makes me want to run to my easel. My ideas suddenly bigger than I...

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The Shape of Things

Composing simple shapes in a painting is one of the most important things you can do compositionally. And the hardest…… Having variety in shapes leads to a more interesting painting and to a more sophisticated-looking design. Here is a painting I did a while ago…...

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A Fairy Tale

Once upon a time there was a thought. She was small and wispy, just a ghost of a form. She was born in the kitchen among a scribble of words. She grew into a hope. Scrawny with scarred knees, running into consciousness whenever she could. A reminder of what could be....

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No Easy Button

Ok. Time for a vent about a pet peeve. I was recently online and ordering an art book and found myself amazed at how many books have “Made Easy” in the title. “Watercolor Made Easy”, “Pastels Made Easy”, “Abstracts Made Easy”, “Pencil Shavings Made Easy.........

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“Let it go…”

I have often heard over the years…."How do you do it all? You have 3 kids, 2 cats, a beast of a house, a husband that runs a company, family health issues and yet you still paint…" Well, in the words of a famous Disney song, I have learned to "let it go". There is...

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Red Tape

Pastel can’t be mixed like regular paint. We pastellists typically have to hunt and peck for the correct hue, value, temperature, tint and chroma in our available sticks. This can lead to the never-ending curse of trying to find the “perfect” stick and a sense that we...

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Companions

My 16-year old daughter in all her wisdom has recommended to me that my blogs can’t all be about technical stuff, so in that vein, I am talking this week about my companions in the studio. So if you don't like photos of cute kids and cats, you may want to skip this...

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Gliders, Burners, Builders and Blenders. Part 4

Blenders Ah... Blenders. I use Blenders like the RED sprinkles among the other sprinkles on the frosting. Yep, very sparingly. This works for me and takes some planning, since I can get carried away with them. Who wouldn’t? Brightest colors, softest feel- what we...

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Gliders, Burners, Builders and Blenders. Part 3

Gliders are the sprinkles on my cupcake. Pastels that are “gliders" are kind of special. They have this uncanny way of gliding over the top of other pastels making them great for deliberate mark-making…. Most gliders are machined (not hand-made) and that makes them...

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Gliders, Burners, Builders and Blenders. Part 2

Builders Builders are my staple sticks. I think of them as the frosting on my cupcake. The delectable part. I am an “indirect" painter and so they have saved many paintings. “Direct" painting is how most oil paintings are handled. The exact color, temperature, value...

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Gliders, Burners, Builders and Blenders. Part 1

So one of the best things about pastel for me is finding out how to get those pesky little sticks to act the way I want them too. No easy task. For years I created things that weren’t quite right and I lost control of paintings along the way. Now, however, beyond...

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The Other Side

When I was in 7th grade I had a crush on a boy on my bus. We were in the same grade and he always sat just ahead of me and had the most amazing blue eyes….. I don’t remember ever having a real conversation with him all through middle school or high school- he made me...

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Fruit Snacks

I love little things. Especially when they remind me of a time and place that has special memories. This tiny smooth pebble has been in my jewelry box among my gold jewelry for the past 15 years. My youngest daughter found it at about the age of 12 months, and kept...

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“Should” is a Four-Letter Word.

I have only one rule in my workshop. It has grown out of many years of well-meaning souls telling me what I “should” or "should not do" with my art. "You should paint in oils.” "You should lower your prices.” “You should raise your prices.” “You should paint more...

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Making a Mark

In the past few weeks I have been working with an awesome new model in my studio. The other day he noticed something interesting while I have been working…. Some days he heard me slashing very loudly on the board and the music I had chosen for that day was louder and...

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Chalk vs Pastel

New visitors to my home often check out my studio and quite frequently neighbors and such know I am an artist, but don’t realize that I work in pastel. Once they see my setup and various sticks laying around, I have quite often heard, “oh! you work in chalk….” In the...

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Firewalking

A few years ago I had the opportunity to walk across hot coals in my bare feet. Yep. There was a big blazing bonfire (actual pic seen here) that burned for hours and then when it burned down, we walked across the red coals. Firewalking has been practiced for thousands...

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Workshop Woes

This past weekend I taught a workshop. And whether you are teaching one or attending one, I have found that there are 3 things that must be tackled head-on…. Number one. The easel. I love my French easel. I got it from an estate sale where another artist had loved it...

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2019

Two years ago I won the very prestigious “Prix des Pastel” Masters Circle Best of Show award at the IAPS convention. (Trust me- no one was more shocked than me. ) I remember an artist coming up to me and saying congratulations, which was then followed by a statement...

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“Grey is not a color…”

When my husband and I were first dating, we went skiing on a very bright sunny day. As we were heading up a ski lift, he asked me to give him an art lesson since he is an engineer and knew I was an artist. I responded by looking down on a row of pine trees that were...

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An “Ode to Aluminum Foil”

I have a quiet friend. A shiny, little helper made from astronaut-worthy stuff that has saved my life and the lives of many pastel sticks…. Like most pastellists I work at an easel with the top of the painting tipped forward about 15 degrees so the dust from the...

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Do You Suffer From PPS?

This disease afflicts many artists and causes indecision, mini strokes, (that are timid) jittery nerves, wimpy colors and a false sense of being accomplished. Yes, it is the dreaded…. Precious Painting Syndrome. Just because you created something, doesn’t mean it is...

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“Powers”

So I discovered what I call the “powers” of pastel- that not all sticks are created equal. I started to rethink about my past and how I had used watercolors. ( I forgot to mention that when I started painting for myself after college, I worked in the watercolor...

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Senneliers

So, Senneliers….. When I bought them they were said to be the “best”. They were lauded as the “softest” and so I thought they would be just the thing for me. So I made paintings- lots of them. I had hoped to make strong paintings that would pop with color, but no...

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My First Pastel

I used pastels for the first time when I was 17. When I was between my junior and senior year of high school, I attended a 2-week art class in the summer at a local art center. This was amazing for me and a first- I had not had a real art class yet unless you counted...

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“Power of Pastel”

So why is this blog called the “Power of Pastel?” If you are familiar with my recent work at all, you know that my travels have led me down a very dusty path to a love affair with pastels. I believe pastel paintings – yes, they are considered paintings, and not...

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3 Reasons

There are 3 reasons why I love and highly respect illustrators. #1 they have to work in a timely manner or else they can’t make any money. They have to meet crazy deadlines, or if not, they don’t get paid. #2 there is always an end goal to illustration, a story that...

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Outer Space

I remember always being fascinated with how things looked in space- the feeling of how objects were placed and the invisible pull between them. My sister, when she was mad at me, would go into my room and move around the items on my dresser or turn them backwards....

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Who Am I?

So, who am I? I guess that is the best place to start for a blog. Over the years I have had a varied path as a student, illustrator, graphic designer, muralist, DJ, freelance artist, teacher and portrait painter. I am a mom of three (four, if you count my husband), a...

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