Friday, April 27, 2012

Ojai in Plein Air

Landscape is hardwired into our psyche.
It touches our emotions, experiences we've had,
and gives a sense of place.

~Clyde Aspevig

Well, Ojai partly in Plein Air. These are a couple of pastels I worked on at the Richard McKinley workshop. The first is a rather small field sketch. (5x7) I first did a "ground" of a color, going lightly over the paper with a pastel stick, close to a burnt sienna. Then, I went over it with a cloth dipped in alcohol, creating a loose wash effect. (rubbing alcohol, not a cocktail!) This works on the sanded Uart paper but I can't vouch for other brands.

It turned out much more impressionistic than my studio work but it's kind of sweet.

Nature Preserve, Ojai
Pastel Field sketch

The following day, after Richard did a underpainting demo, we used those field sketches to do our larger more "finished" pieces, in the studio.

Here you can see my larger (12x16") very loose, underpainting, on sanded, mounted Wallace paper.

When your technique and your ideas support each other
and the image becomes the vehicle of that expression,
then you will have found your voice or niche.

~Henry Bateman

Here is the finished piece, below. (Or almost finished!) I may add a little something to it later but I need to get away from it, for a bit. I don't want to completely overwork it. That is often the tough part for me! When am I done? Actually, sometimes it's pretty clear but landscapes are where I can get into danger of overworking a piece. Anyway, here it is.

Ojai Nature Preserve, Early Spring
Pastel on paper 2012

It is no longer sufficient to describe the world of nature.
The point is to defend it.

~Edward Abbey

Have a beautiful weekend!
Blessings and light!!

quotes found on

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day 2012


The tree which moves some to tears of joy
is in the Eyes of others only a Green thing
that stands in the way.
Some see Nature all ridicule and deformity,
and by these I shall not regulate my proportions;
and some scarce see Nature at all.

But to the eyes of the man of Imagination,
Nature is Imagination itself.

~William Blake

recent walk in Ojai ...

And peaking out from someone's yard ... a not so subtile reminder of what will happen to us if we don't take care of our beautiful home ...

Because the landscape has always been an integral part of my life,
I have developed a deep sense of belonging to nature
rather than feel apart from it or above it.

~Clyde Aspevig

Blessings and light to you all!

Let's carry Earth Day throughout the year
and take care of this beautiful planet,
that we are so blessed to live on!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Richard McKinley Ojai Pastel Workshop

The artist and the photographer
see the mysteries and the adventure of
experience in nature.

~Ansel Adams

In my life I have been blessed with some great teachers. Some I've gotten to work with for an extended period of time and others ... it may be brief, but just as impactful. This was the second year I've done Richard McKinely's 3 day pastel workshop in Ojai and once again I got so much out of it! Last year I missed my Italian midterm so I could attend!

He is so generous with his knowledge (both in technique and in theory) as well as with his time and energy. He is also very supportive of everyone in the group, regardless of where you land on the experience scale. If you are a pastel artist, I would highly recommend his workshops, (he travels all over) as well as his book Pastel Pointers. Can you tell I am a huge fan? :)

I wanted to run off with his pastel box. Just look at those yummy colors!!! Seriously though, I want a Heilman Box. They are the Mac Daddy, Ferrari of wooden pastel boxes. I cut out a picture of one from the Pastel Journal magazine and pasted it on my vision board. I am working on it!

Richard doing a demo the first afternoon in the Ojai Nature Preserve.

Getting in the big shapes ...

This is his sketchbook of Thumbnails. Good idea to make a small thumbnail to see how the composition will work before you commit to your field sketch. You can also see his value (light and dark) thumbnail and his "Notan" on the bottom left, which is the composition simplified down to only black and white. Preparation people!! ;)

please click to enlarge if you need to better see what's going on!

Getting into a little more detail ...

Finished field sketch ... The light was kind of crazy out there to photograph. It was a beautiful little pastel painting!
ta daaaaa!!!

Field Sketch by Richard McKinley

In nature there are few sharp lines.

~A.R. Ammons

Richard's pastel box again. Can't get over it.

That afternoon we did our own field sketches (I will share later) then the next morning he did another demo, a larger piece, working from his field sketch.

This time he worked on mounted Wallace paper and did a watercolor underpainting.

Check out this underpainting! It's already so gorgeous and yummy before he even puts any pastel on it!!

And here is the almost finished piece. I say almost because I think he added a couple of little things but it was pretty close to being finished. Sorry it's slightly blurry. If you ever get to see his work in person, it's absolutely gorgeous and the light sings! Sings, I tell you! It's as if light is emanating from the piece.

Pastel by Richard McKinley

To see more of Richard McKinley's work click HERE. Every year we have a little pizza and vino night and he does a slide show of his work. This piece HERE, is one of my favorite pieces! If you are interested in seeing my post from last year, out at Lake Casitas, click here.

His blog Pastel Pointers Blog is very informative, so if you are into pastels or plein air painting, definitely check it out!

Art will never be able to exist without nature.

~Pierre Bonnard

Monday, April 16, 2012

Santa Barbara part 2 - The Pacific Ocean and Devereux Slough

The great sea has set me in motion,
set me adrift,
moving me like a weed in a river.

The sky and the strong wind
have moved the spirit in side me
till I am carried away
trembling with joy.

Inuit Nation

Twilight View, Santa Barbara
Pastel on mounted Wallace Paper

This is one of my pieces that will be in the show on May 2nd, at the Faculty Club at U.C.S.B. I had so much fun driving around taking pictures. Nothing like a beautiful spring afternoon and evening!

The "Slough" (below) is just to the West of Isla Vista, where most of the students live. There were a few walkers and I imagine that if I were working or going to school at U.C.S.B, I would be over there all the time. It was quiet and very peaceful.

Devereux Slough
Late afternoon, early evening

Although he has no form
my eyes saw him
and his glory shines in my mind,
which knows his secret
inner form
invented by the soul ...

... What is beyond the mind,
has no boundary.
In it our senses end.

Mukta says: Words cannot contain him,
yet in him all words are.

~Mukta Bai

Later I walked to the beach cliffs, just Southeast of Isla Vista. The sun was going down and the surfers were making there way out of the water. Some young musician lad, who had been playing music on the beach, handed me this little bunch of flowers as he went on his way.

The tiny bouquet made for a sweet portrait.

Playfully you hid from me.
All day I looked.

Then I discovered
I was you,

and the celebration
of That began.


It was cooling off considerably so I jumped in the car, cranked the heat and made my way home with so many photos, it was difficult to choose which to work from (for the pastel show.) But I can tell you, I was invigorated by all the beauty and fresh ocean air!

The passages in this post are from Mala of the Heart, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt. It was my last purchase from the Bodhi Tree Bookstore before it closed down. It has turned out to be a beautiful purchase.

So much to write about, but I must be on my way!

Hope you are all enjoying a beautiful spring!
Blessings and light!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Santa Barbara part 1 ... Goleta Beach

Goleta Beach
March Afternoon

My first show with Pastel Society of the Gold Coast is going to be May 2, at the Faculty Club at U.C.S.B. It benefits the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Restoration's educational outreach to the community and research on wildlife-friendly corridors on campus lands. So, if you are in the area ... come to the show!

We are supposed to do art from the area around campus, so I drove up week before last to take some pictures. It had been cloudy in parts of the L.A. and Ventura so I wasn't sure what the weather would be like. As you can see, it was a glorious spring day. I lucked out! As I mentioned before, I stayed up there taking photos until sunset so ... stay tuned for part 2!

Keep in the sunlight as much as possible.
Breathe in as much ozone and oxygen as is possible.

~Edgar Cayce

Sometimes I go about pitying myself
And all the while
I am being carried across the sky
By beautiful clouds.

~Ojibway Indian Expression

If we all did the things we are capable of doing
we would literally astound ourselves.

~Thomas Alva Edison

This is the postcard for the show at U.C.S.B., with a beautiful pastel by Lynn Byrne Simon, that she donated for 5 dollar raffle! A Bert Collins piece will also be raffled off! I am definitely buying some tickets!

Hope you are all having an amazing week!

Blessings and light!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Light of the World ... and Chocolate Bunnies

“Behold thine immortal Self resurrected with Christ

in the illuminating Light of Christ Consciousness,

present in every soul, every flower, every atom.”

— Paramahansa Yogananda

Excerpt from a beautiful Easter 2010 message
that I found on the Self Realization Fellowship website.

How deeply our hearts respond to Christ’s tender compassion,
for our own true nature is love.

We rejoice at his victory over human limitations
because within every one of us is the urge to express our boundless soul.

While the world prompts us to live on the surface of life,
reacting to people and experiences according to the ego’s likes and dislikes,
Christ and all God-united souls blaze before us
the trail to freedom and divine expansion.

Gurudeva Paramahansa Yogananda said,
“The love that most persons feel for dearest family and friends,
Jesus felt for the whole world and every living being.”

...To follow in his footsteps, we too must go within.

This Easter, renew your resolve to nourish by meditation
your relationship with the Divine,
and to practice Christ’s way of kindness,
forgiveness and loving service to all.

Sri Daya Mata

I love this Pre-Raphaelite painting. I picked up a postcard of it, many years ago, somewhere on my travels. It's been in a small gold frame in my place, almost ever since. Easter seemed an appropriate time to share it.

Holman Hunt Light of the World
Keble Chapel, Oxford

A Blessed Easter and Passover, my friends!

Blessings and light!