Monday, February 11, 2013

Cleaning pastels

A wide piece of tape at bottom of easel collects pastel dust  
Stray pastel dust lands on pastel sticks and tools  
Artist's Air Filter System
My studio clean up is moving slowly. I decided to begin with cleaning and organizing pastels. I usually work on 2 or 3 paintings at a time, rotating between them as my interest ebbs and flows. Each painting has its own palette (selection of colors and values), so little piles of pastels accumulate as I work. They get dirty from being piled up next to each other, from my fingers as I transfer from color to color, and from pastel dust falling from my easel. My ideal is to clean up as I go along. I am meditating on that goal while engaged in this current massive clean-up project. Dakota Art Pastels sells an Artists's Air Filter System that hooks onto the bottom of the easel and costs $1449. I do not have one of those. I do have a vacuum cleaner and access to rags, water and a pail.

Barbara Newton's Cherry Pastel Cleaner
Low-tech pastel cleaning system w/fresh cornmeal
Barbara Newton recently blogged about her Cherry Pastel Cleaner. They cost $89. I do not have one of those. I use the low-tech/low-cost method of putting pastels in a box of cornmeal and shaking them around to get them clean.

3M particulate mask
A couple years ago I suffered a serious lung problem that kept me out of the studio for almost a year. Although it was not attributed to inhaling pastel dust, my pulmonologist and an occupational health specialist instructed me to use an industrial face mask while painting with pastels.  I wear it whenever I'm in my studio, especially during clean-up. It fits tightly and leaves marks that blend in nicely with my laugh lines. When things are going well in my studio, I am very happy. I don't generally laugh in my studio unless something funny comes on the radio, but my heart often beats with joy and contentment. My 7-year-old grandson has a great sense of humor. A couple months ago he mailed me these jokes: Q: Why was the art dealer in debt? A: He didn't have any Monet. Q: What did the artist say to the dentist? A: Matisse hurt. Q: What is red and smells like blue paint? A: Red paint. Now I'm laughing!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Studio of Horrors

No! No! Don't make me go in there!
Every day I think about painting--about doing the thing I love to do. But I haven't been doing it! Why? Where's the disconnect between my intention and my action? What's holding me back? What's the obstacle? What am I avoiding? I am avoiding going into my studio! Painting clothes and plein air gear are piled outside the door! Inside, every surface is cluttered with pastels, paper, reference photos, finished paintings, paintings in progress, pastel dust...yuck! Today is the first day of the rest of my life, people. It's 3:17PM on Wednesday afternoon, and this is notice that within 24 hours, there will be changes made, and I will be the one making them! Stay tuned...

Friday, February 1, 2013

Art from my heart will help raise funds for nonprofits, school

"Girl in a Green Shirt Grooming Her Horse"/pastel/7.5x5
My professional career prior to art was devoted to public service with nonprofits, schools and governmental entities. I'm a strong believer that everybody has something to give, be it time, talent or treasure and am pleased to support the following organizations through donations of my artwork.

Parenting Now! (formerly known as Birth To Three) is holding its annual fundraising event on February 15, and included in their auction are three paintings I've donated to fit their theme of Midnight in Paris:  "Roses in a Blue Vase";  "Girl in the Green Shirt Grooming Her Horse"; and "Homage to Mary Cassatt's Girl Arranging Her Hair." The organization provides parenting education and support for families with young children and is my favorite nonprofit. I'd like to thank the following friends who also donated works of art to the auction: Celeste Bergin, Carol DeGregory, Maris Cavanagh, and Janet Amundson-Splidsboel. (Please see earlier blog posting for photos of their work.)

"Quiet Hour," depicting a lovely late afternoon on Sauvie Island, will be auctioned off at Oregon Repertory Singers' Vegas, Baby! fundraiser on February 23, along with "Pink Tulips at Dusk."

"Quiet Hour"/pastel/9x12
In support of Holy Redeemer Catholic School, I've donated two paintings, "Monastery of the Precious Blood," and "The Old Rose Motel Sign." The school will hold its annual fundraiser auction, "Reach for the Stars," on February 23.
"Old City of Roses Motel Sign"/pastel/8.5x11