Sunday, March 26, 2017

Study of Woman's Face 6" X 6" Pastel


I had fun with this first effort of a portrait
of a young woman. There were moments of doubt as well
as I tried to work with values in the skin tones
trying to get the correct value for a particular area. There was a LOT of comparing values of one area against another.

I found it's difficult for me to go deep with values in the shady parts of the face.
When you lay out a swipe of brownish pastel stick
which according to the gray scale is the right value,
and see how DARK it looks, you begin
to wonder.

Nevertheless, for a beginning effort, I was pleased with some aspects and realized it'll
be a long road to success. That's okay. I know  that
however much or little I learn it will be certainly more than I know now.

I found a good resource for guidance in the book, "Capturing Personality in Pastel,"
by Dennis Frost.



             

Mr. Frost was an English artist who lived from 1925–1982.
He was a professional portrait painter who painted many commissioned pieces,
but loved to select his own, what he called his "character" pieces -
those displaying an intriguing personality. Emotions, features, expressions and
posture traits all helped him decide who showed a unique individuality he wished to express in pastel.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Curtain Call 9" X 9" Pastel

It is so good to be back posting once again. As planned, I used my time recovering
 to read, to research and to plan some projects  and
themes I'd like to try. There are so many good articles and visual examples of
art techniques on the internet now, and
 I was fortunate to see many demos that stroked that 
excitement and curiosity button in my head.

I certainly want to thank you all
for your prayers, thoughts and kind, kind words
during that time. I'm doing well, and look forward to reading 
your blogs and seeing the new ideas and works that you post.

Our weather here is sunny and warm and the flowers are beginning to
blossom. "Love is in the air" as you can see in these photos my husband recently took.




 

Friday, January 13, 2017

A Good-Bye (for now) Message





Dear Blogging Friends,

Very early in the morning on January 3rd
I suffered as many have before me a familiar home accident.

Funny how fast something can happen.
I fell and broke a hip and damaged some ribs which all left me with 
many harmonious color patterns over my body.

Our new local hospital took wonderful care and
put me back together with a partial hip replacement.

Lots of helpful meds, physical therapy and stellar nursing are easing my way back to walking and all the little things that we take for granted until they are not
there.

I won't be posting for some time, and
will probably not be able to comment
on your beautiful, inspiring artworks as often as I would like. But, from my  
new comfortable, designated daytime "sitting" chair I can see my
tubes of paint, boxes of colorful pastels and brushes
and books for inspiration.

So, I'm sure, with time I will not be able to resist the pulls and tugs
of the opportunity to make art.

I will sincerely, desperately miss you
and thank you once again for all you have given me: 
ideas, feedback, encouragement and company along this
thrilling road of art discovery.

Take care, my friends.💙

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Tiny Beauty 5" X 7" Pastel on Wallis paper

                                                              
  
Wishing all of you
an amazing and peace-filled holiday season.
Each of you 
has been an amazing source of 
encouragement and friendship to me,
and I am so grateful.

Bless you all and may
2017
bring you happiness and success 
in all that you try to do.

Carol Flatt

Monday, October 10, 2016

Side By Side 12" X 12" Oil on cradled panel

        
     The goal for this piece was to incorporate soft or
disappearing edges as much as I could. 
I found that using a fan brush really helped with this.
At one point I thought I might
be finished, yet I "felt" it needed something more.

An artist friend agreed with me, and she suggested darkening 
the values of the shadows from the plums,
from the jar and in the foreground. 
She said so often if something doesn't feel "right"
the problem often lies with the values.
She was correct because when I lowered the values
of each of the above areas it made a huge
difference.  

This painting is done on a wooden cradled panel and I painted 
the sides the same soft blue used in the painting. 
It may be hung then with no framing if you choose.

Click here to see purchase details.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Ready For Their Close-ups 8" X 8" Oil on board

                                                                
Many, many years later I still smile when I remember Garrison Keillor's
monologue about growing up in his small town 
where EVERYBODY grew tomatoes in the summertime.
You can only give away so many tomatoes so many times, so the
locals resorted to sneaking around at night and placing them in one anothers' cars!

I laughed because in the small town in which I grew up
they really did that! There was kind of a unwritten summer competition the
neighbors had. Everyone had grown so many beautiful, juicy tomatoes
which they gladly shared with neighbors. At times, we wondered what we were going to do with all of them! There were some very creative solutions as I remember.

I always enjoy painting tomatoes. Each has their own personality as pears do.
Getting a deep, dark  red is a challenge for me, so this time I
added a little black to my cadmium reds or vermilion, and it seemed to work alright. 
Black is powerful so you have to add it in small amounts until it is the shade you need.

Have a great week, everybody! Fall is beginning to show itself here
in Arizona with crisper temps in the a.m. and evenings. Yaay!
Goodbye 105 to 110 degree temperatures!!


Monday, August 15, 2016

Tropical Vibe 18" X 18" Pastel and ink crystals

                                                              
I continue to work in an abstract direction 
along with the more representational style that seems to surface in all that I do.
This piece is mostly about color and shapes
presented in a "grid" format composition.
I've used this exact color combination before in another "abstract" work
described in an earlier post. I've always been a blue/green kind of girl
for whatever reason. 

The process was lots of fun as much of the background is 
spontaneous and does it's magic mostly out of my control. I used UArt 400 paper
for pastel which allows for a wet wash.
With a large brush I wet the surface and sprinkled three different 
colors of "Brusho" ink crystals over the wet surface. 

The crystals react to water in exciting ways similar to what watercolor
 does when you drop alcohol on top. Here's a photo of my UArt paper 
after it dried.
You can see how the wet crystals (powder) spreads, merges and blends.
The only control I have is the amount put on, the direction it flows
(you can tilt the paper as it reacts,) and blotting it if you wish to modify
the depth of color or rework that area.

As I said above I used a grid composition and marked the spaces 
where the pastel circle (positive and negative) could go if I decided to place one there. I do think this method has many possibilities for different kinds of backgrounds or texture patterns.
I placed a mat over the painting just to see what it would look like
if it were to be framed. Please forgive the darkness of this photo. I took it
 in less than ideal light.
Click HERE to see on my DailyPaintworks page.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Ripe and Ready 12" X 24" oil on panel

                                                                       
As a child we used to travel in the summertime from Washington State 
to the Midwest to visit relatives. It seemed like a
long, long, long trip for my brother and me so my
mother would stop as often as possible to allow us to stretch and let off a little 
some of our pent-up energy.

No matter how often we found ourselves in
a rural area (it seemed like most of it was rural) we would find ourselves ready to stop at each and every fruit stand between Washington and Missouri!
Farmers would take their produce to a
stand or a pull out by the side of the road and sell it.  

They usually had everything from fresh corn to 
cherries, from apples and honey to peaches.
They were always perfectly ripe
and as juicy as could be.
We would get some
items for immediate consumption and save the rest for breakfast.

There still are a few stands left today if you travel the back-roads, but not nearly as many. 
I do miss that opportunity to get some fresh produce and
chat a bit with the local people. 

Hope you have a great week, and may the weather be pleasant wherever you are!
It's supposed to be 115 degrees here in Tucson today!
I told my husband this morning we need to go to Dubai to cool down.
 It's only going to be 105 there!

Click here to go to auction page.
 



Sunday, May 29, 2016

Promenade Oil on board 9" X 12"

                                                                      
                                                                         
I love this time of year and through
the Fall as produce begins to ripen and is showcased so beautifully in 
grocery stores and produce stands. 

One of my favorites is the little cherry tomatoes
that you can easily down in one or two bites. They are vividly 
colorful, and they provide the artist an opportunity to 
blend analogous colors ( reds, oranges, and yellows) and
complementary colors (reds and greens.)

For more fun
the green tops which can go in sometimes comedic directions
offer another opportunity to be creative.

I find at times that reds are difficult to photograph.
The camera wants to merge the different values of reds into
a single value. So sometimes  it's hard to pick up the subtleties
of each hue. With a little photo editing I think the true colors came through in the
tomatoes, the vine and other greenery. 

Although the background appears white it is actually a
very soft, pale, warm yellow which I worked and worked over again to try to match and couldn't quite get it.
Just think white corn or platinum blonde and you have the background color!

I hope your week is wonderful and you'll see all the beauty around you!!

For purchase information please visit DailyPaintworks .

Monday, May 2, 2016

Chestnut-Backed Chickadee 6" X 6" oil on panel

                                                                        
                                                                 Another bird!
I have really enjoyed painting these small critters.
I can see how bird-watchers can be
so adamant about what they do. It sort of "catches" you after awhile.

I'd love to have some feeders and watch them as they do their thing, but feeders bring Pack Rats who then bring snakes, and since we have a generous share of 
Rattlesnakes in this area I'll forego the observations
that concern feeding the birds.

Hope your week has started well, and you'll enjoy the rest of it.
Happy Painting!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Diptych each panel is 6" X 12" oil on panel


This is my first diptych. I've called the pair "Cactus Chatter."

These Curved-Bill Thrashers are a common bird in this area. They are not the most glamorous of birds, but they do have a pretty song. This time of year they are especially musical as they sing to find a mate.

My husband took the original photo with both birds in the same photo. I decided it might make a good diptych and divided the one photo into two parts. I modified one of the

cacti to fit more naturally into the painting. Below is a photo of the two panels together.
                                                                   
I can imagine both panels framed separately then hung next to one another on a wall. Or, I have seen both panels framed in the SAME 12" X 12" frame. Both methods seem to be effective.

This background was the third one I painted. The first two were done with a shade of yellow. It sounded good in theory, but in reality I felt the yellow took away from the birds even though it was a mellow yellow. This blue and white mixture allows the birds to be the main focus.

Here is a link to see this on DailyPaintworks. Click HERE .

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Dissipation 8" X 8" Pastel on pastelmat

                                                                          
                       In my efforts to try more abstraction techniques with some of the
subjects I choose to paint I thought I would try abstracting
this marigold by trying to make it look like it 
was dissipating into thin air.

I started with just a little section. Then I added two more
areas to "blur." I could have done more, but I thought I'd begin with a smaller amount, then add more if I had the inclination. One can't try every idea on every painting,
so another day, another subject, another approach!

Hope you will all have a great week!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Night Bloomer 9" X 12" Pastel on panel

                         














                  Version 1                                                                                Version 2       

                             We have several plants in the area called Night Bloomers.
In the Spring these cacti come alive and send out huge buds. The blossoms are also HUGE, sometimes 9 to 10 inches across. They come in orange, white, and pink from pale to vivid. 

They got their name because they do bloom at night at least to start.
My neighbors wait patiently for this to happen
ready with their cameras.

The problem is these lovely blossoms last mostly for only one day or at the most, two.
So you have to be ready when they come!

I may go back in and change the shadows to a more solemn color
and perhaps delete the shadows in the background altogether. 
Although the reference photo had them where they are and 
almost that shade of
blue, I'm thinking it's a bit much.
I'll live with it for awhile and see.

FOLLOW UP 
As you can tell by Version 2 above I did go in the next day and edit the painting.
I think the intensity of the original blue overwhelmed me
a bit so I grayed it down and changed the shape a little. Blue is my favorite color,
but I think the version I originally had detracted from the plant itself.
The upper shadows were deleted
as I thought they were "shouting" and took away from the plant
as a whole.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

"Within" 8" X 8" Pastel on UArt

Happy New Year everyone!
I hope 2016 will be a great year for all you try to do!

I continue to experiment with abstracts based on 
real-life items or parts of them, similar to the agave abstract in the previous post.
Basing the abstract on something real gives me a starting place
for this new direction.

About a year ago my son took a photo of a rose
he saw while walking. 
I loved the colors and the way the petals kind of
swept around the center. Here is his photo of the original rose.


I'm hoping to become familiar enough with the components and arrangement of shapes, line, value, color, etc. to feel confident in designing my own abstracts.
To that end, I've ordered two books from Amazon.
One is written by Chris Cozen called " Acrylic Color Explorations," and
the other is a new book coming out in February called
"Bold Expressive Painting" by Annie O'Brien Gonzales.

Both women use abstract, semi-abstract or abstract expressionism design
in their mixed-media work.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Blessings To You At This Time of Year!

Wishing all of you a 
wonderful holiday filled with family, friends,
joy, love and peace.

Thank you for being supportive blogging friends 
who have given me encouragement,
feedback, information and support
with your comments
and with your creative and moving art which inspires me!

Thank you!
Merry Christmas and a hopeful, peaceful 2016!
Carol Flatt

 
 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Agave Abstract 6" X 12" Oil on masonite

                                                                      
I've been wanting to experiment with some abstract ideas for some time. It's certainly taken me a while to get started...working up the courage, I guess. I think part of it, too, is that I didn't really understand what abstract art was. I knew I liked some abstract paintings - others, I guess I just didn't understand.  Then, I ran across Mark Mehaffey's article about abstract art and it made more sense to me. I even ended up buying one of his DVDs where he demonstrated using acrylics on Yupo paper which was excellent in my opinion. At least I let go of my inhibitions concerning painting in this style.

I found that I prefer abstracts to be based on something in reality. That is, to use the concept of a real thing - a tree, for example - and do something with it that is unusual or unexpected. Maybe something emotional or conceptual. Or, just play with colors and shapes.

My husband is a photographer who photographs many plants and animals of our desert environment. Here is one he took some time ago of an agave plant on its way out.
                                                             
             
When they're in their prime, they are magnificent and some can be quite large. When they die they just sort of crumble and collapse into themselves. But, sometimes the colors can become saturated with vibrant greens, blues, purples and grays. Some of the shapes that come about because of the changes in the structure are interesting. I took his photo and tried cropping it in several ways to see what might make an interest design with lines, shapes and colors that were pleasing. Here, are some examples I found:


 
I think I could have gone another direction and used the shapes and colors as a starting place and not been so precise with my edges. Just put the paint on in some planned way.
Much to learn. Hopefully, more to come.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Can You Hear Me Now? 12" X 12" Oil on panel

                                                                              
With this painting I used for the first time a set of Cobra Water-Soluble Oil Paints. I had read that with these paints no mediums are required and cleanup is done with water and soap. Sounded good to me. I was delighted with the creamy texture of the paints, and Cobra has some striking colors that are rich and heavily pigmented. The only problem I encountered was the long waiting time to dry particularly the initial background. That was a bit discouraging as I usually come back in the second day and paint the "fat over lean" stage.

I'd heard that if you add water to the paint it will take a long time to dry, but I hadn't added any water or used any mediums even the kinds that one can choose to use for this type of paint. All in all it took three days just for the thin background layer to dry. I will use them again and see if other colors in my set do the same or if the experience repeats itself. I hope not because the colors again are so gorgeous and they have a luscious texture.

My husband took the reference photo for this painting with two Cottontails sitting side by side engrossed in something they saw. For me, it was all about the ears!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Bright Spot 5" X 7" Pastel on Ampersand

                                                                             
This little bouquet caught my eye with its beautiful colors against the creamy white. I loved their little button centers and the opportunity to play with colors I haven't used in a while.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

They Hang Out at the Local Branch 8" X 8" Pastel SOLD

                                                                                
I have to smile at the path this painting took to completion. I started with an Aquabord made for watermedia. I had just purchased a couple of new tubes of w/c and thought this would be a good time to use them. I liked the transparent colors, but decided to paint pastel over the watercolor to bring out some of the textural qualities in the photo.

Pastel needs to be worked on a surface that has grit on it in order for the pastel to stick to the surface. I put two coats of clear gesso over the watercolor which created a sanded-like coating for the pastel. I didn't lose the watercolor, but was able to create some interesting textures with the pastels particularly in the leaves. Who says a girl can't change her mind?!

Available HERE.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Play Time! Testing New Waters!

                                                                             
One of the things I tried to do during the past few months is experiment with a few new materials I purchased or old materials I hadn't had a chance yet to try. Sometimes, as artists, (especially me anyway) we feel an urgency to "produce," to jump right into the process of creating art instead of exploring what the products we use can do. What are they capable of, how do they feel, what surfaces produce a look I like, what tools can I use, etc.   I have been guilty of this so many times, and yet, I feel "I don't have the time." So I plunge right into the planning, preparing and painting of a work of art and miss out on one of the most valuable learning experiences I could have. 

Many of you who use water media may be already very familiar with this product. I've been using primarily oil paints and pastels, so when I saw an ad for BRUSHO I thought perhaps I could use it for the underpaintings I do for pastel. Besides, I have always carried a secret desire to do some abstract watercolors and thought this product might be fun to try for effects.

I purchased these five containers of Brusho after reading a description on Dick Blick's website. They are watercolor ink crystals that you can sprinkle or brush onto paper, canvas or wood. The "crystals" are more like a powder to me, but once you put them on a wet surface they seem to blossom and create their own designs and patterns. They come in a multitude of colors (see them here) but I purchased the five you see above. Below, are some examples of some very unscientific results when I used it on regular watercolor paper (140 lb.) or Yupo paper.

Scarlet used on regular w/c paper

I left the paper white, wet it with a brush and sprinkled a relatively small amount of crystals.














                                                                                                                                                              


Gamboge and Burnt Sienna  on Yupo


I think when Brusho is used on Yupo you get a more detailed, clearer pattern.

(Julie, this might be fun to try on parts of the wonderful bird nests you paint.)









Leaf Green on Yupo


Again, a more detailed design. Each color seems to have a subtle combination of another color or two. Very subtle, yet it helps to make it more interesting.







         
Leaf Green and Yellow Ochre on regular W/C paper


Less detailed but an interesting marbled look.











A couple of other observations:

*You can use a spritzer with water to move the color around. Be careful. A little water goes a long way.

* Use a tissue or paper towel to dab up runs or to minimize amount of paint.

*When the water dries there may be some powder on the surface that escaped the dissolving effect of water. It can be brushed off fairly easily.

*A warning! There are two ways to open the canisters. Punch a small hole in the indentation on the lid, or pull the plastic "sealer" around the lid. HOWEVER, if you pull the sealer do it slowly and carefully. When my lid popped off my white slacks were sprinkled with about half a teaspoon of a bright, pretty Gamboge color. It was my fault, but I had to really work to clean it. I'm just saying...