[singlepic id=360 w=320 h=460 float=left] Between the Pastel 100 coming out and my acceptance to Art on the Square, I thought I probably had better get my butt over to the pastel side of the studio for a bit. I'd been having too much fun painting in oils, and was getting into a pretty nice groove there. But no matter how many hundred pastels I might have on hand, the first early shows going onto my schedule always seem to induce unnecessary and unreasonable panic.

So I rolled with it and made a few small pastel pieces first, then Villafranca, left, which I named after an obscure species of lemon. The piece looked... well... lemony, and sort of Mediterranean, and the name seemed to capture both aspects. I wasn't even through with it before I was back on the oil side, though---seized with panic yet again as I realized I may have oil shows while most of my oil work is hanging in the Kress gallery.

The drama never ceases.

Pastel Journal's Pastel 100 2010

[singlepic id=198 w=320 h=460 float=left] Apparently, the Pastel Journal's Pastel 100 issue is out, and I'm happy to report that my pastel, Horizon Study (left), received an honorable mention in the contest. The Pastel Journal is an internationally-read magazine dedicated to the pastel medium. Their extremely popular annual contest gives awards to the top 100 pastels submitted. The awards are divided into five top prizes, then split into five different subject categories, within which there are first, second and third place awards, and honorable mentions. My honorable mention is in the Still Life and Floral category. The other categories include landscape, portrait, animal/wildlife, and abtract/non-objective.

The nice thing about this contest is that you can submit any piece done within the past few years---even if it is sold. Which reminds me: Lorraine, if you are reading this, I'll send you a copy!

Art on the Square

More good news! I've added a new show for 2010: Art on the Square in Belleville, Illinois. This show has been ranked #1 in the country by the Art Fair Sourcebook (the art fair artists' version of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy). It's going to be a long trip, but I am so excited to do my first-ever midwest show. By the way, I only got juried in with pastels. The competition to get into this tiny but excellent show is tough!

Bellevue Arts Museum ArtsFair!

[singlepic id=184 w=320 h=460 float=left] And it begins...

March and April are jury notification months---the pins-and-needles time when I start to find out what my show schedule will look like for the coming year. March has started off on a good note: one of my absolute favorite shows, the Bellevue Arts Museum ArtsFair, has invited me back.

I have to admit, I was a bit worried about this one. I haven't had trouble getting into this show in the past, but this year I have been driving my friends and family crazy worrying over my entry. I felt that I made a mistake with my image choice. Two mistakes, actually. The first was entering an image right after finishing the painting, while I was still perhaps unrealistically enthused about it. It was a good composition, but I later felt it lacked the finish level of my other pieces. The second mistake was entering as soon as the applications became available instead of taking some time to really think about my entry. Once you've submitted an entry on this particular site, there is no changing your mind.

All's well that ends well, however, and I am thrilled to be returning to one of my best shows. There is one small sour note, though. I was only accepted in the Drawing/Pastel category. I guess Bellevue isn't ready for my oils yet, or more likely the other way around. But I'll try again next year, when I will have a much greater selection of oils to enter. That should help my chances considerably. Onward!

Four Seasons, University House, Issaquah

[singlepic id=175 w=460 h=320 float=] Emerald, Bound (above) and seven other of my oil and pastel paintings will be featured in the group show, Four Seasons, at University House in Issaquah, Washington beginning with a reception March 6.

A few months ago I was contacted by the show's curator, who had seen my work at the Bellevue Art Museum show last year. It was nice to be noticed among so many amazing artists, and I am flattered to have been invited to participate. Plus, we get a nice little trip across the mountains this weekend as I take the work over. It won't be practical to turn around and drive back three days later, so I will probably miss the opening reception. But I'm sure it will be a lovely event. To see the invitation, click here.

In the meantime, I'm a bit slow to post new paintings this week! I've spent too much time getting ready for shows this weekend and last, and not enough time planning something to paint. I've been working on a few fierce little paintings this week, but I have large pieces in mind for my final two oils (hard to believe!). Look for those in the next two weeks or so.

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[singlepic id=168 w=320 h=460 float=left] California Dreamin' was the theme for the big preview party at the 2008 Sausalito Art Festival. After two solid months of snow on the ground, I am definitely dreaming of sunshine and art fairs. Walking up the hill from my booth in Sausalito last summer, we saw a tiny yard with these fantastic hydrangea bushes. I took as many photos of them as I thought would be useful, and those hydrangeas have become the basis for a small series including this, my forty-fifth oil, Immersion. I love doing these paintings, and plan to continue the series as I move to pastel. But I'm definitely going to need to get my own hydrangeas first! It turns out that I didn't shoot as much as I thought I did on the way up that hill, and as much as I alter my reference shots for painting, there is only so much I can do with eighteen photos.  

Just a reminder for anyone in the Spokane area: eye4art is this Saturday at Mead High School. I'll be there with a few new pastels and maybe some new oils as well. Find more information on this art show and sale here.

Pastel Break

[singlepic=40,460,280,,] Anyone familiar with my work who has found my new site is probably wondering what is going on. I've shown pastels almost exclusively for the past several years, especially at art fairs where you must jury in separately for each medium. A lot of visitors to my previous site found me through the Pastel Journal or the Dakota Art Pastels Catalogue. And here I am writing post after post about oil painting and oil painting accessories.

Of course, I am still working and showing in pastel. My big push to paint oils lately stems from the need to have a body of work done and dry in time to varnish and show in the spring. I've found most of my work in oil needs a few months of drying time before I can safely apply varnish. Pastels, on the other hand, are a bit more forgiving in a time crunch. I can photograph and frame a pastel on the same day I finish it, if necessary. Therefore, I am pushing back my pastel work until my oils are painted. But I did take a break recently to paint a large pastel which I needed to balance out my show entries for the coming season. So, today I thought I would change things up and post this new pastel work, Smoke Signal No.2. The image may look a bit familiar. I have worked with this particularly dramatic leaf before, in a small pastel study which became a large oil. For this piece I revisited it with a more complex composition and more emphasis on smoky blue-greens vs. red. It was fun to switch back to pastel for a few days, and I am looking forward to doing so again as I come nearer to completion of my winter oil painting project.