Saturday, July 29, 2017

First Impressions

First Impressions  8.5 x 6.5 Pastel  ©Sheila Ashley Liston
Available $95

Ahh...first impressions! These cosmos were lining the walkway to the entrance of the Pemaquid Art Gallery at Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Park in Bristol, Maine. This colorful display welcomed us as we entered the gallery of some outstanding art. What a treat!

I could have stayed there the whole day, soaking in the beauty of the lighthouse and ocean, and the gallery as well. The weather was a perfect fall day in October last year. The only thing better than all this, was that I had an appointment to reconnect with my treasured friend. What a blessing it was, to see my friend, Pat Parker, again after so many years!  
We started right in where we left off back then, as though it was yesterday! It's so much fun to paint the memory of that day, reliving every moment. These times are more important that the end result of an actual painting being produced.

Here's some progress shots from the beginning. I've come to believe that paintings have to become a bit ugly and unruly at first.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Sulphur Springs

Sulphur Springs   5 x 7¼    Pastel    $75     ©Sheila Ashley Liston

This is a favorite place of mine where the gentle sounds of flowing waters invite me to enjoy quiet reflection.

I love the entanglement of the roots that time has laid bare as they are the vessels delivering the lifeblood to the trees. Much water has tumbled across the shale creek bed and yet those roots remain strong and balanced. So many times nature tells an underlying story of one of life's truths. That is the importance of planting ourselves where we are firmly grounded, and staying true to our roots and our calling. 

Often time does not permit finishing a painting onsite. My aim is to lay the groundwork of the drawing and to begin to make color notes of the landscape. Here the painting is roughed in and the values are established using hard Nupastels early on.  Usually my husband or I take photos of the scene for reference as I work to finish the painting later. Back in the studio, I can correct any problems with the drawing in this stage. Next I begin to add colors, while I work to make the dark areas even darker and to make the light areas lighter to create a bit of contrast. I keep in mind where I want the focal point to be and there is where I place the most contrast. 

I was fortunate to have a picnic table nearby where I could sit and hold such a small painting while I worked. There was room there to lay out my palette of colors on the table. This is a rare experience that did not require packing the easel and all other supplies, as I have been at this site many times in the past.


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Puppy and Wildflowers

Honey     8 x 6    Pastel      ©Sheila Ashley Liston
Available $145

Puppies and does it get any more fun to paint?

Forget-me-knots grow in the spring in my backyard. We had a visiting puppy with us for 2 weeks in late May. "Honey" was only 12 weeks old and so tiny that her head was just barely above the flowers. My husband, Bill,  took the photo opportunity as she ran and played in the midst of them.

Here are the progress shots of the painting from its beginning, to the point where I study it closely to see if it needs anything else. With a few touches in her fur and playing down the flowers directly under her chin, Honey was finished.( See the main photo)

 I used UArt 800 sanded pastel paper that I am beginning to love. The painting was started with a thin watercolor wash to establish the values. This made a nice start that allowed me to get the darks blocked in first. This method leaves plenty of sanded surface that accepts several successive layers of lighter colors and highlights. I worked to create depth by blurring the background flowers, even though the original photo shows sharper detail. I wanted sweet little Honey to be the main focal point.

 This was one of those paintings that cause me to giggle while I paint. I could feel that little furry head that just fit into my hand.  How fun is that?


Monday, July 3, 2017

 Sweet Peas In The Field   8.5 x 11.5   Pastel    Sheila Ashley Liston
Available $150

There's nothing like bringing back memories of another time through sweet peas by the roadside...

The evening sun had cast its warm glow across the field, and I knew then that this sight was destined to become a painting.

I wanted to try UArt 800 grit sanded pastel paper for the first time. Tones of black Inktense stick with water were used to establish values.

Then I used harder pastels (Nupastels and Rembrandt) to begin putting in local color.  I approached tentatively without knowing how many layers of pastel that the paper could hold. I finished the successive layers with softer Unison and Sennelier brands. I was happy with how the paper held many layers allowing detail especially in the foreground flowers. I will definitely use it again. I look forward to trying the coarser grits as well.