Packaging Original Pastels

Today I packaged up some original cactus pastels. I love to make and sell original art, and I have found a practical cost effective way to do so. I slide pastels into a clear plastic sleeve that matches the size of the original art, and then slide a piece of foam core behind the artwork. This allows me a smudge free way to handle finished pastels and they are much easier to store and ship than frames.

I love working on a series, and seeing them together makes me feel happy and proud!

Thick with Thorns

7″x5″ pastel on sanded paper

“Life is thickly sown with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to pass quickly through them. The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.” -Voltaire

Pastels are my favorite medium to introduce people to making art. Pastels are saturated in color, very forgiving, and fun to work with. If you have the desire to make art, consider taking my upcoming workshop. Feb 12-14

Creating an Art Habit #6

The paper trail left by the production of art can be an artist’s own worst enemy. I once challenged one of my classes to make 100 works of art, and told them they could keep only the 100th piece.

Creating drafts allows for growth, experimentation, and fresh lines created by confident, muscle memory.

10″x8″ marker on Canson paper with pink acrylic

I love these little ballerinas. I previously did a pastel of them, and wanted to try again. Believe it or not, the sketch needed to come after the pastel for me. Pastels are much more forgiving than felt tip markers, so I needed to work out the lines in pastel and then try it in marker.

Together In The Thorns

16″ square oil on gessoed Masonite panel

I painted a gauche version of this painting a couple of years ago. It was titled “Nesting Pair”. I painted at the hospital again today, and I watched countless couples walk by. I watched men push their wives in wheelchairs, or wives walk while their husbands were wheeled down the hall in a hospital bed. I thought about how illness might be a thorn in their lives. There are all kinds of thorns that pop up in relationships: finances, work problems, even internal problems where the thorns are coming from the relationship itself. I really admire couples who work to stay a nesting pair despite the thorns that pop up in their lives.

Rejoice Because Thorns Have Roses

20″x16″ oil on panel

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses. “Alphonse Karr (1856)

I had the pleasure of painting in the Plaza of Baylor hospital in downtown Dallas today.

As I painted I experienced so beautiful it took me a minute to place what it was. It was a cello, warming up.

The cellist was just out of my view, but his music blessed my painting, and the lives of those passing through one of the busiest corridors of Baylor hospital today.

I am so grateful to be part of the Arts and Medicine program. I bet I talked to a hundred people today as I painted. I am touched an amazed by how many people talked to me and shared stories of the artists they have know to their diagnosis.

Creating an Art Habit #5

I personify my art supplies. I imagine they talk to each other the ways the toys in the cabinet did in “The Velveteen Rabbit.” The brand new ones are snobs acting fancy, but the much loved art supplies know that they really aren’t worth much as art supplies, their true value lies in the potential art they may become.

These pastels might feel sad as they lay in a box as bits of chalk, however, they become joyful and proud as they become a meadow, a flower, and a sunrise.

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Creating an Art Habit #4

What are your excuses? I have heard: If only I had enough time, if only I had a studio, if only I could retire, if only my kids were grown…

Guess what? If you wait to cross all those things off your list, you will forever be waiting. Learn to use the time, space, and materials you have to make something today. Then do it again tomorrow.

My minivan studio during an hour long ballet class.

Call Back List

10″x8″ mixed media sketch

You know this feeling…waiting to hear. Perhaps it was a job interview or test result not a cast list you waited for, but the feeling is the same. I love how this image captures patient girls on the left and a warm hug on the right. It could have been a hug of condolence, or strength to read the names, or maybe even celebration. Next time you are waiting for big news, remember how important it is to have someone to hug when it comes, and invite someone to wait with you.