Exciting news!

I am very excited to tell you all about this. Not only are Mark and I headed up to Mass to visit our daughter for her birthday, we are also visiting Mass because I got into a show!

Yes, that’s right. The piece below is the one that was juried into the PPSCC (Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod). We will be headed down there for the Opening Reception on July 20th.

Irrepressible Irises (2019)

Come see this work along with many other talented pastelists at the PPSCC’s national exhibition starting July 17 and running August 11 2019.  The event will be held at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod in South Yarmouth. Hope that you all can stop by to see the work! Can’t wait.

Happy Fourth!

Hope that you all had a great Fourth of July. I know I certainly did spending some time with family, good friends, and painting. Missing the beach up in Mass and can’t wait to head there this Wednesday. Gotta start packing and make sure I fit my pastels in so I can paint at the Cape.

Mowry on Unified Color

Unified Color – Reflections on an an exercise proposed by Elizabeth Mowry, PSA.

DSC_0011

For more details on the original exercise I would recommend purchasing a second hand copy of this publication.  The title is:  The Pastelists’ Year, see pages 36 through 39.  Sadly, this book is currently out of print but you might find it on one of the online book stores.  At the Pleinair Convention Elizabeth did mention that she was working on another book which has now been published and is also available for purchase online and in some larger bookstores such as Barnes and Noble.

Above:  My rendition of this exercise on Uart 400 sanded paper using a combination of soft pastels and pastel pencils.  No underpainting, only vine charcoal to begin.

You will need:

  • Your pastels
  • Pastel pencils (I use Carbothello and Derwent)
  • Mid tone grey canson paper, toned sanded or suede paper ( we’ll discuss underpaintings later on – for the moment just select a neutral), say 6” x 4”
  • Scrap piece of the same paper to experiment with your chosen pastels
  • Paper towel to keep the pastels you are working on together and separate from your collection
  • About 1 hour from start to finish – less if you have no fear
  • Scrap paper and black fine liner pen or pencil for value sketch

We are going to either recreate the above picture in the style of Elizabeth Mowry or take one of your own original photos and follow along with this same exercise.

Step 1:

Create a value thumbnail:  Pencil or pen sketches show the value scale of a scene.  Do a quick value sketch then choose your palette.  Limit it to 5 colors or hues, with five values in each hue.  Yes, this is a limited palette but you will potentially have access to 25 pastels.  In fact, the limiting of a palette will give your work a sense of unification of hue.  Keep a piece of scrap paper nearby so you can test the colors you have chosen.  Scumble, smear, stroke in one direction only use hatching, cross hatching, vary pressure, roll your pastel.  You could even find an edge and create organic marks.  Play with the palette you have chosen, see where these experimentations can be used in your color study.

Above:  Example of a value sketch thumbnail from my notebook which I keep with me – always :)))

Step 2:

Establish large value masses:  Sketch in the larger areas on your image in vine charcoal.  Place the first layer of color with soft pastels using diagonal strokes.  Sky, background, grasses, middle ground tree shapes, foreground shapes, trees and three shadows.

Step 3:

Refine the shapes using your soft pastels:  squint at the sky area if you are using your own photo.   For the exercise, I used a mauve and blue pastel as close to the original as I could.  Use a very light touch.  Stroke or scumble in one direction across the sky and allow the first layer to show through the subsequent layers.  Clean your pastel so it is ready for your next stroke.  Move on to the next big shape, squint, shape the trees and shadows across the grasses using the other values on your palette to model the forms.

Step 4:

Unifying color:  This next step aims to represent the direct sunlight on the fields.  Choose a higher value yellow pastel and an ochre pastel pencil.  Recreate the shape of the sunlight where it is indicated in your photo or in the exercise.  Use the pastel pencil on the edges of the shape to allow a value step change from the shapes adjoining the sunlit area.  Next, focus on the background hills.  Lightly scumble the hue you have chosen to represent the light haze on these background hills.  Hint, you could use either a blue or mauve (tending to cool) and use a pastel pencil because you only want to blend this color on the existing layer of pastel.  A light touch is required here, go slowly but deliberately.  The aim is to blend the existing color shape with the majority of the color shape remaining.  Remember, you are experimenting and this is an exercise.  Move forward in your piece, visiting each major shape and refining in the same way with hues and values that work with your piece.

Step 5:

Final details:  Define sky holes in background trees.  Hint, remember sky holes are a deeper value than the general sky hue because of the effect of simultaneous color.  Then add some detail in the foreground grasses but remember less is definitely more.   You need to consider that making the foreground simple lets the viewer complete the space with their own thoughts and visions.  The very last step is to add any hints of field color from wild flowers.  Before doing this though, think about where you want your viewer’s eyes to travel in your piece.  Consider – you do not have to copy your source photo slavishly, you can change anything you wish to change to create interest and to strengthen your composition.  Stop.  Step back from your easel.  Make a cup of tea or coffee then come back to your piece with fresh eyes.  Review your work.  Lastly glue this exercise into your notebook covered with a piece of glassine paper to prevent smudging or pin it to a board where you can look at it from time to time.

Here’s why this is a good exercise:

Making color studies is an excellent method of capturing the local color, the values, the large shapes in a small format.  It is also a great warm up exercise when you first come into your painting space or studio each day.  A study is also a way to learn through experimentation and risk.   Who knew all this?  Elizabeth Mowry.

….A study is exactly what the word implies:  a place for learning through experimentation and risk.  Taking the time to do small color studies helps to keep each idea about a place separate.  The larger paintings that result from such studies will retain their strength and freshness.’

Elizabeth Mowry from her book The Pastelists’ Year

Technology alert:  Use your photo program on your computer to enhance your photos.  Play with the color balance.  Copy your photo and make it black and white.  I use iPhoto and Aperture.  I also make notan and value studies for each painting in my notebook, referencing the number of my photo on my computer so I can access it quickly.  I also create a file on icloud so it’s accessible on my ipad.    Better still than working from photos — leave your studio or desk and venture outside.   Try working en pleinair at least once a week if the weather permits but take a camera with you too.

Happy painting.

Anne Maree Healey

People

Have been attending a portrait session each week for a couple of months now.  Very challenging, love the concentration time and not every week produces a good painting.  Here is a sample of some that I worked on a little once I returned to the studio.  I tend to refine for a couple of days after the session but try to stop before I lose that loose mark making.

Getting involved in my local pastel society! January 2017.

So, we moved to Houston, Texas a little over two years ago and to try to find 'my people' I searched local art societies for Pastel and for life drawing sessions.  Success was swift.  I found a little gem, the PSST or Pastel Society of Southeast Texas.  I went to their meetings, I volunteered to help out with donations for their national show, I took on a little more responsibility and well, now I am President.  Ummm, what was I thinking!  This is going to take time away from painting ......

This blog will chronicle the happenings in the life of a volunteer in a Pastel Society, specifically the PSST.   It is a little window into the mechanics that make the PSST run.

2017, like the year before and the one before that, is an exciting and busy year for the PSST.  We currently have our Members' Exhibition for the month of March at the Rotunda Gallery, St. Luke's Methodist Church on Westheimer.  The national show is slated for April and plein air events are taking place in San Antonio later this month.  The list of things to do continues as the PSST also runs mini workshops after its monthly meeting/demos and there are more plein air events planned later in the year.  We have a blog, a newsletter and a Facebook site.  We have a website which holds everything together and is our major tool for communication to our members and to the world in general. Hello world, we are the PSST we have a secret!  What is that secret? A wonderful group of people, working together as a team who really make things happen.  Phew, lucky for that because without people to get involved, PSST would not be as vibrant and welcoming and full of ideas and talent!  

What happened in December/January?  Handover of duties started (in a bar) with the outgoing Prez and incoming Prez chatting informally about what needs to happen to keep the Society ticking along.  Thanks Sharon.  So, I learnt about sending out requests for reports from each of the people who hold positions on the Board, collating them into one email and resending them out for everyone to read before the next meeting.  This is an essential technique for having quick, efficient meetings. 

Everyone puts their own little stamp on the organizations they get involved with and on the people they meet.  It is true in the PSST and it is also true, you do make great friendships and learn and grow as an artist, as a citizen, as an individual when you get involved.  

Thanks for reading and happy painting!

PS:  And, I get in front of my easel every day too!  


Mark Making: practical, technical, fun:)

Thanks for glancing at this blog.   It will be very informative and brief, to the point of ridiculousness.  It’s called Pastel Bytes.  These little gems will be about the practical technical aspects of pastel painting,  drawing or the bones of painting, art history from Leonardo to Banksy, a spotlight of a current Pastelist’s work, and a glimpse of  what’s on my easel and how I manage my studio.

  1. Mark Making (very practical, very technical, and a lot of fun:)

Pastels are versatile (extremely so) and are excellent for both drawing and painting.  Take some time now and then to remind yourself what that little stick of compressed pigment can do.  Find 20 minutes to practice creating strokes with pastels.  Let’s not think too much about color here, just the strokes you can make with a piece of pastel.

Remember, simply by twisting and turning the sticks, using the tip or breaking the stick (gasp, yes just snap it in half or thirds or whatever) turning the stick on it’s side, you can create a wide range of effects.

You can make soft washes of pigment over grainy or sanded paper.  Barely touch the surface to do this.  Make whisper thin lines, crisp strokes of varying pressure, rough dabs or dots or even dashes.  Try hatching, cross-hatching, overlaying and yes, blending.  Break the sticks, crush them, push the fragments into the paper, grate them over your paper or board then press the gratings into your surface using glassine paper.  Randomness is useful.

That’s it.  You are done!  What did you learn that you can use in your next painting?   Your daily experimentation will add to your pastel tool box.

Don’t forget the cornmeal

Best way to clean my pastels?  Goya Enriched Fine Yellow Cornmeal or Harina de Maiz, Amarillo Fina Enriquecida en Espanyol.   Always give my pastels a cornmeal bath after a painting.  Then I am set up to work on my next painting.  I really wanted to substitute masterpiece for painting but not everything I do is a masterpiece.

Happy Painting!

Solo Show In Lexington, MA

From February to March 2014 only come see Anne Healey’s work at The Minute Shop.

Anne Healey’s new Patriot series is ambitious and exciting.  Using the unique period reenactments of our area as her models, she’s developed a series of pastel paintings which bring the past to life with a fresh contemporary feel.  Her dynamic compositions capture a sense of living history: smoke rises from the muskets and damp mist hangs in the early morning air.  Her sensitive use of the pastel medium gives these works depth and texture.’

Jeanne Rosier-Smith, PSA

Local Fine Artist and Lexington resident, Anne Healey is exhibiting her latest series at The Minute Shop, 9 Muzzy Street, Lexington.  Although qualified in Human Resources Management, Anne has studied watercolor and pastel for over 30 years whenever possible.  Whilst raising a family and moving house every couple of years as a trailing spouse, she attended Monash University’s Centre for Arts to study watercolor, the Glassell School of Art in Houston, Texas to study watercolor, drawing, colour theory and design, and Charles Sturt University, NSW, Australia majoring in Art History and Psychology.   Anne currently paints with local fine artist, friend and mentor, Jeanne Rosier-Smith, PSA, from Sudbury.  Anne has also attended painting and drawing workshops with accomplished professional artists in Australia and the US including:  Bill Schneider, Carol Blackman, Arthur Turner, Francesca Fuchs, Justin Life, Liz Haywood-Sullivan and Allan Picard.

Her paintings can be found in private collections in Houston, upstate New York, Melbourne, Moscow and the UK.  She is a member of the Pastel Society of Cape Cod and the Pastel Society of Connecticut and has been honored twice by faculty at the Glassell, Houston for the Summer Student Exhibition for upcoming artists.

‘I really enjoyed learning about the history of the War of Independence through the reenactments of the dedicated women and men from Lexington’s Historical Society.   Their reenactments thrill locals and visitors alike, particularly during the month of April.   For three years, I have attended the Patriot’s Day Ceremonies with camera in hand, capturing images, as well as immersing myself in the crowds of cheering faces that line the streets and parks in Lexington for the Patriot’s Day Parade.  This series of portraits is the result of ducking in between trees and garrisons of recreators, to capture poignant moments of those extraordinary folk who took up arms to protect and support their homeland, such as the morning ride of Paul Revere, the grim determination of ordinary American folk defending their homes, the realization of British soldiers that the battle was not going according plan, the nervous curiosity of a drummer boy, and the petrified child caught up in the fray of battle.’

There are five paintings in this series and they can been viewed at The Minute Shop at 9 Muzzey Street, Lexington.   This shop is run by Mr Meguru Izutsu who has been in business in Lexington for ten years and is a Custom Picture Framing business.  He also sells beautiful artworks, such as silk scroll paintings and exquisite hand painted fans from Japan.  My thanks to Mr Meguru Izutsu for graciously exhibiting my work at this shop.

Here’s what Jeanne Rosier-Smith, PSA, had to say about this series:

Anne Healey’s new Patriot series is ambitious and exciting.  Using the unique period reenactments of our area as her models, she’s developed a series of pastel paintings which bring the past to life with a fresh contemporary feel.  Her dynamic compositions capture a sense of living history: smoke rises from the muskets and damp mist hangs in the early morning air.  Her sensitive use of the pastel medium gives these works depth and texture.’

Local Fine Artist and Lexington resident, Anne Healey is exhibiting her latest series at The Minute Shop, 9 Muzzy Street, Lexington.

Pastel Bytes:

First Ever Blog Post…

Thanks for glancing at this blog.   It will be very informative and brief, to the point of ridiculousness.  It’s called Pastel Bytes.  These little gems will be about the practical technical aspects of pastel painting,  drawing or the bones of painting, art history from Leonardo to Banksy, a spotlight of a current Pastelist’s work, and a glimpse of  what’s on my easel and how I manage my studio.

Mark Making – very practical, very technical (and a lot of fun!)

Pastels are versatile (extremely so) and are excellent for both drawing and painting.  Take some time now and then to remind yourself what that little stick of compressed pigment can do.  Find 20 minutes to practice creating strokes with pastels.  Let’s not think too much about color here, just the strokes you can make with a piece of pastel.

Remember, simply by twisting and turning the sticks, using the tip or breaking the stick (gasp, yes just snap it in half or thirds or whatever) turning the stick on it’s side, you can create a wide range of effects.

You can make soft washes of pigment over grainy or sanded paper.  Barely touch the surface to do this.  Make whisper thin lines, crisp strokes of varying pressure, rough dabs or dots or even dashes.  Try hatching, cross-hatching, overlaying and yes, blending.  Break the sticks, crush them, push the fragments into the paper, grate them over your paper or board then press the gratings into your surface using glassine paper.  Randomness is useful.

That’s it.  You are done!  What did you learn that you can use in your next painting?   Your daily experimentation will add to your pastel tool box.