Thursday, April 3, 2014

Jackson's Handmade Soft Pastels

One can never have enough pastels! All pastel artists know this. So when a new range is introduced to the market it is a major event. And when the range is of the extent and quality of Jackson's Handmade Soft Pastels, it has to be investigated and tried out.
This blog concentrates on reviewing the websites of artists who work in pastel; but when a new  product of this quality comes on the market, I regard it almost as a duty to review it.
Jacksons recently introduced a range of hard, square pastels which are ideal for a beginner to trial, although they naturally lack the covering power of softer sticks, But that clearly is not their purpose as Jacksons have now brought to market a range of 200 handmade Soft Pastels of high professional quality.  These hand-rolled pastels are formed with the lightest of touches, so as not to over compress the pastel ingredients. The low binder to pigment ratio of these sticks allows for both subtle and bold mark making. The pastels are 2 inches (50 mm) in length and about 5/8 inch thick. They are ideal for "painting" as the pastels glide smoothly onto paper. 
I have trialled the beige/khaki set (one can choose from a wide array of themed selection sets as well as buying individual sticks).  The colours, from left, are: Yellow Beige TJH177, Beige TJH174, Olive Beige TJH176, Green Beige TJH178, Pale Bister TJH195, Olive Ochre TJH175, Beige Ochre TJH143, Dark Ochre TJH183, Khaki TJH574, Dark Khaki TJH573, Dark Sienna TJH307, Van Dyke Brown TJH243, Burnt Sienna TJH305, Dark Umber TJH649
The results of my initial trial are featured here. The paper used is a blue-grey Tiziano from Fabriano. It is not unlike Canson, with a laid, slightly dimpled surface.
The top row is the set stroked gently on to the paper showing the coverage when used like this. The second row is the same set, blended into the support; you can see that the coverage is complete.

I also blended a dark and a light on to the surface, and glazed over with a light and dark respectively. The results show a distinct glaze, with each colour quite discrete.

I also compared the hardest stick in this range (dark hues tend to be somewhat harder than light hues) with a corresponding hue from Sennelier and Blue Earth.
This demonstrated that the latter two are somewhat softer in this khaki colour; and the Blue Earth is also softer than the Light Bister from Jacksons. 
However, the Jacksons may have the edge for a multi-purpose stick as the very soft pastels, like Blue Earth, and Schminke, are difficult to paint with in a precise manner and lend themselves to an impressionist approach, or as a final reserve for highlights and end strokes. That said, Jacksons are very smooth and buttery - much softer than, say, Rembrandt. This last image is of four adjacent values blended to give a continuous range. 
A range of 200 is a generous selection, and not unattainable at about £1.50 per stick. I tend to buy my pastels in sets of adjacent hues or values; the beige set featured here is an excellent set of neutral colours; I also like the greys, and the blue range is very desirable. These pastels are worth a trial by any serious pastellist, and a worth addition to the canon. I am using them already!

Friday, March 14, 2014

September McGee

A Moment in Time © September McGee
Name: September McGee
Bio: Multi-award winning artist September McGee has gained recognition with her uncommon use of brush strokes in telling her story. An American Impressionist, September uses uncommon tools and unorthodox techniques, the benefit of being a mostly self-taught artist. September minored in art in undergraduate studies at Fitchburg College, MA and studied under Helen Van Wyk.
Winner of many national juried exhibition awards and honors, and an extensive resumé of prestigious juried exhibitions to date, September has built her national reputation in the US. Her works have been published in national magazines including the Pastel Journal, 2010. Her paintings are held in galleries and numerous private and public collections throughout the world. 
An Elected Member of the Allied Artists of America Society, NY, McGee additionally holds three Signature Member Honors with the Pastel Society of America, the Connecticut Pastel Society, and the Pastel Society of the West Coast. She lives at Laguna Beach and is represented by Exposures International Gallery of Art, Sedona, AZ; Greenberg Fine Art Gallery, Santa Fe, NM; and Cooley Gallery, Leesburg, VA.
Medium: Pastel; oil
Subjects: Figurative
Style: Representational in an impressionist style.
Navigation: Main menus remain accessible on top of page. Beware when surfing the gallery pages – the “next” button at bottom of page will not necessarily take you to the next page in sequence – just use the numbers.
Gallery: Paintings – many pages in numbered sequence.
Image View: Thumbnails enlarge in new page, and may be saved; information on size and medium is provided. A Moment in Time is 24x18 ins, 123 KB.
Facebook: Yes

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Leoni Duff

Painting © Leoni Duff
Name: Leoni Duff
Bio: Leoni Duff lives in Launceston, Tasmania. Her first love was music and she stuied at the Conservatorium of Music in Hobart, where she majored in piano. Having an lively interest in art and art history, during the 1980’s Leoni turned increasingly to painting, starting with watercolour and progressing to oils. Largely self-taught Leoni has relied on both historical and current art resources for guidance and direction, not neglecting the early Australian artists, especially the artists of the Heidelberg School. She confesses to be strongly influenced by the Dutch still life masters, Vermeer with his light filled interiors, and the still life of Chardin. Having started with watercolour, then oils, Leoni now works exclusively in pastel. She is in demand for pastel teaching and has been invited to tutor art classes around Australia including the McGregor Art Schools,  University of South Queensland.
Leoni is the recipient of many awards, including several People’s Choice awards. She is the guest artist for the 2014 Salon International de Pastel in Saint-Aulaye, France.
Medium: Pastel
Subjects: Still Life, Landscape.
Style: Representational. Leoni spent many years living in rural North East Tasmania in the tiny hamlet of Herrick where she developed her unique style. Her background and training as a classical musician at the Tasmanian Conservatorium gives her a deep connection with the history of the arts and she is particularly drawn to the Baroque themes and methods. Duff sees her art as visual music, striving for the sense of dignity and composure, passion and control, beauty and honesty, form and content of the Baroque composers. I read her blog post on her 2013 French trip (of course) and she even imagines Bach’s organ Toccata in D minor playing in the background as she negotiates Rocamadour’s steep cliff. (But did she have dinner on the terrace of Le Beau Site? Maybe it was too late in October. Dommage!)
Navigation: Main menus remain accessible on top of page.
Gallery: Still Life; Landscape; Figurative; Portraits
Image View: Thumbnails enlarge in viewerwindow on same page, and may be saved; information on size is not porvided – presumably all are in pastel.
Blog: Yes, under Art-Tour, France – but it is more a travelogue.  
Demo/Facebook: No

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Emma Colbert

“Waiting to go online” © Emma Colbert
Name: Emma Colbert
Bio: Based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Emma works as an artist and illustrator. She graduated from Kent Institute of Art and Design as an illustrator in 2007, and has worked on portrait commissions, produced original fine art series for galleries throughout Ireland and illustrated several books.
Having discovered pastels very early in her career Emma knew that this was the medium she wanted to develop most in.  An equal passion for animals has fuelled a love of painting them.  After experimenting with velour pastel paper Emma found a surface that has a spongy soft texture whilst allowing great detail. 
Recent projects include a commissioned portrait of a famous Real Madrid footballer which was filmed for UEFA Championship Live and broadcast worldwide.  Also the release of the second book in the ‘Charlie Crow’ children’s book series which has been read in over 200 schools in Northern Ireland. 
A member of the Pastel Society of Ireland,  Emma exhibits regularly in groups and plans her first major exhibitions this year.  Her aim as an artist is not only to improve in the medium of pastel, but to document her work in progress through photos and videos hoping to eventually have a time lapse video shown beside every painting of the entire process.
Medium: Pastel
Subjects: Emma says : “I’ve always loved painting animals and people.  It’s only recently I’ve pushed myself to get better at landscapes, interiors, water, skies, sunlight, all the things that make paintings interesting.  I now find myself taking as much pleasure in painting a windowsill as I would a face.
My favourite subject to paint is definitely my own dog who features in the painting shown.  I know her so well, she inspires ideas, is patient with me when I ask of her, and has a real presence that not only I feel as she’s one of my most popular series. 
I think I have an obsession with trying to catch something in a moment of beauty.  I simply hope that in a moment lost in my painting the viewer might find a sense of calm and connect with the soul of the subject”
Style: Realistic. Emma's affection for her subjects is apparent in her treatment.
Navigation: Easy; all main menus remain accessible.
Gallery: Portfolio : Illustration ; Fine Art ; People ; Dogs; Other Animals
Image View: Thumbnails enlarge in pop-up window on same page, and may be scrolled; download is permitted.
Demo: Go to the blog for step-by-step development of paintings.
Facebook: Yes

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Marla Baggetta

“Lingering Light” © Marla Baggetta
Name: Marla Baggetta, PSA
Bio: Award-winning artist Marla Baggetta attended Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, where she got her BFA Hons in 1983. She worked as a commercial illustrator for a resplendent client list that includes Nissan Motors, Houghton Mifflin, and Disney, before she decided to devote herself full time to painting the landscape on her 1993 move to Oregon. She is a signature member of the Pastel Society of America and the Pastel Society of Oregon. She has won numerous awards for her paintings including Arts for the Parks top 100 in 1999, Best in Show, Oregon Pastel Society 2003 and Bronze Award for the International Association of Pastel Societies Exhibition, 2000. She has been featured in the Pastel Journal. She is included in Pure Color; The Best in Pastel.
Marla is sought after for  painting workshops in the Portland area and has taught at Art Center College of Design, Pacific Northwest College of Art, Creative Arts Community-Menucha and West Linn/Wilsonville Community Education.
She is represented by the RiverSea Gallery, Astoria, Oregon.
Medium: Pastel; acrylic; mixed media
Subjects: Landscape.
Style: Representational. Baggetta says that she is a great believer in the fundamentals of painting; drawing, composition, color theory and the thought that paintings communicate an idea through this vocabulary.
Technique: “My painting process is a very active one where my first marks and impressions are usually bold and gestural. Then I settle in and make assessments and refinements. The last marks are usually slow, quiet ones, as I am making small moves to find my way towards the finished piece. I'm hoping to capture the "aha!" that originally attracted me to my subject. Each one of my original pastels is done on museum grade sanded pastel paper. I use a variety of brands of soft pastel such as Schmincke, Unison, Terry Ludwig, and Diane Townsend, just to name a few. Each brand of pastel has different characteristics that I use to accomplish a variety of strokes and washes within a piece. The final painting is lightly sprayed with a fine fixative before framing."
Publications: Pastel Step by Step. Walter Foster Publishing, 2004; ISBN-10: 1560108010.
100 Variations:  a compilation of Marla’s pastel series first published in The Pastel Journal in 2009. Marla writes about her journey of painting a series of over 100 versions of a small composition which started as project intended as a daily warm-up but evolved into so much more....
Available on Blurb 
Navigation: Main Menu remains accessible at top of page.
Gallery: Portfolios: Trunk Sale; New Pastels; Landscapes; Vases; Goddesses; 100 variations; Figurative; Reproductions; Sold Archives.
Image View: Thumbnails open in a viewer and may be scrolled. Download is blocked.  Information is provided on title, medium and dimension.
Demo: Fifteen demos on youtube
Facebook: Yes

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Felicity House

“Crabs and Lemons” © Felicity House
Name: Felicity House
Bio: Felicity House recalls that as a child she could never get enough drawing material. A post-war education that gave time and status to Art encouraged and developed her visual skills.
She gained her B.Ed (Hons) from Bristol University in 1972 and pursued a career teaching until 2000. She received a HNC (Higher National Certificate) Art and Fine Art from the Arts University Bournemouth and taught there from 2000 as a tutor of life drawing and short art courses. She also became the Art Tutor for West Dean College from 2005 – 2012. This flexibility gave her the opportunity to travel and fill numerous sketchbooks.
Felicity was elected a Member of the Pastel Society in 2003. As Archivist for the Society she regularly research the archives for information in response to requests from the public. She has also contributed to numerous art magazines, including the Pastel Journal (October 2009); the Artist magazine (2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 – when she was interviewed by Ken Gofton, a frequent contributor to the Pastel Journal);  Watercolour Artist (USA); Leisure Painter (2012); and Artists and Illustrators Magazine (2013).
She is currently Chairman of Bournemouth Arts Club, a meeting point for Artists in the region which regularly holds selected Exhibitions.
Medium: Pastel, acrylic, oil, etching
Subjects: Landscape, Interiors, Still Life, Figurative.
Style: Representational. Felicity has a lightness of touch that can only come from years of drawing practise. I especially like her interiors.
Navigation: Nice clean, uncluttered website. Main Menu remains accessible.
Gallery: Still Life; Places; Drawings; Interiors; Figures; Sketchbook.
Image View: Thumbnails open in Flashplayer when clicked. Download is not possible. Information is provided on title and medium but not on dimension, except for images in the Studio Sales page.
Demo/Blog/Facebook: No

Monday, January 20, 2014

Danielle Richard

Quelque Part” © Danielle Richard 
Name: Danielle Richard
Bio: Danielle Richard was born in Quebec, Canada. After a college degree in Fine Arts, Cegep Ste-Foy, 1975 she earned a Bachelor's degree in Visual Arts from Université Laval in 1980. She had her first solo exhibition in 1975 and has had numerous solo and group shows since then. Her work is to be found in private collections, but also in numerous corporate collections including the Royal Bank of Canada, Reader’s Digest and Dupont.
In 2012 Danielle was elected an honorary member of the Institut Des Arts Figuratifs (the Institute of Figurative Arts). She is a Signature Member of the Pastel Society of Eastern Canada (PSEC); and is a member of the International Guild of Realism (IGOR) and the Portrait Society of America (PSOA).
Danielle’s most recent awards include 1st Prize (Horace Champagne Prize) at the International  juried exhibition of the Pastel Society of Eastern Canada, '' LES PASTELLISTES'', in 2013. Danielle was also the winner of the first BoldBrush Award in June 2013; her pastel, Quelque Part, was chosen by Carol Marine from 1280 entries. The award is sponsored by FASO (Fine Art Studio Online).
Danielle’s work made the cover and was featured in the French art magazine, Pratique des Arts, hors-série pastel 2013. She was also featured in International Artist Magazine, no 87.
Medium: Pastel, acrylic, oil.
Subjects: Figurative:
Style: Realistic; tinged with romanticism
Navigation: Although in French, this website is easy to navigate. Main menu remains available on top of page.
Gallery: Oil and Acrylic; Pastels
Image View: Thumbnails run along bottom of page and open in a viewer on the same page; you can scroll through the enlarged images, and they may be saved. Information on the images is not provided -  although Quelque Part is 19 ins square.
Demo: No
Facebook: yes