I recently had the pleasure of painting a portrait of the club house at Glen Oak Country Club, which also features part of the front nine of the golf course. If you've spent any time looking at my recent artwork throughout my website, you'll see a common thread...architecture in the landscape. Be it a commissioned piece or something that catches my eye while on a bike ride in our beautiful region, I enjoy painting this subject matter.
When I remember to have my camera handy, I like taking progress shots of some of my work to have ready to share the process that takes place behind the scenes. Some will look with wonder and others may think, wow, that's pretty ugly...which it can be in the early stages. I do this standard for all of my commission customers so they can see their painting come to life. Below you'll see a few images that I took while painting this piece. You can see the pictures of the framed painting being installed on my House and Business Portraits page.
I am often asked the question, "is that really pastel?" by many people that admire my art. I enjoy going on to talk about the medium and why I love working with it so much.
For starters, it most definitely is NOT chalk. Pastel is pure powdered pigment, which is ground into a paste with a small amount of gum binder, and then rolled into sticks. It is the same pure pigment used in all fine art paints and is the most permanent of all media. It does not contain oil or liquid, and therefore won't darken, crack, fade or blister with time. Pastels from the 16th century exist today as fresh as the day they were painted.
An artwork is created by applying the sticks of dry pigment across an abrasive ground, embedding the color in the 'tooth' of the paper. If the ground is completely covered with pastel, the work is considered a pastel painting, where leaving much of the ground exposed, produces a pastel sketch.
I think my preference for the pastel medium stems from my love of drawing; I like the control I have with the pastel sticks...they're so versatile and I love the tactile nature of using my hands to draw fine lines or lay in large blocks of color. Not to mention the infinite color palette available is like eye candy!
They are also a favorite medium among many artists because it allows a spontaneous approach...there is no drying time. I can essentially leave everything I'm working on and return to it at a later time, picking up right where I left off. So for me, it's the perfect medium.
In Loving Memory of My Dad
This past February, I lost my dad to Alzheimer’s. He was a vibrant man with a gentle soul, full of life, and loved making others laugh. He fought a hard battle, but was just no match for the devastating effects of the disease. The last six months of his life were especially difficult and it was during this time that he experienced a rapid decline, and to those of us that loved him dearly, we felt a complete sense of helplessness.
Yet during that time, as my family and I spent time with him each day, it gave me time to reflect on the powerful impact he had on my life. We all had cause to celebrate the man he used to be before the disease took him away from us. He was a kind and compassionate man that above all else loved his family. My sisters and I were so fortunate to have him as a father because he truly made our house a loving and caring home…filled with the warmest of memories. He supported everything we ventured out to do and nurtured our creative spirits…at least that’s how I felt as a child growing up wanting to be an artist.
So, could it be that my passion for painting home portraits stems from my own experiences growing up? I’d like to think that because of my dad, I am pursing my passion and life long dream of painting while at the same time, helping others to cherish the memories being made in their own homes, where they gather with their families. It goes beyond just capturing the beauty of the facade...it’s about how you feel when you live your life in it. For this dad, I will always be grateful.
A recent house portrait commission, pastel, 11 x 14 on UART pastel board.