Archive for December, 2009


December 16, 2009

River Reflections, 8 x 10″ soft pastel over oil underpainting,
Wallis paper
© 2009 Marianne Post

When I look at the calendar I am in total denial. It just doesn’t seem possible that another year is two weeks away from becoming history. I look back and think of all the things I thought I would accomplish. But after reading Alyson Stanfield’s blog, I realize how much I actually did.

While this is time of the year that I start to ramp up for the months ahead, Alyson reminds us that its not a bad idea to reflect on what was accomplished in months past, and most importantly to do it with a thankful heart. So many times we take for granted the opportunities that have come our way and the strides we have made in our endeavors. At the time, they just seem like the next thing to do. Coincidence? I don’t think so. I am a true believer that when we envision possibilities we become empowered. Take a moment and visit Alyson’s blog. She says it better than I could ever imagine.

This will be my last post for 2009. I look forward to an exciting art filled year ahead and wish you all a season that’s colorful and bright!


What’s Wrong With This Picture?

December 14, 2009

Suisun LandingSuisun City Landing, 9 x 12″
soft pastel on Wallis with watercolor underpainting
© 2009 Marianne Post

Earlier this week I blogged about heading into the studio to “resolve” a plein air study done along the slough in Suisun City. You might recall that the day was pretty cold and my study reflected the coolness of the moment. In the studio, I wanted to change the temperature of the light, to warm it up a bit and also enlarge the piece from 8 x 10″ to 12 x 16″.



Pictured above is what initially came off the easel. I let it sit until the afternoon and when standing back and looking with fresh eyes, the first thing I said to myself s “what’s wrong with this?” I certainly didn’t like the bland mass of water in the foreground. I took out my notan and immediately saw (again with fresh eyes) that even at that point I was struggling with the cropping and the resolve of uninteresting shapes. I suppose my subconscious felt like it could deal with it in the painting process and my excitement to get on with the painting overpowered my left brain.

So I got out my “croppers,” pieces of L-shaped mat board to try different croppings. By eliminating a good portion of the water, more interesting shapes appear. Likewise, in cropping the sky mass, the focal point point becomes much stronger.  The light masses in the sky and water lead the eye right to the building. I should have realized in the notan stage when things weren’t going well there to take  a few extra minutes and resolve the issues at that point. After all, that is the purpose behind that whole step of my process. In the long run I could have saved time and pastel. But the learning experience, as they say, “is priceless.”

Studio Resolve

December 10, 2009

From the title, you might be thinking this post is probably about spending more time in the studio. Actually that’s not a bad idea. But what I am really talking about is taking a plein air study back to the studio and resolving it into a finished work. Last Friday my painting buddy and I ventured out to Suisun City. We ended up along the slough that heads out to the delta. Boy was it cold!

Being a fair weather plein air painter I was out of my element. Early that morning the fog was thick but by the time we got to our destination, the sun was winning part of the battle. The air was crisp. No, actually it was downright cold but clear. I needed to get something down in a hurry. After using up a good portion of my painting time scoping out the area I finally decided on a scene to paint. This time I used a black 8 x 10 Ampersand panel. For some reason I find painting on black while on location gives me a jump start.

After about an hour or so my fingers just couldn’t hold onto the pastel sticks. And we packed up shop and headed for lunch at a local cafe. But I liked what I had managed to get done and thought I would explore resolving the painting in the studio.

So using the study and a photo, I have recomposed the piece onto a 12 x 16″ sheet of Wallis paper. I am adjusting the temperature of the light and have started with an oil underpainting. So stay tuned and let’s see where this all goes. For one thing, I have a fire burning in my studio fireplace and a pot of tea is close by. So far so good!

A Fresh Start

December 7, 2009

Country ConnectionsCountry Connections
12 x 12″, oil underpainting and soft pastel on Wallis paper
© 2009 Marianne Post

Last week I found myself determined to get my studio in order. I have started to organize, purge, and clean a zillion times, but never seem to reach the finish line. I start, then get distracted or start to paint and find that things seem quite the same as before. So instead of waiting for the new year and resolving to get my studio life in order I bit the bullet, and spent two days dedicated to clearing out and cleaning up.

Besides the obvious reward of new found space, I unearthed supplies I totally forgot I even had acquired along the way. The biggest treasure was a bag of Gamblin oils. While I have been using watercolor at an underpainting in most of my pastel paintings I had purchased the oils to try them as an alternative.

So the reward for cleaning was a fresh start in a clean studio with a new technique to explore. Thinning the paint to a staining consistency with Gamsol, the oils melted into the Wallis sand paper, mingled with each other to lend a mysterious veil of color to the surface. Country Connections was the outcome of this maiden venture, and  I am excited to be on the road to something new! I suppose as an aside, I should resolve to keep the studio in its new found state. Right!

‘Tis the Season

December 3, 2009

There is something about Christmas that brings out the kid in all of us. Just yesterday as I was carving my way through weekday holiday shoppers I came across heads bedecked with felt antler ears, blinking tree earrings, multiple santa caps, jester hats aglow and aglitter, neon happy holiday brooches and ties that were playing jingle bells!

Where do people get this stuff? I suppose in the long run it really doesn’t matter. What was noteworthy was that they were the ones that also had a smile on their face. As I took a breather and sat down for for a cup of tea I couldn’t help put pull out my sketchbook and capture this long lady enjoying her holiday attire. After all ’tis the season! Enjoy!