Archive for the ‘painting process’ Category

Dorris Ranch

July 27, 2014

Day one of the Field to Studio workshop at the Emerald Art Center in Springfield, OR. Nine artists joined me for three days of working on location and in the studio.

Field Study

Field Study

Field Study at Dorris Ranch in Springfield, OR

Studio Painting

The studio painting was done on Wallis Sanded paper starting with alcohol washes, and finished with soft pastel.

About the forth wash with hard pastels, alcohol,l and a hake brush

About the fourth wash with hard pastels, alcohol, and a hake brush

Hard pastels are applied lightly in layers with each layer washed in with at least 90%1 alcohol. This gives the underpainting a stained glass translucent effect upon which to further develop the painting with softer pastels.



Field to Studio

July 24, 2014

This past week I had the opportunity to work with a great group of artists at the Emerald Art Center in Springfield, OR. The emphasis of the workshop, Filed to Studio was gathering visual information on location so we could come back to the comforts of the studio to produce a painting. I have outlined below the steps we took along the way.

Big shapes, simple with emphasis on designing the painting. I tried a couple of different formats and decided on the portrait orientation to emphasis the vertical presence of the trees.


Value map using three values of tomboy markers and the white of the paper to limit the value structure to four values.

value map

Notan, a further simplification of values down to just black and white to see the underlying structure of the painting. f at this stage the shapes looked uninteresting or the distribution between the darks and light were two balanced I would revisit the composition and make adjustments.


My field study,  a 5 x 7 on Wallis Belgian Mist sanded paper to capture the color nuances of the scene. Done in about 20 minutes.

field study


Photgrahic references show how much the camera doesn’t capture, but are useful for details. As it turned out I didn’t really even look at these when back in the studio. How liberating is that?

photo reference

Sttudio painting done on Ampersand Pastelbord using a watercolor underpainting.

Delta Ponds


The best part of the workshop was how enthusiastic all my students were. They were not only willing to dive in and try new approaches but were so encouraging with each other and supportive of their fellow classmates. Read what  a student had to say.

Bowl Me Over

January 7, 2013

day630 in 30 challenge, day 6

This challenge of painting in a relatively new medium with a totally new tool, a palette knife is a real learning experience. Some things you would think are so obvious that everyone knows it but you. For instance the paint you have on the bottom of your palette knife is what ends up on your painting. The problem is you really only see the top of the knife until its too late. What you stroke onto your painting isn’t anything like you thought it would be. So I learned to mix my color, check the bottom of the knife before boldly swiping the paint onto the canvas.

But on the flip side another thing I never really thought about is how transparent paints inherently recede and opaque colors come forward. I guess working with soft pastels, an opaque medium, that I never really saw it that way. But I do think this is a lesson that can be implemented in my pastel work. Especially since I use a watercolor underpainting for most of my “starts’ I can use its transparent qualities for those areas I want to recede and come back with my pastels to create dimension with its opaqueness. Bowl me over, this is worth further exploration!


So Far

September 18, 2012

This past week I finally had a chance to revisit “starts” from  my five day Richard McKinley workshop in Bend. This was my first experience attending an Art in the Mountains event. Boy, does Tracy Culbertson, workshop coordinator, have the venue of all venues. The Cascades and downtown Bend are a mecca for inspiration. Coupled with a stellar instructor, and companionship of a fellow artist from California it was five days of instruction, beauty, discussion, and determination to go the next mile.

thumbnails of Sparks Lake

Thumbnails of major shapes, value map and notan design

As a plein air painter, the grandeur of the vista can be overwhelming. Having spent hours in the field, I would like to think I am comfortable in the wilds. But the reality is that I still try to depict the scene as I see it. Finally I was given permission to not only move a tree or a mountain but to capture the sencse of place without being wed to the what’s in front of me. In fact.I got to the point afer five days, to turn my easel away from the scene and paint from memory. What a liberating concept!

It all started with some thumbnails to define the shapes, value plan and composition. Then a quick field study, in this case a small 4×6 supplied me with color notes. Now back in the studio, I did a watercolor underpainting, referring to my field notes. After a day in the studio here is where I am so far. And it feels good!

Watercolor underpainting of Sparks LakeWatercolor underpainting

Work in Progress, Sparks LakeWork in progress, 16×20, pastel on panel

From Sketch to the Studio

January 19, 2011

In keeping with my daily sketch challenge I ventured out (the sun was shining) and found a grove of trees that danced amongst the sunlight and shadows. So I settled in and spent about 30 minutes capturing the play of light and shadow. I haven’t posted a “work in progress” (wip) painting in awhile so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to show how I approach a painting.

This is the 30 minute on location sketch.

Back in my studio I did a drawing on 12 x 16″ mounted Wallis sanded paper. I usually don’t do such a detailed sketch but I just got caught up in the moment and went with the flow. Since I had so much graphite on the surface I sprayed it with Perlafix fixative. I also hoped with the use of the fixative that some of the drawing would survive the next step, the watercolor underpainting.

Watercolor underpainting.

And after about fours hours into the painting with soft pastels this is where I left off. Obviously still lots to resolve but I like the direction this is going.

Look Familiar, I Don’t Think So!

February 25, 2010

Red Poppies, soft pastel on panel
© 2009 Marianne Post

You often hear artist’s say that they enjoy the creativity of making the ordinary extraordinary. I like to describe my artistic journey as making the familiar, unfamiliar. That is, painting everyday things with a twist; opening the eyes of those who view my painting so they see things in a new way. Lately I have been revisiting former subjects seeing them with fresh eyes myself. Red Poppies is similar to a painting I sold about three years ago. And while it is a familiar subject, this time around instead of focusing on the nuances of their colors I really enjoyed capturing the way they dance in the breeze. A carefree feeling of airiness and dance is what I am after here. Hope you feel it too!

Wetlands Revisited

February 22, 2010

work in progress, pastel on Pastelmat

Last Fall I painted along the Consumnes River. Upon scoping the area for a vantage point to paint, the fog lurked over the wetlands. And just about the time that I set up my easel, the sun strained to break through the veil of mist. The atmospheric condition mother nature presented was awesome. How fortunate to be an artist and witness the beauty that surrounds us.

This morning the fog hung over the hills in Vacaville and it reminded me of that time in November. Serendipitously while packing the studio today I came across some Pastelmat peach colored paper. I had to put a halt to packing and from memory relive that glorious November moment.

Since a lot of my supplies are either packed or stashed some place that I can’t put my finger on them I used  technique that I haven’t done in awhile. In thirty minutes I blocked in the masses,  just enough to capture the feel. Then taking a paper towel I smeared the surface to give the “underpainting” a gauzy feel. A few more minutes and a few more marks is where I left off. Still more to do, but working from memory is challenging (there’s that word again!) and invigorating. Reality  and the clock reminded me that boxes were waiting to be filled. I’v made a deal with myself. SIx more boxes than I can paint. Is that yet another “challenge?”

The Other Side

February 18, 2010

Studio and computer time is at a premium these days. Boxes sorting and packing have become a routine. And while we still have weeks before the actual move to the Pacific Northwest it has become dauntingly clear we will need all the time we have to pack 27 years of stuff. And to boot we don’t have a new address yet. Our new home won’t be ready for quite a while so an interim residence and studio will be a solution.

Winter Stream, Emile Gruppé

I came across Stapleton Kearns blog post on handling distance other than with atmospheric perspective. Its all about design using one of Emile Gruppe’s paintings to demonstrate his point. So while I go get another box take a minute and check it out.

Fascination with the Mundane

February 11, 2010

work in progress

They are just drainage ditches along the road. After the deluge of rain over these past few weeks they are swollen with runoff. For some reason they fascinate me! In a matter of hours day they are filled with refections. Then just as quickly as they appear they retreat to shiny mud, then cracked earth. So on the easel is a watercolor underpainting of a local ditch. Its a bit tighter than I would like, probably due to current everyday stresses. But it’s workable.

Less than Sixty Minutes

February 4, 2010

Snow Road, 9 x 12: ©2009 Marianne Post

I mentioned last week that painting time was at a premium these days. This morning I was able to eke out forty-five minutes and decided to go for it. So here is quick snow study. Didn’t quite finish it up but it was just refreshing to spend the time painting. Easel time works wonders for dissolving the stresses of the day.