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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

New Pastel Pencil Work


I've been doing a lot of digital painting and a lot of sketching — but was wanting to expand my "real world" efforts and get back to working with pastels.

But the pastel STICKS I have are more suited to working in larger formats and they can be messy and get dust every where — so they are are not as practical to take to a restaurant or coffee house to work with.

A while back I came across a video of a guy in England working with pastels pencils and as I shared a few posts ago — I ended up purchasing a pastel pencil set and two grey sketchbooks. 

This is the set I got on Amazon: 

Faber-Castel FC112136 PITT Pastel Pencils In A Metal Tin (36 Pack), Assorted

They are hardly dusty at all and I've found them perfectly suited to using out in public.

So — now it's been great to go back and forth between digital and the pastel pencils since then — and being able to work in color in my sketchbooks has been rejuvenating too.

Another great benefit is that a LOT more people have been approaching me when I work with the pastels — I think using color attracts more attention — and I have given out a lot of cards and have been getting a lot more requests for freelance work!


Anywho, today I decided to share three new pastel pieces — all created while working out in public.

I used photo references — and plan to do more and more of them.

Pretty One - Copyright 2017 - Jephyr - All Rights Reserved
Pretty One - Copyright 2017 - Jephyr - All Rights Reserved

^ ^ ^   I found a photo of a very beautiful young woman on-line and decided to make a my first pastel portrait in AGES of her — and was pleasantly surprised at how quickly and easily this one came together.

"Pretty One - Two" - Copyright 2017 - Jephyr - All Rights Reserved
"Pretty One - Two" - Copyright 2017 - Jephyr - All Rights Reserved

^ ^ ^ Another photo study from an image I found on-line.

For some reason I struggled over this one a lot more — and it had to do in part with the tilt of her head — but as they say — "practice makes perfect" — so I plan to just keep doing more of these pastel portraits.

 ^ ^ ^ This last one is yet another photo study.

I've been working on a pencil sketch of a skull and ribbon and I picture birds and butterflies filling in the scene — but had never really studied the way a butterfly looked.

I thought the photo of this one was especially nice and really enjoyed creating my study of it.


Well — that'll do it for today.

I hope you've enjoyed seeing my new pastels.

If so — would you please share this link/post with anyone you think might enjoy it.

I'm working hard at improving and it's rewarding when I know people are viewing my efforts.

So thank you very much in advance!


See you again soon!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

New Digital Paintings - Pelosi Caricature & Photo Study


Recently, I've been having a good time switching back and forth from "real-world" pastels to digital painting.

I'm nearly finished with a second pastel portrait I've been working on — and will be sharing that along with another recent pastel portrait soon.

But today's post is all about two digital paintings I just completed!

"Who Can Turn The World On With Her Smile" - Copyright 2017 - Jephyr! - All Rights Reserved
"Who Can Turn The World On With Her Smile" - Copyright 2017 - Jephyr! - All Rights Reserved

^ ^ ^ I had a LOT of fun with my caricature of Nancy Pelosi.

Her ever-present, crazy, WIDE stare became my focus — but it was also very enjoyable to caricature her Micheal Jackson-like nose job — bony, granny face — and aging neck.

What is it like to stare out at the world through those eyes?? 

Still I often found myself laughing as I painted this — and definitely want to do a LOT more political caricatures.

Did I mention it's FUN!

: )

PS: The title came from me entertaining myself while I painted her.  I'd sing the Mary Tyler Moore theme — and the incongruousness of that line — with Nancy's exaggerated features always made me laugh out loud.

" Contemplatin' " - Copyright 2017 - Jephyr! - All Rights Reserved
" Contemplatin' " - Copyright 2017 - Jephyr! - All Rights Reserved

^ ^ ^ The black and white digital painting of the dood above, is a study I did from a prohibition era photo.

The gentleman in the pic must have been some kind of official — and was over-seeing two scrappy men struggling to pour a LARGE and obviously very heavy barrel of alcohol into the street.

I just loved his rumpled, well-worn suit and the way he was standing  — made me wonder what he was thinking:

Was he just doing his job? Did he agree with prohibition? Or — was he standing there thinking, "What a waste...all that BEAUTIFUL alcohol!"

: ) 

Anywho, the photo was colorized but I chose to just go with a black and white interpretation and had a good time painting him.


BTW — I use an AWESOME Wacom Intuos Tablet Interface and Stylus — along with computer painting software — and hand-painted the images you see above — in a process very similar to using a real world medium like oil paint, pastel or charcoal.


Well — that'll do it for today.

Thanks as always for stoppin' by!

See you again soon!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Amazing Painting & Discussion About An Artist's Time


I saw a very interesting post on artist James Gurney's blog.

Gurney is famous for his instructional books, illustrations, paintings — and is perhaps best known for being the creator of his Dinotopia series — an world he inhabits with human characters who share their lives with "sentient" dinosaurs.

I own a copy of his book, Color and Light — which is a tutorial book for painting.

If you are an artist or enjoy looking at cool artwork — I encourage you to check him out.

On July 4th, 2017, a day when Americans celebrate Independence Day, Gurney posted a blog entry about an awesome Howard Chandler Christy's painting called "Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States."

Howard Chandler Christy "Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the  United States"
Howard Chandler Christy - "Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States"

According to Gurney, "Christy researched the subject for five years and spent seven months painting it. He studied portraits of almost all of the people represented [like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin], and he looked for whatever authentic props he could find.

The Smithsonian Institution lent him George Washington's breeches, and The Library of
Congress let him borrow some of Thomas Jefferson's books, which appear next to Franklin’s
chair. The painting hangs in the Capitol building in the east stairway of the House of

Something struck me about Gurney's description of the research and time that Christy devoted to this painting.

Christy spent FIVE years in research — and this likely means doing portrait and studies for each of the individuals in the painting — and studies for the clothing and interior, the furniture, the drapes and flags, the chandelier and so on.

Howard Chandler Christy - "Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States" - Detail Showing George Washington
Howard Chandler Christy - "Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States"
Detail Showing George Washington

Having read books on other artists and their work — these studies are usually smaller, and are often pencil or charcoal — but some artists do larger color "roughs" — trying out different poses for their characters, different arrangements, changes in lighting, etc.

I have several books on Salvador Dali, Norman Rockwell and Frank Frazetta —and all of them did an amazing amount of this work — including full color "rough" versions of final paintings — before they'd settle on the right feel and look for them.

Anyway — the reason why the amount of time Christy spent painting that work struck me so deeply is that many artists I know tend to churn out their work — and they boast about how quickly it took them to do a piece.

On the flip side I've had people ask me how much it would cost for commissioned artwork from me.

Especially when their requests involve a extensive detail that I know will be time consuming — some have been surprised about the price I ask.

Hearing the amount of time that Christy put into his painting — I thought about how often artists short-sell their work — either being afraid to be paid fairly for their time — or by compromising with low detail, impressionistic work that requires less effort.

If that is an artist's preference —then I'm not knocking it.

On the other hand — those of us who prefer spending more time on our work shouldn't be afraid to talk about that — and be fairly compensated for it as well.


Alright — I'll step off my soap-box — and get back to my work!

Hope you are having a great day — and thanks for stopping by!

BTW — please check back — I've been having a blast with some new work and will be posting some new pastel and digital paintings soon. 

Howard Chandler Christy - "Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States"  Detail Showing Benjamin Franklin
Howard Chandler Christy - "Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States" 
Detail Showing Benjamin Franklin In Center