Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Linen Liners and A Nifty Quote

Framed with Linen Liners

For a long time I have been wanting to post about my linen liners and framing process. Maggie Price has done it for me.

Via Lloyd's Art Info, comes this quote I hadn't seen before.
"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced." Vincent Van Gogh.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


If you must have some tips this weekend, I recommend my comments section for Expressive Plein Air Work, where David, Brian and I are yakking about how to post a screenshot. Bloggers will benefit from knowing how to get an image that is relevant and topical for their link posts.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Expressive Plein Air Work

In my quest to get back to nature in my drawing and pastels, I have been posting about my Plein Air Project, and over at The Colorist, the Wolf Kahn (drawing) Project. Continued snow, and other frictions are keeping things slow, but I do plan on posting a display of some of my recent works that have evolved because of these projects.

The work of David Cornelius of Scotland has been hitting the nail directly on the head. So free and loose are his plein air pastel drawings, that I will be looking in on his work at the same time that I look at Wolf Kahn's for lessons in how to stay loose. Don't miss his posts here and here, where he shows off his new works and his
lightweight outdoor kit.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Six Unisons Only

Deer Lake Cabins
@6" x 8"
Casey Klahn

It may be hard to believe that one can be happy doing a pastel on-site with only six Unisons. Here's the proof that it can work, with some creative blending. I did this work by the lake about two years ago, using my French easel and standing on the deck at the cabin.

If I did it over, I would vary the tree heights a bit. Otherwise, it was an old effort at plein-air that has never been posted.

Also, if you are visiting here for the first time, greetings. Enjoy this blog about my pastel work and the broader world of the pastel medium. You would also love my blog: The Colorist, a blog about art process and New School Color.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Tips for Friday

Art supply shopping. Don't laugh. I was in the retail profession for much of over twenty-five years. Here are some salient tips for stretching that sawbuck when shopping the expensive world of art equipment and supplies.

  1. It doesn't hurt to price shop the expensive items. I went away from my favorite retailer to order an easel from an outfit in California that I had never heard of before, but who had a $75 - $90 item at $50.
  2. If ordering an unusually well priced item from an unknown source, call during business hours to check availability. It can be frustrating to e-order or mail order something and be put into "back order" status. Sometimes, you don't know you've been placed in such a limbo, and the product never comes.
  3. All of the art catalogers I've dealt with have been happy to either re-send or discount damaged goods. Call them.
  4. Go third party. That means buy from a resource other than the specialty art retailers. Cigar boxes are an example. I recently got a hunter's umbrella that cost a third of what the art umbrella's cost (and it works better). I consider Michael's a third party source, since their bailiwick is crafts. They sell some cheap but nice art supplies.
  5. Order paper in bulk. That means wherever the bulk quantity price-break kicks in. Sometimes the quantity break begins at 5, sometimes 10. I go with my second favorite art retailer for paper, because I price shop paper more than any other art supply.

What are your tips for art supply shopping?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Season's Plein-Air Artists

Here is a round-up of bloggers who are doing their art-making outdoors. I'll cover the old hands, and then introduce you to other artists who, like myself, are taking serious new ventures into on site work.

The experienced ones at on-site work include:
  1. A Plein Air Painter's Blog - Michael Chelsey Johnson
  2. Robin Weiss (local to me, in Poulsbo, WA)
  3. Colette Savage - Pastel Painter, Plein Air Artist
  4. Mike Rooney Studios - Painting a Day
  5. Michael Pieczonka Painting Blog
Blogger artists who are putting their plein-air kits together anew include:
  1. Eden Compton
  2. David Cornelius
  3. Rhonda Hurwitz
  4. Brian McGurgan
  5. Mary Beth Young
See my recent efforts here.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Fine Weather for Plein Air

M-27 Field Easel, Mabef

Holds the drawing board high and stable; arms support a box of pastels.

What kept me from making these logo banners for my various blog projects before now? I think they'll be a good way to highlight and keep organized the umpteen projects I have going simultaneously.

On the Plein Air front, I finally got out on the weekend to do some plein air with my new Field Easel. I price-shopped this Mabef M-27 easel, and found it available from a California art store for $25 cheaper than the next outlet. I'll review it for you when I get a little more practiced with it.

By the Heath Place
April, 2008
8.5" x 7.25"
Casey Klahn

My experience was very rewarding. Of course, there was the mandatory "save" from the wind blowing over the kit. Looks like 5-6 MPH is the limit for wind behavior if I want to be happy at this easel. I have an artist's white clamp on umbrella, but it needs some modification to be workable. I found a hunter's tree stand umbrella for a third of the price of the art models, and it bungees onto the field easel like it was meant to be there. Nifty.

I have three images for my labors, but only two will make the cut. And, they will need the studio finish. I see now that one can't simply get "off the couch" and succeed at this plein air work.

Here's a fellow artist who is using a field easel set-up and who is, like myself, starting anew with the plein-air style. David Cornelius of Scotland.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Drawing Tips

Ponte Vecchio - Old City
@7" x 6"
Graphite on 70gr. Sketch Paper
Casey Klahn

Suggestions for drawing:
  1. Draw at least 1,000 drawings this year, if you want to improve. That's less than 3 a day, so you can do it.
  2. Smudge the graphite with your fingers to get a wash effect.
  3. Some of my best drawings were done with a dull pencil.
  4. Rarely use the eraser, unless to add an effect.
  5. Begin with your center of interest, and work outward, with an eye toward balancing the composition.
Interesting Links for Drawing:

Lines and Colors - Charley Parker
Van Gogh Museum - Drawings
Dale Chihuly - Drawings

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

French Post

NASA vieimage

Just in time for my visits around Europe, and later the world at large, is the update of the website at Art du Pastel en France. Now, their web sight offers a pathway to view a number of important French pastelists.

Also, see the Society of Pastelists in France. Société des Pastellistes de France.
Founded in 1885, the society boasts the past memberships of Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, Berthe Morisot, and Mary Cassatt. If only the walls could talk!

We're concerned with the current artists, now. The link page is here: Liens.

Recommended pastellistes:

Camille Leblond
Le Coloriste!
Gwenneth Barth
Classic Realism
Thierry Citron
Plein Air Landscapes (exquisite technique)

The nation of France boasts archaeological evidence of the earliest known art, and is the home of one of the greatest art cultures on the planet. The 19th. and early 20th. centuries burned brightly for French commitment to fine art, and the continued place of art in her culture is strong.

Many pastel products hail from France, including pastels and paper from Sennelier, and pastels from Pastels Girault, and, widely considered the world's finest pastels, Henri Roche.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

5 4 Friday - Color

  1. Instead of thinking about warm versus cool colors, try thinking intense versus dull. Let an intense color "pop" against a grayed or non-intense color.
  2. Never use only one color where two or more will do much better. Two greens for a tree. Three blues in a sky.
  3. Begin your painting with the color idea first. Think, "this painting will be a triadic composition of yellow, blue-violet and red-violet". And that means DON'T PAINT ANYTHING BY IT'S LOCAL COLOR. If you must make something it's local color, do so at the end of the painting.
  4. Try a session where you don't use any browns (sepia, umber, ocher, etc.). It will improve the overall intensity of a painting.
  5. If you are familiar with painting in the abstract, do an abstract with the colors you are thinking of. Why not use those for your next realist work, too?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sky Over Bald Ridge

Sky Over Bald Ridge
6" x 8"
Pastel on Rives BFK Heavyweight
Casey Klahn
March, 2008

Our area is known as the Bald Ridge. Relatively rural and very bucolic. I haven't done skies very much for the past few years, and I like the treatment that the Rives paper can give to a skyscape.