Sunday, December 31, 2017

Out of my Comfort Zone

"Helpers"  Pastel 9 x 11  © Donna Gross
This piece is rendered from a photo I took while exploring Wilder Ranch here in Santa Cruz on Christmas Day.  I was struck by the composition of the broom with the large shovel and the wheelbarrow peeking around the corner.  The photo was grainy and dark and provided the mood I was going for.  The painting is rendered much lighter with color I added for interest.
This piece was a challenge to accomplish the subtle colors found in the wood and making that broom stick straight! I enjoy mixing it up....moving in and out of genre....landscape to still figure and back again.  While I may not have an established genre of mastery, I am practicing with whatever interests me.  Writers write what they know about...Dancers dance to their abilities and physical faculties...Painters paint what they want to spend time looking at!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Finding Inspiration Everyday and Mixing It Up

"Tomato and Two Persimmons"  Pastel 6 x 11 ©Donna Gross
What am I going to paint today?  
It is unusual for me to be stumped by this question.  I usually have inspiration... I am always on the lookout for compositions that catch my eye.  
Lately, I have done a series of landscapes... today, still life....
I very much enjoy still life... it is a more refined rendering... detail oriented... and I usually do a smaller canvas when I paint still life... so I bring my supplies into the kitchen and sit at the table and hang out with my family and listen to NPR .... the convenience of having a sink right there to wash my hands periodically is really nice... having the refrigerator and the Keurig coffee machine close by is also a plus!  Cozy winter day painting in the kitchen with my  kids nearby and coffee... and my cats...and NPR...or classical music....

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Merry Christmas

"Christmas Magic"  Pastel  13 x 19

Season's Greetings fellow artists, friends, bloggers everywhere....
This piece was a lesson with master Marla Baggetta that I painted along with via video live stream.
I think my mom would have liked this piece.  Maybe a reminder of her youth in Rhode Island?
Seventeen years ago today, my mom passed away... so today I am thinking about her and her life.
I know that I inherited a good many traits from her.  Her love of good fashion. Her appreciation of a dust free environment!  Quite ironic that I work in soft pastel which generates a boat load of dust!
Her industrious nature... she worked hard...sometimes too hard to the exclusion of rest a relaxation... I think Mom would have enjoyed my children had she known them...and they her. I inherited her tenacity to see through a tough situation... her loyalty to her children... she always said " I love you".
I am blessed with wonderful kids who are now college age and independent.  My son is a student pilot and now flies in the sky in a small airplane ! I kiss him every time he leaves to go up.... he is pursuing his dream....
My daughter loves to learn and is thriving at her university...
My children and my husband have re-defined my idea of family... they have given me the gift of belonging...
To my mom and my family... a peaceful season of magic.

Friday, December 22, 2017

A Year in Pastels

"Kissing Cousins"  Pastel 6 x 11 © Donna Gross
It was a year ago that I was bit by the "Pastel Bug"... 
I was enrolled in a drawing class at the local community college.  The last several weeks the instructor introduced color using pastel medium.  I will never forget my first few strokes of the dusty sticks.... Oooooo! What fun.  I went home and started practicing on my own.  I haven't stopped since.
Yesterday, I did a still life of the iconic pear that most every artist attempts sometime in their art journey.  I also did a trio of pears early in my year of pastel work...about a year ago. 
See for yourself... progress? I'd like to say yes!

"Red Pears" Pastel 8 x 10 © Donna Gross
Available contact artist

Progress not perfection....there is no perfection...
It is a relief to live a life of progress..not perfection..
A lesson I have to relearn daily.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Gaining Confidence and Experience with a Lesson

"Red Grove"  Pastel  13 x 18

Another session of online tuition with Marla Bagetta. This was a very enjoyable piece to complete. My goal is with guided practice, I can "see" potential from a photo reference, choose colors that are not always depicted in the reference photo, alter composition from the reference, refine use of materials....make the piece my own.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Shorter days.... longer nights...

"Winter Solstice"  Pastel  6 x 6 © Donna Gross

We are almost there...the day when the earth returns to the light...just about the time I am adjusted to the early sunsets and early dinners, the light slowly begins it's return..
I enjoy winter... I don't live in the snow!  That's probably why! I love to visit snow ladened lands like Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada ... but to live there? Naw... no thanks. Besides I live in paradise now... but there was a time I lived in an ice cube.
During my traveling nursing days where I would live and work at an out of state hospital of my choice, I experienced enough bitterly cold winter days to remember that I was born and raised in Southern California!
I was working in St. Paul, Minnesota. Arriving in September, the weather was downright balmy. But come Halloween, the frigid air from the Great Lakes descended upon our brownstone and one morning I awoke seeing my breath!
Quick call the fire department! The boiler is on the brink... I mean Who Lives Like This!! Such a histrionic I was in my youth....
Off to work in my 1970 VW bus with NO HEAT.... the other nurses would just look at me and laugh as I bundled up for the drive home after my 3-11 pm shift donning parka with hood, snow boots ( how I drove in those I don't know...) and gloves, while those Minnesotan nurses trotted out to their Volvos, that featured  heated seats, in their slip on shoes without socks!!
I needed a different vehicle.  I needed to high tail it south... Got on the phone to my headhunter and booked an assignment to sunny San Diego where I lived and worked for 5 years.... met the hubby...and the rest is history.
Wherever you are in the world tonight, I hope you are warm and toasty!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Painting BIG

"From the Bank of the River"  Pastel 19 x 27 © Donna Gross
Available contact artist

This is the first time I painted this large of a canvas.  I dedicated an afternoon to this endeavor....created loads of dust....and burned through several sticks of pastel....
While I enjoyed using large, loose strokes... it was a bit overwhelming. I prefer working a bit smaller... 12 x 16 or smaller.
This is a painting created from a photo reference from one of our many family vacations to Yosemite.
We go to Yosemite annually
 and sometimes more than that, and usually during the winter months. 
Winter in Yosemite is a magical experience.  Snow on the ground is not always a guarantee, but when there is a blanket of the white stuff and the sun is shining .... just a stunning spectacle to behold.
This year, we decided to mix it up a little.  This year we are heading to Mt. Shasta, about 5 hours north of Santa Cruz. This gorgeous area of California boasts a landscape born of volcanic activity.  The town is small and quaint... just right for our family.  As the holidays approach, I am pleased to maintain my perspective.... enjoy the natural beauty...drink in the evenings spent with my kids home from college...Another year gone by...another year older...

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Keeping it Loose

"Stillness"  Pastel 9 x 11  ©Donna Gross   

I am feeling liberated! For the first time this year, I am NOT dragging a dead fir tree into my home and putting breakable items on it....lovely shiny objects that my four felines find so more cat 🐱 messes in the morning because they ate some pine needles.... nope not this year...
Why not a fake tree? No room to store the thing....looks incredibly fake...
The kids are all grown to college and into their own lives...trimming a tree has taken a very low rung on the ladder of life... So I've decorated the mantle with memorable ornaments... called it a me plenty of time to play with my pastels...keeping life loose...not trying so too with my painting today....keeping it loose ... playing with colors...using big bold strokes..not fussing too much....calling it a day..
A really good day

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Classic Red

"Keeping Warm"  Pastel  5 x 6 © Donna Gross
Available contact artist
Look at this eye candy! A little spice in the muted winter landscape. 
Northern Cardinals inhabit most of the U.S.  For me and many others, this lovely little flash of red is often associated with the holiday season.  Christmas cards are adorned with these rosy feathered friends as are the tops of America's Christmas trees ..... 
Red is the color of the season...
So put on some flashy, classy red and paint the town....

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The many colors of Snow!

"The Colors of Snow"  Pastel  9 x 12

Todays work was a paint along with pastelist Karen Margulis.  Karen is a generous artist who posts many lessons on YouTube and lately on her Patreon page for us patrons.
Since winter is upon us...although here in balmy Santa Cruz, California today's temperature reached 70 degrees!....
it is time to study the nuances of snow.
I love painting winter landscape!  I love the muted colors and the stillness that the landscape portrays.  Todays piece told me that it was in the late afternoon...maybe 4 o'clock or so....the sun is slowly setting....the birds are ready to bed down for the night....all is quiet and still.
Follow me through this wondrous season as I explore the many colors of snow....

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Daily Practice with a Good Demo

"Blue Evening" Pastel 14 x 11   Lesson courtesy of Marla Bagetta

This was a lesson in keeping it loose...big bold strokes on a bigger piece of paper! Loads of fun and in the direction that I would like to go with my pastel painting.  Learning through online tuition has its benefits and challenges....following along with a video demo allows one to pause the streaming and catch up or rewind and review a particular section....the lesson is mine forever...I can view it and repeat it or build another piece around's a worthy investment...there is a community forum page where students share their work and get's important to connect through art...being an artist is a solitary it's important to connect.
That being said, there is nothing that can replace a living breathing teacher right there with you, guiding you, giving corrections and encouragement....tomorrow I get to indulge in such an activity with my favorite art teacher, Susie Wilson who is a master at figure drawing and most everything else.
Until tomorrow......have a lovely day.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Let It Snow!

"Winter Wanderings" Pastel 12 x 12 © Donna Gross
contact artist

Let the snow painting season begin! Artists, art blogs, holidays art shows....let's paint the white stuff!
Remembering that snow is rarely white is the key to making snow convincing.
Today's practice came from a photo inspiration courtesy of the website
I am excited to change seasons and begin my practice of wintery landscapes and friendly critters that live in the snow!  Follow along ...but first grab a warm cup of hot chocolate !❄️

My photo reference 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

A really good lesson...

Pastel 12 x 12

I have invested in a series of online pastel painting lessons by Marla Bagetta.  I have admired Marla's work for some time now and decided to take the financial plunge and invest in some art tuition.
Marla produces a series of video taped live lessons where she takes the student through a piece from beginning to finish.  Included is commentary on planning stages, preliminary sketches, color theory and choice and reference photo accessibility.  I completed this piece in a
little over 2 hours...longer than recommended...but that's the stage I'm at I guess....The never-ending stage of learning.
Marla talks about the 4 stages of learning.....
The unconscious incompetent stage
The conscious incompetent stage
The conscious competent stage  and finally
The unconscious competent stage.

Today I felt like I was maybe moving out of conscious incompetence and tasting a little bit of conscious competency....
I look forward to the unconscious competent stage someday...the fleeting moments of watching the painting paint itself while you watch your hand move about making luscious marks on the paper and then you realize it's time to make dinner and ..... voilà
Practice, practice, and more practice.....
Keeping the beginners mind alive.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Still Life Practice.....Again and again and....

"Pick a Pepper"  Pastel 6 x 9 © Donna Gross
Wanting to improve at an endeavor....that's what this is all about for me.  Not getting attached to the outcome, the potential, anything .... Strife for progress...throw away perfection...Don't compare myself with other artists..(that's a tall order!)
I try to paint everyday...I also play piano and try to practice everyday as well! Life isn't over because you "retire" fact it seems like it is just beginning without the expectations...
Sounds good to me.

My inspiration, preliminary sketch, and yummy pastels!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Still Life Practice

" La Grenade"  pastel  9 x 12 © Donna Gross

My preliminary sketch and the pomegranate

This was yesterday's still life practice.  A little trivia for you, my friends....
The word grenade referring to the explosive used in war came from the french word for pomegranate...because the shape of the pomegranate resembled the little bomb and also when thrown on the ground the juicy seeds scatter .... like it's unfortunate namesake.
Thanksgiving came and went with a lovely quiet time spent with my family.  Children home from college, lots of games of scrabble, a movie night, and for the feast we all went out for Thai food.
My kind of holiday...hope yours was wonderful as well.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Feathered Friends ...

"Redpoll in Winter"  Pastel 5 x 7 © Donna Gross
Look at this cutie! I just love birds and painting them....birds are the indicator species for our environment.  Where there is an abundance of birds, the environment is healthy. So true for the opposite...
I became interested in birds when my husband of 23 years and I began dating...In fact our first date was to go birdwatching! Not your usual first date, but I was curious...Early in our marriage we went on a "birding" trip with overly enthusiastic birdwatchers to Costa Rica....They proved a bit extreme for our liking.  Didn't do that again! 
My husband feeds the neighborhood there are lots of little lovelies to look at all day.  There are wetlands near our home here in Santa Cruz, Ca. where we can look at ducks to our hearts content...just couldn't ever imagine harming one let alone hunt one....I prefer to paint them and appreciate the joy they bring to my everyday.....
The piece above is available for purchase as are all the paintings you view here on my blog. 
For now, if you are interested, please contact me via email and we can work something out!
In the meantime, go out and look and listen to your feathered friends.....

My inspiration

Monday, November 20, 2017

Paper is so important!!

"Bears Ears National Monument"  Pastel  11 x 6 © Donna Gross
Available contact artist
I just love these mountains . This is my second rendering of this image. The current administration wants to decrease the size of this beloved National Monument.....ugh.
Today , I needed to paint in the most desperate way...It is where I can forget my worries and obsessions and get lost in the world of color and texture and NPR...or sometimes KBACH classical music station.
Today's palette was in keeping with the local color of the photo reference. Yet, I was disciplined and PLANNED!!
I chose my limited palette before I began using three little dishes from my mother's china collection to separate darks, middle values, and lights.
With fewer pieces of chalk in front of me, I was able to keep my focus on the values and KEEP IT SIMPLE.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Color Series #2

  " Triad Color Study" Pastel 11x13 © Donna Gross

It's been a frustrating week for me in the studio and beyond.....sometimes my negative inner voice (whom I call "Ramona")
gives me all kinds of grief... "Push through " , I tell my college age son who is sometimes challenged with an intense workload....."Push through".... why?
Because resilience is a life saving skill.  Because life is rough sometimes and the world is sometimes unkind.....
"Comparison is the thief of joy"
Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, November 13, 2017

Color Study Series #1

"Birdwatching on the Marsh"  Pastel  8 x 10 © Donna Gross
I have decided to begin a color study and exploration to further my knowledge of the color wheel and creating color harmony.  Today's piece was accomplished with a split complimentary scheme using hues of blue, red-orange, and yellow- orange. I found using a prepared canvas board challenging.  I have used these canvas boards before and each time I feel like they eat up my pastels!! Mounds of dust.
I prefer sanded paper grit 400-600 which feels like a fine emory board when I brush it with the pad of my finger.  
The irony of me using pastels as my medium of choice is that I persevere despite the enormous amount of dust that it generates.  For those who know me best...dust is my enemy!
But colorful pastel dust....not so....

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Finding Harmony

"Standing Proud"  Pastel  5 x 7 © Donna Gross
Available contact artist
I am still learning and sometimes struggling with creating harmony in color.
As I break out and begin to choose my own color palette instead of following the local color of the reference that I am painting, I forget to call on my trusting friend the color wheel.  
I open my box of yummy  pastels with so many different hues and values and dive right in ..choosing any color that strikes my fancy in that moment...and lately that has led to frustration and a feeling of incompetence....what to do?
Get back to basics. Have a plan...use the color wheel! The painting above started with no plan really. I just loved the color of the sky and built around that...this painting came from my imagination...not something I do often at all...but I became too attached to the turquoise of the sky without planning what to do with the tree or the water or the land!

My first unsatisfactory attempt at completion.  Not doing it for me.
I still didn't want to surrender my turquoise sky...To the color wheel I went and found a tertiary triad with turquoise in it and used the other colors in that triad. I finally settled on the finished piece at the beginning of this post above.  It feels more harmonious to me.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Painting Transparency

" Roses and Glass"  Pastel  8 x 10 © Donna Gross
While the composition is not my best work, I did feel somewhat satisfied with rendering transparency in the glass pitcher... 
This piece was done on a canvas board prepared with an acrylic ink underpainting followed by a layer of gesso.. The texture of the canvas board was challenging to achieve the soft edges of the plant material inside the glassware... I may try this subject again on smoother paper... but for today I am done with this effort!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Overworking a Painting

"Floral Study"  Pastel  5 x 7  © Donna Gross
Available contact artist
Some painting sessions go on toooooo long.  I just don't know when to quit!! I hear this from many artists and I am subject to the same pitfall.  
Today I prepared an 8 x 10 canvas board first with acrylic ink...


Then I added a layer of gesso...

While my underpainting was drying I decided to do a small study of the idea I wanted to paint today based on this reference still life.  I went grocery shopping today and saw these stock flowers .... I had the vase in mind and my goal was to paint the vase transparent with directional light , highlighting the stems......
My reference still life

And so while I waited, I pulled out one a olive green toned 5 x 7 Ampersand pastel board.
Many hours later....many layers later....I did not achieve transparency...I settled with the piece pictured at the top of this post.  Tomorrow, I will try again to achieve my original goal using my prepared 8 x 10 canvas board.  The lesson?  simple....
Less is always more.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Meet Francine

"Pink Flamingo"   Pastel   9 x 11  © Donna Gross
Today's work had me mesmerized for the better part of three hours...Actually that is the average daily sitting for me to paint.  When doing a figure, I want to paint the eye(s) early on in the painting.  By doing this, I seem to develop a relationship with the figure I am looking at....for three plus hours!
"Francine" blossomed into a good companion this afternoon.  

My reference photo courtesy of @amelia321

Monday, October 30, 2017

A Furry Muse

"Moscow # 3"   Pastel  12 x 14 © Donna Gross
Oh my little obnoxious Moscow....You have already met him in a previous post!  Perhaps you remember the tale of his near death experience and the $4000.00 vet bill we paid for his survival and recovery!  That incident bought this little teenager male a permanent ticket for an indoor life...certain frustration for him .... and quite the hassle for our household to be wary every time one of us opens a door to the outdoor world.  Escapes do happen.  
Last week, "Houdini" escaped again.  As I was in the garden working, I heard the all too familiar screech of a cat fight.  You see, every time Moscow, who is a very petite cat, manages to dash under our noses and under our toes outside, a resident "Tom" comes on over for a little bullying.
Sure enough, broom in hand, I rushed to the sound of feline distress only to find Moscow tangling with Tom.  Needless to say, Moscow was losing....pinned on his back, that big bully had him. 
I broke up the fight.  Fur flying and cats scurrying away, it wasn't until a bit later that my little trouble maker came a running home.  Yep, his little body was riddled with scratch marks and maybe even a bite or two.   
Off to the vet we go ..... again... antibiotics, exam, the works....$200.00 later.... He's valued now at $4200.00 retail!  But let me tell you, he is priceless as my muse....

My reference photo

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Bold and Colorful Autumn Aspens

"Crisp Autumn Color"  Pastel  5 x 7 © Donna Gross
Available contact artist

Today, here on the Central Coast of California, delivered overcast skies and cooler temperatures...blessed relief!  The older I get the less I can tolerate heat and we have had unseasonable warm days lately here in Santa Cruz.  So waking up today to gray foggy skies was a welcome change.  After the usual morning coffee, scouring the newspaper, and other daily chores, I set off to the grocery store to stock up for the week.  My husband came along for company and it made the foray ever more tolerable.  Coming home with multiple grocery bags to unpack, I reminded myself not to complain about this least favorite domestic chore...certainly a "first world problem" to complain about having to unpack a week's worth of food.  I reminded myself of my incredible good fortune just to have a grocery store with stocked shelves, let alone the food I brought home.  And so I gratefully put the groceries away.....
The piece above is a reworking of the piece  below...What a change ! I sprayed the original with fixative to give it a new surface and reinvented ..... I am pleased with the result....which one do you like better?

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Seasonal Fruit

" Curious Gourd"   Pastel  5 x 7 © Donna Gross
What do you make of this curious shape?  Is it a fruit or a vegetable?  In the grocery store, it is marketed as an ornamental gourd....alongside are miniature pumpkins and other oddly shaped curiosities .... some with bumps and warts...
I am surely not going to eat this!  It decorates my kitchen window sill along with other miniature "ornamentals" apt for the fall season.  Today I wanted to paint a still life with directional light...and so I did just that! Simple as that!

Monday, October 23, 2017

More Seasonal Art

"Autumn Marsh #2"  Pastel  8 x 10 © Donna Gross
What a homecoming weekend at Cal.  Visiting my daughter at UC Berkeley for Parent's Weekend was fun filled and quite active.  My legs can tell you how many miles I put on my "dogs" the past two days!  This past weekend was a weekend of firsts for me.  
Saturday's football game with the Cal Golden Bears vs. Arizona State Wildcats was the first football game I have ever attended.  While I am not a sports fan in any sense of the word....often really not even knowing what season which sport is played...I have to say that the college spirit was quite the spectacle.  
Opening with the Cal Marching Band and finishing with fireworks to summon the players onto the field, I was captivated by the whole event.  Around me were alumni no doubt...couples who probably met there at Cal many moons ago and make this homecoming a yearly tradition. When my mind wandered from the gladiator type machinations of the helmeted colorful bodies bashing into each other, I guessed at the stories each of these couples could they met...what they majored in...grad school...marriage and now children or even grandchildren carrying on the Cal tradition...
And so there I was , sitting in a stadium with a 63,000 person capacity, attending a sport I have no interest in and perhaps have great reservations about...But I was at Cal and my daughter was sitting next to me and we were now part of this whole university experience. 
The next day we ventured up a grand hill to the botanical we got up the hill was also a first for me!  Deciding that walking up the 1.8 miles at a steep incline was out of the question and it being Sunday so the UC transit was taking the day off, we called an Uber driver! 
After downloading the app, entering a few bits of information including how I would pay for this service, we entered our location and our destination of desire and Voila!  He arrived in less than 3 minutes!  Magic!  I have clearly arrived.....
As for today's painting, I just can't seem to get enough of this autumn spirit...
Happy Autumn!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Pumpkin Patch Orange Madness!!

"Pumpkin Trio"   Watercolor  8 x 10
Available contact artist

What is it about pumpkins?  They appear only during autumn and soon after Halloween they disappear....In the weeks leading up to the holiday, here on the Central Coast of California, and in particular the San Mateo unspoiled stretch of coastline , which for California took an act of congress to preserve.... there are patches of orange amid the dried grasses and chaparral.....the fields have the obligatory scarecrow and resident ravens and red winged blackbirds.....and delighted people of all ages roam about finding the perfect shape...Personally I go for the stem....For me a pumpkin must have a notable stem...perhaps a reminant of a curly vine as well....and yes, the shape is quite important...I mean's about the shape of the gourd, n'est pas?
As for the actual carving potential, bigger is definitely better...wielding a sharp butcher knife and plunging into the almost impenetrable exterior, you need a large margin for error....there is no better killjoy than a trip to the emergency room...
I keep my carving design simply classic...and I save the detail for a safer expression of art....
The piece I am sharing with you today is a watercolor I did a year ago.... I have dabbled in this medium a few times. It takes an immense amount of restraint to produce the effect of light....perhaps a juicy pastel will follow...

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Happy Birthday to Me!

"Self Portrait"  11x16  Pastel © Donna Gross
Today's post is a self portrait that I did in a community college class some years back.  It was done in charcoal and pastel on Mi Tientes pastel paper.  I post this to remind myself how far I have come as an artist!  This does resemble me , but I must say ages me quite a bit! 
Today is my birthday!  I spent it taking a ballet class in the morning followed by a luxurious hour and a half massage at a local day spa! Ah! My kind of birthday.  I have been showered with lovely gifts from the most important people in my wonderful and generous husband, incredible son who is so good to me, and my daughter who is having the time of her life at UC Berkeley learning something new everyday!  How lucky am I? Life is very good to me...I never take for granted the abundance that is my life....I hope I can share a little bit of my creativity with the world with this art blog and hope that many of you follow along on my journey.....

Monday, October 16, 2017

A Little Joy Coming Your Way!

"Humming Along"   Pastel  6x6  © Donna Gross

Dear friends,
With all the tragedy in the news these days, I wanted to spend my afternoon painting a little joy....
Hummingbirds are joyful , busy little creatures whirring about my garden daily.  We provide bird food for all the birds in our neighborhood...our yard is the place to be!  Our resident hummers eagerly gobble up the sugar water we provide in their special feeders.... competing with other visitor hummers , our residents put on a display of territorial behavior that is exciting to watch.
Today's painting was done on Ampersand pastel board using Sennelier soft was my first time using this brand of pastel board.  Having been used to sanded paper, this board was contrarily smooth . The pastel went on smooth and luscious!  So much fun!
My reference photo was provided by Sue Farris on the website  which is a website chalk full (pardon the pun!)  of copyright free reference photos that amateur photographers generously contribute.  Check it out for yourself to see some great photos and also artwork!

My reference photo 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Good Practice

 "Reclining"  A figure study   18x24  charcoal  © Donna Gross

Today I spent the afternoon in the studio with one of my favorite masters of figure drawing , Susie Wilson.
Susie Wilson Art @pommegraphisfineart
I have studied with Susie for a couple years now.  It is always a treat to sit with her in her classroom for a 3 hour session drawing from a live model.  Susie has been instrumental in teaching me how to "see" ....that is to draw what you actually see with your eyes and not draw what your brain knows's about seeing shapes and then relating them to render the image in front of you!  I can think of no better way to spend a Sunday afternoon!  Look for this image later on as I add color and expression and movement painting it in pastel!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

California on Fire

"Inferno"   Pastel  5x7  © Donna Gross
Available contact artist
Greetings friends...
I am back from my travels to the Big Sky Country of Montana.  Flying home over the north bay area of California in the early evening hours, I could see my state on fire.  
I have a sister in the evacuated area now and I am sitting pins and needles.  The forces of nature are showing their's painting had a limited palette....mostly the hues of fire and smoke.
The Earth is in turmoil.  So many natural events have occurred in a short period of time....earthquakes in Mexico, hurricanes in the southeast and Puerto Rico and the Caribbean...and the fires of the northwest of the US...and now here in my near backyard.  These events remind me of my small place in the world and my personal responsibility to keep my footprint as small as possible.
To all those affected by the Somoma/Napa fires and other disasters , my thoughts are with you ..
Be safe.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Travel Memories

"Zion National Monument"    Pastel    9x12   © Donna Gross

Well, another trip is wrapping up.  Tomorrow I head for home with wonderful memories of my time spent here in Big Sky Country with longtime friends.  I had some time to sketch with ink in my sketchbook and also complete a few pastel studies with my pastel pencils.  I am eager to review my photos and start a new pastel painting rich with memories , reference photos, and studies.
Today's painting was a piece I completed in the studio using a reference studio.  I visited Zion about 11 years ago.... the memories are still fresh in my mind and as vivid as the colors I used in this piece. Hope you enjoy !