Tuesday, March 27, 2018

More Good Memories

"On the Trail"  Pastel  6 x 9  © Donna Gross
Available contact artist
Summer 2017 I accomplished my first backpacking trip since I was a younger person.  Much younger..... Trekking 16 miles roundtrip with 10 pounds on my back and gaining 5,000 feet of elevation gave me a clear reckoning with the number of decades I have been walking this earth!  But I did it!  It was a grand time for my family and I.  This piece is from a photo I took of my husband coming down the path in a beautiful meadow in the Yosemite high country. It was a very warm bright sunny day....Can you feel it?

Good Memories

"Fishin' Phil"  Pastel 6 x 9 © Donna Gross
Available contact artist
October 2017 I visited old friends I haven't seen in nearly 15 years in Montana.  What a delightful time we had. Here is Phil fishing which is his passion. 
Painting is my passion. It's really a blessing to have a passion.  Talk to me... tell me your passion.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Confidence vs. Doubt

"The Path of Least Resistance"  Pastel  6 x 9 © Donna Gross
Available contact artist
A friend texted me today....wondering what happened to my blog entries in that she hadn't received any lately....she liked the way my entries about art could apply to everyday life. 
When I started this blog, I wanted an intention. Some bloggers take an educational approach for their audience which is so helpful when one is learning a new art form or recipe or any subject of interest.
There are plenty of art blogs out there that are for educational purposes. I am certainly not seasoned enough to provide my readers with "tips of the trade".....I'm still a beginner.
So I decided to make this a" hodge-podge "of insight, story, and sometimes a personal take on life.
So here goes.... The Path of Least Resistance.....For me this does not mean to take the "easy road" but rather reminds me that I need not struggle so much....insanity can be defined as doing the same things over and over expecting the same results....that could translate to reminding a family member to follow a certain insignificant house rule, which somehow continues to be forgotten. 
Instead of pushing my agenda, I just cease...give it a rest...turn my attention to something less angst provoking.  Because really, how important can it be? Apparently not important enough to my housemates!! Within my art making process, I choose the path of least resistance all the time...well, at least I try. Choosing subject matter with the fewest shapes possible to provide my viewer an interesting composition  but providing me an ease of rendering. When I sit down for a painting session, I make sure I will not be interrupted...I limit my palette of colors so as not to get overwhelmed with choice....I have a cup of coffee...I unplug...I turn on the heater if I need it....I eat first...I release resistance. I ignore all obstacles to success.... like the voice in my head that may tell me I suck at this thing called art....I give that voice a name...His name is Ramone...don't listen to Ramone. 
So when doubt creeps in, take the path of least resistance....cease to struggle...take care of you because you are number one .... always. Confidence returns...you'll see....

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Frustration and Joy

Daily I go to my studio...I do my work...
I do what is important and not what feels urgent...
Urgency feels like "I've gotta organize the kitchen cabinets"...
That's resistance to the important stuff....the work.
The important stuff is painting, loving, sleeping, eating, playing, being grateful and joyful.
At the easel I experience periods of utter frustration....but in the end it always is my happy place...it is joy wrapped in color and dust....

"Wilder Ranch #3"  Pastel  9 x 12 ©  Donna Gross

"Late Summer # 2"  Pastel  10 x 8  © Donna Gross
Available donnatheresafineart.com

" Around the Corner"  Pastel  12x9  ©  Donna Gross
Available contact artist

Monday, March 12, 2018

Big Bold Strokes!!

Point Lobos   Pastel 11 x 8  ©  Donna Gross
This was a lot of fun today.  Big bold strokes....loose style...really putting down the color without exactitude! Pure joy!  Pure color!
Point Lobos is a California State Park about 35 miles south of where I live here in Santa Cruz, Ca.  Have I mentioned that I live in paradise? 
The coast line here on the Central Coast of California is mostly undeveloped and pristine as is the water of Monterey Bay.  We must work hard to RESIST all efforts by our current administration to allow oil drilling off our shores.  If this jewel is contaminated, so much life is lost.
Save our Shores. Look it up... donate...anything. 

Friday, March 9, 2018

Yosemite's Splendor

"Leaping Lupine"  Pastel  12 x 9  © Donna Gross
Available donnatheresafineart.com
Last summer, I had the amazing experience of hiking into the back country of Yosemite National Park.  Yosemite is the jewel of California.  Hiking with my husband and two college age kids, the 16 mile round trip trek gained us an elevation of 5,000 ft. 
For my family, that is my husband and kids, it was a piece of cake.
Not so for me.
There was the infamous "Murder Mountain" .  One morning I awoke with a splitting headache and had a mini tantrum that is a funny spectacle to watch my son relive my whining!! 
But I did it! I am no spring chicken and whereby I won't reveal my age here , I can tell you that I have many decades under my belt! 
With about 10 pounds on my back, sunshine beating down my body, I put one foot in front of the other and made it to our destination. The trip was several days long. Pack it in and pack it out....everything. Yep...everything.
We experienced a hail storm one afternoon while taking cover under a flimsy tarp diverting rivelets of water so as not to get soaked and muddy. 
But it was the meadows of lupine that mesmerized me. This piece above is rendered loosely from a photo of a field alive with lupine. Simply breathtaking.
What I cherished the most, was being away from civilization and spending my time with the three people I love most in this world. Simply heaven.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

A Week's Worth!

Here is the still life set up  I used to render
"A Little Garlic and Onions Please"

" A Little Garlic and Onions Please"
Pastel 7 x 5 © Donna Gross

Available donnatheresafineart.com

"Late Summer #1" Pastel  12 x 9  © Donna Gross
Available donnatheresafineart.com
"On the Edge"  Pastel  12 x 9  © Donna Gross
Hello Friends,

It's been a busy week !  Making art continues to occupy most days for me.  On Tuesdays, I host an art social here at my home.  It's so fun to make art with other artists! Making art is primarily a solitary adventure .   That is a big attraction for me as I very much enjoy my own company! However, it's important to connect with other artists and share your work and encourage and support each other.
"Sapphire Plunge"  Pastel  11 x 9  ©  Donna Gross
Available contact artist

I was filling out a questionnaire for an art workshop I am about to take with my all time favorite pastelist, Marla Baggetta.  One of the questions was to describe to someone your art making process so that they could see it themselves through your description.
Here is my perfect day.....

~ How I Make Art~

I first decide on my subject matter.Usually I print out a photo reference because it is less saturated than a photo or something on my ipad. This keeps me from getting married to the reference. I then decide what size I want to paint. It may depend on if I have a frame in mind.  I head out to my little corner of heaven ( my garage studio) with cup of coffee, turn on either classical radio station or NPR … choose my paper which is either Uart sanded 9 x 11 or a Colourfix piece sized to my need. I usually have my pastels clean and put back in their trays . I use gloves because my fingertips get dry and cracked otherwise. I tape my piece to my easel board. I begin with a small thumbnail sketch on a piece of regular paper making a value study with four values. I then move to the sanded paper and start with a loose sketch of the major shapes. I then block in my dark values. Then my lightest lights . Then my middle values. I usually use a Nupastel stick for this stage using the color I want. However, I may block in a complimentary color for the middle values or even for the sky. Not often . Next I go back to the darks and add a few more dark colors to vary it and make it rich. Same for the lightest lights. Same for the middle values. Time to get up and stretch or walk away. Pet the cat. Whatever. Back at it, I start to add on things like sky holes for the trees. These are marks I make in the trees or shrubs that give the impression of the sky behind them. I dab my finger on these marks so they look like they are behind the tree or shrub instead of a christmas ornament hanging on the tree! I decide where my focal point will be. That is the place I want my viewer to look the most. I add on other detail but try not to get too detailed. That’s a tough one for me. I try to work all around the piece not just one area. ( another challenge for me) Now I look for the light. Where is the sun shining and on what? I begin to add the highlights. These marks will be the lightest on the whole piece. I may go back and reinforce some dark areas as well. Trying to get some contrast. Sometimes that contrast is dramatic , sometimes it is subtle. Depends on the subject matter. Now is time for the bells and whistles. Little marks that define areas. Lights between tree trunks….flowers or grasses in foreground...snowflakes on trees or falling from the sky.

This session can last anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. I usually paint alla prima. All at once. But sometimes a piece will stay on the easel for a day or 3.  When I am satisfied, I sign it!

The Daily James

  "James" "Partners For Life" A bird can't preen its own head with its bill, so they use their feet to clean head fe...