Monday, February 27, 2012

Emma and Bubba, Pastel, 11" x 14", painted on Wallis Belgium Mist

Meet Emma and Bubba, two pals that don't have a worry in the world.  Talk about cute, these two are absolutely adorable!  I painted them back in February 2011.  The painting was a present for my client's wife.  I really enjoyed painting this one, it was fun to paint white fur without using white.  Emma is on the left, she's a little lady, and Bubba is on the right, a big ol' guy.  I think the size difference between the two is amazing.  Emma really is that tiny, and Bubba really is that big!  This is one of my favorite paintings.  I love painting dogs, they have so much personality.

© by Christine DiMauro, all rights reserved.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Two more gouache paintings, 3" x 9 1/2",painted in a Stillman and Birn sketchbook

Here are two more gouache paintings.  Both are of Sunken Meadow.  I'm really enjoying this gouache, I have a list of reasons why I'm finding it so enjoyable.  I'm sure I will be using this new medium regularly, alongside my pastels. It may be time to do some underpainting with it, using the pastels on top.


"Sunken Meadow Looking North"
© by Christine DiMauro, all rights reserved.


 "Sunken Meadow, First Snow"
© by Christine DiMauro, all rights reserved.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

In the spirit of sharing more tiny sketches........

As usual my never ending devotion to pastels is surfacing again, and I feel the need to post a few more of my favorites.  This is a group of teeny tiny paintings I did back in the summer of 2011.  I had purchased a small box of Terry Ludwig pastels.  He calls them "Mystery Boxes" because they are made up of 14 sticks of mystery colors.  When you purchase the box you have no idea what you will get, and his motto is "you get what you get, and you don't get upset".  The reason for the mystery is because he is selling them at a discount and he randomly takes pastels from his "seconds" stash.  These pastels "seconds" are those that aren't quite good enough for the pristine new boxes of pastels he sells, yet they're really fine for painting, not at all defective (they just might not be as "pretty or pristine", they have bubbles and chips which don't affect the quality of the pastel or their usefulness).  Ludwig pastels are a dream to work with, I will jump at the chance to buy some at a discount, pristine or not. 

It was a fun project.  I took the 14 sticks and painted 9 teeny tiny paintings using just those pastels and nothing else.  This is the beginning of my thoughts into starting some kind of sketchbook.  My problem was one, namely pastels and their smudge factor.  Not conducive at all to sketchbooks.  These little ones are now in a large frame floating on black foam core, sort of like a collage.  I didn't know what to do with them, putting them in a book was not an option.  So, the evolution of a sketchbook of some sort started to emerge, I just had to find a medium to do it with!  My first thought was watercolor, but since I've discovered gouache I think that will probably be my "go-to" medium for sketchbooks and thumbnails.  I'll still use watercolor and keep trying to figure them out as well, but gouache for me is a great discovery!  Nothing will ever replace my beloved pastels though, there's something about their sparkle and juicy color, you just can't get that with anything else.  I just love the "look of them", they're like no other medium.

Here is the box of pastels I received:

My first painting,
 "Sunset on the Northside"
© by Christine DiMauro, all rights reserved.


This is how small it is:

The rest of the paintings are just as tiny, I posted this so you could see the scale.  It was like painting with bricks,  you can see how big the pastels are in relation to the size of the painting.  They say to use the largest brush you can when painting, I guess I did just that!  Pastels are our brushes.  This first one is my favorite, I hope to do a larger version of it sometime soon.  I used a scrap piece of LaCarte paper.  I even bought a large piece of the same paper in the same color.  My intention is to use just the pastels in the box to do a larger version.  I used a sunset photo I took a few years back while we were vacationing in Montauk, Long Island, a beautiful place.

Here is another one, the reference was a photo I took of the North Fork of Long Island.  It is wine country, and the landscape is beautiful.  Actually, all but two of these sketches are from photos I took of that area.

"Treeline"
© by Christine DiMauro, all rights reserved.


This is the tasting room at Corey Creek Vineyard, Southold, NY

"Corey Creek Tasting Room"
© by Christine DiMauro, all rights reserved.


I took quite a few photos that day at Corey Creek.  Here is another one showing a small house in the distance.  I'm not sure if the house is part of the vineyard, but it made for a nice painting.


"Corey Creek"
© by Christine DiMauro, all rights reserved.


This is the same house as above, but from a different vantage point.  I like the texture I achieved with this one, those Ludwigs are juicy for such a dry medium!


"Corey Creek House"
© by Christine DiMauro, all rights reserved.


The last one I did from Corey Creek is one that started out with the vineyards in the landscape.  The "bricks" I was painting with were too large to actually convey  believable rows of vines so I eliminated them and just painted a landscape.


"Farm in Field"
© by Christine DiMauro, all rights reserved.


On the way home that day the sunset was, as usual, magnificent.  The lighting on the east end of Long Island is remarkable.  Not only can you get great photos, but the paintings I do seem to have a certain quality about them that is unlike anything else I do.  Lighting is everything, it truly is.


"Northfork Sunset"
© by Christine DiMauro, all rights reserved.


While I was painting these teeny tiny paintings I was supposed to be getting ready for a vacation in Maine.  I was obsessed with them, turning out three or four at a time.  I was on a roll and felt I needed to get these out of my system.  If I waited until I got back from vacation the "roll" would be gone, and maybe the inspiration as well.  So, I rushed to paint as many as I could before time ran out.  This next one was inspired by a photo I took at a local "zoo".  It is a small place with some goats, chickens, turkeys, they even have some bears and large cats.  It was the end of a winter day, Santa was coming to greet the kids, the sun was setting and the moon was rising.


"Sunset at Hoyt Farms"
© by Christine DiMauro, all rights reserved.


When I got back from vacation in Maine, I still felt inspired enough to try another one.  This is from a Maine photo, though the colors are nothing like how it looks there.  Because I'm doing this with a very limited palette I had to give up the notion of  "capturing Maine".


"Wildflowers in Maine"
© by Christine DiMauro, all rights reserved.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Some watercolor sketches, and some gouache sketches.....

I purchased some Stillman and Birn sketchbooks with the intention of using them to figure out watercolor.  As I started to play around with them, I realized that even though the paper is extra heavyweight, it is not very condusive to watercolors.  At least not in a way that will help me to figure out watercolors.  Out of desperation I pulled out some gouache paint that I had laying around in my studio for years, and I mean years.  I never used them because I really didn't now what to do with them.  I had read somewhere that gouache works well on smooth, heavyweight paper, and the paper in this journal seemed it just might fit the bill.  So, I started painting a few thumbnails.  The first few paintings are watercolor, as they were the ones that "told me" that this paper wasn't going to work very well with watercolor.


This first one is a watercolor.  The paper in this journal just seems to let the watercolor "float" on top of the paper, and it doesn't want to allow clean, smooth washes or any type of glazing.  I got through it and finished this one, so it wasn't a total loss, just not what I was looking for.  I call this "Pomegrapples" because they look like a cross between a pomegranete and an apple.  They're suposed to be apples, but I'm not sure they really look like apples!  But, I like the colors, and being the color fiend I am, that makes me happy.

© by Christine DiMauro, all rights reserved.



This is another waterclor, and I was starting to get very frustrated.  I am happy with this, but the paint was not cooperating.  Again, issues with smooth washes and glazing.  I do like the way this turned out, I couldn't have achieved it on Arches cold press, so the experiment was a success in that I ended up with something I like.  I also began to realize that this paper and watercolors just might not work together, and I needed to figure out another wet medium to use in this sketchbook.

© by Christine DiMauro, all rights reserved.



Watercolor and ink, and lesson learned:  don't ink first!  It's too much like coloring in a coloring book.  I just may go back into this with some gouache, it may save it.  Right now I'm not happy with it, but this was a turning point for me.  I now know that watercolor and this paper were not a match made in heaven.

© by Christine DiMauro, all rights reserved.



This is my first gouache.  Much better, the paper and the paint liked each other very much.  I've never painted with gouache before, and I found myself really liking it.  It is similar to pastels in that is an opaque medium, so my brain wasn't going into opposite mode like it does with watercolors...... a good thing.  I felt so positive about this one.  I know it's not perfect, but for a first gouache it's not too bad.  I liked how the paint worked with the paper and now I'm thinking, "this may work, I need to try it again!"

© by Christine DiMauro, all rights reserved.



Another gouache, and now I'm really thinking this could be a great medium to use in sketchbooks for color thumbnails!  Yes, I am one happy camper right now.  I can see this one and the tree done in a pastel on a larger scale.  It's nice to be able to work out a painting in a color thumbnail and imagine it as a pastel.  Pastels are not condusive to sketchbooks, the smudge factor is just too much of a pain.  So, discovering gouache is turning out to be such a plus, I'm very excited!

© by Christine DiMauro, all rights reserved.



I'm really lovin' this gouache, who knew?  I've always wanted to paint this scene, it is from a photo I took at a local state park called Sunken Meadow.  This area is a bird sanctuary, and is quite beautiful.  I could do this in pastel too, and now I have a road map of how I think I want to approach it.  I also think I will add a bird somewhere.  Oh happy days.....

© by Christine DiMauro, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What's Above the Koi, 8 1/2" x 8 1/2", Pastel painted on Wallis sanded paper

© by Christine DiMauro, all rights reserved.

This is the fifth painting I've done of Puglisi Vineyards and I think I could do a few more.  Such a beautiful spot, I think the day I was there the atmosphere was infused with light and a sense of calm.  I can still remember how it felt while walking, listening to the birds and just enjoying the quiet.  Who knew a vineyard could be so special?  I'm almost afraid to go back for fear it won't be as beautiful as it was for me that day.

This pond is filled, and I mean filled with koi fish.  They are huge and just beautiful to watch as they swim around.  The pond is full of life, this must be the perfect place for them to thrive, hence, the name of the painting.

I discovered just how much I love Ludwig pastels when painting this.  For me, Ludwigs are perfect for painting landscapes, and this one in particular seemed to scream "Ludwig" at me.  The colors are georgous, and their texture are perfect for landscapes.  The square shape is a dream, I love the edges, so useful for trees and branches.  Great for architecture too, though not in this one.

Monday, February 6, 2012

One Sunday, 4" x 11", Pastel on Wallis sanded paper

© by Christine DiMauro, all rights reserved.

This is a close up view of the pond I painted in "Fields of Gold".  I think I was mesmerized that day, this is the third painting I've done.  This is quite small, sometimes working small can be fun, though it is a challenge working with "brick sized" tools.  Some pastel sticks can be pretty chunky!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Late Afternoon Too, Pastel, 9" x 12", painted on Uart 400 sanded paper

© by Christine DiMauro, all rights reserved.

This is a painting of the same barn that is in Late Afternoon.  The reference photo is from the WetCanvas reference library, and was taken by Paula Ford.  Old barns have such character and this one was no exception.  I really have to paint more barns, they're so much fun.