Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Kingfishers and deer article and photos from my new blog. Hope you'll jump over there and have a look and come back often for more!

Monday, September 14, 2015

30 in 30: Day 13: Sterling Lagoon


"Sterling Lagoon"
Sandra LaFaut ©
6x9" pastel on Uart sanded paper

This is a reworked pastel from a plein air day this summer. 
You can read about the day and see the original here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

30 in Day 9: Transitions


"Transitions Study"
by Sandra LaFaut ©
9x12", Pastel on sanded board

Driving through the Bighorn Mountains a few years ago, Bob and I came upon the beautiful scene that so clearly shows the changing seasons. It was very late September, a cold, clear, crisp morning. Off to the right far up the hill some horses were playing, chasing and calling out to one another. It was a very memorable moment for both of us. 
Then our brakes on our brand new van glazed over and started smoking - another memorable moment!
I'm calling this one a study because I am already thinking of things I'd like to try to play with the image. I also have this on my wall as a large photograph, but have always wanted to do in in some form of art.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

On Working in More than One Media

I have moved from working in mainly scratchboard for over a year to doing pastels and acrylic or oil miniature paintings. I've been thinking about why that is, and what my goals for each would be.


1. Scratchboard: I love the extreme detail that is possible with scratchboard. A lot of mine are in black and white so the focus is on light, values, and lost edges - not color. On the downside, since it is a very slow process with many layers of diluted ink it takes a long time. Working from life is not much of a reality for most scratchboard artists. Working from photos can be a problem for me. The tendency can be to just copy it instead of interpreting it. Sometimes I feel the need for an alternative to force me out of it.



2. Pastel: That need for an alternative has led me take up pastel again. My #1 goal for pastels is to practice a much more impressionistic way of working. I love the textures and looseness of pastel painting. I also often prefer things other than brushes for my work: scratchboard tools, pencils, pastel sticks, etc.   I also enjoy the color possibilities of pastels. With my limited amount of colors in pastel I have to think more about what colors and values I can get to make the image work within those limits. That is a very good thing! Again, it forces me away from copying the photo too literally. My goal for pastel is to gain enough studio skill that I can move into plein air painting. I tried it a bit this summer, but hadn't yet gained enough of the basic skills to succeed. I'm still working towards a more impressionistic look in them - I suspect I'll be fighting that battle for quite a while!



3. Miniature Acrylic/Oil Paintings:  Sometimes I just like to paint and I am enchanted by miniature paintings. This is another area that I became aware of within the last year. I have looked at lots of miniature shows online and studied the guidelines for art enough to have an understanding and appreciation for it. (Minatures have the goal of 1/6 scale or lower, a very flat surface - no impasto, are normally quite realistic, and need to hold up well to magnification since they are meant to be held in the hand and looked at through a magnifying glass.) Plus, I don't currently have enough sales or wall space for larger art. Miniatures, for now, will be a bit more in the hobby stage, just working on them occasionally. As I get a few finished and framed I may submit work to some miniature shows. I'll set next year as my goal. It seems a lot of the very good shows run in the fall and winter.

I'm hoping all these things will mesh together to help me grow in expressing myself as an artist.

30 in 30, Day 8: Fleeting Brilliance


This one is titled "Fleeting Brilliance" and is 9x12" pastel on sanded paper. I thought it was finished until I looked at it on the computer. It's not for sale yet because I am going to work on it more later today. When I get the final version I'll switch out this image for the new one, keeping it in this same post to keep the days in order. 
The river is our local river, the Raisin River in Monroe County, Michigan. 
It has the distinction of being the world's crookedest river.

Monday, September 7, 2015

30 in 30, Day 7: Last Light



"Last Light"
by Sandra LaFaut ©
9x12" pastel on sanded paper



Last of the day's light over the lagoon at Sterling State Park on a warm summer's eve. I really loved the way the water was catching just a few streaks of red as the sun dropped below the horizon. 
I almost lost the series of photos through a moment of careless deleting on the camera. Fortunately I was able to run a recovery program on the card and get them back. 
Once gone these moments in time can never be duplicated (except in art!)

Sunday, September 6, 2015

30 in 30, Day 6: Pictured Rock Sentinels


"Pictured Rock Sentinels"
9x12"
Pastel on Uart paper
Sandra Lafaut ©


The Pictured Rock National Lakeshore is a magical place of color and textures. We were able to take the boat ride along the shoreline quite a few years back and I have always wanted to do some artwork based on my photos. Here is one of the most colorful. The water there is very cold, deep, clear, and colorful. It is a very beautiful place. It also has many miles of hiking trails, but we didn't do that part. I wanted to see the rock formations from up close at waterlevel. Now to be a kayaker...!