Friday, June 5, 2015

Opportunity Knocks

Opportunity knocked and I'm so happy I answered! I've been fortunate enough to get a chance to try some Henri Roche pastels, which have a long and rich history in the art world. You can read all about them here, but suffice it to say they are the world's most expensive pastels and now that I've tried them, I can see why. They have a feel that is unlike any other I've ever used, and the pigment load is incredibly rich and full, depositing vibrant luxurious color with the lightest touch. They play nicely with my other pastel brands and work beautifully over a hard pastel underpainting too, which is an added bonus in that I can reserve these precious sticks for the final outermost layer and let the less expensive sticks be the workhorses. Despite feeling rough, almost pumice-like, and hard to the touch, these leave a beautifully soft and delicate layer of rich color that stays vibrant even with blending. Unless I somehow manage to win the lottery, I don't ever see the full 800+-color set in my future, but who knows? Maybe someday I'll be able to afford to buy a small three-piece set or something. With color this rich, it doesn't take much and I think they'd likely last a long time when handled with the light touch they seem to prefer. :-)
© 2015 Tammy Kaufman - A Peaceful Mind - soft pastels on Sennelier La Carte Pastel Card 9" x 12"
(painted primarily with Henri Roche, Terry Ludwig and Sennelier pastels)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Time Flies

They say time flies when you’re having fun. And recently the weather has been just glorious for experiencing the joys of nature by painting outside, so perhaps that's why it's been so long since I updated this blog! As much as I enjoy studio painting, there’s something about painting from life – en plein air – that is a unique and wonderful experience. In light of that, I've attended two plein air paintout events this spring, in addition to some small local "unofficial" plein air gatherings, and hope to be able to do more this year.
© 2015 Tammy Kaufman - Standing There -oil pastels on Sennelier Oil Pastel Card, 9" x 12"
In April, I went to Southport, NC, for their "Paint the Town" paintout. The location is spectacular, and it was a joy to see some current artist friends and meet some new ones. So many gorgeous paintings and other than getting sun- and wind-burned, I had a terrific time painting the marshes from a gazebo at the end of a boardwalk on the sound. I used soft pastels with sanded surfaces for these two little studies, one painted in the early morning and the other mid afternoon.
© 2015 Tammy Kaufman - Morning on the Marsh - soft pastels on Sennelier La Carte Pastel Card, 9" x 12"

© 2015 Tammy Kaufman - Afternoon on the Marsh - soft pastels on Ampersand Pastelbord, 8" x 10"
Then in early May, I had the pleasure of attending the Town of Cary's "En Plein Air Paint the Town" paintout. This was only their second year hosting this event, but it was a topnotch affair. I did a quick oil pastel color study which I donated to the staff at the Cary Arts Center, and then did two small soft pastels later in the morning. The paintings from this paintout were displayed in various Cary businesses for the month of May and then the Arts Center held a silent auction during their Plein Air Gala at the end of the month. I’m delighted that both my paintings sold, and have gone to their lovely new homes!
© 2015 Tammy Kaufman - Performance Green - oil pastels on Uart 600, 7" x 9"

© 2015 Tammy Kaufman - Spring Show - soft pastels on Uart 600, 7" x 9"

© 2015 Tammy Kaufman - The Old Man and the Fern - soft pastels on Uart 600, 7" x 9"
For the past few weeks, I've been working a lot in oil pastels and am finding myself more and more enthusiastic about this medium. It's so versatile and works on a tremendous variety of surfaces. There currently isn't much information available on techniques, so I'm more or less teaching myself through trial and error, but it's been a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to doing more with OPs in addition to continuing work with soft pastels, and will be exhibiting both oil pastel and soft pastel paintings in a show at The Artists' Loft in Wake Forest next month. I love both media so much - they're very different but each delightful in their own ways.
© 2015 Tammy Kaufman - Listen With Your Heart - oil pastels on Sennelier Oil Pastel Card, 9" x 12"
© 2015 Tammy Kaufman - Drink the Wild Air - soft pastels on Pastel Premier, 10" x 13"
I'll write more later, but now I really want to go paint. There are just too many beautiful places waiting for me! J
© 2015 Tammy Kaufman - Walk in Peace - soft pastels on watercolor paper prepared with Art Spectrum Colourfix Primer, 6" x 9"