Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Got Distracted

I got distracted by life and my other hobby for a little while and I also got a little discouraged. My beloved husband worked very hard and we converted the smallest bedroom in the house from a baby room to a new studio. Gone is the orange trim and grey walls. Now I have just off white walls, brown trim and floor and a new ceiling light fixture.

I also purchased more pastels and a decent easel.

I started and stopped two paintings.

One features my old, grumpy cat, Misty laying on a blanket on the bedroom floor in a sunbeam. The composition is strong which is what drew me to the photo and sketch. But I just can't seem to interpret the shapes correctly in pastel. So I finally put it aside.

Then I tried a pastel painting of my mom from a photo. The drawing was off again, and then I scrubbed out too often and I got mud. So that one was set aside.

Then there was a deadline on my weaving that had been ignored while I worked on the studio and tackled these two paintings.

There was a trip to Pennsylvania to visit my mother-in-law and finally a week at work that just would not let me relax.

But I'm hoping to do a little something later this week. I suspect part of the problem with the cat and mom is that I was working too big for my skill level...

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Some Pastel Techniques and Recent History

As mentioned in a previous post, I was fortunate to be able to take off a few days from work and enroll in an Introduction to Pastels workshop by Lella Lee Edwards through the Rappahannock Art League in Kilmarnock, VA.

Marge Alderson was also in the class and it was wonderfully educational for me to listen to these women who are of my mother's generation, to talk about the early days of the Torpedo Factory and the artist organizations in Northern Virginia in the mid 1970s. My mother and Margaret Huddy were good buddies and mom ran in these same circles.

It was reassuring to go into another artist's studio and realize that there are highs and lows in everyone's working life. Lella Lee actually picked up and started working on one large pastel painting that had been sitting on her easel, untouched, she said, for five years. "I think I was just sick of flowers," she announced at one point.

Marge's children attended the same high school I did and while I don't remember her kids, I was pretty wrapped up in my own circle at that time.

I did complete several small pastels while I was there. Apparently, I work pretty quickly. I wasn't thrilled with a couple of them. One, in fact, has already been rubbed out. A second, of a ram, is staring at me now and will likely meet a similar fate. The drawing is very weak and I just can't quite be happy with it. But the subject has potential and I may give it another go with a different palette.

One piece made me very happy and just happened to be the first one I did on a scrap of some old charcoal paper she gave us to play with. It is a painting of a cabbage from my garden. When it was close to finished, but I was just not sure what it was missing, Lella Lee made her rounds and suggested that the outer leaves needs to be lightened. I reached for a light green and she pointed to a light blue. "Try that," she said. Sure enough, it was the perfect choice.

The theme for the April RAL members show is "The Color Green", so I plan to submit this if I can get down there at lunch time to put it in on Monday.

Mom helped me put a mat on it and I popped it into a frame that I had sitting around. It doesn't have the 3 inches of matting that Lella Lee recommends, but for a quick job (and cheap), I think it will do.
I do see, now, however, that I need to invest in the non-reflective glass as the cheap stuff in this frame makes it nearly impossible to see the painting. I think this is due, in part to the darker colors of the painting, so the glass is behaving like a mirror against it. But with the right glass, or in a room without windows, it works fine. You can see the camera and my hand reflected in the glass.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Being a student

Next week I'm taking a pastel class from a local pastel artist named Lella Lee through the Rappahannock Art League. I am due for some time off from work and I honestly cannot think of something I want to do more than play with my pastels for three days.

The class is from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I have to facilitate a group at work Tuesday evening, but other than that, I'm going to focus on my artwork for three days. I'm hoping to make that four or five days actually because I also took off on Friday and already had Saturday off.

Lella has sent an email advising us students not to purchase any additional pastels or materials but to bring what we have. When I talked to her briefly at the opening of the water themed show at the gallery earlier this month, she said that she has many pastels in her own collection and will discuss how to avoid a pastel stash that is unmanageable.

We are also to bring some simple reference photos as we are focusing on technique and not necessarily finished works.

I'm looking forward to learning something new.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

An Artist Statement

I'm working on it.

What's interesting to me is that while trying to summarize what I do (because other than pastels and drawing, I would not really see a theme in my work), I discovered that I am leaning towards a focus on captured moments. The work of the impressionists is greatly inspiring to me. I really cannot imagine how they managed to capture what they did without photographs. Well, I've recently learned that Degas did use some photographic reference, but it was very limited. I also recently learned that while he did field sketches, his finished works were all done in the studio.

I love the play of sunlight across things... across the curve of a body, across the shape of a building. Or maybe it's the shadows that grab my attention. In any case, I (at least currently) like scenes that are brightly lit and have distinctive shadows and values.

But almost everything I've done that I really like so far, has had some sort of historic/historical connection. My husband working on geneology. The old jail building in town. The swamp (in an area where wetlands abound, but nationwide, they are endangered), my mother's hands while she knits. I have reference photos for things like the hands of a weaver while warping a loom and pictures from the blacksmithing shop. I love old farm buildings and hope to spend some time this Spring and Summer doing some plein air work featuring one or more of them.

And, while I'm a little hesitant to declare victory just yet, the doctor has finally discovered what may be a basis for my fatigue, bouts of lightheadedness and intolerance for heat and much of my weight problem. Seems I have something called atrial fibrillation. Its cause is genetic but can result in stroke. So, the doctor has put my on a beta blocker with the idea of stopping the palpitations. Since Wednesday when I started them, I've lost a lot of water puffiness, I feel more focused, the lightheadedness has stopped and my fingernails are growing like weeds. With the drop in water retention, I've noticed my joints do not hurt so much. But when I run out of steam (around 7 p.m.), I really am done for the night. I'm hoping this is a side effect that continues; but I've also noticed my appetite has returned to "normal" and I am not driven to eat by the grinding fatigue. I have distinct hunger pangs now and find no desire to eat unless they are there. And when I do eat, I can tell immediately when I'm satisfied and have no problems stopping. This is all contrary to what the literature says this stuff does; but I'm not complaining.

So, it's not specifically art related but does affect my quality of life (and possibly my longevity), so for me, it is.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Geneologist

This is a portrait of my husband, Ken.

He was deeply involved in doing some geneology reseach on the computer with the morning sun shining in on his face and he never noticed me snapping his photo.

In the early stages of the painting process he was pretty unhappy with the underlying colors. There is a lot of green, blue, purple and reds.

I'm not very happy with the background, but the only thing there was a stack of CDs and a stack of paper, so I picked up some of the greens and yellows from the face area and did a general shadowy thing.

In the end, it really does look like him and for that, I'm happy.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Swamp Drawing

There are a lot of opportunities to takes pictures of water, boats, docks and even some beaches here in the Northern Neck of Virginia. There are even more opportunities to visit, photograph, draw and paint swamp land.

I took a series of photos to show my progress on this particular pastel painting starting with an underpainting. You can also see my reference photo. In real life, the colors were bolder than what you see in the photo. I'm not sure if I actually captured the colors and values accurately... and of course, the photo of the painting may not translate accurately either. But here goes:

 This is the initial underpainting and the reference photo I took recently. It was low tide and those are mud flats with logs in the "beach" area.

My husband complained that the sky had become too dark. I wasn't happy at this point with the bright orange in the trees across the water and the grasses in behind the tree.

And Finished:
This is 8X10 on sanded paper.



Friday, March 1, 2013

Waiting for the weather

I have this idea that I want to work outdoors with pastels. This type of work is referred to by artists as "en plein air".  It is probably referred to by everyone else as "a recipe for disaster".

In order to do this, you must work very fast as the sun is shifting constantly and it seems as if the most dramatic lighting is also accompanied by looming dark clouds and rising winds. Working from photographs would seem to make more sense. But I have come to realize, even while not experiencing the bugs, sun, wind, dirt and discomfort of working out of doors, that there is something completely different in the translation by the camera, computer and printer of what my brain and eyes are seeing. No matter what I've tried (so far), the photos I'm taking do not look what what I saw. The colors are different, the field of focus is different.

That's not to say I haven't gotten some really cool reference photos. A few weeks ago I took a walk down one of the local nature preserve conservation walks and came upon these scenes (among many others). And despite it being a fairly long walk down the gradually descending path, it may be worth hauling pastels and the easel down there to paint.

I just wish I had someone who would be interested in going out with me. My husband, probably would not mind a fishing trip. But his attention span is fairly short (only an hour or so). And despite any insistence on my part that I can handle my own equipment, he would insist on carrying it for me (because he was raised a gentleman), he would also complain about it (because he's also an old, but lovable curmudgeon)

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Old Jail

In Heathsville, Virginia which is my basic mailing address, there are some wonderful historic buildings. The old jail is just one of them.

I want to repeat this with a larger painting so I can put in more details. I also think it would be a great location for some plein air work.

I'm going to two plein air events this spring/summer to see how the pros do it. I can really see how working from a photograph is completely different from working from life. Between the camera and the computer/developer the colors and values change dramatically.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Life Drawing Group Again

My President's Day holiday from work was spent with the Rappahannock Art League Life Drawing Group. They meet on Mondays from 10 to noon in the back room of the RAL Gallery on Main Street in Kilmarnock, VA. Very nice bunch of folks and some great talent there besides.

Today, after some fast gesture drawings to warm up, we did two poses. Each one was set for three 20 minutes sessions. This was, by chance, the same gal who posed for us on my last holiday. I gave her my first drawing which was face forward. I wasn't particularly thrilled with it. But I do like the second and only wished I had one more 20 minute period in which to do more finishing on it.

I used pastels. This is my first pastel drawing of a person from life. I was also working with an extremely limited palette as I left my big set of Sennelier's at home.

There was a slight shift in her position from the second to the third session so her hips took an odd turn as did the director's chair she was sitting in... but I am, over all, pretty happy with this.


Seems like the only time I can keep my husband or my cats to be still long enough for me to sketch them is when they are asleep.

In this combined sketch, I got one of my rapidograph pens to work once again. I love sketching with these pens. I used them last seriously, when I was an art student at VCU back in 1978 and '79.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Spring comes

We live in an old house (built in 1909). We found some wonderful old flowerbeds, long neglected and over the past 20 years have saved some of the old flowers and shrubs that survived without much human help.

Among those flowers are some tiny, very early daffodils that were growing up against the kitchen wall. I moved some of these out under a dogwood tree that appears along the drip line of one of the giant pecan trees. I can see them from the kitchen window.

This year, they bloomed even earlier than normal. I set up a little vinette featuring these lovely, cheerful things.

The photo is not accurately reflecting the yellows. It pushed too much yellow into the sea shell.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Self Portrait

I was minding the front desk at my office a couple of weeks ago while the secretary was at lunch. The front window over looking our lobby, has a reflective band on the lower half to discourage the clients from staring at the secretary while they are waiting. As a result, the secretary's side is also reflective. So I did this sketch of myself.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Fall Fiber Festival Drawing

I attended the Fall Fiber Festival in Montpelier Station, Virginia last October.

Fiber is my other passion and I try to attend the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival in May and the Fall Fiber Festival later in the year.

This year, at one point, I turned and looked down the "concourse" just in time to capture a few of the attendees, doing all the various things attendees do. I snapped a photo, then put my camera away. Just one picture.

I got home and looked at it and just knew it was supposed to be a drawing or painting. It was just too cool (at least in my mind). I tackled it in colored pencil. It seems a little flat to me somehow, but I'm not very good yet with colored pencil. I may try it again in pastel on a large scale and see how it differs.

Here is the drawing in process:
Here it is completed:

Pastel Journal

I splurged a little and purchased a DVD with the first 10 years of Pastel Journal. I'm up to the fifth year and finding most of the articles very interesting.

I also subscribed to the magazine itself. Not sure when my first issue will arrive. Then, all I will have to do is complete the set from 2009 until 2013.

If you really like working in pastels, as a beginner or more experienced artist, so far, I can recommend this magazine.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sister study

Before I completed the pastel of my sister in an earlier post, I did a study from the photo. The graphite sketch isn't bad and actually came out better than the colored pencil versions that followed it.

I think one of the tendencies I've noticed in most of my portraits is that the subject ends up looking older than they are. In this particular study, she looks younger. I'm not sure why. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Old stuff

While looking back through an old sketchbook I found this. I'm pretty sure this is either from college or highschool so it's over 20 years old. The perspective is completely off but there are parts of it I really like.

This is a contour drawing for the most part, in which I put the pen down and did not lift it again until the entire sketch was finished.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Went up to bed early the other day being tired. But found the window in our bedroom inviting a sketch.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Rappahannock Art League

I was off work on Monday thanks to the national holiday. On Mondays from 10 a.m. until noon the Rappahannock Art League, based in a gallery on Main Street in Kilmarnock, Virginia, hosts an opportunity for it's members to come in and paint/draw/sketch a model from life. This week there were about 8 people there including myself.

It is a clothed model and everyone puts a little money in the pot. The going rate this Monday was $7. I had forgotten to stop and get cash and they very kindly accepted a check from me. Part of the fee goes to the gallery for use of the studio at the back and part of the fee goes to pay the model. I'm not sure where they found the young lady who modeled for us, but she did a terrific job. I was about 10 minutes late for the beginning and they were already into 5 minute studies and gesture drawings. After a few five minute poses, we went into two 20 minute poses with a short break in between.

Most of us were drawing with various dry medium. There were a couple of painters there as well.

I focused on portraits in graphite because I had only brought along my sketch book. I learned that RAL provides easels if desired. I would love to try a larger study next time as I believe I overworked my drawings if for no other reason than I had time to do it. Working larger would keep me busy and prevent me from overworking.

Everyone was very pleasant and the work produced was good. It was nice to be among a group of artists and get in a little practise far less expensively than I could have pulled it off myself. They tell me that they change their models pretty much weekly. They were only half joking, I think, when they said they were looking for "an ugly man" but have plenty of beautiful young women to work with.

I know where I will be the next Monday morning I have off from work!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

My mother's hands

My mom is an artist. She does lovely work in watercolor but her true love is colored pencil. She is also an extremely good knitter. She thinks of herself as a knitter, a mother, a wife and a grandmother perhaps more than she thinks of herself as an artist. But her work is very good and she has been in national level competitions.

But she finds the engagement with other artists to be trying a times. She wants to be left alone to pursue her own subjects. She has taught but doesn't like teaching. She has taken lessons, but doesn't try to emulate the instructor. She is rather independent.

She has not shown any of her work in several years. In her mid-70s now, and with some health issues, she finds the entire process of matting, framing and delivery completely exhausting and tedious. She gets frustrated when she has to pay a fee to show her work and little sells. She forgets, I think, that we live in the middle of nowhere with a permanently depressed economy and local galleries have limitations.

But she has continued to work. She has piles of matted and unmatted colored pencil paintings that no one has ever seen but for family.

As her grandkids have reached adulthood and begun the journey of decorating their own homes, they have come to realize that not everyone has had the priviledge of orginal art work on the walls as they did growing up. They complain of roommates with tacky tastes in posters and without the ability to properly hang things on the wall. Over the holidays, we had Thanksgiving dinner at her house and many of her grandchildren were there, and mom mentioned that she wanted to get rid of some of these older paintings but didn't know what to do with them.

With that, we all trooped up the stairs and the grandkids decended on her set asides and rejects like vultures on road kill. It was a little frightening how they snatched up piece after piece. My son and his girlfriend admired some older framed work and she told them to take them.

Later, I apologized for the feeding frenzy but mom said she really appreciated the delight in their eyes. "I guess I need to get back to work," she said. "Someone actually likes my stuff."

Over the same weekend, I took pictures of many of my family members including the photo of my sister that resulted in a small painting in an earlier post. Mom mentioned that she has always wanted to do a painting of a knitters hands but could never figure out how to hold the knitting needles and the camera at the same time. So, she took up the pose and I snapped a couple of pictures over her shoulder.

I still need to get the pictures to her. But I took one of them and yesterday worked up this 9X12" pastel painting.

Underpainting with alcohol followed by Senneliar extra soft on Mi-Teintes grey. This is still taped to the drawing board and you can see some of the over wash from the underpainting.

Friday, January 18, 2013


Jack is a cat that seduced me at work. Well, he and his brother, Samhain, both. They came home with me one Friday evening just before Halloween. Ken was not amused. In fact, he was so mad I feared we were headed for separation. There was this problem he had with me aquiring animals without fulling discussing it with him... my problem was that, had I asked about it first, he would have said, "no" and there would have been no further discussion.

Fortunately, both Jack and Samhain charmed him before the weekend was out and both boys were permitted to stay. Samhain, the black, has become Ken's cat and demands lap time twice a day from him. Jack has become more of my pet and wakes me nearly every morning before dawn by putting his foot in my mouth while I sleep.

I want very much to present Samhain in pastel. His colors are rich and varied running from rose to pitch.

Jack has been an easier target and since he communicates with me more than Samhain, I have found it easier to get good reference photos of him. Here is a pastel I completed today.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Morning lavenders

I drive to work Monday through Friday and try to leave my house around 7:20 a.m. Sometimes I'm on time and sometimes I'm running late. Yesterday, was a day I got off to a bit of a late start. My beloved husband (who apparently also loves me) had scrapped a heavy frost off my car windows so I was not further delayed than I would have been.

In any case, I went driving southward up a country lane which runs between two farm fields. The corn stubble in one field on my right hand side was crisp with frost. As the sun rose just over a distant treeline and touched the tops of the plowed rows, I gasped as a brilliant lavender glow appeared in the shadows of the rows. I slowed down. I wanted to just stop the car and jump out and take a photo but I was running late, I was on a main road with cars behind me and I knew the camera would not catch what I was seeing. So I just watched while driving that one mile stretch as the sun moved a little higher on that clear January morning from 7:35 to 7:38. In just that 3 minute time frame, the colors moved from bright lavender to indigo to a dusty purple/blue grey. I know the time of day, the day of the year, the frosted gold of the corn stubble and the weather and the frost on the dark soil all played a part in this visual magic.

And I want to see it again. I want to find a way to record it.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Nose and lips

I'm fighting with my scanner and had wanted to show some sketches I've done in the last week but since I could not get it to work, here is a little thing I did a few weeks ago:

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Second painting

I have not touch a pastel in a very long time. In fact, I think I was probably 18 years old the last time I handled pastel. At the time, I did not think I did very well.

But I purchased pastels and I am determined to learn how to use them.

Here is my first effort. From life. It's a coffee cup that I set in a sunny window yesterday morning. I was amazed at how fast my light changed! Yikes.

This is on the backside of Mi Tienes paper. I'm happy with it. The photo of the drawing is much yellower than reality, I think.

Today, I went out and took pictures of the water near my neighbor's dock and will attempt do do a nice landscape at some point with those beautiful reflections.

This afternoon, I spent about 3 hours working on a portait of my sister. She lives in Colorado and came out at Thanksgiving to visit. I took her picture outside in the sunshine on the deck at our parent's house.

I started a colored pencil drawing from the same photo and I just could not get the eyes right. I put it aside but I did share it with her via Facebook. She liked it, but I like this one much more. I'ts looser and may not have a lot of resemblance, but I'm very pleased.

This is on a small 5X7 Ampersand Pastel Board. The center of this one board was different from the others in the pack and seemed smoother, but it took TONS of pastel. I love this board. I plan to try out other kinds of pastel supports. I alternated between hard and soft and blended very little with my fingers. I have not signed it yet and will wait a couple of days and look at it before I declare it completely done.
Detail work is very hard with soft, stumpy pastels. This is so tiny, I suspect I would be happier working larger as the lines do not have to be so fine and I could come back and cut back into it.
I made the mistake of leaving the receipt for the pastels out on the table and hubby saw it and is fixated on the California warning about some of the pastels being carcinegetic. Considering he smokes, I don't think he has much room to talk, but he fusses when I work without gloves.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


I graduated from West Springfield High School eons ago. I don't know much about their current art curriculm but I fear it may have gone the way of the SOLS here in Virginia. At the time, I honestly believe it was one of the strongest fine arts programs in a public high school in the country. I know there were at least three of my classmates accepted to Pratt University on full scholarships and several more getting additional financial assistance from other universities where they were going to study art. I still remember my art teacher's name: Mrs. Roberts. I know she has since died but I do wish she knew how much she really meant to me over the years. I remember she scared me half to death because she demanded such high standards.

I was surrounded by tough competition and never quite felt I could live up to the standard. But I was deeply encouraged and fortunate to have been one of about 12 area high school students to participate in a program sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute.

One day a week for one term, I got on a Metro bus and traveled downtown into D.C. and got off at the National Gallery of Fine Arts and spent the day with a resident artist there working on printmaking projects. It was the one and only time in my life I had the opportunity to work on lithography and etchings using real stones and real acid. I still have prints from those adventures.

Another term in my senior year, I was selected to participate in a similar program at the National Portrait Gallery where we were taught portraiture drawing. I was not able to participate in the painting class even though I really wanted to. Unfortunately, I no longer have these drawings.

I have retained however, the skills I learned in that class. I've also lost some. But I'm hoping it is more a matter of practise than actual loss of knowledge.

Here is a drawing I completed recently of my father. The whole head is too short and for some reason it is easy to see that with the scan but was not so easy to spot while I was drawing. It may have to do with being too close while drawing.

But it does look like him and I had no problem giving this to my mother.

This is just a study. A practise piece for this is just a tiny piece of a photograph I took of him sitting on my mother's floral print sofa with his large feet predominant in the picture. It needs to be done in colored pencil. The whole thing. Big.

When I will have the courage to tackle that project, I don't know. But I will.

Depression Hurts

For many years I have struggled with depression. Sometimes I knew and sometimes I didn't. When it lifts, however, it's as if a fog lifts or cataracts are removed from my eyes.

I can see color again! I see real color, deep colors, colors that grab my eyes and make me turn my head watching them change. I don't see this when I'm depressed.

I also see light. I see shadows and shapes created by light as it plays across the dimensional world.

About 2 years ago I began to change what I eat. I've eliminated soy from my diet. I eat lots of fat and red meat, liver and butter. I also consume cod liver oil. I started to feel better with less pain in my joints. I gained weight (the one thing I'm not happy about as I was already heavy). But more than that, I found myself less depressed.

I began to attend to things better. Not my messy house, but other aspects of my life.

Then one day, I was driving to work. The sun was shining and I passed a tractor. This tractor.

And I did not see a tractor. I saw a full blown painting of this tractor.

And every time I drove past this thing I saw the painting. Sometimes it was bright with color and sometimes it was subdued and sometimes it was just a drawing.

One bright Sunday morning, I drove out and stopped and took pictures of the tractor. Then I came home and told my husband I was going to draw it.

But I had no art supplies at all. I had given them all away or thrown them out. I had thrown away my whole portfolio, in fact.

But I had pencils and I had pens and I had printer paper.

This tractor needed to be a color picture. I knew that. So I drew a picture of my husband instead. He didn't like it much. But I was happy.

Then I drew him again. I liked it even more. He still wasn't thrilled, but too bad. He needs to stop sitting still or sleeping if he wants me not to use him as a subject.

I bought some paper and some charcoal. I drew the sheep.

Then I bought drawing pencils and drew my sons from photos. I liked one a lot but I need another photo, a better photo, of the other sons.

At my spinning and weaving guild, they wanted a logo for the guild and I offered to come up with one. They liked it. Someone in the guild decided I must be an artist and when the Tavern Foundation hosted an art show for it's member, they invited me. I accepted and then realized I need to draw something to show. I framed the pictures I had so far.

Framing has become a very expensive undertaking in the last 20 years! Yikes.

I set up to do a drawing demonstration and worked through another picture of my husband taken from a photograph. This one even he liked.

I drew little pictures and sketches in my old sketch book. I bought a new one. I bought graphite pencils and find I really enjoy them. I started making a least one new sketch almost every day.

I started looking at art work done by other artists on the internet. I looked at work done by painters who work almost every day. One small work is completed every day. They are good. Their paintings are loose. Sometimes their work appeals to me and sometimes it doesn't.

Oil painting seems to dominate this world, but then I found some pastelists. I love pastel. It is pure color. Just color layered, parked next to each other, sometimes muted, often bright and vibrant. It just depends on what the artist is seeing (and in part, what pastel is available). Shapes, values, hue. Simple, lovely and challenging. But they are very expensive. They are paint without fillers, so you pay for the color itself. I hesitated.

But the tractor still called me.

I talked to my mother about colored pencils and she gave me some Derwent watercolor pencils that she was not using. I bought myself a smallish set of Prismacolors. I like the colored pencils... but egad they are slow to use!

With Christmas money this year, I purchased a nice set of Sennilier Soft Pastels. They arrived this week.

I haven't used them yet but they are on my list for this weekend. I'm just waiting for the sun to come up.