Pastel Dust..keeping focused

The challenge…keeping focused.  It is so easy to stray from tasks and it takes some discipline to stay focused and manage your time and talents!

I decided to do a painting a day for the month of January…it might be a pastel, an ink painting, an encaustic, a pencil drawing…the important thing is to complete a piece each day.  So far so good.  I will probably extend that into February and beyond…at least doing something with my art daily; a finished painting or not.  As I work on more complex paintings, I realize that it is impossible to finish a large one on a daily basis.

Next, I love to participate in plein air events and enter juried competitions.  Both of these have time restrictions on the entry process and dates of delivery, etc.  I build a calendar that allows me to keep dates chronologically for these time lines.  What I don’t do is paint specifically for each event (juried shows).  I try to spend painting time painting the best I can each day…then I have group of paintings to choose from for a specific event.  For me, it takes the pressure off the entry and focuses the energy on the paintings.  I do however, when scheduling a solo exhibition, paint for that event.  I try to schedule those exhibits out a year or two, so that I have time to dwell on a body of work and paint it!  So with this sort of approach I feel I’m most productive!


Pastel Dust 2014

Happy New Year!  It’s our chance, once again to plan, scheme, make resolutions, etc.

Take a moment and make some plans with your art.  Is it to enter a few more shows, seek out a new gallery for representation, schedule a workshop…Maybe it is to paint or draw every day.  That is my goal.  Each day to pick up a journal and do some sketching or the iPad and do something in ArtPro or ArtRage.  Challenge yourself…if you normally paint landscapes, mix it up and paint still-lifes or try some new products.  don’t be afraid of failure or rejection.  All these things will make you a stronger artist!

Happy New Year!Sheep markers...WHAT???

Pastel Dust in Winter

It can be a gloomy time in the Northwest during early months of the year with fog often shrouding the landscape. So when there is a day of sunshine, I am out there soaking it in. But…don’t ignore the opportunity to paint weather….here’s my story…last Wednesday when I left my house it was overcast, not too cold and I thought about the fact that there was still no snow. The park’s grass was still green and created an interesting contrast of the grays around it. By the time I had driven the block from my house to the. Ross street, it had started to snow huge flakes. The air was filled with snow and I stopped to take a couple of photos. In a matter of a couple of minutes, the snow had nearly covered the green blanket of grass. This was a snow storm! I made my way downtown and stopped to take a few photos in some of the neighborhoods along the way. It continued to snow heavily and the transformation of the gray gloom to white was beautiful One stop was at First and Main where I snapped a photo with my phone of the Beehive Building, Starbucks and other buildings along the south side of Main….I noticed the car tracks in the snow created some great contrasty patterns and the snow flakes and light fogginess created some great atmosphere…I knew at some point I would paint this…Later…

Using bold strokes with the side of the pastels I created a cityscape of the First and Main intersection and the buildings lining the street complete with snow flakes. I used my image on my cell phone as a reference and created a nice impression of Snow Day! So my message is…always be looking for an opportunity to paint…always have your camera, phone w/camera with you to record a reference shot…don’t wait for a sunny day to paint…and take a risk sometimes at what you paint! Snow Day – First and Main sold the same day it was painted.

Pastel Dust step by step… | Bonnie Zahn Griffith – Blog

Pastel Dust step by step… | Bonnie Zahn Griffith – Blog.

Pastel Dust in Landscape

No b lack Sheep in this Family

What makes a painting happen?  In my world it starts with something that triggers my interest.  Painting happens nearly every day…at least some sort of sketching or drawing if not a painting.  If I am the passenger on a car trip, I might be sketching.  I have my iPhone or camera handy also when driving to record – not a specific scene to paint, but a chance to shoot a reference photo of something for a future painting…I am always looking…

So Saturday I had to deliver some work to Vintage Vine in Roslyn for the next show that opens the first part of July.  I decided to make a day of it and spend it scouting around the Cle Elum and Roslyn area for painting spots for the upcoming Fresh Air Festival paint out event July 14-20.  I have the opportunity to teach a workshop in pastel (July 17-19) and also do a demo (Monday July 16) as part of the event, so finding some good spots to take artists to paint and also spots for my own work was on my list of things to do.  We drove the streets and backroads and found some good spots with a variety of scene.  I shot a lot of images and enjoyed watching the weather change from bright and sunny to a dark clouded rain storm.  But  – leaving home early, about 630 a.m., driving the Walla Walla valley had the most impact on my eyes…and it reminded me why it is so worthwhile to get up early and go out and paint.  The trees that follow the river and the fields next to them planted with wheat or peas or potatoes or onions were cool greens of various values and the early sun cast a soft light on the terrain.  The distant hills were a soft lavender, a bit hazy in the early morning.  There were many opportunities for a great, tonal painting in the peacefulness that presented in the landscape.  I shot some photos, but none render the actual beauty seen with the human eye…it’s why we paint en plein air!  So paint when you can from life…it makes a difference!

Pastel Dust en Plein Air – June Paint Out

DI love to work en plein air. So when there is an opportunity for a paint out, I am on it. We just hosted the Northwest Pastel Society’s annual paint out near Dayton and Walla Walla a few days ago. The weather was less than optimal but about 25 artists persevered and painted some great works over the 5 day event. The wind blew and it rained intermittently with temperatures in low 50’s at times, so at times like that one piles on layers of clothes, has hand warmers nearby, secures your easel with some weights and hopefully finds a place to paint out of the direct wind! I didn’t venture far from the car, parking it so that I could open the hatch back and be a little out of the wind. Worked great for my purposes. During one sunny, but windy afternoon I painted from a deadend road of a big red barn near Hwy 12…Another day along the Touchet River and later rendered a painting of my friend Betty hunkered down painted her own masterpiece in the grasses along the stream. One day I was bound to paint some atmosphere as the clouds were spectacular…the rains came and paper was speckled with rain drops. After they dried, I was able to eliminated them and complete the work. Another day, in the protection of some dense brush and Rock Hill, I painted the not so obvious scene of the trail leading into this area… So even with the elemnts not being kind…I managed some decent work….and it makes one appreciate the beautiful, calm, clear days we get to paint in at other times!  The message…always paint…it’s good for the soul!IMG_0705

Sweet Home Walla Walla

We are the Griffith Team from Windermere Walla Walla…and we love Walla Walla!

Some of the great things, in our opinion, include the opportunity of home ownership for a broad base of home buyers, the education systems, the wine industry and what that has brought to the valley, the dining options, and more.

When I visit with buyers from out of the area I talk about what I love about the area.  This is a great place to live and raise a family.  We are near the mountains, we have great events throughout the year, we have culturally interesting things happening from theater to dance to rodeos to cycling to wine tasting to….almost anything you want.  And the beauty of it is…you hardly ever have to wait in a long line at the bank or the grocery.  You can easily go to a 6 pm dinner and be at the theater by…

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