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Just opened an Etsy featuring my hand crafted jewelry.  Use coupon MCD11713 for free shipping.

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September 2013

Here it is September.  Where did the summer go?  I wish I knew.  It seems that everything goes by so quickly. 

I have been working on several pieces over the summer.  Image

This one is called “Deep Purple”.  I didn’t know what to call it exactly, so I asked my facebook friends and this one seemed to make sense. 

I am also working on a painting to use for my Christmas Card.  It is about finished and will post that one soon.

I am always experimenting with different pastels and techniques.  I tried some things that I took away from the IAPS convention.

Currently, I am also enrolled in a Digital Illustration class which is provided by CCAC (local community college) and is online.

It has been interesting and I am working through the Adobe Classroom in a book.  This is a great help to understanding how Illustrator works.  Years ago, while studying at Carnegie Mellon for my master’s degree, I took a combined class that  taught Illlustrator, Photoshop and Director.  I mostly forgot all these programs.  Director isn’t even in use any longer, so, that can be checked off my list of learning all over again.

When I work on a pastel, I always use an underpainting.   The underpainting is usually done with mineral spirits.  However, for “Deep Purple”, I used water.  I did a few thumbnails to get everything lined up as I wanted.  I hope that if you look closely to the painting, you see angles and flowers placed at those angles.

Through my pastel league, Pittsburgh Pastel Artists League, which I am president, we are trying to host a workshop with Margaret Evans.  The workshop is scheduled for April 22, 23, 24 of 2014.  The cost is $350 for the three days.  If you are a pastel artist, you definitely know Margaret and her work.  This is a reasonable cost for the class.  The class will be held in Carnegie PA.  Accommodations and food is not included in the cost of the class.  If you have an interest in the exciting workshop, send me an email at

One last comment.  I will resume teaching for Colors and Bottles.  I hope to be Teaching in October.  Check out their website… for updates and venues.

Till next time….keep painting.

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My time at the IAPS Convention

My time at the IAPS Convention.

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My time at the IAPS Convention

I just realized that I never posted anything regarding my adventure to Albuquerque, New Mexico for the IAPS convention that took place in June.  I spent 3 days at the convention and it was one of the best times I have had in quite a while.

Because I do mostly pastels, and I am a member as well as President of the Pittsburgh Pastel Artist League, I thought that my participation in this convention would be quite interesting.  IAPS stands for  the International Association of Pastel Societies.  As it is an international organization, people from all over the world attend.

My first two days were spent in a workshop with Doug Dawson.  This workshop was phenomenal.  Mr. Dawson is a wonderful instructor and takes time with each student.  I learned some interesting information regarding under paintings and connection of objects in a painting.  He also discussed values and thumbnails.  I really never appreciated thumbnails until Mr. Dawson explained them.  Now, I know it is so important to the painting process.

Mr. Dawson has a great book that is worth the purchase.  I have it and after his class, reading the information became clear as I could use it as a reference to his teaching.  The book is “Capturing Light and Color with Pastels”.dd book

Another workshop that I had was with Leslie DeMille.  leslie demilleLeslie is in his 80’s and is still amazing.  Not only is he funny, he really knows his portraits.  He did a live portrait on velour paper.  Brad -3'  wtrmrk.jpg       The pastel was similar to this painting which can be found on his website:

I was fortunate to take several workshops including ones with Margaret Dyer, Richard McKinley, and William Schneider.  Each of the artists did a painting showing how they work and explained their process.

I met some great people as well.  I met the Heilman’s who are the makers of the famous pastel Heilman Box.    We were so thrilled to sit at their table in the opening reception.  Here we are across from the Heilman’s (from left:  Mary Dunn, Christine Swann, Jan Pini, and Anne Trimble.

Dinner Group 6613

There was also a President’s dinner, and I almost missed the event because IAPS never received my information to attend.  Because of that, I also missed the forum which was a bit upsetting for me as it was discussions on membership and other important facets of being a Pastel League President.

One of the more exciting happenings was that my friend Christine Swann won several awards for her paintings that she entered in The 2013 Juried Exhibition and the Second Master Circle Exhibition.  It is such an honor to be her friend.  She is an amazing artist and a very nice person.

Through all the events, it just seemed that time did fly and before I knew it, I was back in Pittsburgh working hard and painting in my spare time.

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The Fix is In | Pastel Fixative Uses

The Fix is In | Pastel Fixative Uses.

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Colors and Bottles – May

This month I will be teaching on Monday, May 20 at the Elrama Tavern and on May 29 at Giovanni’s – West Liberty Avenue.
Elrama Tavern

Giovanni’s will be a live setup.

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Spring has arrived

I am always looking forward to the warmer weather.  Most people I talk with are happy with the seasons and the changes, and they seem to enjoy the cold.  For me, even if it is hot and steamy, I love warm.

Spring has brought me many new opportunities in the world of art.  During the month of April, 2013, I have some of my pastel paintings on exhibit at the Mount Lebanon Library.  I so wanted to have a reception for this event, as I have never had my very own exhibit, but I didn’t realize that I had to book a room in order to have the reception.  Unfortunately, after finding out I had to have a reservation, I couldn’t have the reception as all the rooms were already booked.  However, I will have another exhibit at the library in July of 2015.  I will be sure to reserve a reception room.

I also have a painting on exhibit at the Trumbull Art Gallery in Ohio.  This is another exciting opportunity.  I was sort of low on paintings, but I thought it would be nice to have my pastel of St. Bernard’s church on exhibit.  I completed that painting last year for the Church Exhibit at Gallery Sim.  Unfortunately, Gallery Sim suddenly closed and I never got to exhibit that painting.

Another opportunity for an exhibit came at West Penn Hospital.   So for two months I have two of my pastels on exhibit there.

I was approached by a person about one of my paintings that is on exhibit at Mt. Lebanon.  The person was interested in purchasing it, but when I told her the price, it must have been a little costly.  People must realize that time goes into each painting.  I don’t even think I charge a ton of money for the hours I put into a piece.  Pastels are expensive as is the support.  Pastels are eaten up quickly on a sanded surface and replacing a pastel stick can be in the range of $3 to $4 per stick depending on the manufacturer.  Then, of course, there is the framing.  It usually costs between $30 to $40 to complete a framed work if I do it myself.  There are mats, spacers, frames, hanging wire, and the backing which has to be glued in a way that doesn’t show the marks of the glue.

When I frame something, I never charge for my involvement.  It is just the cost of the materials used.

I suppose people think a painting the size of an 8 x 10 should be about $50.  That is just not the case.  The painting that I was asked about is an 8 x 10, framed on sanded gator foam which costs about $12 a panel.  The price I quoted was $175 which I feel is a reasonable cost.  When considering the purchase of a pastel painting, one should realize that $175 is a pretty good deal.


Appropriate August

Another one of my endeavors is to teach acrylic painting.  I found a great way to do this.  I had offered private lessons, and it wasn’t working out due to time conflicts.  So, I signed up with a company called “Colors and Bottles”.  The venue is at a bar or restaurant and I am able to teach a painting in a 3 hour limit class.  It is fun.  The people have a great time and I make a little extra money.

Lastly, it is with great sadness that two of my mentors have passed away.  One, a cousin from my husband’s side.  Becky Mulvaney past a few weeks ago.  She was an excellent artist and very inspiring.  She certainly left a legacy of wonderful accomplishments. Rebecca was a founding signature member of the Artist Guild of Central Minnesota, she was a board member of the South Dakota Arts Council and served as Program Director of the Granary Rural Cultural Center and was on the Executive Committee of the South Dakota Artists Network. She has also served as Director of Galleries at Northern State University, Executive Director of the Huntingdon County (PA) Arts Council, and as Exhibits Director for the Fredericksburg (VA) Center for the Creative Arts. It was sad that she had cancer and it was not able to be cured.  She will be missed.  One can view her work on this site:

The second mentor, Maggie Price, will surely be missed by many.  Maggie had brain cancer and was coming along quite nicely until she succumbed to pneumonia.  Maggie touched everyone with her teaching and her work with pastels.  I was so excited this year because I had hoped to meet her this summer for the IAPPS convention.  As busy as Maggie was, she always would answer a question and was just a very nice person.  She will also be missed by many.

Until next time,

Happy Painting.

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