Fort Willoughby

Oh the rains! So I paint inside.

In the spirit of my ambitious underpainting demo at Fairfax Art League on Saturday, here's a bit of step by step as inspired by a recent Pastel Journal demo by Robert K. Carsten. I enjoy painting rock formations and his first demo really caught my eye.

On a piece of Gessobord, I began with a thick and textured layer of Golden's Fine Pumice Gel. Some parts were made fluffy with my brush, others shaped with a palette knife. Then it dried overnight.

I chose several values to force in the tooth as a preliminary layer of pastel.

Next, I brushed on rubbing alcohol.

Finally, I worked in foliage with additional pastels and used the texture to catch bits of pastel in order to create extra depth.

Fort Willoughby, USVI
pastel with alcohol underpainting


Top Ten

Of one of the top ten beaches in the world, this painting of St. John, USVI was based on one of my pictures.

Top Ten
Pen and Ink with Watercolor


How'd She Do That?

Watercolor Underpainting * Floated Pastel Underpainting * Acrylic Underpainting

I will not only answer questions about "How'd She Do That?,"  I'll actually demo it, too.

The Flexibility of Pastels and Relating Them to Your Media
Pastels are not just for pastelists anymore. See Bonnie Ferguson Butler demo numerous methods of underpainting for pastels as she begins paintings using four different media. An underpainting is a layer of color applied prior to the painting itself. She will show three methods of using pastels under pastels as well as watercolors, oils, and acrylics under pastels. The secret is using sanded supports, which allow for wet applications and getting pigments into the tooth of the paper or board.

Fairfax County artist and published biochemist Bonnie Ferguson Butler is a juried artist at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton and The Loft Gallery in Occoquan, who enjoys experimenting with art techniques. Approaches that utilize her vast collection of art supplies make her happy. While her emphasis is en plein air painting, she also enjoys photography, which are often works that began as reference materials, but wind up deserving on their own. Award-winning and active in the local arts community, she maintains blogs devoted to her art and her photography and is Founder of the Pastel Society of Virginia, which meets twice monthly in the Springfield Art Guild Community Room.

Attend this informative demo at Fairfax Art League's monthly meeting on Saturday, October 1 at their Village Gallery at 3950 University Drive in Fairfax near the library. The meeting begins at 10a.

See address and directions here.

This is my hand out available for your reference.


The Loft Gallery in Occoquan VA


Celebrating 25 years, The Loft Gallery in Occoquan is the co-op home to 21 talented professional artists. I am thrilled to have begun our association this earlier year. My page and gallery on The Loft's website has been created and you're welcomed to check it out. Although I have blogged for many years, really applauding the merits of  that presentation style, I appreciate how concise a gallery can be, too, so go there for more bang for your clicking and viewing buck.

In breaking news, I will be featured artist at The Loft beginning December 6 and running throughout the month, plus the collection will hang until the end of February. My theme will be "Coming Clean: Clotheslines in Italy," to honor my pet photography image, laundry.


Pastel Society of Virginia Opening

Labor Day was a special day for the members of the Pastel Society of Virginia. We installed 29 paintings from eight pastelists for the first group showing of pastels in Virginia, plus we had about 60 guests, many of whom voted in our Terry Ludwig People's Choice Award. Adults and children alike took voting very seriously.

The exhibit is located in the Community Room of Springfield Mall and is hosted by Springfield Art Guild.

Have a stroll through our images.

See also:View even more on our Facebook page. And learn more about us in this Springfield Art Guild Newsletter article.


Springfield Art Guild at Green Spring Gardens

The annual Fall Art Show and Sale hosted by Springfield Art Guild at Green Spring Garden Park was installed on Monday and continues until October 31. The Opening is 1-3p at the Horticulture Center on September 11.

For the second time, I entered a juried competition with my photography and I had two accepted for this.


Jalousy (an old way to write jalousie, which is based on the word "jealousy")

Both are printed in metallic ink and have a delicious extra shimmer.

Please visit my daily photo blog and add it as a favorite.