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Posts tagged “original artwork

Sketch: Lilacs and Laundry

pastel painting of laundry
pastel painting of laundry

“Lilacs and Laundry”, pastel, 9″ x 12″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

This year I have only five lilac clusters between both of my huge older lilacs. I’ll miss their sight and scent for the next few weeks! But last year this is what it looked like—my yard was much farther along in blooming last year—and the combination of “lilacs and laundry” inspired me to take part of an afternoon for a painting!

What got me in trouble today when I should have gotten some work done inside was how cute my laundry looked with the lilac blooming about it. I have a thing for laundry in paintings, so I decided to take some time to do a little sketch. I use my limited set of pastels outdoors so I don’t lose or damage the “good ones”, so I need to touch it up with some other colors and finish off the edges.

The lilac has never bloomed this much—after about 15 years it’s finally come into its prime. The red specks in the back are the first roses on my red climber that swings over the gate, the pink flowers on the chair and on the ground are the first geraniums blooming after I’ve brought them out of their winter home in the basement. The short blue is forget-me-nots, the tall is a flowering bulb called Camassia given to me as a gift years ago, still blooming reliable each spring.

Here’s the uncropped version of the sketch, and the framed version is below—it’s for sale in my Etsy shop.

pastel painting of laundry and flowers

“Laundry and Lilacs”, uncropped.

And look—there must have been an artist in my yard!

Pastels and paper in grass and flowers

An artist was in my yard!

I matted and framed this painting and it’s for sale in my Etsy shop—click here to go to that post.

framed pastel painting

“Lilacs and Laundry” framed.

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.

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Spring Grass, original sketch

original art original pastel "Spring Grass", pastel on multi-media paper, 7" x 10" © Bernadette E. Kazmarski
original art original pastel "Spring Grass", pastel on multi-media paper, 7" x 10" © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“Spring Grass”, pastel on multi-media paper, 7″ x 10″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

All the sun on all this green stuff is just too much! But it was the lush grass that became one of this spring’s first outdoor sketches. I actually painted this from a photo, taken the same day as I photographed the dandelions with the honey bee. This photo stayed in my mind for its simplicity but bold patterns and color, but I was feeling my pastels instead of a photo post. After a few days working out in my garden and filling my eyes with green I thought I’d paint this one after all, and sooner rather than later.

It’s painted in mixed brand pastels on white multimedia paper. Below is the uncropped version of the painting; sometimes I like the rough edges.

original art original pastel "Spring Grass", pastel on multi-media paper, 7" x 10" © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

The uncropped version of “Spring Grass”

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For the original or a print of this sketch, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

This was first posted on The Creative Cat where I post original daily sketches of my cats each day.


Original Artwork: Winter Still Life

pastel painting of ceramic bowl of apples on crocheted cloth
pastel painting of ceramic bowl of apples on crocheted cloth

“Winter Still Life”, pastel, 10″ x 7″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

That deeply angled winter sunlight reaches farther into the windows than summer sunlight, into the corner with the fruit bowl. I’ve been looking at the late afternoon sun hitting this vintage ceramic bowl where I keep my apples and enjoying the shapes of the apples, the reflections on the bowl with its uneven design in indigo with gold leaf brushed into the pattern here and there, the crocheted cloth and the mix of direct and reflected light on the apples, the bowl, the wall, the painting above.

The light changes too fast so I can’t sketch it on site, but of curse I’ve also photographed it, and worked from a series of photographs over a period of minutes as if I was working in the moment. I’ve found that when I work from only one photograph I feel a little stiff with the subject and a series of images feels more natural.

Granny Smiths are just about my favorite apple and are the most likely to be in the bowl and the reflection of their color on the walls around gives the scene an overall green cast. In the original painting, the crocheted cloth is a little more yellow than you see here.

I painted this yesterday along with a few other simple sketches of winter landscapes.

This painting and others are for sale, please ask if you are interested.

Also see other pastel paintings and original art.


Sketch: Clementines

pastel painting of clementines on shelf
pastel painting of clementines on shelf

“Clementines”, pastel, 10″ x 5″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

A pastel sketch of my current crop of Clementines on the shelf in my kitchen.

This sketch is drawn entirely in Sennelier soft pastels on Fabriano Pastello Tiziano paper in the warm gray threaded tone. I wanted to use the laid texture of the paper to help convey the lightly pitted texture of the Clementines, and then also to soften the edges of everything to help capture the softened angled light from the window. The light comes mainly from the left, but several fruits are also catching a softer mid-tone highlight from a window in the next room to the right.

I had sorted them out of their bin since only a few were left and went to get a little basket for the. As I came back I saw the composition—the top of the cherry bookcase, my crocheted dresser scarf, the green-toned wall and of course the little stars themselves. The light comes in at a very slanted angle at any time of the year, especially winter, and for most of the day it’s reflected light from the sky with a cool tone and softened shadows. It doesn’t last very long, and I knew it was near the end of its journey on a short winter afternoon so I snapped a few photos and started a quick color sketch, but it was days before I got back to it. Glad I did, or those Clementines would have certainly lost their sweet and bright character in the meantime!

It’s the nice thing about art that you can leave out things you don’t like to be there. This shelf sometimes becomes a catch-all for things, and though they were actually in the scene I just left them out. There are also things hanging on the wall, and it’s a stucco wall that’s white which I rag-painted with vanity yellow and pale mint green. In this corner the shadows are dull and I debated having a cool gray-green wall to really bring out the orange of the Clementines, one of the reasons I began with this tone of paper, which you can see at the very top. I decided instead I wanted to keep with the rich tones in the rest of the sketch and worked the shadows in green—it’s not at all a realistic choice of tone or color or even quality of shadow, but I like it, and it works. I also decided to leave a loose edge at the top, I’d visualized it this way from the very beginning. I may have liked a loose edge all around but I ran off the paper on the sides.

I had mentioned with the last sketch of fruit that I was eyeing those Clementines…

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If you’d be interested in purchasing this sketch, please contact me. Likely I’ll frame it and add it to my Etsy shop.


Sketch: Afternoon Apples

pastel sketch of apples on counter
pastel sketch of apples on counter

“Afternoon Apples”, pastel, 5″ x 7″ (paper size) © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

A pastel sketch of Granny Smith apples, mixed pastels and pastel pencils on 2-ply vellum bristol.

An independent produce seller visits my neighborhood every two weeks, in the growing season carrying all local grown stuff, in winter fruits and vegetables that were good deals from some of the larger local suppliers, along with local cheese, butter and honey. We used to call these guys “hucksters”, but that almost seems derogatory compared to this entrepreneur, who is also a small farmer himself, who took the chance to knock on a few doors and start getting customers.

We also exchange conversation about our holidays and the things we’ll be cooking. He had a special on Granny Smith apples, which I like to eat and bake with (so I guess an apple crisp is in my future), and I joked that I’ve also painted them and I should count the purchase as a tax deduction for materials. Immediately I envisioned two apples on the table by the dining room window in the cool indirect winter light. And so I did paint the apples, two of them at least. There was a baker’s dozen of apples in each bag. Should I claim a deduction for 2/26 or 1/13 of the cost? I may also paint the peppers and cucumber and maybe a few more apples. I think I’m creating an accounting nightmare. I’ll get more out of the apples if I just eat them. But I think you’ll be seeing a few more little still lifes like this. I’ve been eyeing my Clementines too.

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If you’d be interested in purchasing this sketch, please contact me. Likely I’ll frame it and add it to my Etsy shop.


Sketch: Hat and Flowers

pastel sketch of hat and flowers on swing
pastel sketch of hat and flowers on swing

“Hat and Flowers”, pastel, 8.5″ x 6″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Kind of sweet and sentimental and actually the last sketch I did on my roundabout trip to the grocery store with pastels and camera. When I came home and parked my bike to unpack it, I untied the bunch of wildflowers I’d gathered and my sketching hat from the back of my bike and set them on my porch swing, then removed the bungies holding my bags of groceries underneath where they had been.  I put everything in the house and came back out to get my hat and put the flowers in the vases on my porch and yard, and immediately felt another sketch coming on.

This is the straw hat I wear when I sketch. I can’t stand in the sun for too long without protecting my eyes, and especially not when I’m literally studying the sunny landscape for the time it takes to do a sketch, but I can’t wear my sunglasses because they change the colors. So I wear a straw hat, which puts my eyes and my entire face in shade so I can focus without squinting and see my colors without any modification. This particular hat is a pretty tight weave so it provides a deep shade, and the brim is the perfect width, not so far that it falls into my peripheral vision, but far enough, and stiff enough, to simply provide a cover. It fits me well, too, especially fitting a lot of my thick longish curly hair up underneath, though I do add a pin to be sure it stays in place. To paint From Hammond Street I was standing on a bridge above the creek, enjoying the breeze, and a few times, without the pin, the hat would have sailed off and down to float in the creek.

The wildflowers are some of my favorite colors at this time of the year for their brilliance. The longish stems of tiny yellow flowers on the right are yellow sweet clover, and its scent is intoxicating, that legendary scent of clover that grow in bunches just about anywhere. The yellow green bunches behind them are wild parsnip, an easily adaptable plant that can grow from two to six feet tall and kind of looks like a really big parsley plant with panicles of tiny yellow-green flowers; think of a large yellow Queen Anne’s Lace, though that comes later. The pink flowers are crown vetch, related to wild sweet peas that’s planted on hillsides and roadsides to hold soil in place and control the growth of other plants. The burgundy is a grass with lovely graceful burgundy seed heads that I just can’t identify!

You can also see this photo in my slideshow of photos from last week, and you can see this variety of flowers in an arrangement I had in my front yard last year.


Sketch: From Hammond Street

pastel sketch of creek
pastel sketch of creek

“From Hammond Street”, pastel, 9″ x 12″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

It’s a rainy Sunday morning today, but not last Sunday when I did my roundabout trip to the grocery store with pastels and camera. This was the first sketch I had in mind, even before I left the house. It’s a view of Chartiers Creek from the Hammond Street Bridge. I knew that all the trees were nearly leafed out and even some wildflowers were blooming, and that on a sunny morning all those greens would look almost flourescent. The foliage is so abundant, it hides all the rest of what is along the creek except one house, but on the right there are industrial buildings and railroad tracks, on the left is West Main Street and Irishtown, building upon building and house upon house. But you’d never know it here.

This is the first of several sketches I did or began that day. My little traveling kit of pastels is missing a few colors important to the spring landscape, so I had to finish them all at home. I’ll be posting them throughout the day as I scan them.


Sketch: Lilacs and Laundry

pastel painting of laundry
pastel painting of laundry

“Lilacs and Laundry”, pastel, 9″ x 12″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

What got me in trouble today when I should have gotten some work done inside was how cute my laundry looked with the lilac blooming about it. I have a thing for laundry in paintings, so I decided to take some time to do a little sketch. I use my limited set of pastels outdoors so I don’t lose or damage the “good ones”, so I need to touch it up with some other colors and finish off the edges.

The lilac has never bloomed this much—after about 15 years it’s finally come into its prime. The red specks in the back are the first roses on my red climber that swings over the gate, the pink flowers on the chair and on the ground are the first geraniums blooming after I’ve brought them out of their winter home in the basement. The short blue is forget-me-nots, the tall is a flowering bulb called Camassia given to me as a gift years ago, still blooming reliable each spring.

Here’s the uncropped version of the sketch.

pastel painting of laundry and flowers

“Laundry and Lilacs”, uncropped.

And look—there must have been an artist in my yard!

Pastels and paper in grass and flowers

An artist was in my yard!


At Carnegie Antiques

pastel painting of a table of vintage glassware

Vintage Glass, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

I spent the afternoon minding the shop at Carnegie Antiques today and decided to paint a little sketch of a table of glassware that has recently arrived at the shop.

Judi, the shop owner, had organized this table of decorative glassware last week; when I was in I was enchanted by all the colors and shapes and patterns. Remembering it, I decided the next time I was in I would paint that table of glass.

Unlike other subjects, glass is translucent, both having a shape and allowing other shapes to be seen through it. It has a color but other colors can be seen through it as well, modified by the color of the glass. And instead of casting a deep shadow, it casts a pool of colored light on a table top.

Detail of painting.

Detail of painting.

This painting is about 10″ x 12″ in chalk pastel on Wallis sanded pastel paper; you can see the color of the paper in the lower left corner and here and there throughout the painting. I painted it in about 90 minutes, then touched up a few things when I got home with pastel colors I didn’t have in my little traveling box. There are four different shades of blue here, two shades of green and three of the cranberry glass. My traveling box is a cheap set of mostly primaries and secondaries, perhaps an extra shade of some of the like red-orange or apple green, plus black, white and mid-gray. I can capture quite a bit with those pastels by blending in place, but not always the nuances of glass.

I see things I’d like to work on—the background for one, which I like rough and sketchy but I want a little more color in it and can’t decide which. I began with pale yellow, then added blue, then green then pale violet. On the table I may mess around with the glass a little more to define the pieces, but mostly the doily under the blue bowl in the center does not look like a doily. It will come to me.

Detail of painting.

Detail of painting.

But there is glass from nearly every era there, opalescent milk glass, Depression glass, colored, etched, painted, plus napkins and napkin rings over on the right and two hobnail lamps with cranberry glass, one a nice respectable table lamp and the other a naked lady with a lampshade on her head. Those Victorians knew how to entertain themselves.

When it’s done, I think I’ll buy one of Judi’s highly decorative vintage gold frames and use that to frame it.

Though the shop sells vintage items from the mid-19th century to mid-20th century, I have a room with my artwork in the building. It helps to be friends with the owner, and I’m grateful to have this display space and also enjoy my time there where I am totally unplugged—no cell phone, no computer or wireless, just a radio or a recorded book if I care to bring one. It’s a real break from the usual day. I put out the “open” flag and people stop in to browse, what fun.

Detail of painting.

Detail of painting.

I usually do a little rearranging and cleaning in my little room, sometimes a lot, but when I don’t have a lot to do I bring a project with me that, again, can be done while unplugged, like writing, which I will often do in pen on a good old-fashioned tablet, or a crochet project, and a take a lunch I can heat up. After the busy-ness of working at home it’s nice to get a quiet spot now and then.


Tributary

pastel painting of stream

Unnamed Tributary, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

On a quiet sunny winter afternoon this little unnamed tributary surely had a lot to say, babbling along over rocks and shelves of slate and limestone on its way to Scrubgrass Creek a distance away. I see a few things I’d still like to do with it but I’m pretty pleased. The light changes quickly at this time of year, and I had to work quickly.

Off in the woods today, I stood in the snow and painted a little pastel sketch as well as took photos of the snowy hollow at Kane’s Woods in Scott Township, PA. I’ve been waiting for a significant snowfall, enough to give good even cover to most of the leaf litter. Much of this conservation area faces north and doesn’t catch significant sunlight, especially in the winter when the sun’s angle is low, but this little hollow and the hill next to it face south. Once the sun gets into the hollow it just fills it up, especially when snow can reflect it in all directions.

The Kane Woods Conservation Area is a place I’ve known since I was a child, before it was conserved and trails were established, but my lifetime of visiting and that of others is what inspired Scott Conservancy to consider the site worth working for.

person standing in snow sketching

There’s me, feeling a little silly.

I’ll be featured in one of the newsletters I design, this for Allegheny Land Trust, in a feature called “GreenTalk” to say a little bit about what conserving green space means to me. I needed a photo to go along with my Q&A, and since I’m the photographer I have very few of me. I asked a friend to take a few with my camera.

Along with the benefits of preserving water quality and air quality, protecting steep slopes from erosion and landslides and managing stormwater naturally, greenspace at the same time provides natural recreation areas that require little maintenance compared to a playground or formal park with accommodations. And for me, it provides a subject for my creative efforts, my paintings, photos, poems, and just a place to rest my eyes and ears from the onslaught of digital and social information and just listen to the breeze and the birds and watch the sunlight play across the snow.