Saturday, December 01, 2007


I had to do a little research to find the right word. It is the peak season for our small tangerines or mandarins as they are called in Spanish. I was not sure if they were the same as the clementines but I think what we have are tangerines. They grow so well in this area without any special care. So I think that most of the ones we get in the grocery store are completely organic, free from all fertilizer and pesticide. They make a wonderful thurst quencher and a great fruit as a desert.

Pastel on full sheet of burgundy Canson

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A little Boasting

I might be doing this too much now on my blog but I just couldn't pass this one up, it is part of the nature of being a grandmother and a very proud grandmother this time.

This is my 9 year old grandson Luis Paulo receiving a recognition and shaking hands with Governor Eduardo Bours of the state of Sonora. He was chosen to speak and lead the salute of the flag at the ceremony the Governor was going to preside at his school. The reason for the ceremony was that his school was ranked one of the highest in the country scholastically, after a new aptitude test was applied to all the students in Mexico. Two students received the recognition from the Governor, the little girl that got the highest grade and my grandson.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mixed Media Challenge

I am one of the Moderators in the Mixed Media forum at WetCanvas and recently I came across Cyndi Lavin in the forum. I nominated her for Guide of the forum and she is not only an excellent overall artist, but a very enthusiastic person. She has started some very interesting and fun challenges in the forum. As Moderator of the forum the least I can do is give the challenge a try. This is my entry for this month and the idea was to use a grid to work out the composition for your piece.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Still in the Corner

I am still in the right top corner of my grisaille trying to apply the color. This has been a very difficult process that has required a tremendous amount of patience from me but I trust that with Michael Newberry's guidance I will eventually achieve something that I will be satisfied with. My problem has been, that I am working in this area that is supposed to be the darkest area of my piece but I have the two colors of my shawl and their folds have a quiet soft highlight but it cannot be contrasting or light but should have plenty of color. I had to rub out my first two tries and now I am trying to work out my third. During my last session with Michael I think it came clear to me what my problem has been so I hope that will soon be solved and since Michael has asked me to only work in areas of the size of a post card until I get it perfect, I don't have much to show, so I will post my last pastel study. I hope to be posting more often from now on.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Trusting your emotional responses

About a week ago Michael Newberry asked me to do some simple tissue studies in pastel for my oil painting and he told me to keep going until I felt delighted with one. He said trust your emotional responses and just the thought made think I wasn't going to be able to. I remembered his advice about bouncing light directed to a colored piece of paper that would reflect on my tissue. I did just that with some orange paper but also had the purple and blue shawls from my peach set up behind the tissue. The colors were magical on the tissue, I had never seen so many different colors on a piece of white paper and that was enough to get me going and finally finish a study I was very satisfied with.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The pleasure of watching babies.

My youngest grandaughter, Sofìa was a year old day before yesterday, so I went over to her house to hug her and give her, her birthday present. She was so inquisitive about the box and once she saw the walking stroller she was full of smiles. One of the things I love watching most in babies is there genuine expression and attitude. Sofìa had a little friend over and of course he also wanted a ride but her expression says so much in the second picture about that. I was not fast enough with my camera to capture her reaction of pushing him aside after the second picture but his reaction to that, came very fast and he new just where to aim. That was the end of her cute little pink bow. Fortunately he was offered another toy and friendship was restored.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A most pleasing experience

So much anticipation and excitement about the Pastel Workshop and it went by in a blink. It was although one of the best experieinces I have had in my life. The learning was paramount and the company unmatchable. Michael Newberry was a dear and I am very grateful for his patience and expertise to head a workshop.

This was my first time painting outdoors and I have to admit I was not that satisfied with the outcome, I need very much practice but I will never let that keep me from trying again. It is just so incredible how the light changes in minutes and to find our brightest bright was very challenging because it was there one minute and gone the next. We also had limited time to do these and that was something I would foget easily and wanted to work more on perfecting it than the light, so in part I have to learn to work fast. I wasn't going to post anything but I guess sometimes it can be a learning experience to post what one had trouble with and remember the suggetions and comments of a mentor like Michael.
Now back to my pastel colors studies for my grisaille.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Ready for color

I believe I said that several post before but there were quite a few details to tweak and issues with the lights and darks. Michael Newberry said it was ready so now I just need a session with him to learn how to apply color to a grisaille. It will be an incredible fantastic experience, I know.

I have really loved every minute of the long grisaille process and although I don't think I will do all of my paintings in this way I will always try to have one on an easel while doing other pastels, paintings or charcoals.

Our Pastel Workshop is just about a week and half away so you can imagine the excitement and I hope I will come back with several worthy pastels to post.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Candle on gold leaf base - pastel

I am still doing pastel color studies for the cloth on my grisaille but I think I like doing cloth now. I was quite pleased with the gold look on the base of the candle.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Peaches and Cloth Study

One of the interesting things about this pastel technique of Michael Newberry, is that it should be done on dark paper and depending the color of the paper the result of course, can be quite different. This one is on burgundy Canson paper but my goal should be to get the cloth quite dark since in my set up for my painting there is no light hitting the cloth. This one is still too light so I will try over another color next time and a different pastel color also.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Peach and Plate WIP

This is not finished yes, it still has some things to correct but I'll post it as a WIP. This is such a wonderful medium to learn color theory with and although I still need more reviewing, I have learned things doing these color studies that I had never thought about before in all of the time I have been using color. Michael Newberry has an incredible sixth sense when it comes to applying the right colored pastel to another, he knows exactly how the color next ot it, will react.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Magenta or Purple

Both colors are on my list of favorites and I guess one is a hot pink and the other is a deep violet. Anyway it is a joy to try to find the right one for my grisaille painting and at the same time try to learn this technique that has a new mystery everytime I have a session with Michael Newberry. It is so much more complicated to finding what color looks good next to another in pastel and how warm and cool colors will at the end either make or break your piece, depending on how you have chosen and placed them in it. I still have quite a bit to learn and I think only with practice, will the choices be made right.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

My Little Corner

I thought I would post my painting in my studio and my set up, so the size of the painting could be appreciated. What was a large studio when planning our house, turned into a smaller one because I shared half of it with my husband as a TV room, so while he watches TV in the evening, I paint. If I didn't have so many plants maybe I would have more room to move around, but they make such a nice atmosphere.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Second Grisaille Update

I think this is very close to the end now and will be ready for color. This has been a very long process but I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I have not once felt frustrated with it, in spite of having some problems with small details and having to take steps back. I think these steps back have been a tremendous learning experience for me and as I went along I saw how my eye was learning to see things that weren't quite right and I was able to correct them. I am beginning to squint naturally now, something that at the beginning was very hard for me to remember and what an important tool it is, to really find the difference in values.

I have also been working on some pastel cloth studies as guides for the two colors that will be used in the cloth in this painting. I plan to post some of those is next few days and hope to post my color advances in this painting more often.

Friday, June 29, 2007


I came across this thought this morning written by Maureen Di Gia and I thought it was the perfect thing to post this morning to thank all of you that so kindly comment on my blog and have in many ways shown affection through these posts.

I was hoping to have an update of my grisaille but it is taking me longer to establish my values. Yesterday I rubbed out my fringe so that was a step back but at the same time I finished the weaving on my platter. I'm sure it needs adjustments but that is a step forward. So if I finish my fringe today I will hopefully be ready for another session with Michael in the coming week and be able to post the update of my gisaille.

" 10 years from now, I will look back at the years that have past and the things that have happened. I know, today, that at least I will look back and see that I told my loved ones how dear they are to me EVERYDAY and that I loved and was loved in return…to the moon and back. I already feel… how lucky I have been… to have so much! And if I had to be gone tomorrow, I know that not one person I have in my life would wonder how I felt about them, grateful and lucky!"Written in 2007 by dm-angel aka Maureen Di Gia

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Pastel cloth color study

I have been trying to learn how to use pastels in the way Michael Newberry does his and it looks so easy but it is so terribly difficult. I think this one might not be as bad as the others I have practiced with before this one. Fortunately I will be going to his Pastel Workshop in New York in September. Something I am looking forward to tremendously.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Grisaille update

This was my last update shown to Michael Newberry last week but I had not posted it here. I was hoping to have the next one ready but I have been working on the weaving of the platter and that is really taking time. This is an exciting process and one that requires quite a bit of patience. I still have to make corrections on this one as it seems I am getting this too dark and the center of the peaches is also, so I hope to have that corrected and the weaving done by the next update.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

In the meantime.

Mixed Media on MDF board 2x2 ft.

I am working hard on the oil grisaille of my peaches painting but I would like to post the grisaille as soon as I have the weaving of the bowl finished.

I feel very flattered when people mention liking my abstracts as Philip did in one of his comments. What happens to me with abstracts is that I have never had any training in painting an abstract and they are completely instinctive. I never can plan an abstract, I have to face a blank canvas and think color first and then let the painting take me. I never know in what direction or how far and I question myself all of the time about this not being the correct way. My experience with Mixed Media helps me in knowing what material and mediums work together and which don't, but at the end I am always haunted by the same dilemma.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Any bulls around?

After selling our big ranch house last summer and keeping the working land for the cattle, we have decided that we need a smll place to stay for the weekend so now we are slowly building what will be a one story small house. This will mean going out to the ranch every weekend for me again. It will also give me a chance to do some charcoal and pastel plein air that I am very much looking forward to.

I am working on the grisaille part of my painting now and as soon as I have it looking like a graphite drawing and ready to start applying color to it, I will post it.

In the meantime I just had to post the pictures of our 7 month grandaughter Sofìa. She definately inherited the ranching genes from her grandfather.

Monday, May 14, 2007


Our recent trip to Sonora to see our son and family.
I'm not even sure what this is all about but I have been tagged by Judith Nijholt-Strong, my co-moderator at Wet Canvas. Her blog is really a joy to visit as her creative way of writing through her cats, is most enjoyable. She is also and incredible artist, potter, and wonderful person to moderate a forum with, even if she did tag me.

I have been informed by Judy that I have to tell you seven things that you may not know about me. The thing is, my memory won't help me remember what I have said around the forums and blogs and I have probably said too much, so I will give it a try.

1. I used to get up every morning at 5:20 to jog in the park and listen to the crackling of the trees while the birds awoke. Now it is not safe so I do Pilates.

2. My favorite perfume is Escada.

3. I'd give anything to hug a horse but they don't like me.

4. My husband and I were once checking out our well at the ranch and the ground underneath my husband collapsed, he landed on a branch of a huge root with his back to the side of the constructed part of the well and was able to push himself back up with just his heals and back. I could not reach for him because the earth between us had caved in.

5. My mother was forty when I was born.

6. I don't know where I really belong. I have equal amounts of French, Spanish, German and English blood, I live in Mexico and was born in the US.

7.When I was about 17 I saw this incredible good looking guy cross the street one day in this city, and was followed by him everyday for one month before he said a word to me. He has been my husband for 41 years.

Well now I believe I have to Tag some people but I'm afraid I can only Tag four and be sure they will forgive me if they don't want to play.

Robin Neudorfer- and incredible versatile artist and friend that excells and any art she tries.

Judi Lynch- our Moderator in the Drawing and Sketching forum at Wet Canvas, one of the first real friends I have had here and a superb graphite artist.

Billie Craine- my dear Billie, so much fun to chat with and a superb Pastelist and Watercolor artist.
Pilan - a great Plein Air artist and valuable friend with a huge heart who has been a little under the weather but this might perk her up a little and hope she has time to play. She recently came all the way to San Luis to meet me.

Saturday, May 05, 2007


Today is Mother's Day in Mexico and I can't think of a better time to post this. I think it is finished now.

Those of you that are mothers and grandmothers know of the joy of holding a newborn baby in your arms. There is nothing you protect more and as you love and caress this child you can hardly wait for the baby to smile, sit, talk and walk. While you enjoy these stages you don't realize how fast time goes by and one day you wake to find out that your little girl has turned into to a gorgeous beautiful woman at age 14. Where did my little girl go?

I wanted to express in this drawing where I find myself now in relation to my grandughters and how I vision them at this moment, and at the same time remind myself how important it is to savor every moment of childhood in them, because before you know it, they are all grown up.

In this drawing, Sofìa 6 months would be the peach with the protective tissue paper symbolizing infancy, protection and the joy of being swadelled. Ana Paula 12, is partially veiled but anticipating all that involves being free in the sense to make her own choices and discove the exciting age of adolescence. Daniela 14, has bloomed into a beautiful young lady, ready to live exciting moments but also vulnerable to so many emotions that will be coming her way.

The rebozo in the background is a symbol of their cradle in a figurative sense, and the wicker platter symbolizes the light and sturdy nature of the support given to them by their loved ones.

Kahlil Gibran in this quote sums up a little of the feelings that I have experienced with this drawing.

Your children are not your children.They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.They come through you but not from you.And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.You may give them your love but not your thoughts.For they have their own thoughts.You may house their bodies but not their souls,For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you,For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,and He bends you with His might that His arrows might go swift and far.Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;For even as He loves the arrow that flies,so He loves also the bow that is stable.

-Kahlil Gibran

Charcoal on Rives 26X17 inches

Pear Study

Charcoal on Rives 6.5X10

The day has finally come when I have heard the words from Michael about starting my first oil painting in the Mentor Program. It will be my Peaches piece that only has a couple of details to solve before I post it here and I am also trying to think of a title. This process has brought so much joy to me because after the first piece, the ideas and work technique have become a real pleasure.

Day before yesterday I decided to do a small quick study with charcoal on Rives and to my surprise I was quite content with it at the end. It still needs refining also but I will post it before I finish refining my Peaches piece. BTW, I still have a lot to learn about pastel but as an early birthday present I have asked to be able to take part in Michael Newberry's 3 day pastel workshop in New York.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Pastel Color Study

I have no experience at all doing pastels so I will do several of these until I learn to do them right. This is a color study for the painting I will start after I finish my current charcoal drawing. I have come across a problem with not being able to find the same kind of peaches. The ones in the charcoal drawing are imported and I was finding them in the grocery store everyday but this week I have not been able to find any. The peaches is the pastel sketch are our Mexican variety which is small, firm and very tasty but maybe not as pretty in form as the imported ones. The color is very pretty so I will use them as a color study in the meantime.

I have learned that if you are going to paint something that will take you quite a bit of time to finish, it is not very convenient to to do plants, flowers or any perishables of any kind, if you are painting from life and it is not Alla Prima or Plein Air.

In this study I am adding the colors that belong to the wicker platter, tissue paper and shawl besides the peaches.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Importance of a Thumbnail

I have started my new charcoal piece and was very satisfied with how easy the ideas for the thumbnails sketches flowed this time. The only thing is that when I started my piece I got carried away with my set up and forgot to use my thumbnail sketch as a guide. Half way through my piece I noticed that my plate with peaches did not show its priority in the whole drawing and that would change the whole meaning of the piece. In my thumbnail sketch the plate and size of the peaches are much larger and they are meant to be the focal point in the drawing, while in this study they take a minor place and are a little over powered by the dark shadow to the right. I am satisfied with the study as it is, so I will not change it or continue to work on it, instead I will start a new one with the same theme following my thumbnail sketch a little more closely. If all goes well with this piece it will eventually become a big painting in oil, and that is something that really has me all excited as it will call for some pastel studies of the peaches. Something new for me but something I am looking forward to immensely.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Espiritu Ascendente

This piece is dedicated to my granddaughter Pao who as some of you know, left us two years ago at age five. She was born brain damaged and was deprived of verbal communication and voluntary movement but she had the capability of offering a smile with a radiance I have never seen in anyone else.

This smile, like her giggles would make me feel and understand how such a simple action could give you moments of complete happiness. No other smile has ever been the same.

The flower symbolizes her as I think she left us that day, radiant and turning to a light that only she was capable of seeing. The lace is characteristic of her fragility, beauty and her Latin heritage. The cloth is the baby sheet she spent many hours on in my house when she was brought to visit me frequently. I can feel her sweet angelic smile as I have worked on this and now that I am posting it.

I have chosen a Spanish title that translated means, Ascending Spirit. Spanish because, as the lace, reflects her Latin heritage and I think it is the title that best describes this piece. The flower, her symbol, has a slight turn upward as if it were lifting itself from the sheet to the light that guides the Spirit.

I thank Michael Newberry from the bottom of my heart for this unforgettable experience that at times was difficult, as he said it would be, but most of the time I had the pleasure of feeling her presence.
Charcoal on Rives 26X16

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Patience, I am learning.

It has been a very long time since I last posted in my blog. I have been working on my flower piece which has been a very slow but pleasurable process. Without a doubt Michael Newberry is and excellent mentor and I have learned so much from him and this program. I had never planned my work before and now I understand the importance of doing so. When I see a tutorial of his and see all of the work he puts into one piece I understand why he is steering in that direction and no matter how long it takes me to finish a piece, I know I will be happy with the result.

This piece is still not finished but I worked on it quite a bit this week so I will post this update and I have started some thumbnails for my next piece.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Ascending Spirit WIP

I haven't posted in quite a while because I have been working hard on this project but it is a slow and very new process for me, starting with the amount of thumbanils sketches needed to finally come up with an idea I was satisfied with. Thanks to the mentorship of Michael Newberry I have learned the importance that a piece have a reason and meaning for its creation.

This piece is not even close to being half way done and it needs corrections in what is done but I think the idea of where it is heading, is pretty clear. I still have to establish my vlaues, soften my folds and extend the lace to fill in that space it is in right now. I am truly enjoying this part now since I think compositon and light is on the way to being solved.

Charcoal on Rives paper 17x26

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Finally on the way to a new piece.

I have not posted because I have been working hard on the inspiration stage of my mentor program with Michael Newberry. I have worked on at least 30 gestural thumbnails and have finally found an image that I would like to put on the big sheet of the Rives paper. This will be an emotional piece and I must say that working with charcoal on such a big format in a different technique is being an exciting and fantastic experience. The process of saturating you paper with charcoal and then taking some of it off, is a very fulfilling practice. I started my big piece yesterday and have put five hours into it. There is not enough to show yet, but I do hope to post an update in the following week.

In the meantime I am posting the compositional thumbnail sketch. The practice of doing these sketches is to use as a guide and a tool as with the atmospheric sketch. They are sketches that are not supposed to take more than 2 min. to do but the purpose of doing so many is to have several alternatives to choose from for the real thing. The subject of the sketch has to have some emotional meaning and the objects used should be part of that meaning. Once I have posted an update I will write a little about it.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A new year a new experience.

Eloquence is not my gift so it has always been rather hard for me to express myself verbally. I wish I could find the words to express what a wonderful experience it has been for me to find such incredible giving people through the Internet and blogging. I appreciate all of the words of ecouragment and friendship I have received from you and hope that after I get on my way with Michael Newberry's Mentor Program, I will start posting maybe a WIP at first, but in the meantime I will continue enjoying the vist to your blogs.

All the best for this coming year!