Using Apps to Determine Edits

Occasionally I will use one of my iPad apps to figure out how to edit a project before I make the actual changes. I’ve done it with charcoals and have started to do it with my pastels. While there are times I edit directly on the artwork, using an app helps me add and delete parts when I’m not exactly sure what edits I need to make.

In this pastel, there were a few areas where I created ‘unfortunate tangents.’ These tangents are the tops of foreground trees hitting the mountain range in the background. Sure, you could keep these trees as is but sometimes it’s better to make changes to make the piece more visually pleasing. As you can see, I used my ArtRage app to suggest possible changes. The second photo shows how I made some of the edits.

After a critique today, I decided to make changes to another pastel because its composition wasn’t as strong as it could be. The group mentioned the tree on the left side was cut off a bit too much and all the other elements in the foreground followed the same line. See first photo below. This line was also echoed in the reflection in the water. The suggestion was to visually cut up the area from the tree to the rocks and bush in the foreground. Using the app again, I made various edits to make the piece more compelling and draw the viewer into the piece. See second photo below. All that’s left to do is go to my pastel and make the actual edits.

Note: if you haven’t heard of tangents in artwork, here’s a blog entry with visuals to explain what it is.

Sharing an artwork

When sharing artwork in a critique, with friends or visitors to your social media, should you share the step by step work in progress or only the finished product?

During a critique, I displayed one of the works where I had just added a few strokes of color on top of the underpainting along side a finished pastel. It was suggested if we had the time to work on the piece(s) when we got home, we should. The idea was you were still in the same mindset when the piece was initially created.

I tried the suggestion. I went home and worked it. When I was finished I thought I’d share with someone from the class. The reaction wasn’t what I was expecting. The part that the group liked when I showed it at the critique was no longer there in that person’s view. Admittedly, I was disappointed. When I viewed it I thought it had the same palette and feeling as the finished piece. Certainly they were two different subject matters but they seemed to work together, which appealed to me.

I took a few days away from that piece thinking about what was said. I tried to recapture what was thought to be the best part of the piece seen at the critique. I found it hard to work on it as I couldn’t get the coloring or marks the same way.

I haven returned to the piece yet. My thinking is that by taking more time away I’ll stop thinking about what was said. I’ll start to see the pastel separate from the comment and begin to choose the coloring and marks based on how I feel towards the piece as I’m working on it.

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year!! I hope everyone enjoyed the first day of 2018 and everyone looks forward to the coming year.

I’ll continue to work on my pastels honing the skills I learned during my classes in 2017. I plan to review class notes evaluating areas I  did well and where I need to continue to improve.  I know I should create more notans and small sketches to determine the best composition for a piece.

In regards to exhibition opportunities, I am looking into a few possibilities in the next month or so (submitting artwork to be juried for acceptance to an exhibit). Another opportunity has presented itself but I’ll say more about it once I have finalized what needs to be done.

Finally, I have signed up for a pastel class in March. I took workshops with Shelly Eager in late 2015 and early 2016. When I saw a chance to sign up for a workshop, I did because classes and workshops at this Association go quickly. I also signed up for an online watercolor sketching class. I know when I did the 30 Day Challenge of creating a watercolor each day, my paintings became better over the course the challenge. I’ve seen this artist’s work online and thought it would be an interesting class. I’ll learn more about watercolor plus sketching on location with pen, ink and watercolor.

Best wishes to everyone for a great 2018!!


My Blog


I decided to create a blog after it was suggested to me after posting a video to family and friends. The video discussed how I would mat and frame a current pastel.