Sunday, December 11, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

Starting a New Pastel Portrait

Just started this one. I am thankful to be busy this year.
Also thankful to have subject matter that I like.
Pastel on Canson paper


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fun Day at the Beach, Pastel Portrait


I just finished this portrait of a day at the beach. 
Looks like they are having fun!
Pastel on mounted Wallis paper 16 x 20 inches. sold

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Watercolor Poinssettia

We usually paint a poinsettia in December during the adult watercolor class.
This year we are doing two small paintings. The students will cut and glue them to see what kind of abstract patterns they can come up with.  They did some wonderful work and I feel a little bad that we will be cutting them up, but I also know that the end result will be full of another kind of fun discovery.
My demo is 6 x 8 inches 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pastel in Progress

I guess this is far enough along to post. 
This is a captured moment that truly expresses the personalities of these boys.
I plan to keep the bottom portion of the painting loose to keep the focus on the faces.
But how loose remains to be scene. Stay tuned.
pastel on 16 x 20 inch Wallis paper

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Santa Watercolor Portrait Demonstration

Ok, so last week I started a Santa demonstration and ended up painting the inspiration image of a man with a red beard. This week I followed my lesson plan and modified the image to be more Santa-like. 
Everyone in class was in the best mood.... I think Santa makes us happy.
Quick demonstration in watercolor on quarter sheet cold press paper

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How to finish... watercolor portrait

Quick 20 minute demonstration for my adult class. 
We started out doing Santa portraits using this bearded man as inspiration. 
But I just had to paint him with the red beard. 
I will do another Santa demo for the class later. 
So now I have to rethink the hat and story. 
Maybe a lumberjack.... Any ideas?
watercolor on a quarter sheet

Friday, October 28, 2011

Why I Blog...

Blogging has been a wonderful way for me to "get out of town."  I have seen many new viewpoints, shared some of my own and made some wonderful artist, designer and collector connections. Scrolling through my blogger friends is like paging through a magazine. It is good to share some of the successes and struggles that we all go through. So for my fellow bloggers, a huge thanks for taking the time to share!

PS and here is a shameless plug for two more newer bloggers...

And finally, this is a watercolor demonstration that I did with examples of different watercolor techniques (salt, wet on wet, softening edges, splatter...)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pastel Portrait Finishing Tips/Process

Looks like all it needed was an adjustment of the light 
on the nose, shoulder, arm and a signature.

I took a break for a few days and coming back with fresh eyes made all the difference.
Also turning it upside down and taking photos to compare to the reference photo...
Whatever it takes to fine tune... I use "em all.
I will still come back to this at least one more time and will post any changes.

Pastel on Wallis Paper sold

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pastel Portrait Process with Steps/Stages

I will need to take a break from this for a day or two.
I need to come back with fresh eyes. Check the next post for the finished image.

So today I took two steps back to take a step forward.
Did some measurements and still adjusting. Again, it is getting there.

 This top image is the update from today. 
It is getting there. I continued polishing the face, 
adjusted the mouth and chin and also worked on the shirt.
Still some work to be done.
I will keep posting the updates here. 
I am to the point where the changes will be subtle but should get closer in likeness.
Thanks for following the progress.


I got carried away today. 
I usually do portraits in stages, stopping to get an ok from the people I paint for.
But today it just felt so good to paint... that I got pretty far and before I knew it... 
Well, here I am.
pastel on Wallis paper, cropped to 15x18 inches

And below are the first stages of this painting.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Finished Pastel Portrait of Nick

This is where I ended up with the pastel of Nick.
I played with the background and ended up spraying tons of fix, 
just a few inches from the surface.  I got some great darks, drips and textures that is hard to see in this image but interesting in person.
18x22 inches
This painting will be on view at the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio 
from October 9 thru Nov 27, 2011 as part of the Pittsburgh Pastel Artists League show.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Two hours into Pastel Portrait of Nick

I enjoy teaching, doing demonstrations for my students and working on commissions, but sometimes I have paintings in my head that just need to get out. I miss painting just to paint. So this evening I spent some time at the studio working on this portrait of my son, Nick. Not done yet. Still working on values, color tweaking and deciding how loose to keep the bottom portion of the painting... It feels good so far.
Terri Ludwig Pastels on Wallis Paper, 18 x 20 inches

Monday, July 18, 2011

How to look and paint what you see class.

These are three 5 x 7 inch demos that I did the first day of my teen acrylic class today.
We looked at value first. 
Then we added color being aware of shadows and 
reflected light from the shiny white plates.
We also talked about why some things get accepted into shows and others don't. 
Could it be color, technique, point of view...?  
An unexpected angle gives the painting more interest. 
We also played with placement.
You can view the student work at 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Workshop Demonstrations

I hosted a 3 day beginner watercolor workshop this week.
  I shared my steps to a finished painting (for good studio habits) and used a very limited palette (warm and cool of each of the primaries) to get the students used to mixing and having fun making "mud". 
These are pretty basic projects.
We started with the leaf project, working wet on wet to get used to playing with color, using salt and layering. 
The next project was the bird with simplified background. Wet on wet for the background and a soupy base for the bird with layers after each area dried.
Then the lighthouse, focusing on the stormy sky and softening shadows...
Each project gave the students some experience and confidence to move the the next subject.
 I tried to keep my demos quick and simple. 
The students all took their projects to the next level and went home with work to be proud of. 
These are the kind of workshops I love to teach. 

Tiny Plein Air, Maria Kovalenko Leysens

These two 4 x 6 inch watercolors were done near the 53 street north dock in the Cherry Grove beach area of South Carolina. We kayaked one evening and came back to fish and paint the next.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Summer Class Info

The summer camps and classes are finally posted and information can be found on the tab above my profile.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Self Portrait Idea in Red

Well, I guess it was finally my turn. Thought I would do a self portrait for the daily paintworks challenge and I chose the red paper again. But I sat down to do a younger woman (don't we all think of ourselves younger than we are) and found that she has been modified to over 50 years old. 
It is ok, this reality check.. and it is not so bad.
12x12 inches, Terri Ludwig pastels on Canson paper
Link to another self portrait idea

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Portrait Session

Wonderful day today. 
The sun is shining, I got to go to a portrait session 
and I used bright red paper!
2 hour session, Terri Ludwig pastels on Canson paper

Friday, April 22, 2011

And It Rained On My Birthday This Year...

I was invited to be part of a show at Gallery Sim, southside of Pittsburgh, opening on May 8th. The theme is "Capturing Carson" the main street of the area. I planned to do people, shoppers, commuters... but ended up with this image from a rainy day this past December. It is titled "Seeking Entry"
watercolor 11x24 inches

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Up for Auction, Times Square at Night Study

Up for Auction is my demonstration painting that I did for my class on night sky and artificial light. I put this up for auction at the Daily Paintworks Site. Please take a moment to bid on this or one of the other paintings with proceeds going to Japanese Earthquake and Relief fund.
UPDATE: painting sold and is now the gift that keeps giving.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My "how to' watercolor portrait

I had some nice interest on my brief description of my pastel portrait process and thought I would post something on my watercolor process.
I like to get color down quick and don't like to go over the areas with many washes. I find the more washes and layers you use the less glow a painting has. 
I start with large areas, saving the whites, and feeling my way around the form. I build up color and work the detail in bit by bit. 
I add the background at different stages for each painting. Usually when I feel I have enough of the face value established to know how dark/intense... to make it.
I usually have a color scheme/temperature... in mind when I start, but don't fret if I change mid painting. Thumbnails/planning is good and something I do as a habit. But once in a while a painting reveals a new direction that I didn't think of. So I usually will go for it. After all, it is only paper...

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My "how to" pastel portrait.

 We had two models today. My model had clothing that reminded me of the new True Grit movie, but I couldn't get into painting the entire image. So I focused on what I know.  The other model had gypsy inspired clothing. I took photos of both of the models and I hope to paint them later this week.
pastel on 16 x 20 inch mounted wallis paper
I also wanted to share a very basic description about my process since a few asked at the session.
I start with vine charcoal and play with placement. It doesn't always work the first time, but I need to see it on the paper before I decide. Sometimes, like today, I sketched in a landscape format, didn't like it,  so turned to portrait and did that twice before I found something I wanted to continue. In my studio, I usually do thumbnails, but at these sessions I just go for it.
Then I start with soft pastels (Terry Ludwig's mostly) and block in large and small areas using three basic values. The rest of the time I spend measuring, tweaking, adding more color... I used a wet sponge on a nu pastel base for the background and used soft pastel for additional color. I have a heavy hand and don't blend too much. If I do it is with my pinky. I also do what I call a "picture walk" and step away from the painting every so often. What you think you see up close can look so different from a distance. 
We had a three hours session today. I spent about 2 hours of work time on this. I always find things I could tweak after I walk away for a while. If I could go back I would sharpen some of the eye structure,  highlights and define the shoulder on the right side of the image.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Greg Pastel

Greg was one of the three models we used for the model session at Butler Art Center this past Saturday.
The mouth was challenging because his fist pulls it to one side. 

A great place to learn technique is the Judy Carducci dvd on portrait painting.  The dvd is so full of great info... could watch over and over and still learn more. In fact we had Greg sit in a similar pose to the model on the dvd.

16x20 inches, pastel on mounted Wallis paper

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Portrait Session

Another portrait session today. 
I reworked this when I got back to the studio. 
So I lost the likeness and the detail but feel the general shapes work better now.
pastel, 11x14 inches, 2 hours worktime

Friday, February 11, 2011

My Little Pony

Fun, 8x10 inch watercolor I did for a friend as an art exchange.
I found this image on her facebook and wonder what she will think when she get this in the mail.
It was from a vintage photo, a little faded and washed out but the values were still there.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Portrait Session

What fun I had today. 
Got to the session on time, great model and the sun is shining.
Pastel, 11x14 sanded paper, 2 hour session
Check out the winter class schedule for full day model sessions at the Art Center in Butler

I took this back to the studio and fiddled with the background some to bring his face forward.
 (Boy the color really changes depending on where I photograph it.)

Another comment... I have been sampling pastels and am most satisfied with Terry Ludwig pastels.  I can't wait to share some at the next Butler session.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Late Night

This is a demo that I did for class today. 
We used night scenes with artificial light as inspiration. 
It is a good exercise to see and get the darks as dark as they need to be.  
(I often tell my students not to be afraid of the dark.)
Also good to see the contrasts and color of artificial light. 
I could have made the light warmer, 
but it really felt like daylight in Times Square that night.
 I hope to do this again, not as loose, since I like the way it feels.
watercolor 11x14 inches

Thursday, January 27, 2011

How to paint a black dog

How to paint a black dog. Don't use black.
 Have fun with the colors in the highlights.
I could have pushed the colors more in this but didn't want to get too crazy since this was a commission.
I will do this as a project for my watercolor students since it can be so much fun.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Artist Inspired Portrait Ideas to Play With

I found another blogger who had been doing self portraits for a year.   She has explored and posted so many ideas. I shared a few of them with my adult watercolor class as  example on how to expand the use of materials and just have fun and play. My demonstration stayed pretty close to the example, but my students went over the top with the process. All of them made the project their own and I have to say, I am happy and just a little jealous of what they did.
quarter sheet watercolor paper, tissue paper, watercolor and black marker
Here is the link to one of my students whose project I just love.
and another link to one of my pastel self portraits

Bal Masque

This is a quick watercolor painting (12x20 inches) that I did last year for a local show. I did not enter it because it is not my usual style. It is really loose. I took another look at it this year and I guess it grew on me. Kind of fun, so I entered it this year.
The inspiration is from a photo that was taken from the annual Kokoon club, Bal Masque which was the ticket to get if you were in Cleveland about 80 years ago. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

portrait session, Maria Kovalenko Leysens

We had an enjoyable time at our portrait session today.
 Great model with great stories to share.
Pastel on sanded paper
 Just about an hour and one half of work time.
I am pretty comfortable with faces now. 
We will be starting sessions with costumed figures.
I plan to focus on creating a painting 
and not just a study.
Can't wait!