2016 into 2017

Where I have been and looking ahead to where I am going.

 Looking back 2016 was a year filled with surprises and challenges.

2016 into 2017


There has been 2 moves, 3 jobs, an art show, broken bones and a trip to Italy in 2016. Unfortunately these events  meant that I have neglected both my artwork and this blog.   Moving is always exhausting and unsettling.  I spent far too little time in my studio doing my artwork.  Tearing down and setting up my art supplies in a new space is always a challenge as it take several tries to make everything flow together.  Three different employers  since last January has meant challenges and steep learning curves.   I have been at my current job for over six months so I am settling into a routine.  

The broken bones was an experience I do not wish to repeat.  A fall on May 1st resulted in 4 pins and a cast for six weeks for my right wrist.  And yes I am right-handed.  No one told me that once the cast has been removed, it still takes a long time to gain movement and the stiffness to leave your hand.   My current job requires me to do lots of typing which can leave my wrist and fingers sore by the end of the day.  Unfortunately this means no art work in evenings.  The good news is that is gets better every week so looking forward to being back at the easel more in 2017.


Pastel 9×12

2016 and ART

I .  The Vermilion Art show put on by the Vermilion Art Club in April was a huge success and take part in.  It is a great group of artists and the Paint till you Faint held every month is so much fun.  It is a great way to spend a Saturday and make sure that you do art at least once a month.

  I was able to take a pastel workshop with 2 artists this year.  A pastel class with Joyce Boyer in September which was fabulous and I look forward to taking another class with her when the opportunity arises.  An Acrylic Class with Bob Pennycook put on by Heart’s Delight Studios in Sherwood Park was stepping out of my comfort zone and caused me to stretch.  3 days of painting was bit much for the wrist and I paid for it for over 2 months. In November the Art Club in Vermilion asked me to do a demo on pastels.   I had so much fun was I love sharing what I know about the medium.

Italy in June 2016

Statue in Rome

Italy was everything I dreamed about.  Art, sights and sounds were wonderful but over far too fast.  Even with a broken wrist it was wonderful.  I seen artworks I have only dreamed of seeing. Statues in Rome  that you expected to come to life.  Wonderful glass in Venice that shimmered and beckoned me to buy.    There was just far too many places and never enough time while we were there.  The trip went by far to fast and has left me wanting to return.   I have photographs from the trip  and plans to paint some of them.  Wonderful memories to last a lifetime.




30 paintings in 30 days

Looking ahead to 2017

2017  is a year filled with promise and many ambitions.  The first habit in 2017 that I want to make is to spends two hours a day in the studio during the week and four on the weekends during 2017.  Will I meet this everyday?  Probably not, but if I do it 80% of the time then it is a win!  There is 4 art shows that I wish to take part in.  This means producing lots of work which means lots of time spent in the studio.  The decision I have to make is which medium I will work with this year.  Oils or Pastels?  There is many things that I love about each medium so it is a difficult choice to make.

 The January the 30 in 30 starts, it is a great way to get back into the studio and produce some small paintings and instill a studio habit.    The question is do I want to teach or do I want to paint.   I will soon have to   make a decision whether or not I will teach a beginners class for six weeks starting in February. .  Plein Air painting and working from life is two things I want to do more often in 2017.  I have no travel plans or workshops  planned for 2017 but will leave it open to decide about when and where I will go.

I do want to say thank you to everyone that has supported, encouraged, and inspired me in 2016.   May your 2017 be adventures, and accomplishments filled with lots of laughter and love for you.  I plan on having these things make 2017 a great  year.  See you in 2017!!

Summer Queens

The wild rose is a true summer queen.    Once they are blooming there is a scent and mass of color that man cannot reproduce no matter how hard he tries.

Summer Queens 11x14 pastels.
Summer Queens 11×14 pastels.

While I was painting this, many memories can flooding back of warm June days, and the promise of long summer days to come.   If they had not bloomed by my birthday in the second week of June, Dad would tell me it would be a very short cool summer that year.  Whether that was right or wrong I do remember long walks along the field edges in early June looking for the Summer Queens.    Gingerly picking the first one I found to take back to Mom who would place in a bowl in the center of her table.  It was amazing that the just one or two of these Summer Queens would fill her kitchen with the their wonderful scent.   I know I am looking forward to that smell once more this summer.  I hope you will take the time to smell them this summer with your eyes closed and just enjoy what nature so freely gives.

Summer Road

Summer Road

There is a road that leads to a place filled with laughter, family and good times!   It was a pleasure to paint this pastel as it reminds me of that road that leads to Jim’s “hunting shack” which has given me so many great wonderful memories.   Many evenings have been spent around the campfires and the crib board.    Memories of Super Moons and I can see my shadow giggles.  I am so looking forward to being there again, when the trees start to show their spring greens.

Pastel Palning
Summer Road Pastel 11X14



Paint till you Faint

Yesterday I travelled to Vermilion Community Art Club to spend the day at their monthly “Paint till you Faint”.   Once a month a group of artists get together to spend the day working their own individual protects.  It was a great time, with lots of hard work going on as well as laughter.  It was a great time.  Even though I have a a room that I have turned into a studio, it is nice to spend the day painting with other people.

pastel 8 x10
Pastel 8×10


Art Society of Strathcona County

Why join?

I went to my first meeting last night and found a wonderful group of Artists.  I have been asked why I would drive 2 hours to join the Art Society of Strathcona County.  The answer is a simple one for me.  I miss being with other artists,  I miss the energy that is in a room full of artists talking about their passion and I miss giving back to the art community.

The things a society give to me.

The benefits are many when I belong to an art society.  For some reason when I spend time with artists I produce more artwork.  My family and friends eyes don’t glaze over when I start talking art as I talk to other artists instead of them about art.  It also provides me a place to share my art and participate in events with other artists.

But it is not just about what the society gives me, it is also about what I can give to the society as an active member.  I can give back by volunteering my time doing the things I enjoy.

If you are an artist considering joining and you will have so many opportunities open for you in so many ways.  If your not an artist but want to support the artists in community then join.

pastel painting

A Little Sunshine

It been a couple of cold January days which is probably what prompted the last two paintings

pastel painting
Pastel 9×12 – Catching a Ray

I really enjoyed doing this in pastels but it did present a few questions on how I was going to approach it.   Painting is often answering a lot of questions before you start and then after you start.  One of the things I do truly enjoy is losing the sense of time and place when I paint.  It is just me, and the painting.

oil painting
9 x 12 Oils A Little Sunshine

I used the same reference photo for these two paintings and I am planning on using it again today for  a painting.  Now the questions begin,  how to crop – what medium – what do I want to say.  And that is the just beginning.  The most important question for me is what do I want my viewer to see and feel.   It is always interesting to hear responses from the viewer so leave a comment and let me know what you see and feel when you look at these paintings.

Stay warm, it is another cold January day, a good day for creating more art!


Dressed in Whites.

Not all Whites are equal.

Once I started this pastel painting, it did not take me long to figure out that I did not have the whites I wanted to use to paint the birch tree.

dressed in whites
Dressed in Whites
Pastel 8×10


I did this for the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge.  It was a learning curve trying to find different whites I  needed to give and form and dimension to this tree.   I also understand too well why many pastelist’s say you can never have enough pastels.  By attaching a scrap of same paper to my board on the easel it allowed me to try colors together before laying them on the painting.   This scrap of paper allowed me to lay color next to each other or lay color over each other which saved me from making some huge errors.

Tomorrow the whites will done in oils, and that is going to be a huge challenge.   I am going to have to think about how I will approach painting the wispy branches.   Leave me a comment if you have any suggestions on how to paint those wonderful light wispy branches in one sitting.

I did enjoy the process of this painting, and I hope you enjoy the outcome!

Bluebell painting

Oils or Pastels

Same Subject – Two Mediums

I enjoy working in both pastels and oils.   It was a difficult decision on which medium to choose for the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge.   I could not decide which medium to choose so chose both.   There are both different in both the mark making and final outcome.  This will be a very interesting journey.   Painting the same subject over in a different medium will teach you about your subject that you may have missed the first time.  When I was painting the Bluebell the second time, I also pulled it up on the computer screen which showed me things that I had missed in the photograph that I had used to do the pastel painting.

Bluebell 2-susanrichardsonartist.com
Bluebell 8×10 Pastels
Bluebell Oils
Bluebell 8×10 Oils

In the photograph the soft edges blended into the back petals so much that I could not see them.  Once I pulled up the photograph on my computer I was able to actually see the front petals.  The challenge then became to make the edges soft but not to lose them completely.  The photograph on the computer showed that the bluebell had texture while the printed one did not.   Unfortunately it is January and the bluebells are hiding under a blanket of snow.   On my list to do this summer is to find a spot, sit and really study the bluebell and then make another comparison.   Working from life is not always possible but the more I work from photos the more I am understanding their downfall.   Photographs miss things and distorts them as well but they work well for cold winter days when the wildflowers are waiting for spring.

My husband still prefers the pastels painting to the oils.   Which one do you prefer?  Leave me a comment so I know as I always enjoy finding out what people see and prefer.

Bluebell in Pastels

I don’t know where December vanished to but it is good to be back at the easel painting this Bluebell in pastels.

Bluebell 2-susanrichardsonartist.com
Bluebell 8×10 Pastels

I have not worked a lot with Rembrandt pastels so it was a bit of a learning curved doing this one.   I do like the Rembrandt pastels on Canson paper as I do not seem to fill the tooth of the paper with pastel as fast.

I chose to do the Bluebell as it reminds of the warm sunny days of summer from my childhood.  I have spent several hours going through my reference photos looking for subjects for the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge.  Just doing that is a learning curve as well.  One of the things that I try to remember is why I took that particular picture, what was it that captivated my attention.  What was it about the Bluebell that I want to tell my viewer.   Is it something I want to be able to portray to the viewer.   Subject matter is often a difficult choice but the more I do it the easier it starts to become.    Instead of trying to come up with 30 things to paint all at once I have decided to break it down to 3 sessions of 10 subjects.

Tomorrow on Day two of the challenge I plan to paint the Bluebell in oils, and it will be an interesting comparison of the two pictures.

Fall Pastel

Spotlight and Wet Canvas

Your probably wonder exactly what the “Spotlight” is?

It  was started on wetcanvas.com  several years of  ago that has so much information. It is designed for anyone wanting to learn or expand their skills in using pastels.  Each month a new subject is put together.   Don Ketches  (DAK723 on wet canvas) is a member who donates his time every month putting it  all together for the members of Wet Canvas.  There is usually four or five reference pictures to choose from to complete that month’ study.  Everyone takes the time to comment, encourage you and answer any questions you may have.

November spotlight was on fall color.  I did this on 9×12 sanded paper with soft pastels

Spotlight Fall Pastel
Spotlight – Nov/15


It was a good lesson in learning to control color as the colors in the reference photo was so vibrant.  I am looking forward to December’s Spotlight.  It will give me a little time out from  what has become a very busy time for me.  Hats off to those that donate so much and share their time so generously on the Wet Canvas site.