Betsy Payne Cook paints exclusively with pastels, & is acknowledged as a Juried Master Artist at the Cape Cod Art Association. Betsy's paintings depict her impressions of the landscape & its abundance of colors. She paints both en plein air & in her studio; & conveys her love of the outdoors n each painting.
Framing is one of the chores in my art business that I often reserve for times that aren't conducive to painting. Late afternoon, times when the family are around or when deadlines are closing in. To make it a bit more palatable job, I set a few things in place before I begin. Good music, something to drink, light some incense or a candle and I have created a calm atmosphere. I will often cluster several jobs together so I knock off a few at a time. This means I am standing at the work room table for awhile. I have an old kitchen counter resting on saw horses, ideal surface, easy to clean, heavy duty and re-purposed from our kitchen renovation several years ago.
In a previous blog I mentioned the slanted anti-fatigue mat that I am using in my studio. Why not have one in my work room too! So, I now have a slightly different model, the Anthro-Desk flat anti-fatigue mat which definitely makes standing at the work table much more comfortable. Unlike my other slanted mat, this one is a flat mat 30"x 18"x 1/2" with stability and firmness yet cushioned for comfort. The standing surface of the mat has a textured surface which works well keeping your feet from sliding on the mat. I can feel the difference when I shift to the carpet so have it positioned in the maximum target area for working at the table. The mat does need an anti-slip rug mat under it to avoid moving around on my old carpet. Very pleased with the mat, maybe I need one by the kitchen sink too!
Wow! What a week this has been. I am happy to report that it definitely ended on a high note!
I have been a huge fan of pastelist Nancie King Mertz for quite awhile so I jumped at the opportunity to take a full day IAPS workshop with her. Architecture and street scenes fascinate me; the diversity of structures and their reflection of the people who inhabit them, how structures fit into or overwhelm the natural landscape. Nancie is known for her mastery of cityscapes and incorporating architectural structures into ger paintings so who better to learn from. During her demonstration Nancie shared so much about her painting process of a cityscape, her finished painting will be posted in my e-newsletter. For the workshop I chose to paint from a photo image with complex perspective issues and a defined contrast of warm and cool color patterns. I learn so much more in a workshop when I push out of my typical painting routine. I follow the instructors advice, take on new challenges and don't worry about the finished painting. For me, a workshop is about stretching my own mental flexibility so my art has the chance to reach another level. It may be incremental steps or a leap but I am not going to progress as an artist unless I just "Do It"!! Today I felt satisfied, I picked up the baton and I raced with it, and now I am passing the baton to you!
With love from IAPS,
If you'd like to take a workshop with Nancie, she will be teaching two 2-day workshops on Cape Cod during the week of July 16th for the Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod. It's a great opportunity to study with a master artist, all levels welcome and based on my experience you won't be disappointed. For details click on this link. https://www.pastelpainterssocietyofcapecod.com/masterworkshop.php
It has been a long journey getting to IAPS. The convention dates are always in late May or June, a time of year when teachers are at their busiest. I promised myself I would get to IAPS once I was retired from the school system, and it is so gratifying to know I have finally made it! This trip was made extra special because I shared this adventure with my friends. How lucky am I !
It was a hot morning when I headed over to Old Town to paint in one of the adobe shopping alleys. I have enjoyed the challenge of the southwestern color pallette, and plan to follow up with some studio painting. I find the preliminary paintings on location invaluable. Loved the colorful flags in this alley and when we returned at night it looked magical!
The demonstrations today were with Andrew McDermott who shared his 12 minute painting routine that keeps him loose and fresh; and with JZ Xu who painted an interior scene while sharing his thoughts on the key components of creating a successful painting. I also spent time in the art exhibit, a visual treat to be able to see so many amazing pastel paintings in one place. There's nothing like standing close and being able to see all the mark making and layers.
One of my goals was to fit in some plein air painting on Friday and Saturday mornings. With that in mind, I set a schedule with mid morning and afternoon classes leaving me with time to walk over to Old Town after breakfast. The temperatures at 8 am are hovering in the 80s and surprisingly there seems to be a breeze most of the time. I found a spot under the shade of the trees, with the sun and shade playing in theside e street alley. Just a quick 90 minutes and back to IAPS. My two master artist classes today were terrific. Rita Kirkman demonstrated her process for completing daily paintings with her trademark glow! Lynn Asselta was dynamic and focused her demo on making choices that reflect emotion in paintings. Once again, my mind is ticking with ideas.
IAPS evening wrapped up with an opportunity for pastel societies to display and share info about membership, exhibits and workshops, then everyone spilled outdoors for music and a big taco party. And I managed to find more pastel friends I hadn't seen yet!
The Hotel Albuquerque was buzzing with excitement today! I had chosen my courses last fall making up a schedule with a couple of classes or lectures each day and on Sunday a full day workshop. I thoroughly enjoyed the two instructors I had today. Brian Bailey with his methodical approach creating intricate details. Dawn Emerson with unbound energy and sizzling paintings. I already have a mental list going in my head! Fun continued after classes with a "Paint Around", where 5 master artists worked on 5 paintings, swapping every 10 minutes. The audience was wild, imagine the thrill of anticipating what would happen as each artist took charge of the next painting!!
Evening BBQ in the garden, time to catch up with everyone and relax in this beautiful place.
Wednesday afternoon was IAPS registration day which gave a time to continue our explorations!
Heading into Albuquerque from our Airbnb took us through the residential neighborhoods with stone gravel and succulent plant gardens with only a few scattered green grassy lawns.
We spent a couple hours in the The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center which was an impressive and a moving walk through the history and life of the native people. The Hotel Albuquerque Convention Center is walking distance to Old Town Albuquerque so after registering we strolled through the myriad of jewelry shops. My friend Jenny , a jewelry maker, gave me tips on how to recognize authentic and quality turquoise. That might come in handy!
So with our official badges in hand we moved into the next phase of this trip and amongst pastelists from all over the world we celebrated the opening of the convention. A dream come true!
Traveling is exhausting and Monday was a blur with flights and getting settled in our rental house in Albuquerque. I am traveling with a group of six artists, and Monday was our day to explore. Facing my fears of heights landed me on the Sandia Peak Air Tram in the Cibola National Forest. Spectacular views as we ascended from about 6000 to 1000 feet , looking down on a rugged terrain filled with boulders balancing on one another. Spectacular! The highlight of the day was our group cooking class with Jane Butel, reknown author of Southwestern cuisine. Jane welcomed us into her home, shared her wealth of knowledge of the history of southwestern cooking, spices and treated us to stories of her life. After cooking we stole some time to relax in her yard before we feasted on the fabulous meal we all had a hand in preparing. What a treat today was!
We packed a lot into today, one more day of sightseeing and IAPS convention begins!
The pastel world puts on the biggest gathering of pastel artist in the world at the International Association of Pastel Societies convention. It takes place every two years, and this year I am packing up and heading to Albuquerque to join in the fun! Meeting artists from all over the place, signed up for classes and an all day painting workshop. Will try to contain myself in the vendors hall, oh wow, I wonder what art materials will find their way home with me?
Packing up painting supplies requires that I conserve on space without compromising on what I need for painting. I place pastel papers in protective sleeves for packaging neatly, but also for a safe return so finished painting remains undistrubed, don't want the pastel smearing. The plastic sleeves are clipped between black foam core boards which are lightweight and also act as the sturdy backing when I am painting, besides adding more protection in transport. The clips are handy for many reasons, including plein air when it's a bit windy. Compact and serves multiple purposes!
I am planning to post daily to share my adventures with fellow pastelists, so keep tuned in!
"Winding Down" , a necessity to regenerate my energy and my soul. Sometimes a special spot can give me a boost and set me back on track. Sometimes it's a quiet moment when I can escape into my thoughts. It took many years to realize the value of mindfulness, an awakening of moments in my day. This painting was done as an escape when life's end was calling my cousin.
Selected for "The Works", a juried exhibit at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod, Yarmouth MA - February 2019.