Website is finally back – check it out!

Red Cana • Pastel • 22″ x 15″

This website went down sometime last year – I don’t even remember when. The WordPress theme I purchased, Enfold, got a virus and I was unable to recover from it. I hired a web designer to create the site but we didn’t part company on good terms to say the least. She purchased the theme and I didn’t want to deal with her again. So I didn’t have the information I needed to get help from the Enfold people. Anyway . . .

I did two, not-so-good pastels that I wouldn’t voluntarily show anyone. I spent most of 2016 writing – I wrote four books – and very little time in the studio. And now I have a writing job I am thoroughly enjoying, so I’m not sure if or when I’ll get back to my art. I’m sure the art bug will bite eventually. One of the nice things about being semi-retired is that I can decide what I want to spend my time on.

Toward the end of last year I decided it was time to do something about my website and I started fixing it. I’ve designed numerous websites over the years but it isn’t something I particularly enjoy and I know it’s not one of my gifts. But after the last go-round with a web designer I decided to fix this myself.

I’m very pleased at how it came out. I hope you enjoy it. I kept it simple so the art would be the centerpiece. Please use the sign up form on the left to join the site. I don’t send out emails very often but when I do, it’s usually something interesting.

And I’d love your feedback! Leave a comment. What do you think of the new site and the art?

Thanks for checking it out!


Keeping a studio journal

Art Journal page working out a wash of colors

I’ve been a journaler since I was a teenager. Back then it was diaries with a little lock and key. At the time, I believed my thoughts needed to be under lock and key, especially if my parents wanted to read it. I hid it in my room, changing the hiding place often. Ah, the innocence of childhood!

I keep many journals organized by subject matter: sketchbook, travel, workshop notes, quotes and things I read. But my biggest – and most interesting – journal is the one I keep in the studio. It is 11″ x 14″, hardbound, with heavy paper. In addition to sketches and ideas for paintings, I keep notes on paintings as they move through the various stages.

My work is known for its bright colors and texture. My studio journal is a place to work out color issues. There is nothing more frustrating than looking at a painting, loving one of the colors and not knowing how to reproduce it, or stopping work on a painting for some reason and not knowing how to get going again.

To solve that problem I keep color formulas in the journal as well. If I mix a

Art Journal page

color I like or don’t like, I write down the paints I used to create it and how much of each I used. If I created the color by layering washes, I paint a sample in the journal so I know what goes down first and all the steps in between. I add variations to the formulas as I figure them out. Sometimes I lay down three or four colors and just play with them to see what I come up with.

My studio journal doesn’t look very pretty, and the pages will never lay flat because I actually paint in it, but it contains valuable information. If I need a color just like I used in one painting, I can look it up and recreate it. I enjoy going back and reading it, too, because I write down my opinions, loves and hates in it.

Color formulas

I keep a second, “Color Formula,” studio journal of nothing but color formulas. These are my experiments in mixing various colors to see what I end up with. There is very little text but a lot of beautiful colors that I can reproduce.

Keeping a studio journal is like a textbook you are writing for yourself on your way to being a better artist. It’s a resource to look back on and to use over and over. How do you journal?

Happy painting!

Susan L Stewart