I learned how to use chalk pastels in High School, but I didn't really learn how to draw (just like I use a computer a lot and never learned how to touch-type, but I can). That was a long time ago. I have wanted to do more painting, and learn to draw, but a busy and often tired life has put that aside until recently. Reading the book "The Artist's Way" brought me the obvious conclusion that to be more creative, I could do more painting and poems, and less straight writing. The book is over the horizon, but I can do a painting like the ones below in a few hours. So, why not?

I painted this one to take to my mother's funeral service in May of 2011.

Mother's Funeral Gift - Butterfly
I used Oil Pastels for this one because I needed it to travel with me. I have never really used oil pastels before, and they don't mix in the same way as chalk pastels, but it still worked OK. The butterfly model is a 6 inch balsa wood one that we bought on a trip. I drew around it on the page and then colored it in. Not too complex.

This one is my second effort, this time using chalk pastels
Transmutation Butterfly
It is like one that is in the area, and I tried to draw it from memory. Later I found a picture on the web that looks different, but then I looked at the real ones around here, and my picture is a close rendition.I can see how I can improve on drawing, symmetry, proportion and so on, but it was fun and colorful. My main focus is to create and iconic, vivid image, not to reproduce a photo. I completed this one in a single afternoon on July 2011.

The third one is chalk pastel again
Fire Butterfly
I was again copying a local one from memory, but I also deliberately departed from the actual to create a fire-like impression. The shape and proportion are much better. I wish I could get those antennae longer! I completed this one on two days weeks apart in August 2011 - first the butterfly, then the background. I was trying for a fire-smoke effect with the blue background. Maybe some purple would help. I tried to take photos of the actual butterfly, but the model and the telephoto autofocus camera situation were not cooperating.

That's probably enough butterflies. I think I'll try some flowers next. I have taken lots of photos this summer to use as models for painting in the winter. Not many living things to work from then, so pictures will be helpful.

Try some pastels. They are inexpensive, easy, fun to work with, and you can erase.
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OK, now I have done two more. I created this one in Sept 2011 as a gift using Oil pastels. It is a bloom from a petunia that someone gave me as a gift after hearing that my mother had passed. I used Oil pastels because the recipient would need to take it home with them, on travel.
Bright Petunia
Then soon after in late Sept. I painted this one using chalk pastels as a gift for my brother, who was getting married. I used chalk because I prefer it, even though I had no fixitive spray, and no frame to put it in. I taped it to a large piece of thick white blotter paper and carried in the car to the reception. It took about 4 hours, and I only found out about the wedding the day before. It is 11 x 13, so is a different shape that the others, which are the full 11 x 17 paper for chalk ones, or cut in half for the oil ones (to be easier to carry).
Wedding Gift - two lilies
Nov 2011 - I got a new box of 48 pastels, which are different from my ancient box of 24, they actually feel different, and I got new large paper, which is smoother than the usual somewhat textured surface I have been working with, so I had to try it out. I know this one looks very silly, but I just whipped it out for fun one night, after becoming somewhat obsessed by the song "Eyes" by Kaskade (see the Song Links). It's OK to do things that don't look great. (Some people might say none of my stuff looks that great, but are they painting anything?)
You and I could paint the sky together
(I've been "commissioned" to do a particular work... So you'll see it here soon.)

I did this for a friend. (Nov 2011) I like how the candle and vase represent the male-female principles (united in each person) and also the four elements are represented. The symbolism is just something I saw afterward, although it must have shaped the composition. Or maybe it shaped the Altar that I was painting a picture of...

Dec 2011 - Here is the one I was asked to do. Maybe someday I will be a "Real Artist" and sell something.

Feb 2012 - I am taking a Basic Drawing course and one of the assignments was to picture something using "textures" created from letters and numbers. The different glyphs would show either texture or value (light / dark) of a surface. I decided to make this picture of Lady Gaga, reproduced from the album notes, using letters L A D Y G and numbers 1 0 3 and 8. I had never drawn a face before (well, I did a self-portrait when I was 7, I wonder if my mom has it?) so this was a first. I made a pencil drawing, then filled in values using the letters and numbers. I think it's pretty good for not having tried a face before. Usually my "inner critic" is fairly vocal, but this time my inner Peacock was pleased and I tried not to let it run away with me. Now I can understand people who are self-promoting: they are probably very low in self-esteem and often hard on their own work. I hadn't felt that before.
Basic Drawing class Assignment

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