Ken Manninen
In pursuit of my inner artist


(posted on 6 Apr 2024)

It is hard to believe it is just under 4 months since my last blog entry, but I have really been enjoying working with the pan pastels and pastel pencils (Carbothelo).  The pan pastels offer the painterly feel for my art endeavours while the pastel pencils allow me to add detail, something I particularly like to do.  My objective of getting looser with my artwork is accommodated by the pan pastels while the pastel pencils offer me the detail fix that satisfies my analytical side.

In early February the Palette People (my art group) hosted a workshop featuring Graeme Shaw.  We selected a photographic image from a few Graeme had taken and we all used it as a reference for the workshop.  While participants painted the image in either acrylic or oil, I chose to use pastels.  While Graeme did not have experience with pastels, he was able to provide composition and colour choice advice. I gained a new appreciation for landscape painting, something that I have never found very inspiring, probably because I was overwhelmed by all the detail, seeing only trees, not forest.  Through Graeme's demonstration, I finally had an Ah-ha moment about simplification and embellishment in landscape painting.

The acrylic and oil painters glazed their underpaintings with some colour, something I could not do with pastels as I had started with a while piece of watercolour paper.  Graeme encouraged me to explore painting landscapes starting with a coloured piece of paper.  I ran with his suggestion and have been using coloured Pastelmat or Pastel Card as my substrate.  Using the photographs Graeme offered for the workshop that the participants did not select, as my reference material, I have been working through the references asking myself what the artistic potential is that each reference photo presents.  I have posted the paintings I have completed to date

My weekly Life Drawing group will be holding a show at the beginning of June.  I am hoping to develop an image or two I had captured during these sessions, into a more creative piece.  I hope to try some of the approaches employed by Dawn Emerson, the California artist whose combined pastel and printmaking artwork inspires me.  I'll post my submission for the show.

I am feeling quite inspired.  Maybe I've found my medium of choice....for now. ;)