View Full Version : The Makings of a Picnic

01-06-2005, 06:24 PM
This is for those of you who where kind enough to contact me looking for answers to much of what I hope to include in this thread. Since several of you asked about this particular painting, and it was a fun process for me, it seemed like a good choice to work my answers around. I dug deep and found some partials to share but in addressing some of the questions concerning how I go about setting up a painting, I will start at the conception.

This is not a WIP as the painting was finished a couple of years ago but don’t let that stop you from expressing opinions on how you might have approached it differently.

This particular piece is done in soft pastel but I would have approached it almost the same way if I had chosen to use acrylic, oil or watercolour. I work very much in small sections no matter the medium so the process is so similar as to not matter even if I had chosen to portray it in a different style.

The colours in the initial photos where so beautiful that the painting chose pastel not I. The next alternative would have been oil but since I haven’t done one in a few years, I would have had to replenish a lot of my supplies as well as my refresh my thought process so pastel it was.

My only regret was that my love for La Carte pastel card kept me confined to the size of their largest available paper. I needed a large painting for the detail I wanted to put into it but I would have loved to have had much more shadow and grass fading to darkness on the right side to offset the girls and improve the composition. I also wavered over wishing for a couple of inches more space between the bottom corner of the quilt and the edge and cropping the corner right off.

I will start off with the stats and a look at the finished product while I scan in a few slides.

Title: The Picnic
Subjects are Mikayla in pink, Amy in white and Linea in blue
La Carte Pastel Card, Sienna
Finished size 22” x 30”
Holbein, NuPastel, Unison, Sennelier and some Schmincke
White and black charcoal pencils as well as some Stabilo
No fixatives used but framed with spacers


Tom Christopher
01-06-2005, 06:42 PM
Di, This is absolutley brilliant work--I am going to print it off and enlarge it to study the painting even further. Thank you For posting this. It's truely a gem... Tom

01-06-2005, 06:58 PM
Brilliant, inspiring...just wonderful work, Diana. I spent some time this afternoon looking at your website again. I would love to be able to see these in person! I wonder if it would be possible for you to post a close up of one of your paintings.
Just gorgeous lighting, wonderful composition, exquisite detail. I am awestruck!


01-06-2005, 07:16 PM
Thanks so much Tom....I don't know how much extra detail my upload will give you but you are welcome to try. If it doesn't work let me know.

Sandy ...thank you also and just name the painting and I will send you or post an enlarged version. Have you looked a the close-up of the little girl posted in "Tubs of Fun"? It is just a wee painting so the close shot of her is bigger than life. I also just added a pastel to the 2004 pastel retrospective which is about two thirds of it's original size.

Cheers, Di

01-06-2005, 07:29 PM
Thanks Diana. I had forgotten about that little close up of the girl...just took another look. I'll check out the retrospective painting too.


Kathryn Day
01-06-2005, 07:54 PM
I love the paintings you create. This one is terrific too. I will be watching so maybe I can fathom how you get such incredible detail in your paintings. I would so love to do one of your workshops.


Merethe T
01-06-2005, 08:27 PM
I'm joining in on this, it will be an excellent learning experience I'm sure! :clap:
Your work is so wonderful, it's just amazing what you can do with the pastels. Thank you for doing this!


01-06-2005, 09:25 PM
Hello Kathy, Merethe...thanks for joining in and your great comments. Hi Sandy again....I do hope you will all glean something from this. If you have any questions please just ask......Onward

My granddaughter Mikayla (in the pink) is the model for most of my ‘children’ pieces. She has been photographed to the extent that she no longer sees the camera and I am free to follow her about and capture her great imagination at work. I took many of what I feel are not ‘painting material’ photos and a few that are, made them into cards and built her a web site. She began selling at age five and a half and is now an accomplished little entrepreneur at the age of 9. There are well over 100 photos of her that you can view on line where you can get a good idea of the process I go through in trying to capture a mood. For every one you see, there are probably 10 similar ones that I had to choose from. I have yet to put her ‘boy’ pictures on the site but will soon. I am hoping to do some paintings with her ‘twin’ soon. (twins are another fetish of mine)


As you can see by my work and photos, I love nostalgia and as a result scrounge out clothing, costumes and props from every available source to help me set the scene for a painting.. Sally Ann and I have become close personal friends over the years and I frequent every one I see and have been known to stop dead in the middle of the street at the sight of a new one. Antique stores have a “Call Dianna” list posted by their phones.

So the first step in this piece was to invite my nieces and granddaughter over for a visit to Auntie Dianna/Grandma’s time machine where they had to spend a day in the past. The girls love my costume room where they start by mixing and matching dresses, aprons, hats, shoes and parasols from a different eras. We made home-made soda crackers and butter as part of the picnic fare to start the day and had a tea party in a 1940’s children’s half-size tea set while they baked. The stage is set.

I will pop a few views of my costume room which include but a fraction of what there is to chose from. I have a separate room which most would call their dining room if it were indeed used for that....where I keep most of my tubs, tins, vases and the like sorted into colour groups. Don’t ask because I don’t know why.

01-06-2005, 09:26 PM
This is lovely work, Dianna- and even at such a large size, I wonder about the detail; I'm pretty good at "faking" detail- get yowled at pretty regularily for it- but this doesn't have that feel. This feels like every detail IS there, and perfect. Do you draw free-hand? Or are you using projection? As I recall, you consider the hard pastels (NuPastel, especially) your workhorse- is the amount of detail available to you from them, then, the reason? "Gaka" works with them quite a bit, too, although he uses a technique akin to dry-painting with cosmetic applicators and such in place of brushes. How long does such a piece take you? And lastly, do the archival issues with NuPastel concern you at all?

Had to puzzle out the hat a bit, but once I saw all of it for what it was, it fit and looked beautiful. Congratulations.

01-06-2005, 09:39 PM
Oh my gosh, I feel like someone just gave me the key to the candy shop.
Eye candy that is. This is amazing. I am definately following this one.
Thank you Dianna :clap: :clap:

Deborah Secor
01-06-2005, 10:50 PM
Your granddaughter's website is DARLING! What a great idea--thanks for sharing it...

I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of this thread......... :D


01-07-2005, 12:14 AM
Thanks so much Deborah and Asterea for stopping by and for checking out MilkMoney.....I am getting way behind in updating and posting new work to the site .....too much WC me thinks but Mikayla will put me straight soon enough.

Julie lets see what I can do with your questions.....

Do I draw by hand or project. Well I do both at times. Small pictures are always done by hand and something like this one which was done from 3 different photos is done by hand. My projector is an 40 year old overhead that only uses transparencies so it is only good for some things. I used it years ago when I was living my sign painting life. I used to paint the signage on the boards around the ice arenas so It was just great for that purpose as I was only working on outlines and the benifit of speed was fairly important when kneeling on ice. :p I still use it for some projects if it works for what I what and I feel it can save me time. I will probably buy a 'real' one some time soon for large pieces. I have no qualms about projecting as it is just another tool to speed up the procces as long as one does not become so dependent on it as to let their drawing skills get rusty.

My ‘workhorse’ set is a box containing 144 Holbeins although I also have my set of NuPastel, a double portrait set of Unison, as set of 30 plus many extra Schmincke, a set of both Sennelier darks and iridescents, as set of Ludwig darks, a set of 48 contes plus various Rembrandts and Windsor Newtons. I use all of them with equal abandon although I don’t care much for Rembrandt except for their mochas.

NuPastel is what I recommend for my beginners as a set of 96 will give them a very good selection with which to begin. It has been my experience that if not given explicit instructions as to what to purchase and not wanting to spend a lot on something they might not use again, they tend to short themselves by purchasing a small student quality set that will never allow them to accomplish anything near what they were hoping for. They don’t seem to comprehend how self-defeating it is to begin with a limited palette so I recommend NuPastel for because if gives a maximum number of pastels for a minimum outlay.

There are 3 colours (red and oranges) in a set of 96 that are as hard as nails and almost completely useless. There are also only 3 colours (pinks) that I have found to have fugitive qualities. Being square, they are easily tested by placing the package in the direct sunlight for a week after which with only one side having been exposed, you can have no trouble spotting the culprits as you take them from the box to check the other sides. I got my start with this brand and still have some work that is over 25 years old. It shows fading only in the true pinks though I must say that I have gotten little use out of the orange tones so I can't give an honest assessment of thier longevity.

NuPastel has some wonderful rich teals, greens and ochres that I love.

How long does it take me to do a piece........you know better than to ask that question....you must have been asked it enough to know that it is almost impossible to answer. I will tell you however that on with this particular painting, I was having so very much fun with the detail that I kept shelving it so that I wouldn’t get finished too quickly. :p That is so like me.

Ciao...Dianna :wave:

Sherry Richardson
01-07-2005, 04:12 AM

I want to play at your house. And I want to be adopted into your family. My oh my, 4 talented sisters! There's an entire village full of talent-less people somewhere because your family got it all.

Seriously, I love this painting, and I love every other painting I've seen of yours. Thanks for sharing your process.


01-07-2005, 09:47 AM
I've pulled up a chair, am ignoring the puppies and feel like I've been given the keys to the kingdom. :)


01-07-2005, 11:25 AM
your committment, and dedication, are awesome. You deserve every bit of success and more.

your grandchildren are so lucky to have you as a grandma.


01-07-2005, 12:14 PM
I want to play at your house. And I want to be adopted into your family. My oh my, 4 talented sisters! There's an entire village full of talent-less people somewhere because your family got it all.

Sherry thank you so much for kicking over my tickly box so early in the morning :p :p :p

I see that you have 're-invented' yourself....wouldn't we all love to do that at least once in our lives! :clap:

Cheers, Di

01-07-2005, 01:07 PM
Jackie and Gayle I am truly humbled by such comments from two people so talented in their field.

....and you can come and play anytime. I have a wonderful southern belle dress and overly' wide brimmed 'Maureen O'Hara' hat to go with it ...that is always fun for a day...we could have tea and crumpets.

Back to business.......I am frantically combing my whole studio for the three photos that I used for reference.....I had them recently. I can find all of the ones that I didn't use (of course...they are in their proper place because I didn't use them). I have large laser copies that I can photo and post if need be but the abundance of soft yet vibrant colour in the original resource pictures was what really seduced me into spending countless happy hours hovering over this piece.

I will post a couple of the photos that I did not use for colour reference and continue my quest for the others.

I am positive that Linea in the blue is destined for the big screen :p Which wouldn't be that unusual as her father is a stage actor.


01-07-2005, 02:59 PM
It is truely amazing to watch the birth of this painting......it's one of my favs also. And what a stock pile of inspiration you have!!!!

And what a precious website, and what an amazing idea!! Too sweet!!

Dania :)

And what good grammar I have! LOL......k I just used up my "and what's" for the day... :rolleyes:

Mikki Petersen
01-07-2005, 03:01 PM
Oh Dianna! I don't know which puts me more in awe...the painting, all those beautiful little girls or your great spirit. Of seven grandchildren, only one is a girl! I do have several photos (several, ha!) of some of the boys in classic little boy activities and this inspires me to do some playing with those photos.

The grass in this painting has me just stunned. It looks as though you painted each individual blade of grass. Please share your technique? Please?

01-07-2005, 05:19 PM
I love the painting & envy your having such great models. I'd be in hog heaven to come play dress-up with all those great costume items - right up my alley! lol

01-07-2005, 05:24 PM
Hello Dania....how is the weather up there. We finally got snow this year and I am sitting here in my studio grinning like a banshee :clap: as it comes down...being a refugee from the prairies....I miss it....a little.

I have birthed a few paintings in my time but this wasn't one of them. No pain ... only pleasure here. :D

Mikki..hi and I will see about a close-up of the grass. You are to be envied with all of those boys while I have to invent mine. :p

Thanks so much ladies for popping in....I am about to give up on my quest for said photos and go for posting the laser prints.....one more look. Di

01-07-2005, 05:40 PM
I love the painting & envy your having such great models.

Hi Tammy, you snuck in under the radar while I was posting. :p

I should cut out some head shots of Mik from that day. She was not a happy camper having to share her grandma with her cousins. Even in this one, if she hadn't been stretching her neck, you would be able to see her pouty lip :p It was the one and only time that she has been less than a perfect model although as she is aging, she is developing her own ideas on just how she wants to be captured on camera.

Amy is so shy that she smiled in only the one picure and that was in one of the two that I just posted. A crop from that will make a great painting.

Linea is one of those loveable little imps who wants only to face and smile at the camera. She also started to wear glasses right after these shots and her new photos as so endearing. There is one of her and Mik called 'Butch and Sundance' on Mik's web site. It is a fairly close shot of them looking at the camera and Linea has her glasses on. It has to be one of my favourite photos. You can check it out here if you like www.milkmoney.ca/2009.htm or Bosum Friends is similar www.milkmoney.ca/4000.htm

Back to work......Di

01-07-2005, 06:12 PM

Glad I stumbleed into this

*going back to read*

01-07-2005, 06:51 PM
I love the painting & envy your having such great models. I'd be in hog heaven to come play dress-up with all those great costume items - right up my alley! lol

01-07-2005, 08:02 PM
Eureka! I found them and just as I figured....they were in the last place I looked. And now that I see them in comparison to the ones I didn’t use, my memory is refreshed as to why they just beg for to be painted. A little different exposure one way or the other and we might not be chatting here.

I ended up taking 32 shots of this scene from various angles but only four from this side so I consider it good luck to have gotten these three to work with.




It was not as complicated a process to combine the photos as one might first think. The rolling terrain of the quilt left lots of room for improvising. I definitely wanted Mik’s profile out away from Amy and wanted to make Linea the largest and Amy the smallest even though they were so very close together.

We talked about the possibilities of using a projector as a tool but I will now tell you about the two tools that I really did and still do use. My husband, then man friend, made me a large tracing table in 1981. Tool number one. I was signing so many limited edition prints that he thought it would be advantageous for me to be able to put a master copy on the bottom with a line for my signature and when laying the print on top, always get my signature straight and right where I wanted it. It worked great as my prints were vignettes and there was no real edge to follow and I now have this great large tracing table for projects just like this one.

I drew each of the girls separately on vellum and shuffled them about on my table looking for a composition that worked. I did sections of quilt separately and layered them on also. When I thought I had what I was looking for it then became a matter of sizing. I then went to my photocopier (right, tool number two) and enlarged or shrunk various aspects to fit the perspective....often in sections as they were so large. This eliminates the time spent re-drawing and in the layering and tracing process I get to improve slight imperfections each time I trace it off. This method also allowed me to stretch the size of the figures to the max because as I said earlier, I had wished for a larger sheet of paper.

I cannot even begin to imagine the hours this machine has saved me over the years. I charge by the square inch and often underestimate the time involved in working out the initial drawing of particular painting. If I know right off that I am not going to get my money’s worth out of this project, I simply enlarge it 10 or 20 percent until it is profitable then continue on. The opposite is also true. Often I get carried away with a piece and then realize that it would not necessarily be a good seller so I reduce the size to bring the price down. YES, I am an evil artist who paints for money as well as pleasure!

01-07-2005, 08:54 PM
Dianna what kind of a camera are you using for these? Do you ever manipulate things in the computer rather than on a light table?

I really like your work....but that goes without saying as you are on my buddy list and with the amount of know how you have already worked into this thread I am giving you a mentor point for this one!

I'll be back :D Mags :clap: :clap: :clap:

01-07-2005, 09:06 PM
YES, I am an evil artist who paints for money as well as pleasure!

ROFL , Dianna you are a hoot :D :D :D I LOVE it !!!

Your grandaughters web site is such a good idea , and she is adorable .

01-07-2005, 09:08 PM
AW SHUCKS....They said I don't have enough merit points or whatever to give you one so you will just have to be happy with knowing I would have. :p Mags :(

Paula Ford
01-08-2005, 10:18 AM
Fantastic thread Di!! WOW gorgeous painting!! Thanks for all the information. I feel like I've just had a workshop!!

My question is, being a landscape artist :D , how do you get that gorgeous grass? Would you explain the steps and layers it takes to get such real looking grass?

Thank you!!


01-08-2005, 02:19 PM
Hello Mags.....Hey they say it is the thought that counts and that was a wonderful thought!! Thanks so much. :o

Hello Paula I will see if I can get a close-up of the grass without too much glare. I have a full sheet (32 x 40”) of black foam core with a circle cut in the middle that slips snugly over my telephoto lens and I can usually get a good shot like that...a little awkward to handle but effective for glazed paintings. I have not used it on my digital camera yet so will undoubtedly have to make some adjustments.

In the meanwhile my camera.....my bosom buddy and soul mate with whom I have shared a love affair for over 25 years. Many a tryst we have shared in out of the way places. :eek:

I have a 35 mm Chinon C-E4 ....as a matter of fact, I have three of them, all working doing various jobs. One contains Tungsten slide film, another Tungsten portrait film and old overworked friend “Chinny” with regular film took these shots. Long story how I came about having three but I do indeed and I use them all.

All of my lenses with the exception of my 80-200 telephoto might as well be lens caps since all they do is keep the dust out until I can put my telly on. It would be a rare day indeed that I used any other as I am totally lost without it.

Dan has threatened to buy shares in Kodak because I go through film with abandon and when he saw my power-winder show up from E-Bay he just rolled his eyes and I heard him mutter something about mortgaging the house...I don’t know what he meant. :p

I left for a short tour of Europe with 50 rolls and came back with 65 and that is when he decided to invest in a digital so I now also use my Minolta DiMage 7 for still life and whenever else I absolutely have to. But when I am working the chutes at the rodeo or tracking the pony express riders or kids.....nothing will ever replace my Chinny.

Ciao.....Dianna :cat:

01-08-2005, 03:29 PM
ROFL , Dianna you are a hoot

Thanks so much Asterea :p and also just for stopping by! :wave:

I am sorry Funky, I forgot to address your question about manipulation on the computer. Yes, I do have a lot of fun in PhotoShop and as soon as I read your question I had a little twiggle as one of my post synaptic cells started to get excited but alas nothing came of it. But I am almost sure I did work out some of the basics of the Picnic in that program but alas, I can’t find any files left about to show for it. :(

01-08-2005, 03:36 PM
Ha! I can't imagine keeping every little thing- even on computer. I burn stuff to disc every month or so, but even then the labels are cryptic: "Red set-ups". Must've meant somethng to me at the time. WIP stuff, though, a lot of those go once the piece is done- else I'd need yet *another* place to store just the discs....

Sounds as if you have a good touchstone there with your Man- congratulations; that kind of joy is rare, and priceless.

01-08-2005, 04:37 PM
Ha! I burn stuff to disc every month or so, but even then the labels are cryptic: "Red set-ups". Must've meant something to me at the time. WIP stuff, though, a lot of those go once the piece is done- else I'd need yet *another* place to store just the discs.....

On no ...I just know you are going to write a book one day if you haven't already and you'll be searching for those old notes and WIPs!!

And yes, Dan is pretty special. Second time lucky.......or smart :p
I am just about to start a thread dedicated to acknowledging the support of friends and family like him and hopefully many more of you here will join in with accolades to their helpmates.

Cheers, Dianna

01-08-2005, 05:09 PM
I keep some- mostly those which demonstrate a specific technique or an odd use of colour that ends up working (and a few which don't for the Chapter entitled: "If at First You Don't Succeed, or, How to Make Mudpies") and I have all reference photos (about half on discs, half on this harddrive- I've been lazy lately). But keeping EVERYTHING just seems waaaay too much like work, and I'm the epitome of sloth. I'm one of those kinds who spends more time figuring out the fastest, easiest way to do something rather than just doing it- then I go ahead and just do it, anyway....

01-08-2005, 06:43 PM
Dianna, since the very first time I saw one of your paintings I have been an admirer of your work. Your website made my chin muscles go on strike and left my mouth gaped...I confess that, as a result, I think I actually dribbled! :eek:

Reading through this post has been the most enjoyable time I have spent at WetCanvas since I joined. I felt warmth, happiness, sadness, admiration, envy :envy: ...and, of course, SUNSHINE!....Better than a good book! ;)

Such a wonderful family, adorable children, obvious talent, commitment and passion.
I would like to thankyou for sharing this very personal side of your life and workings with me - I feel honoured.

I am giving you my merit point.

PS...Can I have the cream cowboy boots with the tan tassles?.....PLEASE????

01-08-2005, 07:12 PM
Julie, you are not that far away from me, perhaps I should be enticing you and your organizational skills over to my side of the border. :p

PS...Can I have the cream cowboy boots with the tan tassles?.....PLEASE????

So sorry Anita......they go with the baton stuck in them and the majorette costume. :( :p

You make me blush but thank you both for your words and the point I am thrilled and I have the feeling Funky will be too. :cat:

01-08-2005, 09:48 PM
Okay so lets look more closely at my choices.

Firstly we have Mikayla....what is not to like about this child. The movement that is happening here from the delicate flow of her sunlit arm to the dropped chin through her hair and body to the exquisite lay of ruffles right back to the reaching strain of her bent over big toe.....everything works for me.


I love the lavenders I will get to work with in the shadowed whites and pinks.
The shine of her hair that is just untidy enough to look natural.
The skirt ruffle could not have looked better if I had arranged it myself.
The pose has to be the biggest bonus of that second in time.
I will only alter the rolled up cuff on her arm. This dress was way too large for her so I will substitute a gathered edge here.

What more is there to say......she is my granddaughter!!


I am afraid Amy was chosen by default. She was so terribly shy and unaccustomed to the camera that she tended to come across as either sad or frowning so I felt very good just to get this one shot of her looking quite natural and in a position that I could incorporate into the painting.


Her hair caught just enough sun to bring her out from the shadowy background and I love having the blue highlights to play with.
The dress is wonderful combination of mochas, ultras and lavenders....three of my favourite colours. Holbein has terrific selection of mochas.

Then there is the imp who wanted nothing better that to smile at the camera........all of the time. The pose is priceless but most of hers were....she seemed so comfortable in her skin just lolling about.


The hat on backwards is a nice touch.
The hand and feet grouping is great and their position so restless and very childlike.
I will add just a little more fullness to the dress which will make the bottom ruffle read a little more easily so as not to hold up the eye as it sweeps by.

01-08-2005, 10:11 PM
Still reading....Still enjoying.....And still in need of some nice cowboy boots! :(

01-09-2005, 03:20 PM
And still in need of some nice cowboy boots! :(

Okay..tell me now.....how many rodeos are you going to wear these boots to in the UK? :p You just want to swagger about looking cool...don't you? :cat:


Now back to work here..........

When I had worked all of the kinks out the final drawing it was transferred to cartridge paper simply because it is more durable than vellum. I am using La Carte Pastel card mounted on Foamcore and if you are not familiar with this paper, Sennelier’s description of it reads.

The surface is created with pH neutral finely ground vegetable fibres on a 200lb. pH neutral board stock to create a slightly abrasive but not to aggressive texture. Pigment adhesion is so greatly enhanced that fixative use is dramatically reduced.

What they don’t tell you on the brochure is that the binder used to adhere the fibre to the surface will dissolve in water so one must be constantly alert to the possibility of damage from moisture. This is not to be taken lightly as just one drop of water on your wrist after washing your hands can be all it takes to ruin a WIP. If you should blow on the surface and accidentally spray out a tiny droplet of spit.....you are in trouble. The card stock used for support is white and shiny and no pastel will adhere to it.....no how, no way. But to me the trade-off of constant vigilance against the results I get with using this great surface is worth the risk.

Hence the reason for maintaining a drawing separate from the La Carte. Should I run into any problems down the line, my efforts will not have been a total waste as the drawing is re-useable. Then there is the possibility that I might want to perhaps flip it over, resize it and use parts of it for another unrelated project. Waste not, want not my Granny always said!

To transfer the drawing, I simply chalk the back with a medium hard white pastel and trace it onto the La Carte.


01-09-2005, 03:40 PM

Thank you so much for sharing all of the intimate details of one of your paintings with us. I have been reading through this thread for days and I feel this is a rare pleasure to be able to learn so much about a painting done by someone who I consider a modern master in her art. Thank you.

01-09-2005, 05:14 PM
Why thank you Cori :p

I fear that I am getting a little long-winded here but have no worry, I am working on my grass posting as we speak......

Cheers, Di

01-10-2005, 10:43 AM
The Method to my Madness.....or.....where and when I apply the pastel :)

I always begin at the top left hand corner (I am right-handed) with the only exception being that instances when the background is a solid colour and can be added later by turning the painting upside down.

I work on and complete areas or sections in one fell swoop, going back in later only if it seems necessary. These areas are not always tackled background to foreground as you will see happening here. As I approach each section, object, flower petal or whatever, I base my decision on which to do first or last by assessing it’s surroundings. The decision is simple a matter of the lesser of two evils.

If section A has four colour changes along the area abutting section B which has only two, it is just easier to do section A first and blend to my heart‘s content. Since I have less blending to do in section B, I have less chance of messing up the adjoining edge. I sure hope that makes as much sense too you as it does to me and let’s not even get into section C.... :confused:
Using this mentality it is easier to work the background grass first and come in later with the figures.

Ciao for now......Dianna :cat:

01-10-2005, 12:24 PM
Wow ....I am so new to this medium and this is just fantastic for someone like me so I will be stuck like glue for the rest of the trip.

I have one unrelated question. On your granddaughter's web site under on the page "About Grandma" what is with the raccoon? Is it tame or were you at a petting zoo?

Thanks for posting this great lesson, Tich

01-10-2005, 12:42 PM
Love your costume room Dianna!
I'm a seamstress by trade, so I know what kind of dedication it takes to keep a selection like this. I do many repairs and alterations on vintage clothing. The fabric can sometimes be very delicate.
Milkmoney is a great site, you have lucky grandchildren.
...those black boots to the far right look like my old kickers... :)

01-10-2005, 01:14 PM
Ah ze raccoon!!

Hello Tich and a big welcome. :wave: One of the forums here has a group hug smilie and I sure would love to get my hands on it at times like this. :p

My husband and I used to raise raccoons through the wildlife rescue for 7 years. We adopted many of them when they were not much bigger than squirrels and had the privilege of their company for a year before they were released. They have to be the most wonderful animals in the world one could ever choose to interact with.

That one was released on our acreage and came back for an occasional visit for quite a few years. We were no longer raising them at that time so Mikayla was not at all used to their presence and as you might be able to judge by the photo, she is not as impressed as I was to see my old friend.

Thanks again Tich

Cochisa you have a multitude of hidden talents I am finding out..... This is but some of my treasures...my linen closet if full of linen but not the variety it was designed for. :p

If you are thinking of the same boots that I am, they are like my mother used to wear. They almost plush feeling with rabbit trim and front zippers and your square heeled shoes fit right inside. I am looking to borrow a muskrat coat and want to do a couple in just a lower limb painting in the typical kissing, one leg up position. It will just catch the bottom of her coat and will be done in the snow with my rattiest pair of cowboy boots and spurs and will be called “ The cowboy and the lady”.

There are two pair the same there and they will be for same type of shot of a pair of ladies obviously leaning into on another and will be called “The gossips”. We have snow now for the first time in ages so perhaps I should get that coat and get busy.... :cat:

.....I’m on it right now....Di :wave:

01-10-2005, 03:41 PM
“L'Herbe“.........or.... “The Grass“......or....” Am Feur” (Gaelic)....I am new to this language and have to practice it somewhere. You might want to remember it because there may be a test later.

What is with this fascination with the grass? It is only a bunch of little ‘stickettes’ of many shades set at odd angles that that change to little nubs as they recede into the distance. That is all you need to know or do.

These little sticks or blades are made up of many colours...probably 15 to 20 shades from ivories through yellows, greens, blues, violets, purples, ochres and rusts to black. I use all brands of pastel sticks indiscriminately and in this case a good deal of darks. I have a Sennelier #177 that is a green so close to black you would be hard pressed to tell the difference unless seen side by each. Wonderful colour! I also have some of Terry Ludwig’s darks that are to die for.


You can see the progression of my finished grass on the left to where I am just beginning on the right where....... Yes!.... that is black I am starting with and I am not ashamed to admit it! You will find a lot of it in most of my paintings. Always has been, always will be.

After years of being a closet painter when it came to using black I have finally come out.
I pumped my fist in the air when I read a recent article by Robert Genn where he stated “Black rules!” http://www.painterskeys.com/clickbacks/black.asp

For those of you who don’t know Robert, he is probably Canada’s best known living, sharing artist who is a font of information. I would just like you to know that ....ahem... I rub elbows with him on a regular basis.....(followed by a smug grin) and I think he even knows who I am now. The above link takes you to his twice weekly newsletter which is well worth every dollar of its free subscription.

But again I digress......... The grass goes down very quickly much like pointillism and the diversity of colour adds to the realism and the reality of this setting was that if had been a very hot summer and any area like the one behind the girls that was always shaded retained the lush green look while the rest of what passes as a lawn in our yard was growing parched.

I liked the colour shift and I liked having the opportunity to use something besides green on green on green in the foreground without having to match all of those colours with their darker counterpart in the shaded areas. It was kind of like nature providing me the opportunity to be lazy with the background as a reward for going crazy with the frontal area.

So there is no order to how I lay down the colours in the foreground except that I do start with some darks so that I have a sense of them being under the grass. The flowers go on last of course and being that we live on a farm where the only way to differentiate between what is considered lawn and what is pasture is by the method of mowing, we have an abundance of colourful little hayfield blossoms that grow in abandon.


Happily these little weeds just don’t understand the significance of fence lines and so provide an opportunity to add even more colour to this otherwise boring area. For those of you that actually do care for their lawns, you can always invent them. I’ll send you samples.

The last thing I want you to see is how carefully I keep those evil darks off of what will soon become the girls. Reds and blues are also very contagious colours that will work their way through successive layers so I am very careful to insure that there is no groundwork for pollution to cause problems farther down the line. In this instance, I was just took care in where I placed the pastel but in a blended situation, I would have completely erased any overflow before beginning the other sections.


If I have missed anything here that you particularly wanted to know, please just ask. I am going to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their interest including all of the private emails from you shy guys.

Cheers, Dianna

01-10-2005, 05:21 PM
Yeah, Dianna, I'm somewhat of a jack of all...well, almost all. :p Comes from having to forge my own everything that I want or need.
Actually, I am referring to the cowboy boots, and looking on further, I see you have two more pair that could have been mine...like those steel tips.
If they are a size 8 your in trouble when I come across the border. :D
I loved looking at your paintings too, as always. Must be nice to have granddaughters you can use for models, and pretty ones at that!

01-10-2005, 08:15 PM
*sitting in the corner quiet as a mouse and watching the magic happen *:)

01-10-2005, 09:04 PM
Shhhh, I won't tell. :wink2:

01-11-2005, 03:27 AM
*snap* :eek: Just realized I've been sitting here for an uncountable time period with my mouth hanging open - my tongue started drying out. *L*
Gotta get out of Ab/Con more often - I had NO IDEA there was such heavy weight talents in Pastels.
*shaking head in amazement*
*wandering away dazzed*.....

01-11-2005, 07:56 AM

I've read through the entire thread... and the piece is stunning. I don't know how you get the detail.

As per an earlier thread, I am going to have to try NuPastels and the paper you use. Give it a try. Doesn't mean the art will look like yours, but hey...

I'm coming to the conclusion, that on certain paintings, it's the contrast and play of light and dark that can make things snap. That, and 100 other things.



01-11-2005, 07:41 PM
Gotta get out of Ab/Con more often

And you see ... that is where I go for my entertainment. You do the impossible over there. :p

Thanks so much for taking the time to look ...and the drop-jaw is a nice touch too. :wink2: :p

Johnnie.....Thanks for stopping by. As you can see.....a different tangent again. None of the aforementioned subject matters. :cat: :wave:

I am waiting until dark :cool: to take some digital shots of a few of my slides. It is easier than scanning them and usually clearer but often darker.


01-11-2005, 08:27 PM
I just wanted to tell you how beautiful this painting is. I will continue to watch for you wonderful work!

01-11-2005, 10:18 PM
Di....I thought I had replied to this thread but appearantly I was so dumbfounded by your work that I forgot to click on the submit. :confused:

I am in awe of your work....just speechless. Any comment I have at this point would be redundant...simply amazing! Your mastery of the medium sparks new enthusiasm in me....thanks!!! (somehow a clappy seems almost disrespectful and childish for such a great work.....but the envy icon is appropriate :envy: ...lol)

01-12-2005, 01:54 AM
Thank you Lanea :wave: and Preston....I' disappointed.... I like the little clappys :(

I revamped my black Foamcore surround for my digital camera today and as a result got much better photos of "The Grass"!!

It is difficult to take daytime photos anywhere in my studio or gallery as there is so much outside light. With my tungstun lamps in the evening and my foamcore I can just about take any size of painting without reflections.

For those of you not as interested in the grass as some, please turn the page now.




and a better shot of the clover


01-12-2005, 02:07 AM
" I like the little clappys "

Well,,it;s not too late!!! :wink2:
:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

Di..I see the work in front of me, but it is still mind boggling :confused:

01-12-2005, 05:02 AM
fantastic work - so detailed and yet so free and unfussy - lovely thread :clap:

01-12-2005, 10:11 AM
Still sitting, still watching, the coffee's gone a bit cold though.
I had real trouble with grass on my last pastel, in fact I painted it in acrylic in the end and made it mixed media :crying: , but you have given me a better insight for my next piece,thankyou.:clap: :clap:


01-12-2005, 02:14 PM
Well look at that......there's those little devils......thanks Preston, Vivian and Gayle, I truly feel appreciated now! :D :p

Gayle I am so sorry about your last piece but am happy you have found something to take away from here. Mixed media is nice to though :p

I'll be back in a flash....di :cat:

01-12-2005, 02:19 PM
You guys are all too nice......

Well....let’s get into the fun part now that all of you horticulturalists are happy.

I started with Mikayla because again...it is on my left and I can rest my hand on virgin paper while I work. Amy with her beautiful white blonde hair came next for the same reasons. Both of these areas are completely finished before I move on.


I have said before and I reiterate because it is so much apart of why I paint......I love working with detail and I love challenges. If I can continue to incorporate both of these into paintings I will shall never be bored and my career will never become a job......been there, done that, thank you very much.... now let‘s see what new trouble I can get into. :p

Challenge: Hmmmmmm how can I insure that Mikayla’s hair retains the look of being shiny and clean and soft....with not too much detail....I don’t want every little hair but it has to match what I am planning for the rest of the painting. What are the visuals that reflect these interrelated qualities? Why does it look as it does?

Shiny....well that’s easy, white and light areas.
Clean.....that is more a matter of what it isn’t. It doesn’t look stringy and stiff.
Soft....it has to drape and curl and tangle effortlessly. There could be fly-away stray ends but also large areas of solid colour that can fall like a blanket. Little sparkles of short ends.
And in this case, the streaked qualities of long sun-bleached hair.

These may be challenges but they are also treasures because they give me something to work with to help tell the story. By studying each article, object or subject and it’s unique qualities, one can deduce how to depict velvet against satin or tulle over crepe. This is especially true if you throw in the “why” question.

This is the way that I approached every aspect of this painting, one challenge at a time working in the order that was most expedient to my achieving the end result.


AND VOILA.......!!

01-12-2005, 02:29 PM
*raises hand*

ummm... I usually work top left to bottom right, too, for the same reason- I rest my hand and tend to drag my sleeve through everything. So how are you keeping your drawing, then? I've had to go to mere indications of where stuff is because even working top left to bottom right doesn't preserve my drawing. And I cannot work with a stick- btdt, and have the bruises from whacking myself to show for it. That's too much like work.

01-12-2005, 02:42 PM
May I have a question too please :wave:
I am wondering what you are using to blend with, (besides fingers)

*still sitting in the corner * :)

01-12-2005, 04:21 PM
So how are you keeping your drawing, then?

Hi Julie....with your hand up........After I transfer the drawing, I go over the lines with a General white charcoal pencil. This has a little different consistency than any white pastel pencils that I have used and it hangs on through much abuse. I use it for almost all white areas on my work. This includes large white tablecloths and such. I like how well it covers on the darker papers especially Mi-Tentes as compared to a pastel stick.

I always tape my drawing to my board where I can flip it back out of the way but bring it down again to transfer my drawing a bit at a time if I wish. On other papers I use white transfer paper to trace my drawing but it doesn't work on La Carte as well as chalking the back does.


May I have a question too please :wave:
I am wondering what you are using to blend with, (besides fingers)

*still sitting in the corner * :)

And then there is our mouse Asterea sitting in the corner :wave:

99 percent of the time it is my fingers. I used to use my colour shapers a lot but find that I haven't the patience for groping around and just use one of four fingers. Only when at least 3 are dirty do I clean them.

This seems as good as any place to talk about my tool box. Up until I started on the girls, I would not have used anything to blend with. I have tried stomps, tortillions, chamois, Q-tips and make-up applicators, all of which I have discarded. The only thing left is my colour shapers which I discovered when they first came out as acrylic tools.


1. My Staples battery-operated pencil sharpener only $9.00

2. Trusty toothbrush for quick 'execution of changes' (love that term) :p

3. #2 round cup Colour Shaper, soft

4. #0 round cup Colour Shaper, soft

5. #0 angle chisel Colour Shaper, firm

6. Scrimshaw tool doing double duty as a de-jammer for my pencil sharpener

7. General white charcoal pencil

8. Sharp dry pen for tracing

9. X-acto knife for cutting erasers at 45 degrees

10. Sandpaper palette

11. Tuff Stuff stick eraser 1/8 inch wide

12. Clic Eraser or any other brand of 1/4 inch wide stick eraser

13. Any white eraser

14. The main tools.....my fingers. :p

15. Not shown here is my bench grinder for sharpening stubborn and Conte pastel pencils

01-12-2005, 05:01 PM
Looks like I getta go shopping again!

wooo-hoooo! Thanks Dianna!

01-12-2005, 05:04 PM
White charcola...what a simple, logical idea! Thanks Diana...I guess I get to shop a bit too.
And by the way, I love your fingertips in the photo! :D Cool!


edit: I came back to fix the charcola but I decide I kind of like that! :D

01-12-2005, 06:07 PM
Diana....thank you! I've spent some time reading all through the thread, and it was worth every minute! I shall look forward to the next installment!

01-12-2005, 06:23 PM
lucky me, I have everything except the color shapers.
Thank you!

*scurrying back to the corner * :)

01-12-2005, 07:01 PM
edit: I came back to fix the charcola but I decide I kind of like that! :D

Good plan Sandy......It makes just about as much sense as an oxymoron like "white charcoal" :p And Julie......any excuse to shop too!

Good for you Mouse.....you have a head start on these other two :p

Deirdre...Thanks for taking the time to do more than look at the pictures. :) What makes you think there will be more? :wink2:

01-12-2005, 07:06 PM
Deidre...Thanks for taking the time to do more than look at the pictures. :) What makes you think there will be more? :wink2:
Because you haven't finished yet! :evil: :wink2:

01-12-2005, 08:00 PM
Ah.... and then comes the quilt. All those pretty squares to work with, reflected light and colours, hills, valleys, patterns....one can just go wild!


Choosing a quilt to paint is quite like choosing cut glass or doilies. You have to match the size of the pattern to the size of the painting. Pinwheel glass and finely crocheted doilies are lost with distance as would my cathedral window or stain glass quilt be in this painting. These five inch squares may be indelicate but are perfect for something this busy and this distant whereas they might not be under the cat in my signature banner. The cathedral window has always served me well with close-ups of stuffed animals or my brat cat and besides, while I like a challenge, I am not a masochist.

The frontal grass, you have seen already so I will post the finished painting once more before I show you some close-ups of a few of my favourite areas.


Cheers, Dianna

01-12-2005, 09:29 PM
The mouse found some popcorn. yum. waiting for the grand finale :)

01-12-2005, 11:59 PM

01-13-2005, 07:53 AM
This is just breathtaking. When I am grown up I want to do this in Watercolour ! :D

Kathryn Wilson
01-13-2005, 08:39 AM
WOW, Dianna, thanks for taking the time to round up the photos, helping us understand how you do grass, work on details, your list of tools - and your infinite patience with questions.

I've thoroughly enjoyed reading through this thread and watching this painting emerge - it is truly a wonderful painting. And here are some clappies for you - :D :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

And mentor points - kaching!

I was even more amazed that you achieved this detail on LaCarte paper. I've used it more than several times with little no success. And then of course dropping water from an iced tea glass certainly didn't help - :mad: But for anyone who hasn't used it, this paper is ROUGH!

I do have a question - you say that you are very particular about not getting any color on to the subjects of the painting - how do you get rid of the excess pastel dust? Do you take it off the easel and bang on it like some do - or ??? I always seem to get some migrating color when I do this.

Looking forward to more!

01-13-2005, 01:23 PM
I do have a question - you say that you are very particular about not getting any colour on to the subjects of the painting - how do you get rid of the excess pastel dust? Do you take it off the easel and bang on it like some do - or ??? I always seem to get some migrating colour when I do this.

Thanks so much Kat for your kind comments and a point! WOW! :p

I have a forward-tilting Maybef studio easel and of course my French easel does the same....in fact I have made my WN easel forward-tilting also by adding counterweights to the back leg. All of my dust falls straight into a tray containing damp paper toweling so I don't really get excess dust on the paper. I only give my painting a good 'spanking' just before I remove it from the backing board when I go to frame it.

I am more concerned with areas like a large background for example, where in the course of freely blending to ensure an nice even transition, I will have inadvertently 'painted outside the lines'. In a case like this, I would carefully erase this excess right back down to the clean paper before laying down new colours.

And the ROUGH is all in a matter of perspective me thinks. :p I have always looked at it as 'just right' and other papers as too fine.
I have facing me this very moment...just staring at me.....a blank piece of Wallis taped to my easel....waiting for a test run. I am searching for the perfect painting that will serve to encompass a few of the problem areas that I have had with other papers and still not expect too much for a first effort. The main problem is that I have only this one 9 x 12 sheet and no local suppliers should I need to start again
....too much pressure!! No no, Dianna ... just another challenge! :p

And Billy the Kid........if love the moniker. I shall call you Billy rather than Dieter. :p I know just how you feel. I want to .....oh never mind, I am never going to grow up anyway!

Any more questions?.......Dianna

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Jan-2005/34523-9169-34263.gif I stole somebody's popcorn! Na na na nah! :D

01-13-2005, 02:18 PM
The best thing about Wallis, though, Dianna, is that it is very difficult to "ruin" it. I did it ONCE- and I had to really try. I washed it three times in one morning and scrubbed it with an old broom the third time (well, I was frustrated, and it was chocolate week) and eventually, some of the coating disintergrated. But it stood up to me very well, I think. It was going to lose, no doubt, but it surely put up a helluva fight.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Jan-2005/9169-action-smiley-046.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Jan-2005/9169-15775.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Jan-2005/9169-15776.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Jan-2005/9169-action-smiley-046.gif


01-13-2005, 02:28 PM
Do we still get to see the closeups ?Do we ? Please ,please ??

running for the corner to hide !
wheres my popcorn !!

01-13-2005, 03:25 PM
Thank you all so much for the chuckles....don't they make life grand!!

Well I made lots of close-ups. I don't know if there is a limit to what I can put on here but since I did not have many WIP reports, I can at least show you the details of the outcome.

And on my left....ta da!!..... we have Mikayla.

I do hope you feel that I achieved all of the goals that I was aiming for in depicting the feel of her hair......





And then there is her ruffle......


01-13-2005, 04:04 PM
Dianna thank you so much for sharing this. I know it is a lot of work to put something like this presentation togethor!!
Mikayla's hair is amazing, I think you achieved your goals in spades!

Watching this all come together, and being a miniaturist, I do understand something about detail work. This painting must have taken quite a while to compleate and is obviously a labor of love too.

You have been very generouse with your time and sharing your techniques and I, a newbie to pastel, certainly appreciate it.

Oh you thought I was leaving? But little mice like nice cozy corners!
I will be watching :)

01-13-2005, 04:04 PM
Dianna thank you so much for sharing this. I know it is a lot of work to put something like this presentation togethor!!
Mikayla's hair is amazing, I think you achieved your goals in spades!

Watching this all come together, and being a miniaturist, I do understand something about detail work. This painting must have taken quite a while to compleate and is obviously a labor of love too.

You have been very generouse with your time and sharing your techniques and I, a newbie to pastel, certainly appreciate it.

Oh you thought I was leaving? But little mice like nice cozy corners!
I will be watching :) :clap: :clap: :clap:

01-13-2005, 04:08 PM
NOt sure which is mroe impressive, Dianna...how beautiful your granddaughter is or how beautiful the painting is.
The hair close ups are wonderful. Thank you for doing this. I know how time consuming it is to take all the photos, post them and write about them. I know I certainly appreciate it and I'm sure everyone else does too.


01-13-2005, 04:54 PM
Astonishing work -- in so many ways -- thanks so much for letting us in on some of your 'secrets'!

May I ask, do you sharpen your pastels and keep them at a fine point? If so, do you find that you go through a lot of them?

01-13-2005, 05:18 PM
Watching this all come together, and being a miniaturist, I do understand something about detail work. This painting must have taken quite a while to complete and is obviously a labor of love too.

So Mouse, does that mean you have work I can see in a miniature section of this great site? I love miniatures. :clap:

I am planning a show with a young miniaturist by the name of Tiffany Hastie. She won the bronze, silver and gold one year in one of the national shows so she is awfully good and great inspiration.

When I do my workshop tour of the UK next spring I am hoping to gather some more material to do a show with a Celtic theme. She has already done her photo tour of Scotland so when I get back we will set a date. She is a sweetheart and great to work with. She is also the inspiration and sounding board for my Gaelic studies.

Here is a link to one of the galleries that carry her work. Check it out....not much for castles on this site but she has done many.


And as far as being a labour of love...you are right on there....I savoured this one for months trying not to finish it too quickly.

Sandy thanks once again. I did NOT realize how much work this would be. Post a few pictures and write a little bit. I feel as if I have written a whole book but it is certainly worth it not only for the great feedback I have been getting but also with what I have learned about myself. There have been quite a few things discussed here that I have always done by instinct and taken for granted. Having to put them into words has made me realize that I may be a far deeper person than I ever imagined myself to be.........
.......... :music: (twilight zone music here) :music:

Back to work.......Di

01-13-2005, 05:46 PM
May I ask, do you sharpen your pastels and keep them at a fine point? If so, do you find that you go through a lot of them?

Hello Dan.. :wave: ..one of my favourite names!

No I don't sharpen my sticks only my pencils. I always tell my students to just do a 'touchdown' with that huge Unison then move it to where it should go. It usually works even for delicate areas. I rotate them to keep the fine edges or break them is I have to and I have some pretty small pieces that I use.

I use pencils if I want some real fine line and often I use them as a blender....(sorry, forgot to put that in my 'tools' photo). I just pick a colour that is close and laying it at a very obtuse angle, use the side lightly to flatten or smooth previoiusly applied stick pastel. It lays down very little if any colour but works to crisp up an edge.

I go through very few pastels Dan. I still have the original box of NuPastel that I had when I started 25 years ago and only replace the odd colour. I go through a lot of mochas and reds and when I am in a teal mood, those too. If I spend $100.00 a year on new sticks it would be a lot and many of those are to replace those that take a walk when I am teaching. Of course it helps when you get well known and people like Terry Ludwig call and ask if you want a free set. Wonderful pastels...of course I went for the set of darks which are to die for.

It is time to get to Amy so I will finish cropping her and get her on here.

Cheers and thanks for the questions......Dianna

01-13-2005, 06:04 PM
Amy's dress had a lot of mocha and a lot more all-over ultramarine in it so you can see that the colours are off in many of these pictures. The one least like the original is the finished photo. It really lacks these colours.

I see now that the heel of Amy's right hand is a little deep....what a close-up will do for you eh? (eh.....that's Canadian for 'right'?) Have to give equal opportunities to all of these languages. Let me see I know quite a bit of Dutch ..........Amy is Dutch by the way.


She is such a pretty little thing and that is her mothers nose to a 'T" :p
My sister was my third portrait (1981) and I distinctly remember that nose.


01-13-2005, 06:25 PM
o.....my......stars........ i love it when someone (usually petulant DD) asks: where were you today? i couldnt reach you!..... WELL, today i was in the Master's Studio in Canada. So THERE, kiddos!!! and KUdos, DP.. :clap: :clap: :clap: .. this was one of my favorite paintings of yours, and now has entered my "Favorites" for further study..... it's amazing how - listening to you - i'm not discouraged or put off from trying, but FIRED UP and raring to go and try my own granddaughter/son.... i have a 4 1/2er and a 1 yr.... i've been trying with the new digital camera (SUCH a blessing!!) and now truly appreciate the basic photo work you went thru to get what you got, drawing aside for the moment!! I guess it's the mark of the truly talented teacher: not envy was instilled, but the desire to try, try again..... thank you for this wonderful NO-CAL treat... that grass, that grass..... she says, shaking her head and slinking away........that grass.........

01-13-2005, 07:26 PM
Oh Kordelia, you just made my heart swell and a little tear fall .....thank you sooo much. :o

01-13-2005, 07:39 PM
I'm sitting here, shaking my head in disbelief...I downloaded Amy's picture in the hope I'd be able to see some strokes of pastel....but I must have downloaded the photo! :evil: Amazing...shakes head in disbelief again! :envy: :envy: :envy: :envy: :envy:

01-13-2005, 08:02 PM
Deirdre....I know you are joking about the photo but I don't know if you seriously want a closer look......Here you go....and thanks. :p Di


01-13-2005, 08:09 PM
Thank you! Diana, there is obviously blending in the face, but no mud....how do you do that? :envy:

01-13-2005, 11:07 PM
no mud....how do you do that?

You can make mud with pastel? I'm sorry I can't help you there....I will have to admit to my limitations .....I don't know how to do that. :(

I think you are joshing me because I have seen things like your auger and there is no way that you make mud :p

Cheers, Dianna

01-13-2005, 11:33 PM
I'm not joshing with you Diana, I wouldn't presume! I mean how do you blend without losing the freshness of the colour. That has happened to me...I don't post my big mistakes! They really do go in the bin! I had thought the answer was not to blend, but you must have done some blending to get such smooth transitions of colour on the cheeks?

01-14-2005, 02:02 AM
Perhaps Deirdre it is that I don't really blend colours.

I try very hard to put down the colour that I want in the first place. I lay one beside the other and only very lightly blend to soften the transition. Sometimes it is a matter of putting pressure on with my finger and just using a wiggling motion. If my finger moves in a case like that it is only minutely.

Not to say that I don't ever blend two colours to get another but rarely.

Cheers, Di

01-14-2005, 04:31 AM

This is astonishing work!

*I like oils and acrylics.... I like oils and acrylics..., Did You See That Hair! I like oils and acrylics.... focus! I like oils and acrylics....The Folds In The Dress!! FOCUS! I like oils and acrylics....Did You See The Depths In The Quilt! I like abstractionism....I like abstractionism....this isn't working...RUNAWAY!!!!* :eek:

01-14-2005, 07:23 AM

where are you visiting in the UK?

01-14-2005, 09:23 AM
Simply spectacular! Your work has so much charm and thought. You are not only an artist, but an INCREDIBLE architect, director, and producer. It is an absolutely stimulating experience to view your work. Thank you. :)

01-14-2005, 11:42 AM
Miz D... where someone asked how to make mud... wasnt it back on Page 4 or someplace that you recommended spitting on your pic??? isnt that what i read?? ('course, it was after midnite when i finally got to read the whole thing but i could swear i read that somewhere.....) :wink2: ck your PM.....

01-14-2005, 02:09 PM
This is so good! I was sitting here copying & pasting into Word so I wouldn't ever lose this in the future.....then I realized my husband may kill me 'cause I must be filling up the hard drive! lol I've been trying to psyche myself up to try a figure up closer some day. This demo is so helpful. Thanks.

01-14-2005, 03:34 PM
...RUNAWAY!!!!* :eek:Oh No!...please come back...you are so much fun!

Vivien my route is still 'under construction' but I have allotted myself 3 months if I want it so I am going EVERYWHERE I feel like in both the UK and Ireland! So far I am working on workshops in Edinburgh, Manchester, Norwich, hopefully London and may add more. Who knows maybe we will see you somewhere in passing! :wave:

You are not only an artist, but an INCREDIBLE architect, director, and producer.:o My goodness...what did I tell you about learning things about myself? :o :p

Kordelia ...Bad Girl! That is a very bad joke :eek: No spitting, no mud, no water near this paper! :p

Tammy.......( great long sigh)....I guess I will just have to write that book!! :p

Thank you all, you are most kind ....Cheers, Dianna

01-14-2005, 03:50 PM

This is astonishing work!

*I like oils and acrylics.... I like oils and acrylics..., Did You See That Hair! I like oils and acrylics.... focus! I like oils and acrylics....The Folds In The Dress!! FOCUS! I like oils and acrylics....Did You See The Depths In The Quilt! I like abstractionism....I like abstractionism....this isn't working...RUNAWAY!!!!* :eek:
Look at it this way: You can use it as the basis of an abstraction work called "I Like Oils and Acrylics and Abstractionism, Not Soft Pastels...." We'll ALL be learning something with the project, eh?

01-14-2005, 04:26 PM
Last but not least my imp....Linea. She and Amy are sisters but different as two can be both in looks and personality.


She insisted in wearing her hat backwards as did her sister. This is of course and adult hat and should have been far too large for her but she packed it around most of the day.


As Julie pointed out near the beginning of this epic journey, the hat is perhaps a little hard to read at first glance. Since I can see that the sun is shining on the front of the hat crown, it would have been an easy matter to have matched that light on the edge of the brim with the addition of a series of white highlights. This would have separated it from Amy and might have forestalled any confusion. It was not a real problem with this size of piece but would have been had I chosen to do it in as smaller format.


I liked the tiny pattern on the dress and would have invented it had it not actually been there. It would have been quite a mundane area compared to the rest of the painting with only the blue fabric and some reflected colours to work with. Perhaps omitting it would have been a good idea since there are definitely no areas for the eyes to rest in the entire painting unless you want to wander over and lay on the grass. :p

I had quite a lot of fun with her limbs being able to use the oranges, reds and ultras side by side. The whites are my charcoal pencil blending into the next skin tone.

Cheers, Dianna

01-14-2005, 04:30 PM
Good Gawd, Dianna- when that child discovers hosiery and lingerie- look out!

01-14-2005, 06:53 PM
This has really been worth the wait.....not that the wait was boring....I meant everything was so interesting that the wait.....oh never mind!

We got final really closeups of the hair can we have one of the straw hat too?

Beg and plead.......Mags :D

01-14-2005, 08:11 PM
I don't know Mags that this is going to give you that much more of an insight into what has taken place there but you are more than welcome to it.

I wouldn't want you to get bored this late in the game. :wink2:

Cheers, Dianna


01-14-2005, 08:55 PM
Thank you for my shiney new star LOL. That was such a treat!

Now that I have my mind totally boggled watching this evolve

I feel that you have given me a great insite as to how this medium
can be handled, and a lot of the technique to work with to learn to do it.

The little mouse thanks you very much indeed!

The trip to England sounds like so much fun ! I hope we wont be loosing you for all that time, take a laptop !

Please feel welcome to swipe my popcorn anytime :p

01-14-2005, 11:19 PM
Hello Mini mouse :p

You definately deserved that star! My UK Quest as it has begun to be known will not take place until the spring of 2006 so I will have time to save for that laptop. :p

Cheers, Di

01-15-2005, 03:23 PM
Well since we have travelled all around the quilt it only seems fair to post the close-ups of the actual quilt. This was made by my late Mother-in-law Marie, I would say in the 70's as I recognize some of those prints and who can forget fortrel. :p It is worked in diagonal stripes so is not just a random patchwork. I have used it in several paintings because if it's simplicity.

I love needlework and quilting is the one area of art that I was loath to shelve without really gaining a solid understanding of all that could be done. It was the first time I actually realized that life was going to be too short for me to attempt to partake of every artform that took my fancy. :cat:




And before anyone asks......here is the 'real' close-up :p


01-15-2005, 08:10 PM
Hello Diana

I can't find any new words to describe this whole process so I will just let you think of the best ones and let it go at that.

I have a question in regards to size. I know would like to ask the actual dimentions of some of the girls and their heads and hands or hats so that I can get an idea of just how much detail a person can get into what size.

Thanks so much in advance, Tich

01-15-2005, 11:44 PM
and who can forget fortrel.

you have done such a great job visually exploring the quilt, but now you have even managed to relay how it feels to touch it - my grandmother has made me a million quilts with old fortrel suits as the squares... Nothing quite like it, eh...

01-16-2005, 06:51 PM
Hi from Snowy Squamish!! :wave: :wave:

Well Dianna, I have just sat still for an hour and a half, with my Tim Horton's extra large with double cream going cold and my blue eyes turning green! Now my butt is sore and my head is spinning from staring at the screen, studying your closeups! As you know I've just started "kindergarten" with this media and I'm nowhere near ready to attempt something this advanced but it was sure fun learning how you accomplished all this amazing detail. God gave me boys (3) rather than girls and they aren't much for dressing up now that they are all teenagers, but you've inspired me to to look for some of their older photos that I know would make great subject material for if and when I'm ready to try painting people.

Since I'm still at the "apples & oranges" stage, I'd love to see a thread like this with one of your orange paintings..... there's one on your website that I would dearly love to see in more detail! :)

Thanks for taking the time to explain all of this... you are truly a wealth of talent and information!

01-17-2005, 03:00 AM
Hi Dianna, any plan to put Oxford in your 2006 itinerary ? :wink2: :wink2:

01-18-2005, 02:08 PM
Hi Cori....I can’t believe Fortrel is back in vogue once again. :eek:

Nandie...your enthusiasm is contagious!!!..... I will get right back to work and if I happen to get into my ‘orange’ mode, I will think about doing a WIP along that line. :p

God gave me boys (3) rather than girls and they aren't much for dressing up now that they are all teenagers

This is so true. When I attend re-enactments, the teenage girls willing to participate outnumber the boys I would hazard a guess to be 10 to 1.

Y-Man...you are too kind but I don’t like the hats they make you wear for the ceremony.

and Tich...I have measured a few things for you here.

Amy’s head from the highest point of her hair to where I estimate her chin would be is 3” or 7.6 cm and Mikayla’s is 3 1/8“ or 8 cm.

Mikayla’s face from where her bangs meet her profile to her chin is about 1 5/8 “ or 4.3 cm.

The hat is 4” or 10 cm high from brim to crown.
Mikayla’s arm is 3” or 7.6 cm from cuff to knuckles.

Thanks once again gang........Cheers, Dianna :wave:

01-18-2005, 02:30 PM
Hi Cori....I can’t believe Fortrel is back in vogue once again. :eek:

Egad...and no thanks! :p

01-19-2005, 12:44 PM
And last but not in any way the least is my very favourite part of the whole painting. This is the meeting of the hands and feet. I would be happy with a painting of just this area.


"The Meeting Place"

And here it is framed and hanging on my wall. I do my own framing not because I enjoy it but because I can purchase wholesale and I have the equipment.......makes sense to me and it certainly relieves the worry of having it being shuffled about in a frame shop. :eek:

In the event that it might be reframed at some point down the line, I have a nice gold label on the back that says, among other things “ You have purchased an unsprayed pastel painting. Treat it as you would your fine china”.


I almost always triple mat just because I like the looks of it and use all conservation materials. Since I don’t use a fixative I place a 3/16” or about 6mm black foamcore spacer between the mat and the painting. This not only gives any rogue particles of pastel a place to fall but also lessens the possibility of the painting touching the glass if pushed from behind. I count on the use the same thickness of Foamcore for backing to also reduce the possibility of this occurring.

Although this is listed on my website it is for show and not really for sale. It is one of those things that I will keep for myself because everything about it reminds me of how much fun I had in the process. :cat:

Cheers, Dianna

01-19-2005, 12:54 PM
Afterthoughts........what would I change if I had it to do over again?

Well, I have already mentioned that I would have liked to have had a larger piece of paper which would have enabled me to retain the size of the girls allow for more background off to the right and possibly across the bottom frontal area. This would off-set the quilt cluster to the left and give a little less centred composition.

The problem that one encounters in adding more foreground to something shot from this angle is that it raises the original viewer’s (the artist’s) line of vision and the further back you step, the higher or taller the viewer must appear to be. So eventually, if he is not standing on a stepladder or looking down from a vantage point he would never see this view from this angle. Since we are not privileged to know or care what the viewer was up to at this time we are only left with the unconscious but uncomfortable feeling that one is hovering rather than standing. :angel:

Since I didn’t really want this to be looked at from the view of the giant ant that came to the picnic and ate the little girls.... :eek: ...I am rather relieved that my lack of paper size precluded the possibility of accidentally introducing that horrible mental scenario in my painting. :p


Then there was the bucket-that-should-have-been. Now that would have been a great focal point. This painting is a visual delight when it comes to colour therapy :p but does lack focus and the lard bucket that the girls are picnicking out of would have done a fair job of providing one. As it is now, buried under a tea towel, it is a fairly confusing area that requires the viewer to decipher what they are seeing before moving along. I don’t like things that are hard to read. It is not hard to tell I like picture books. What is there now is print......big print but it is still print. :p


I did this same bucket in a watercolour painting so I just popped it in here so you could decide for yourself and you never know.............It is not too late, I can still change my mind and put it in. :p

__________________THE END_____________________

So my fine friends, I want to thank you for your interest, your kind words and your questions and if there are still some unanswered please don’t hesitate to ask.

This has been a new teaching format for me and a new learning experience as well. If you learned anything, I learned more. Your test will begin tomorrow..... :p

Mar sin leat agus tapadh leat......Dianna :wave:
(Cheerio and thanks)

01-19-2005, 02:17 PM
How generous you are Diana.

And as for the bucket ... I am rather glad you did not include it. To me, it looks very twentieth century, and slightly out of place in amongst those dresses. We "know" that these little girls are "today", but we dont need reminding with, I feel, something as obviously twentieth-century as a metal lard bucket. Also the overall feeling of the piece is soft, and that bucket is hard and shiny. I think you did well to use the tea towel.

This is a wonderful family heirloom, I do hope you keep it for posterity.


01-19-2005, 10:53 PM
Hi Dianna,
Wow look what you have done since Ive been gone from here!

I do have to go paint something once in a while so I can buy more popcorn LOL

I have to vote no bucket. It is perfect right the way it is. Hard and shiney doesnt work for me either in this case. As my papa says, if it aint broke dont fix it. :D

Look at those preciouse little toes! I can imagine that it would be really hard to part with this one!

Amazingly generouse woman, that is for sure !

Ok the mouse is back to the corner , I'll be quiet :)

01-19-2005, 11:47 PM
Thankyou Jackie and Minimouse :p for seeing it through to the end.

Well you know I could dull it down a little. It was just a cut and paste effort but that is great....less work.

So that it 0 for the Yeas and 2 for the Nays!

Cheers now..... :wave: :wave:

01-19-2005, 11:58 PM
I tend to agree..the bucket is a bit much. I think the tea towel really softens the final painting and to put the bucket add unnecessary garishness (Yes, I am aware that it isn't a word :D)

Of course, that being said - if you had of just had it in there from the start and then shown us the tea towel version - we may have hated the tea towel, for all we know.

This has been a wonderful demo, Dianna. Great job with your dedication to putting together this generous glimpse into your studio... :clap:

Thank you!

01-20-2005, 07:09 AM
Late to the bucket brigade, but I too vote no. Too lovely as is with the towel!


01-20-2005, 01:03 PM
Hello Diana

Wow a Burns lard bucket! My granny used to tell me about picking Chokecherries with one of those when she was a little gaffer!

It is irrelevant to me whether the bucket gets uncovered or not. I am can tell by the rest of this thread that if you had decided to put it in, it would have fit like a glove and we would have been none the wiser. So it is a moot point to even comment on it.

What I would rather comment on is to say "Thank you" for the opportunity to see first hand and close up what anyone can do with pastels. It is hard to imagine a big toe that is probably a few mm in size having 7 or 8 colour changes on it and I can see that the end result is worth the effort.

Diana I could never do work of this quality but I now know what is possible and how it can work for me in my limited capacity. I can always dream but here I am able to visually see that there is an actual physical path to that dream.

I stole this star from someone else just for this post http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Jan-2005/53443-29946-images.jpg

Thank you so much, Mags :D :wave:

01-20-2005, 01:18 PM
Diana, I'm flabbergasted! I'm so amazed at the sheer quality of your work, I just keep shaking my head in wonder! Thank you so much for your generous spirit which allows you to share it with us!

Sissy Riley
01-20-2005, 06:38 PM
Soooooo wonderfull. Almost brings me to tears when I look at your work. Not sure why! Big baby I guess. I want to climb in and join them. Eat the fruit, jump the train, pet the cat...all of them in some form are so inviting.

I hope you haven't washed away. How often do you get to Pender?? was it? To paint. I love the islands, something magical when you soak them in.

What are you working on these days?

Sissy :wave:

01-20-2005, 07:34 PM
Ah, Thank you one and all.

To Cori and Johnnie of the bucket brigade......thanks for popping back in with your opinions :p :p

To Mags for your magnanimous praise of my monumentally massive manipulations.....and your star :p :o

To Deirdre and Sissy for also taking the time to look and make really nice comments....I swear I am blushing. :o

To answer your question Sissy, the Family Four get together at least once a year on Pender for a week of wine, women and art. :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

Cheers and thanks again, Dianna :cat:

01-20-2005, 07:46 PM
I like the towel too. As the pictures stands now, my eyes travel easily all over the painting, from girl to girl and I don't mind that there's not just "one" focal point. I like that my eyes roam around, having fun with it. When you added the tin, my eyes kept going back to it, especially since it's right in the centre and the one girls' arm is outstretched toward it. Maybe this is just because the tin isn't done in pastel so it isn't as soft as the rest of the picture.... whaever the reason, I like the towel, I love the whole thing just the way it is.

01-20-2005, 07:55 PM
Ok the mouse is being a pest again LOL. I was thinking about it today
and wondering how (or if) you ship your work. How do you package it to send it ?
I know , I know , mouse back to your corner !

01-20-2005, 08:33 PM
Thanks Andrea y'all are making my life easy here with these opinions. :p

Minimouse....I make myself plywood and 1 x 4 or 6 boxes custom made for each painting or group of paintings.....I have a wonderful customer in New York that buys in threes. :)

I leave plenty of room on all sides inside for 2 inches of convoluted foam....you know the kind that looks like egg cartons. This gives the paintings a half a chance of a soft cushioned landing when the loader sees FRAGILE stencilled on every side just before he tosses it across the truck.

On boxes of any size, I purchase two sturdy handles and attach them on one side so that the box is more easily handled. This is in the hopes that they will not have to man-handle it into place. I don't know that this helps anyone but me as we are talking solid sturdy handles here that have come back flattened to the box. :eek:

Because many of my paintings go to the USA and I am only 5 miles from the border, I leave the top off the box, take my screw gun with me and drive them across the border myself. This insures me that the packing will be to my liking when it is sent on.

If I am shipping to a competition and they don't sell, I usually have them forwarded to my gallery in New Jersey but they are not for sale and I want to get them back across the border I have to be sure to have the proper paperwork done ahead of time.

Customs does not seem to have a clue what to do with original artwork for competitions and I have had to ask them every time to stamp my consignment invoice for me so that I have some proof of it having originated in Canada. Fortunately I never had one that someone wanted to return but was getting quite concerned as to how it would work when the time came.

Last year when I entered the PSA's show it was with my granddaughter's painting which was definitely NFS and lo and behold this time the first fellow I talked to say 'You need this form" and he was right. So for anyone shipping to the USA you need go on the US Customs web site and get this form to fill out before you ship your piece out.


When you fill in the description area, you need to put in a long wordy accurate description of your work and framing so that it is unmistakably your painting that is coming back.

Worked like a charm for me. Cheers, Dianna :wave:

01-20-2005, 09:37 PM
Thank you Dianna,
It sounds like your shipping methods would definately protect the work.
Now where did I put the screw gun ????? LOL

01-20-2005, 10:57 PM
Actually Minimouse is being polite here. She PM'ed me to thank me and say the after all that, she was shipping unframed. So since I wrote this all out for her anyway, I might as well post my "unboxed" shipping method here also. :p

I ship new work unframed to my New Jersey gallery and there are a couple of products that are not too terribly heavy that I have used.

I can purchase wholesale so for me it is convenient to buy from the mat suppliers, 28 ply picture mounting board. This is like three layers of matboard in thickness and it's not that terribly expensive even retail. Try to find it at your local frame shop.

The other is to purchase a couple of the masonite painting panels if you don't have a room full of saws like I do otherwise a sheet of 1/8" from the lumberyard will do.

Either of these two products will withstand any punishment you can throw at them. Leaving a good three or four inches excess panel around the outside edges I tape the painting to the centre of one board and tape a sheet of cartridge paper over. I attach this by just putting the tape across one end as a hinge and a tab of tape at the other with instructions on the paper to "carefully lift here" at the tab.

If I am including more than one painting, I attach each to a sheet of matboard the same size as the masonite with paper covering as above.

So the painting is sandwiched in between two of these boards and wrapped with the 2 inch wide scotch type tape to keep the panels together. Then I type up a paper with all of the pertinent information about unsprayed pastels and how to unwrap and handle the pastel including not slicing in deeply with a box cutter around the tape. I tape one of these to both (sides in case they don’t look on the side I intended) of my new 'package'. Then I wrap the whole thing in brown paper and tape again.

If customs opens your parcel they are responsible for putting it back together in the correct manner so I have been told by them. For all it is worth. :(

And don't forget that customs form if needed :p

Cheers, Dianna

01-21-2005, 07:27 AM

Thank you for sharing your subjects, your approach and the thinking behind all your choices with such good humour and enthusiasm! This has been a ride with great views. I've just read it all in one go and am exhausted but inspired. (I also got a kick out of seeing you use black and white without shame! So real artists DO use them!! :D)


01-21-2005, 02:00 PM
(I also got a kick out of seeing you use black and white without shame! So real artists DO use them!! :D)

So I have been lead to believe...:p ...Thanks Emma J... and for taking the safari.....and going the distance in one fell swoop! :clap:

Cheers, Dianna :wave:

05-23-2005, 08:58 PM
this is so beautiful! thank you for sharing with me.

05-23-2005, 09:31 PM
Nice to see this surface again.....Thanks to Grunge. It was like having my favourite re-run pop up on the TV. It reads just as well the second, third, fourth.......time round.


05-29-2005, 09:44 AM
OMG!! :clap: :clap:

I stop in from time to time. Don't have time to paint much anymore but trying to get inspired. Don't believe I've ever read a post so closely, cover to cover! And being a "horticulturalist" of sorts (love landscape) the grass is amazing! Total envy :envy: here!! You are blessed ... beautiful grandchildren (and the talent, creativity and patience to share the "details" with all of us).

Just had to say something, your work has touched and inspired me to get out the pastels and just PAINT. Thank you for sharing!!!!

PS: where is your gallery in NJ? Do you give workshops or classes? Inquiring minds want to know.....

05-30-2005, 02:41 PM
PS: where is your gallery in NJ? Do you give workshops or classes? Inquiring minds want to know.....

Thanks so much for checking me out Grunge....my I have a hard time wtih that moniker and to you Tich for your frequent visits and PM's.

BUA....the term "my gallery" is simply how us artist refer to the galleries in which we show. I wasn't sure you understood that. Oh that I should have so many galleries. :D Been there done that so I am happy just to show in them now. "My gallery" in NJ is in Westfield.

Thanks so much to all of you for your wonderfully enthusiastic response to my thread.

Cheers and keep dirty, http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/30-May-2005/34523-3_fingerprints.jpg......Dianna

06-16-2005, 08:17 PM
Que bello trabajo, felicidades!!!

06-25-2005, 03:42 PM
Que bello trabajo, felicidades!!!

Gracias muy mucho, AJ Thanks for stopping by

Felicitaciones, Dianna :cat:

07-21-2005, 06:24 PM
Let me know if you located this Mags :o

Cheers, Di