Posted in studio peek

My Favorite Paintings of 2021!

Wow! I can’t believe 2021 is coming to an end…

Last year I began the tradition of designing and publishing a book of the paintings, studies, and sketches I created through the year.

I started with the idea to give the books out to family and friends as gifts, but the design process and end result have become so much more than that to me.

When I am putting each year’s book together, choosing photographs of paintings and inspirational quotes I want to include, I am able to stand back from the trees and get a good look at the forest I have been dwelling in during the previous 12 months—metaphorically speaking!

I find that when I step back to look at this retrospective, I am given the precious gift of getting to see the arc of my own personal growth as an artist.

And this year I saw BIG changes.

The first change I saw while looking over the paintings I produced this year was a focus on experimentation.

Soft pastel on paper
copyright R. Sorrells 2021

New techniques, new materials, even a new medium (water mixable oil) kept me on my toes and headed out in directions that kept my process from being stale and predictable.

Oil on stretched canvas
copyright R. Sorrells 2021

Another change I consciously focused on this year was quality over quantity.

It doesn’t bother me to set a painting aside and let it sit for days, weeks, or even months if it just isn’t “there” yet because I appreciate how it gives me fresh eyes to critique and move forward in whatever way is necessary to reach my vision.

But this year I have also made peace with the fact that I am probably never going to be a hugely prolific painter…and that’s ok.

I’ve realized that my painting process and personality do not lend themselves to popular social media challenges like “paint 30 paintings in 30 days”.

In fact, I have found that if I can’t stop and linger when I want or need to in order to produce the work my soul is crying out to create, I die inside just a little!—and that is not acceptable to me.

Top: soft pastel on paper
Bottom: oil on panel
copyright R. Sorrells 2021

But this year the biggest change I actively encouraged in my heart, mind, and artistic process was to really seek out what it was I was trying to say with each painting, and then to let myself express those ideas, desires, and feelings onto the painting itself.

One of the wonderful benefits of allowing myself to work in this way is that I am becoming more aware of my artistic voice—who I am as an artist, what I value as an artist and human being, and how I want to grow in the future.

Oil on canvas panel
copyright R. Sorrells 2021

As a result, I can see the meager beginnings of a “style” that marks my work as mine and validates who I am becoming as an artist.

And that, my friends, is something I have been waiting to see emerge as the months and years of creating have slipped by.

Oil on panel
copyright R. Sorrells 2021
Oil on canvas
copyright R. Sorrells 2021

All of the photos in this post are included in this year’s book, and I wanted to share them with you.

If you have made it this far, thanks for sticking with me to read about my thoughts on creating and artistic growth.

Oil on panel
copyright R. Sorrells 2021
Oil on canvas panel
copyright R. Sorrells 2021

You can read the inspirational quotes that I included in this year’s book here.

But I will leave you with the quote I used to close my 2021 book.

It speaks to this idea of growth and not yet being who we were created to be….

“Beyond myself, somewhere, I wait for my arrival.” — Octavio Paz, poet

Thank you creative friends for taking time out of your precious life to read this post. I pray you will stay your creative course, wherever that leads your heart, and that on the journey you find joy in the process.

Till next time…

~R

Posted in Oil Painting

“Birdwire” Oil Painting

Hello creative friends!

Thought I would share another feathered friend from my latest oil painting adventures including some process photos for a behind-the-scenes look.

“Birdwire” Oil on cotton-covered panel, 9×12” Available!

I had a lot of fun painting this scene.

I especially loved creating the softly-blended background and juxtaposing it and the delicacy of the bird against the jagged imagery and symbolism of the barbed wire….

Here are the process photos, starting with the loose underpainting to get a start on the background.

Adding first oil layers…

Hope you like the sneak peek!

If you are interested in this piece, it is available here.

Stay creative friends. 🙂

Till next time…

~R

Posted in available paintings, Oil Painting

“Blue Days” – Available

“Blue Days” Oil on panel, R. Sorrells copyright 2021

Auction for this painting begins July 6, 2021! Click link below to place your bid.

https://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/rhonda-sorrells/%e2%80%9cblue-days%e2%80%9d/905952

Blue Days” – Original Oil Painting by Rhonda Sorrells

Birds are some of my favorite subjects to paint, and bluebirds are one of my favorite kinds of feathered friends.

I couldn’t resist trying to capture their beauty in oil with this little bird portrait. 🙂

This is a one-of-a-kind original oil painting on 6×8” cotton canvas-covered hardwood panel, signed on the front and labeled on the back. The panel is 1/8” thick.

This unmatted/unframed oil painting is ready to be popped into a 6×8” frame of your choice upon its arrival!

Your painting will be covered by a layer of Glassine and cocooned between two pieces of foam core for protection during shipment.

With your purchase you will also receive:

*A copy of my “Oil Painting Care & Framing” tip sheet

*A hand-written Thank You!

Please carefully read the enclosed care and framing sheet when your painting arrives.

For more information regarding shipping, shop policies, and more, please visit this link: https://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/rhonda-sorrells/%e2%80%9cblue-days%e2%80%9d/905952

To visit my online studio gallery of available paintings in oil and pastel, visit: http://www.rsorrellsstudio.com

Note: I do my best to color correct painting images; however, monitor types and settings differ and may not perfectly match painting color.

Thank you for your interest and support!
©Rhonda Sorrells, 2021

Posted in pastel painting

Fresh Off The Easel!

Hello everyone!

I wanted to share a new pastel painting with you. The subject: bluebird!

I just LOVE bluebirds. In my neck of the woods, we see them only occasionally. So it’s a real treat when we discover a pair building a nest or moving into one of the many bird houses we provide. 🙂

As usual, below are some of the progress shots involved with this painting.

Enjoy and Happy Spring!

“Bluebird” 6×8 inches, assorted soft pastels

Until next time…

~R

P.S. Follow me on Instagram for other sneak peeks!

Posted in Christmas open house, pastel painting

My First Open House!

Hello my Creative Friends!

It has been a while since I have posted. I have been really busy painting and preparing to attend a town-wide Christmas Open House near me.

I have painted approximately 30 paintings, designed notecards from those paintings, experimented with new techniques and materials, learned how to package and display my pieces, and more!

PHEW!  That was a lot of work, but I have enjoyed every minute of it… 🙂

Here are some pictures of my booth set-up as well as a slideshow of the pieces I will be selling.

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And if you want to see my paintings a little closer, here is a slide show for you.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I hope you enjoy it, and that your holiday season is Merry & Bright.

Take care and Merry Christmas!

~Rhonda

 

Posted in pastel painting

What’s On My Easel?

Hello Creative Friends!

Today I am sharing what is on my easel. In fact, I just put the finishing touches on it and signed it. 

Here it is!

“Brave Winter” assorted soft pastels over acrylic ink on Pastel Premiere sanded paper, 4×4 inches

Hope you enjoy this one and are making time for your own creativity now that autumn is here.

Till next time,

~R

Posted in pastel painting, pastel painting demo

Pastel Painting: “Nesting Behavior” with progress photos

Hello Friends!

Summer is almost done and we are starting up homeschool next week, so I wanted to take the time to post my latest piece along with some thoughts and progress photos showing my process.

I definitely had a different mindset for this one. 
I was aiming for something a little looser, less refined. More impressionistic, I guess.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it! 🙂 

 

FIRST MY REFERENCE: I took this photo in my front yard. 

Reference Photo

I think the photo is beautiful. But that’s a problem for me because as beautiful as this photo is, I am NOT into copying for the sake of realism. It’s just not my style.

As I grow and change as an artist, I find that I enjoy leaving some things to the IMAGINATION when I create a piece. I am not a camera and my eyes and brain don’t see the same way a camera lens does!

I also think it’s important to leave room for the viewer’s imagination—to suggest some things and let the viewer fill in the rest.
This approach INVITES rather than CONTROLS and let’s the viewer engage with the art.

 

PROGRESS PHOTOS & PROCESS

After selecting my reference, I began to do some expoloration—probably more exploration than I’ve done to prepare than for any other work!

First, I did a simple charcoal study to get a feel for the subject and composition…doesn’t look like much and isn’t meant to!

Vine charcoal sketch

Next, I did a simple line drawing for use on my larger paper.

Simple line drawing

Once I had a feel for the subject, I uploaded my sketch to iPastels to do a more in-depth monochrome study.

Monochrome

Now I was ready to move on to a color study. In the original reference (top), if you look closely you can see lots of green from the vegetation as well as yellowish reflected light. I wasn’t too keen about either, instead preferring to leave the background abstract and focus on all of the beautiful neutrals of the dove.

Completed Color Study

After completing the color study, my next step was to play around with the background. 

Remember, I wanted something loose that wouldn’t compete with the bird itself, so I uploaded the above image into iPastels and tried out different backgrounds…a real time saver and easy way to compare backgrounds side-by-side without wasting materials! 

I finally decided on the top right (blueish) background, and tested it out on the bottom left corner of the photo.

Background Choices

With my color and value studies to guide me, I began my painting on Pastelmat paper using a variety of soft pastels.

 

 

By the time I got to the stage in the above photo, I knew I needed to let my painting sit for a few days so that I could look at it with fresh eyes later.

So….after many days of life getting in the way 🙂 , I made a few white board notes of things I might want to change.

Refinement Notes

And Finally, the finished piece:

“Nesting Behavior” 5×7 Pastel on Pastelmat

Sorry this one was so long, but thanks for coming on this wonderful artistic journey with me!

I hope you enjoyed this post. Please leave your comments in the comment section.

See you soon and stay creative!

~R

Posted in line and wash

Remembering Spring – Line & Wash

IMG_0861

Well, here we are in the middle of autumn with Thanksgiving just a blink away.  The birds who fly south for the winter are well on their way.  I don’t know about you, but last winter was sooooooooooo long that I developed a real appreciation for spring, sunshine, longer days, and the return of our friends at the bird feeder.

So here is my ode to spring–an American Robin sighted in our pasture way back in spring of this year.  Here’s hoping that this winter will be shorter and without any “polar vortices”!

Winsor & Newton watercolor markers, Micron Pigma ink, and water brush in 8 1/4 x 5 Moleskine sketchbook.

Posted in line and wash

Watercolor Markers: “Watchful Papa”

IMG_0866

This little sparrow was a lot of fun to draw and paint!

I was drawn to his slightly grouchy expression which I managed to photograph through the window of our home.  He warily watched me as he sat guarding his family’s nest from the top of a birch birdhouse hanging on our front porch.

The initial drawing was done with a Pigma Micron pen on Winsor & Newton watercolor marker paper.  Then I used Winsor & Newton Watercolor Markers and a waterbrush to add colored washes.