I’m not sure I really have one! I’ve always loved to make marks on paper.  My Mom told me that my first word was “Me, Me” which meant, “Give me a pencil!”  I never had real art lessons as a youth because no art classes were offered in Arkansas schools at that time.  My first real training came at the Kansas City Art Institute, where I felt so far behind because the other students came from cities and states that offered art classes.  This was back in the 50’s.

At any rate, I persisted, and took all the art classes I could in college and afterwards, becoming a certified art teacher myself, ending up with a doctorate in secondary art education.  I’m probably a better art teacher than I am an artist!  However, nothing keeps me from drawing and painting.  How do I get my ideas?  From nature, mainly.  I see something that interests me — a plant, bright flowers, a bare tree, a group of trees, the shapes of the landscape, and I take photos.  I use my sketchbook to plan out a composition that pleases me.  Lines and shapes, contrasts of light and dark, patterns and intense colors get me going! Sometimes I get ideas from what I read in newspapers and books or what I see other artists doing.  But I don’t copy — my training at KCAI will not let me do that!

As far as media go, I do just about everything but oil painting (takes too long to dry, and I don’t like the smell).  My subject matter includes landscape and still life, with some animal portraits.  I can do people and portraits, but not too fond of that.  Lately, I’ve been doing some pet portraits in scratchboard on commissions.  When I work in color, I like to use pastel, watercolor, or acrylic, but when I draw, I like the technique of pen and ink and/or scratchboard.  There is something about scratching out or making lines that fills my soul with enjoyment.  It’s so meditative.  A lot of my work incorporates both drawing and painting in the same image.

It might be useful to know that I always have 3-4 artworks in process at the same time.  I have so many ideas, that I start several at the same time.   I’m the same way about reading books — I always start another book before finishing the first — especially one of fiction and one of non-fiction.  I love reading history and detective novels.  I think I’m ADD, but then, aren’t all artists?

Here is one image from my “Bare Tree” series.  Notice how the background colors can be seen through the pen and ink drawing of the branches.  Also, note the breakup of the background into rectangular shapes and tones.  I do this a lot in my artworks.  If you want to see more of my artwork, go to my web site: – I just finished updating it.  Thanks for reading!  Send me comments, please.




About pastelanne

I am a professional artist and art teacher, receiving my formal art education at the Kansas City Art Institute and the University of Arkansas. I taught high school art and humanities, earned a doctorate in secondary education, and with my husband, reared eight children! Even after retirement in 1993, I have continued to teach children, teenagers, and adults as well as studying under well known teachers. My media are pen and ink, watermedia, pastel, and colored pencil. Because of all my experiences and guidance from my teachers and mentors, I have a lot of suggestions, tips, and techniques to share with others. This then is the reason for my blog: to pass on some of this knowledge to other artists and to 'wanna be" artists. I intend to post at least three times a week. The first group will be compositional ideas, the second group will be sketchbook ideas, and the third group will be some tips and techniques in particular media. I sincerely hope you will find some good advice in some of these posts!

Posted on November 22, 2017, in IDEAS. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Friday 24 November Hi Mary Ann, I enjoyed reading about you and your creative process. I admire your drive to continue to create, and in many mediums, and to teach as well. A neat lady! My best, Dave Cook

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