My studio is the great outdoors.  Standing alone in a forest or meadow in the warm morning sun behind my easel is my favorite way to start a day and a new painting. I have a number of favorite places near my home in Mamaroneck, NY including Otter Creek and The Marshlands Conservancy.  However the best scenery and inspiration for me is found in the Finger Lakes. I am a pastel landscape painter.  Here I am painting near a vineyard on Keuka Lake with my dog, Annie. Tip #1  Don’t ever tie your dog to your easel while you are painting.

Plein air painting with my dog, Annie
Plein air painting with my dog, Annie

My paintings are about 80% complete when I leave my painting location and head home.  The remaining 20% is called the resolution phase which involves critiquing the composition and tweaking color values. This typically involves me sitting in a chair in my studio and staring at the painting for about 10 minutes until the weak areas become apparent to me.  Most of the time I can improve a painting by adding more drama by exaggerating the value differences. If I am troubled by a larger area I will use a stiff brush and brush off the area outside.  Most of the pastel will come off the paper and I can proceed on a different path with that part of the painting.  Lastly I refer to my Check Off List.

Lana Grauer, "White Cliffs", pastel on paper, 17" x 14", 2015.
Lana Grauer, “White Cliffs”, pastel on paper, 17″ x 14″, 2015.

Lana’s Check Off List

  1. Are the colors in the foreground of greater intensity than the background?
  2. Is the back ground neutral enough?
  3. Are the edges sharp in the foreground and blurred in the background?
  4. What is my point of interest?
  5. Is the eye drawn back into the painting?
  6. Are there sufficient differences in value?

Here are some photos of my studio.  Notice the flat drawers for storing paper and work in progress. The vertical slots are great for storing framed pieces. I converted a closet into shelf space for storing frames, shipping boxes and my plein air backpack.

Grauer Studio
Grauer Studio
Studio #2

Stop by Main Street Arts to see Lana’s artwork in our current exhibition, Fifty Landscapes (runs through May 13). View her work online at www.lanagrauer.com. Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by painter Lanna Pejovic.

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