Saturday, December 28, 2013

My "Queen of Swords" is honored again

My "Queen of Swords" pastel painting has won her 3rd Honorable Mention at the Fine Art League of Cary's Member Show, now on exhibit at the Page Walker Art and History Center in Cary, NC until January 2nd.  Page Walker is located at 119 Ambassador Loop, Cary, NC, 27513.  Phone is 919 460-4963.  The judge was Sarah Heinsohn of Raleigh's ArtSource Gallery.

There are 73 pieces in the exhibition....ranging from large oil paintings, watercolors, acrylics and drawings.  I am so happy that she was selected, as she's not your typical still life or landscape.

To see an on-line slide-show of the here:

This is the kind of nudge I need to get inspired for new work in the new year!

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and is looking forward to a great new start in 2014!

Happy New Year!

Kim Werfel

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Chatham Studio Tour Exhibition

C'mon down to the Frank Gallery, 109 E. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, Thursday, December 12th, (tomorrow evening) from 6-8:30 pm to see the Chatham Studio Tour's group exhibition and reception.  Exhibition runs through December 16th.

I'll have my pastel "The Harpist" on exhibit with the group show.  You'll have a chance to meet the artists and see their work all in one place before this last tour weekend December 14-15th from 10 - 5 pm.

"The Harpist", 18x16", $900 ©Kim Werfel

Hope to see you at the reception and/or sometime this weekend at my place, #30 on the Chatham Studio Tour's map.  (click this link to download and print your own map)  You can also print your own brochure and learn more about all the artists on the tour.

I'll have 2014 calendars, a greeting card special with gift boxes, prints, mini-paintings and more so come see me to commission a beautiful portrait or pick-up a special one-of-a-kind Christmas gift this weekend!

Stay warm,


Thursday, November 28, 2013


Most of you know me as an animal portrait painter, but recently I took a workshop with the talented Mrs. Barbara Jaenicke and have been inspired by her landscapes.

Working away on several to show at my home during the Studio Tour, they're now being framed.

"Autumn's Gold", pastel, 9x12", $300 ©KimWerfel

These landscapes are more impressionistic than my more realistic style I use for portraits.  Loosening up, softening edges and pushing color is lots of fun!  I learned much about underpainting and the importance of big shapes in Babara's workshop.

"Autumn's Gold" is being framed with a thick wood frame and protected with Ultra Vue Glass.  I love the light and working with complementary colors...especially purple and gold.

Come see me this and others on my tour in December!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 25, 2013

It's Studio Tour Time Again!

Come visit me on the 21st Chatham Artist's Studio Tour!
Dates are Saturdays & Sundays Dec. 7&8, 14 &15 from 10 to 5pm.

See our website for a printable map and more info on the two group exhibitions at

"Affection", pastel, 32"x24", $1200

Meet me at my home (#30) to see my original work, giclee prints, note cards and new 2014 Calendars!

Come see my Art Studio where all my creations happen, learn about my classes and discuss the commission process to learn about how to have a special, custom work of art created just for you!

"Affection" (above) will be exhibited at the CCCC (Central Carolina Community College in Pittsboro) Gallery for the first weekend with all the other tour artists.  Be sure to come to the Reception Friday, December 6, from 7-9 pm, and vote for your favorite for the People's Choice awards!  Come early as the awards are given at 8:00pm.  This is a popular Pittsboro Community event with lots of gourmet hors d'oeuvres too! :)

Don't miss this fun, educational and informative once-a-year event!

Hope to see you at the reception and at my place.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Monday, October 28, 2013

Life Imitates Art

Finally finished one of those paintings that never quite say "I'm done."  
Today...I'm saying done! 

This one's different for me....from a photo I took when visiting Ireland @5 years ago....the Statue is of Patrick Kavanaugh, a much loved bohemian Irish Poet in Dublin and a commuter...both apparently oblivious to my picture taking.  

Well years later this is my pastel tipping my hat to them both. "Life Imitates Art", pastel, 11x15".

To see more of my work visit my website

Thanks for viewing!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Surprise - I won People's Choice for Best Portrait at latest PSNC Exhibition

The Pastel Society of North Carolina's latest member show at the Halle Cultural Arts Center in Apex, NC is exhibiting until November 15 - try to catch it.  About 44 pieces exhibiting a variety of subject matter, several winning People's Choice Awards.

Lucky me won the People's Choice Award for Best Portrait with "Autumn Goddess"!

My friend caught me with her cell came out despite the flash :)

I also have two other pastels in the show featuring my deer paintings.

Try to make the exhibit - you're sure to enjoy it!

Happy Painting!

Kim Werfel

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Continuing Pastel Class begins October 10th

Time to sign up for the Continuing Pastel Class for all you intermediate pastelists that  would like some input and inspiration on your work this Fall.  See the Catalog description below for the ArtsCenter of Carrboro Class.

Continuing Pastel Painting Fall 2013 - Thursdays Oct. 10-Nov. 14th (skipping Nov. 7th) (5 weeks) $125 public, $113 friends (919) 929-2787
1036. Want to keep growing and learning with your pastel painting? Learn how to implement design principles in your work. Learn what to look for when you take photographs to work from for reference material. Create more confidently after planning preliminary value and color studies for stronger, more successful compositions. Understand the different types of composition and color schemes to express your intentions successfully. Learn how all these tools come together for great paintings! Students will work both in class from their own photos and at home, bringing work in for Studio time and critiques.
*Basic understanding of pastel or Intro to Pastel Painting is required (not a beginner class)
*Materials List available at The ArtsCenter front desk prior to 1st class
Hope to see some old friends and new faces!
Kim Werfel

Thursday, September 12, 2013

"Toby", a birthday surprise Horse commission

Today I'm going to share the process of painting my latest horse commission.  This is "Toby", commissioned by the owner's sister-in-law for a 40th Birthday present. (Shhh, it's a surprise!)

Toby was much loved, but alas, had to be sold and the owner misses him terribly.  The emotional energy behind these commissions really fuels me.  I love being in on these wonderful acts of compassion and generosity.

Not being able to meet him, I had to work from photos.  After looking at several, I chose this one, as his ears were up, his expression alert, and I loved the red halter with the complementary greens in the background.  The horizontal and vertical lines in the background help the composition as well.  My problems were to remove her hand pulling on his halter, and the rest of her body.  His eye wasn't well defined either, but I zoomed in for more info.

This is the original photo I had to work from.

I often put the photo in photoshop elements and break up the values to see them clearer.

 I start out with a sketch in charcoal, placing his head as I want it.  The paper is 11"x14" Richeson Premium Pastel Surface in Terra Cotta 24 taped to a foam core board.  The eye is the focal point and is very important to get right. (the window to the soul!)

The red halter was too exciting to wait in it goes....loosely defined.  I gently lay in the first layer of darks with very dark blues and browns.

The background is more important than you'd think.  It helps with decisions on the subject.  I decide on the shapes of the clouds - taking clues from the photo.  Soft blues and mauves were used....later very light gray greens too.

More work on Toby....dark purples were added for glow and was reflecting on his mane and ears and the front of his head..the buckle on his halter really glows too.

Hours later, this is my finished artwork for Toby.  Blue highlights reflecting the sky were in his eyes.  I let the warm browns glow in his face and nose.   Keeping the background soft and unfocused brings even more attention to his face.  Working with pastel pencils for details in his halter...figuring out what it would look like without her hand was tricky.  Finally, a signature and photography so you can see!

Hope you liked my journey with Toby.

Contact me at if you have a loved pet, dog, cat, horse or any other wonderful animal you'd like to honor with a portrait.  Christmas is coming!

Thank you.


Friday, August 30, 2013

Airedale Puppies

My newest commission, "Airedale Puppies" is from a wonderful professional Airedale Breeder in Pittsboro, NC...."Singing Hills Kennel" .  Meet Atticus and Allie, only 12 weeks old here.....

"Airedale Puppies", pastel, 16x20"©Kim Werfel - Sold

This piece is done on warm-toned light Sienna Jack Richeson 140lb paper on Gator Foam, a different surface for me.  Really like it.

I started with a photo that I printed and enlarged to 16 x 20" for reference.  I also printed it in black and white to see the values.

Here's my preliminary sketch:

Then I focused on Allie, the female pup on your right, laying in the darks...but I couldn't resist putting in some lights too.

Close-up of the face so far:

Laying in more color in the background and more darks in Atticus, the pup on the left.

More sky color....more colors in the fur, the bricks, the collars....

Lots and lots of refinement and here's Atticus and Allie's portrait.

Thank you for reading my blog.

Please Share.

Kim Werfel

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Introduction to Pastel Class Starts in 2 1/2 Weeks

The ArtsCenter of Carrboro has just posted their Fall 2013 Catalog on-line.  Check it out here: 

My "Intro to Pastel" Class runs from September 5th - October 3rd (5 weeks) from 10 - 12:30pm.  $125 public and $113 for Friends of the ArtsCenter (great deal)

You can register on-line (convenient!) or call Phaedra Kelly at (919) 929-2787 x207 or just stop by the box office at the Arts Center.

(one of my best students at work!)

Here's the class description:

Explore the world of soft pastels! Learn how pastels combine your drawing and painting skills to create successful, expressive paintings without the need of brushes or water. Enjoy learning pastel painting techniques and the diversity of papers and pastels now available. We will discuss the importance of lines, shapes, values, edges and color choices. We will first work from a simple do-it-yourself still life set-up, and then from your own photos. Students new to pastel painting as well as returning students are welcome.Obtain materials list at The ArtsCenter front desk, prior to first class.
Kim Werfel 
Thursday, 10am-12:30pm, September 5-October 3 (5 weeks) $125 public, $113 Friends

The ArtsCenter of Carrboro is located at 300-G East Main Street, Carrboro, NC  27510.  

Returning students are welcome and can work on their own projects as in the Continuing  Pastel class.

Looking forward to seeing some new and familiar faces!  I've kinda missed y'all (said with a NY accent) ;)

Happy painting,


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Schnauzer-mix Commissioned Portrait

Today I'm going to share with you my process with painting "Petey", an adorable latest portrait commission.

First I choose a photo from my client's phone.  Since this is a surprise and she's out of state, I never got to take my own pictures (much preferred).  Luckily, she had this very expressive picture with nice lighting too!

So then we decide how large she wants it and I enlarge the photo to the size needed.  Then I sketch the main shapes in charcoal....taking care to get everything in just the right place.  This is constantly revised throughout the painting of the piece as I go.

Then I start with the darks.  I choose several colors...dark cool blues, browns, purples, blue-greens and a taupey - green shadow.  I add some lights too to see how the contrast will look.  I want to bring the viewer to her face (Petey's a she) so I make sure that's where the most contrast is.

I decide to try-out some background colors as Petey was sitting on a rug with lots of subtle colors that played nicely with her coloring.  I didn't want it to distract from her, but add some more life to the portrait.

Continuing along, I add more detail to her face and start considering her lower half...paws, fur and more background.

More refining...and more fun with the abstract background...blending and mixing colors.  Pastels are so wonderfully expressive and malleable!

Voila!  Portrait of Petey is finished!  What a fun project! :)

To see more of my dog as well as cat, animal and human portraits...please go to my website:

Portraits make wonderful one-of-a-kind gifts for that special someone.  Order yours now, while there's time for me to paint them!  Find out the process on my website and send me an e-mail to get yours in my schedule.

Have a great day,


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Chapel Hill Weekly Photo

So my husband is killing time in a doctor's waiting room and picks up a paper on the table to find me on page 13!

Sunday, August 4th, I was asked to participate in my local vet's Open House.  So I went down from 1 to 4 that afternoon with some sample pet portraits and people were taking my picture and I didn't think much of it.

I'm amazed that the media can print your picture in the paper and not even tell you about it.  They said it "might" print, but then when it does I think they should notify you, no?  What do you think?

You might think that I'm getting a lot of business from this, but no.  Most business is from word of mouth, and meeting and talking with people face to face.  I am working on a commission of a schnauzer mix from this very Sunday afternoon event, with a couple of other commission maybes.  Not bad for one afternoon!

If anyone is thinking of maybe having a commissioned pet or people portrait done for a Christmas present...NOW is the time to contact me.  Classes start in September and run into November, along with show deadlines, a couple of out-of-town trips scheduled etc. and I'd love to be able to paint for you too, but only if I get you in the calendar now.

Thanks for following my blog....I'll show you my schnauzer-mix soon....(he's adorable!!!)


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Chatham Record Article and Carolina Woman mention...

Surprised to learn from a facebook friend that there's an article about me (who knew?) in the Chatham News, week of July 18th, Section A, page 5.  They wrote about my two wins at the 2013 NC Statewide Pastel Juried Exhibition, quotes from my blog and from the judge. I am so honored and blown away. They posted a 4 x2 1/2" photo of the "Queen of Swords. "

I blew this up so maybe you could read it.....?  Oh well, but it was quite a surprise.  Didn't know papers did this without letting you know!

Meanwhile Carolina Woman magazine has color photo of "The Lookout" and my Best of Show win info.
I had no idea about the Chatham News story but did submit news to Carolina Woman over a month ago and forgot about it ... did not know they ran it either .... with a color photo!

So you never know what you'll find happening when you get up in the morning!

Could this be my 5 minutes of Fame moment?  :)

Kim Werfel

Sunday, July 21, 2013

New Fall "Intro to Pastel" Class at the ArtsCenter

It's that time of year again.  The ArtsCenter of Carrboro has just asked me to confirm my dates for my "Intro to Pastel" Class starting September 5th, so I wanted anyone who reads this blog to get a heads-up to know about it first.

(my semi-organized pastel box)

Here's the text for their catalog:

Explore the world of soft pastels! Learn how pastels combine your drawing and painting skills to create successful, expressive paintings without the need of brushes or water. Enjoy learning pastel painting techniques and the diversity of papers and pastels now available. We will discuss the importance of lines, shapes, values, edges and color choices. We will first work from a simple do-it-yourself still life set-up, and then from your own photos. Students new to pastel painting as well as returning students are welcome.Obtain materials list at The ArtsCenter front desk, prior to first class.
Kim Werfel 
Thursday, 10am-12:30pm, September 5-October 3 (5 weeks) $125 public, $113 Friends

Not listed yet, but will be soon.  

The ArtsCenter of Carrboro is located at 300-G East Main Street, Carrboro, NC  27510.  
Phone is (919) 929-2787   

Returning students are welcome and can work on their own projects as in the Continuing  Pastel class.

Until then.....keep cool during this hot/humid Summer by painting indoors with a cool drink nearby!


Monday, July 15, 2013

Bill Schneider's Demo at IAPS

Another pastel portrait demo I was fortunate to witness was Bill Schneider's demo of a young woman's portrait with her hair pulled back into a braid.  His approach had similar measuring and temperature ideas, but his pastel application was much different, as was his approach to color.

Using a Kitty Wallis Belgium Mist grey paper mounted on a board from Dakota, he applied a creamy color on the forehead, warm reds in the center cheek area and a green for the lower third of the face, then blended them into the paper with a gloved hand.  He had a mix of Unison, Terry Ludwig and Sennelier pastels.

Our Model

After the initial blending of color, he started measuring from the inside out.  He determined the center line, and the angle of the tilt of the head (the line wasn't just straight up & down).  He measured the inner corners of the eyes to the mouth, the bottom of the lip to the chin, the thirds of the face; he then took care to get the angles of the chin, eye width, head shape, etc. all drawn lightly in charcoal over the pastel.

Bill took care to mention the five main shadows of the face:  eye sockets, under the nose, top lip, under the lips, and under the chin.  He started the shadow under the chin with a warm brown, which he will then modify later.  Other good advice was to find the lightest light, the darkest dark and the hardest edge....may be in the hair, on the shoulder, in the clothes, etc.

"Value trumps temperature, trumps color."  Bill also mentioned shapes first, then values, color temperature and edges.  Design is everything.  I believe he used the blue around her face as the light temperature was also contrasted nicely with the warmth of her face.

"Squint down to where the hair joins the head....very soft."  He cooled and modified that warm chin shadow..."the eyes are very soft....the pupil is the darkest.  Make the upper surface of the lower lids light....purpley pink light on the upper lid due to veins and blood vessels.  Eyes and lips are always in motion - soft.  Don't paint them too sharp or they'll look pasted on.  He worked as he taught, making sure, confident strokes and explaining why.  A camera projected his work so the crowd could follow.

"With the facial plane changes, so the temperature changes from warm to cool.  Also slight value changes or half-tones within the value family.  Don't put highlights in the middle of eyes...they'll look like cataracts."

Lots of good tips and advice....making it look so much easier than it is.  Thank you Bill Schneider!
To see more of his work and learn about his workshops and DVD's see his site here.

Thanks for following my blog.

Check out my website for my upcoming classes at the Artscenter of Carrboro soon at

Happy painting!


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Leslie B. DeMille's Pastel Portrait Demo at IAPS

I was fortunate enough to sign up to see Leslie B. DeMille's pastel portrait demo at IAPS.  What an honor! This man is 86 years old and has been painting portraits and teaching for over 60 years.  He has a great personality which made it even more fun and enjoyable to watch him paint.

demo sketch from IAPS of Mike the Cowboy

He uses velour paper in a beige/ochre color - Hannemuhle, a German paper that is acid-free and archival. You can order it from Dakota here.  He uses about 10 sheets of newspaper beneath his paper so it has "give".  Pressure is important when working this way...the harder you press, the darker the pastel covers.

This is a character study, as the person is looking off into the distance.  He feels finished portraits usually look right at the viewer.  Demille is famous for his Cowboys and has work in the National Cowboy Hall of Fame.

Here is a photo of "Mike the Cowboy" (our model in cowboy hat & scarf!)

Mr. Demille begins with Conte crayons and does a light overall sketch finding the features, measuring distances from the eyes, the enter of the chin, the angles of the face, etc.  He squints to see values.  I found it interesting that he said to squint by just dropping your upper eyelids down and not to grimace!

It was evident how much fun he has teaching and painting.  I was amazed at his ease and skill.

He uses 21 colors + white & black, Rembrandts and has his own portrait set from them.  See here

Using Rembrandts since 1960, he recommended them when he made his 13 episode PBS TV Series "Portraits in Pastel".  He can do any portrait with this set....I couldn't help but buy some of these pastels after watching him.

After the initial sketch, he uses warm Gray & White Conte to indicate warms and cools.  He likes to make cowboy hats larger than they appear to be....the same with eyeglasses....

He then uses color - blushing over the raw umber paper sketch with a light cadmium red and a "fleshy" cadmium red.  A little yellow on the forehead, ears and cheeks are more red, blue/green in the chin zone.  He is not concerned about detail at this point.  He never blends with his fingers, but allows the pastel strokes to glaze and correct colors.  (He makes it look sooo easy!)

The eye area is the most important part.  He likes to start and work from the center of the face out.  The upper lid casts a shadow on the eye - darker top lid (eye-liner he jokes)  Remember that the Iris comes out a bit from the eye - the lid covers it differently.  The only place he uses black is within the eye (pupil)  The pupil can go up into the shadow above the eye.  Soften edges - the eye is wet.  The lower lid is flatter and goes under the upper lid.  (This man knows what he's doing!)

This was the view from the projector screen - he had a large appreciative audience.

He gave tips about the shapes and shadows of the lips (corners are always darkest and warm, lower lip is lighter than the upper lip)...and that you should suggest the mustache and not paint in the hairs.

A very educational experience...I can't wait to try out Velour paper soon.

Thanks for following....stay tuned for my two other demo experiences at IAPS.

Have a creative day!

Kim Werfel

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Vianna Szabo workshop at IAPS

While attending IAPS last month I had the pleasure of taking Vianna Szabo's workshop on painting children in pastel from photos.  She gave a nice presentation from her laptop and took us through some preliminary steps in her demo.

She starts out taking up to 200 photos and likes to work on UArt 400 grit.

She started out with a sketch for placement on the page and to find the large shapes and angles.

With her reference photo handy, she started by filling in the background.

She then went to the shadow areas first.....

Never blending with her fingers, she was always aware of color temperature and value.

This was as far as she went with this portrait.

I particular found it fascinating that she selected all of her colors before starting, dividing them into three values of Dark, Medium and Light.  She looked at how all of them looked together to determine color harmony before painting.

The workshop was just one day....I started painting a portrait of a young boy I had photos from a previous photo shoot.  Following her method was fascinating and much looser than I normally work.  I highly recommend her workshops.

To see more of Vianna Szabo's work click here.

More on my IAPS adventures soon.....

Kim Werfel

my website