Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Come to my Reception at Liquidambar April 7th!

I'm excited to announce that my original pastel paintings of wildlife and pets will be on exhibit at Liquidambar Gallery and Gifts, 80 Hillsboro Street, Pittsboro, NC  27312, for the months of April and May with an opening reception held on Sunday, April 7th from 2-4pm!  Avis Autry will be playing live music with her keyboards, and Pittsboro will be celebrating First Sunday for April, so c'mon and join us for some fun.

"Curious", pastel, 19x23"©KimWerfel

 Originals of my award-winning wildlife art based on the local deer of Chatham County will be on exhibit, along with some giclee prints and note cards for that perfect Mother's Day Gift.  

"Regal", pastel, 19x23"©KimWerfel

Of course, I'll be available to discuss commissions of your favorite animal pets, including but not exclusively the family cat or dog :)  

The show will continue on through May on Pittsboro's First Sunday's May 5th Cinco de Mayo reception and celebration from 2 to 4 pm, with Andy Coats (see his website here) on guitar and a more upbeat flavor of the day!

"Galloway Cows", pastel, 24x29"©KimWerfel

This will be my first exhibition at this local gallery and am excited to have everyone come see my work.  Hope to see you at one of my receptions!

Kim Werfel

Like me on facebook for more updates here:  kimwerfelportraitsandfineart

Sunday, March 24, 2013


"Springtime" is based on a flowering tree in Camden Park, Fearrington Village, Pittsboro, North Carolina last Spring.  Right now it's raining here and I can't wait until Spring does I guess I have Spring fever!

"Springtime", pastel, 9x12"©KimWerfel

This work is done on Art Spectrum paper toned a warm terracotta color.  Based on a photo that I took last year about this time below:

I played around with different compositions and originally had a lighter value on the grass, but decided to tone it down just a touch as I think it distracted from the tree trunk.  I also made the leaves into a path to lead your eye into the picture.  Believe it or not the bottom third caused me more trouble than the bright pink flowers, which I thought would be the problem.  You never know!

Here you can see from photoshop elements that the grass is quite light to the left, but I also narrowed down the values and the computer exaggerates them.  Still, I find this a helpful tool.  I also do charcoal and/or value marker value drawings to move things around and see how they look.

Will talk about this one in Thursday morning's "Continuing Pastel Class".

Happy Painting!

Kim Werfel

Thursday, March 21, 2013

My Pastel Process

In teaching my Continuing Pastel Class, I like to break down the composition planning into steps, or a process to follow.  When working from photos, the composition starts with the original photo.

Here's my original photo of a creek in the woods behind my street, Creekwood.
I then put it in photoshop elements and push the color by increasing the saturation and levels.

I also put it into grayscale mode, artistic cutout into 5 values.

This gives me a simpler way of looking for values and planning my painting's composition.  I simplified the image into several large different shapes, values and colors and laid them onto my 9 x 12 Wallis board in dry pastel.

Then I applied regular, drug-store isopropyl alcohol to each color, careful to clean the brush between colors. This will cover my board with an under painting....laying in the large shapes in dark colors.  Additional colors will be applied on top that won't pick up the underlayer and make mud :)

It looks like paint as pastel really is pure pigment with a clay binder....the same pigment found in oil or acrylic paint.  Some people do an under painting in liquid acrylics or inks.  As long as the paper has enough tooth after this step to accept more pastel you're fine.

"Creekwood Light", pastel, 9x12" ©KimWerfel

I kept the background light and edited a few trees.  This is primarily an orange/blue complementary composition. I love the shaft of light crossing over the creek.  Thus the title "Creekwood Light", pastel, 9x12" ©KimWerfel.

I hope to get this in a frame before my show at Liquidamber Gallery in Pittsboro in April and May!  I'll blog more about that next time :)

Thanks for following my blog.

Kim Werfel

Monday, March 11, 2013

Still Time for Continuing Pastel Class

There's still time to sign up for my Continuing Pastel Class.  I thought I'd share a few photos from the last day of my Intro to Pastel Class.  Some have already signed up for the Continuing class.

Can you believe she's never touched a pastel before?

This pastel painting blew me away...I'm blessed with talented students!

It's great to see everyone making so much progress....

And everyone's style and color preferences...

We all had a great time...especially me :)

"Continuing Pastel Painting" will begin March 14th through April 18th (6 weeks)...Thursday mornings again from 10am-12:30pm at the ArtsCenter in Carrboro.

This class is open to all past students and those with some knowledge in pastel.

We will review the principles of design and discuss different types of composition. I'll assist you in creating great paintings from your own still life and/or your own photos.  I will demo some concepts as well.

Register at the ArtsCenter in Carrboro (click here). Class number 2031 Continuing Pastel Painting, $150 tuition, Friends of the ArtsCenter $135, day of class tuition $155.

Class maxes out at 12 so don't wait!  Keep those new year's resolutions to get more creative in 2013! 


Feel free to contact me at  

Would love to have you join us!


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Yellow Labrador Retriever Portrait

Meet "Sydney", a sweet yellow lab about 13 years old. This commissioned pastel portrait is painted on a light yellow Art Spectrum paper, 13 1/2 square.

When I photographed him in my yard, I was after his expression....he was very submissive, with his head down and ears back, so when he cocked his head and lifted his ears a bit I took the photo.  His owners and I both agreed it was the most expressive photo to use.

There wasn't much color to play up, but I like the contrast of his "Dad's" dark jacket outlining his right side.  I decided to make that shape a tree, softening the edge and adding some color into it.

I put the photo into photoshop, trying to sort out the subtle values as Sydney was in the shade.  His light coat seemed to reflect blues, lavender and mauves in subtle transitions.

I put extra care into painting his eyes....where the soul resides.

I pushed color a bit to give some interest, alternating warms and cools.  Most of the detail is in his eyes, nose and mouth, and were done with pastel pencils.

My style is realistic, but with impressionistic color leanings...and attention to composition.

Thanks for reading my blog.

Commission a portrait of your own.

See my website

Kim Werfel

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Posthumous Portrait

It's an honor to be asked to paint a posthumous portrait.  You're being trusted to capture a precious loved one....whose only visual memory is in a favorite snapshot now.  So it's with especially great care that I attempted to capture a neighbor's husband that only passed away last year.

Most artist's try to stay away from painting so many teeth and glasses too.  But she clearly insisted that this was her favorite photograph, so I knew I had to give it a go.  The photo was small and not so clear, so I had to enlarge it for the gold antique wood frame she already picked out for him.

Another unusual feature of this portrait is that the frame was a lovely oval shape, but with space in the back to fit the 8 x 10" rectangular artwork.  Making sure it would fit, I had my dear friend and framer Sheena McLean from Frame Warehouse in Cary, NC cut my Wallis Pastel board before I started painting.  Later, she'll fit a spacer, use museum glass, replace the backing and rewire it.

The instant my client saw the finished work she burst into tears.  I succeeded in giving her husband back for a while....if only in a pastel portrait.  "My daughters will fight over this when I'm gone" she said.  I knew she meant a compliment, but that saddened me.  Life's so short.  I love being able to preserve loved ones memories for them.

Thanks for following my blog.


Call or e-mail me for your commission.