Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"Pond Colors"

Pastel on Sanded Arches - 5x7


This painting started life as a watercolor that needed help, so I coated it with sanded gel and redid the problems with pastel.  I am very pleased with the result.

The scene is one from a sketch and reference photos from the Arboretum paint out.  Early and late in the day, the sun casts the background in shadows but pours bright sunlight on the outer and higher branches of the trees next to the pond.  This gives me the opportunity to deal with values by changing the colors, using deep purple for the dark greens and grays.

Monday, April 16, 2012

"Evening Passage"

Pastel on UArt - 9x12

In this painting, I wanted to capture the glories of the evening sky over the salt marsh, but I did not want to simply paint the clouds.  The colors of the marsh grass, the pine trees, and the thick undergrowth all contribute to the sense of stillness and wonder.  The last of the falling tide reflects the sky and the tall pines that frame this scene.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

"Low Tide, Late Day"

Pastel on Self-sanded Arches, 9x7


This is a study made from notes, drawings, and reference photos taken at Tide View Park.  The tide was completely out and the afternoon was passing quickly when I began these notes and drawings.  This painting was done as a value / color statement in preparation for a larger work.  The drama of the scene is accented as the sand turn lavender and blue and the oysters stand out against the reflections.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"Early Start"

Pastel on Arches - 8.5x6.5


This was a quick "sketch" to capture a fleeting impression.  I did this painting from a single reference photo and some notes.  The picture was taken across the bay from Cape San Blas while I was on an outing there with my father-in-law to renew our memories of younger days spent fishing at this place.

The colors and time of day are the early morning before the sun us up.  Everything is still, and the distant shore and the sky are purple and gold.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Brush with Nature - Paintings

"Bright Green, Deep Shadows"

Pastel on Arches 12x9


I did a practice run at the Arboretum this morning (note from 3/28/12) in preparation for A Brush With Nature. In the early morning, the sun catches the east end of the pond in a blaze of back lighting on the trees next to the water. The woods behind are still in deep shadows. I had to work quickly because by midday the sun light washes all this into an even shade of bright, overpowering green.

The challenge for this piece was making the background shadows something other than just dark, so I used purple and lavender to contrast the bright green on the bank and walkway.

"Patriarchs of the Hill"

Pastel on Arches 12x14

I did a preliminary sketch of this clump of oak trees on Monday in preparation for the paint-out.  What captured my attention was the dark trees against the light background accented with the light gray Spanish moss.  When I started the painting on Friday morning, the sunlight fell on the trees in the foreground making them light against a dark background.  By lunch time when I was starting to wrap up the painting, the values had completely shifted to what I originally envisioned.  So I wiped out most of what I had done and redid the values.  I much prefer this result.

"Guardian of the Meadow"

Pastel on Arches 14x18

I did a preliminary sketch of this composition on Monday afternoon for preparation for the ABWN paint-out, and on Thursday afternoon, I did the preliminary work on the painting.  I had to wait until Friday afternoon to complete the work, because I wanted to catch the low light coming from the right of the piece, and I wanted to set my easel in the shade to work.

This solitary pine tree towers above all the other trees in the open meadow by the lake.  It even stand much taller that the trees in the background.  It is this towering majesty in a peaceful setting that I have tried to capture.  The path bends across the meadow as it passes this tree, and dives into the woods to again.

"Morning Tranquility"

Pastel on Arches - 17.5x 14


On Thursday morning, I returned to the spot where I painted "Bright Green, Deep Shadows" to do a larger version, but the light changed before I finished, so I covered the painting intending to come back the next day.  On Friday, several other people beat me to this spot, so I went to do the "Patriarchs of the Hill."  On Saturday, I came back early and finished this piece just as the news came that a rain storm was coming fast.  As I was packing to leave, one of the event volunteers came by and bought the painting while it was still on the easel.

I got out just as it started to rain, took the painting home, matted and framed it, and hurried back.  I took it into the wet tent through a pouring rain (no pun intended), and the purchaser met me there.  She was so thrilled to get this piece that she had arranged for her husband to meet her there to take the painting home right away.

I was in such a hurry to get the painting famed and under glass that this is the only photo I was able to take.  This was my wife's favorite of my work for this event.