Saturday, 29 December 2012

Poppy Field Study

I decided to create a few works with brighter colors using pinks and corals and found a beautiful reference photo of a poppy field. I actually did this painting back in November right around Remembrance Day but am just getting around to posting it now. Better late than never I suppose. I wanted to keep things fresh, loose and more gestural than my usual detailed interpretations and hope that I accomplished a good piece. I tried to capture a sense of movement and the energy of a field at the height of a clear and sunny day. I can almost see the bees and butterflies going from one flower to the next in the search for nectar.

Poppy Field, Pastel on Wallis, 9x12” 

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Autumn Marsh

Autumn Marsh Pastel on Wallis, 9x12"

I was going through my computer files and found this painting that I did a couple months ago and forgot to post about it. I worked from a reference photo that I bought from Johannes Vloothuis and really liked the composition and decided to liven it up with some bright rusty oranges and golds to create an inviting scene.  I tried to play with different mark making techniques to bring energy and interest. The picture reminds me of many a fall scene around here in Southern Ontario.

Original Photo

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Cumbrian Mountain Trail

Cumbrian Mountain Trail, Pastel on Pastelmat, 12x15"     

I’ve always felt the appeal Northern, Central England and Wales and decided to visit that feeling in one of my pastel paintings . I used a photo of a Cumbrian valley and mountain as a reference. I tried to capture the haunting beauty of the scene with cool blues, greens and earthy tones. The sky attracted me as well with it’s moody, somewhat ominous quality. The thin silver road serves as a nice lead in and helps give the painting depth. I’m still knew at painting mountains so I hope it looks rugged enough to pass as a mountain although the mountains of the English Lake District are older and not a rugged as some.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Evening Sky

We went for a drive down to the lake and I decided to bring my camera with me and had a chance to capture the evening sky as the sun was drawing closer to the horizon. I was impressed with the cerulean and silver colors and the way the light was reflecting off the clouds. When I went to my easel with the composition I decided that it needed a little more color than the photo was showing so I added a little pink and lavender to the sky as well. I think that it’s an improvement.  I also enlivened the colors on the ground and simplified the composition so the ground wouldn’t compete with the sky for the viewer’s attention. The original photo didn’t come close to capturing the beauty of the scene so I relied on memory to depict that, not sure how close I came but it was a good effort I hope. Perhaps the dark blue of the sky is showing more in the picture of the painting than it actually does in the painting itself, but aside from that I really don’t have any issues with the colors of the photo. I also used some of those lovely pinks in the Ludwig Vibrant set. I also wanted the picture to be fairly abstracted compared to my usual detail in the hope of conveying the simple beauty of the scene. Perhaps I should have put a little of the green from the land into the bottoms of the clouds and I should have broken the tree line up a bit but other than that I happy with this one.

Evening Sky, Pastel on Pastelmat, 12×15″
The Original Picture

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

English Hawthorn

I actually did this painting back in June but forgot about it until I was going through the pictures on my hard drive. This is a smaller study from a photo of the English Countryside featuring hawthorn trees in full bloom. I thought it was a departure from my usual colors and themes and gave me the opportunity to use a few of those pretty pinks in my Ludwig Vibrants pastel set. I also used a little more green than I have been recently and thought it was fun to pick up those spring greens again. We used to carry hawthorn trees at the nursery I used to work at but stopped carrying them since they always had problems. I guess they aren’t plagued by insects and disease in the UK or at least these ones weren’t when the picture was taken. I used my usual Terry Ludwig, Unison and Girault combination of Uart paper.
English Hawthorn, Soft Pastel on Uart Paper, 9x12”

Monday, 20 August 2012

Mountain River

It was time to get a little practice painting mountain scenes since this isn’t something that I usually do and it did prove to be less of a challenge than I thought it would. I liked the contrast between warm and cool colours in the reference photo and chose a warmed colored paper for the purpose since I wanted the image to really pop. I like the violet of the mountains and the cool greens of the evergreen trees to harmonize with the warmed oranges, gold’s and pink’s which I hope that I’ve succeeded with. I tried a new paper with the Pastelmat since it’s getting really hard to get Wallis paper and didn’t really like the lack of tooth that this paper has but it’s probably something that I will get used to and the pieces is finished much faster than it would be with a toothier surface to fill. Still, I like the layering that I get with Wallis and Uart better. Perhaps it was due to the shallow surface but I found myself using a more blurred and softer mark then I would normally which doesn’t translate with the photo as much as I would like.

Mountain River, Pastel on Pastelmat, 12×15”

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Upper North Falls, Oregon

A few weeks ago I did a painting depicting the Lower South Falls in Oregon which can be found here:
I decided to return to the subject since the topic of waterfalls fascinates me and I need more practice painting rocks and water, especially rushing and falling water.  I went with a larger composition so I could get more detail in the water it the surroundings. Plus this is a larger and wider looking falls so it called for more space.

Unfortunately this is one of my last pieces of Wallis paper in this size and I can’t seem to find any more of it anywhere so guess I’ll just have to be content with other papers until Wallis can make more. I used my usual Ludwig, Unison and Girault pastels.

Upper North Falls, Pastel on Wallis, 12x18”

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Spring Tree In Pink Study

I completed this study after getting the new Ludwig Vibrant and Maggie Price Essential Grays pastel sets and find that those vibrant pinks take some getting used to. I’m learning to like the colours but they are so different than the softer earthy tones that I usually use, but I wanted to liven up my pastel palette a bit and this set certainly does the trick. The Essential Grays is a very nice too although those lightest colours still aren’t light enough for me; however, it is an endlessly useful set. 

Spring Tree in Pink, Pastel on Uart Paper, 9x12”

The painting itself is composed mostly from a few colours from the Essential Grays, Vibrants and Plen Air set. I wanted to capture the mighty size of this tree which can be difficult in such a small space but I hope that I managed to capture the majesty and some of the beauty. I don’t know what kind of tree this is although it might be a crabapple; however, the beautiful pink and burgundy colours attracted my eye.

My new sets of Terry Ludwig Vibrants and Essential Grays