Pastel Daze


It’s a 103 degrees and I gotta say, standing on the patio painting, it’s hot!  That’s our weather –  we can go from a balmy 75 to 105 overnight.  That was yesterday.  This morning at 0530 it is beautiful out, but we are headed for another hot day.
I had some fun with some new pastels  – Mungyo.  They are a hard pastel and I bought this little tester set of half sticks – 60-ish colors.  They are very similar to Nupastels.  I used a sheet of Art  Spectrum paper (Terracotta).  Nearly all of this little painting was done with the Mungyo pastels.  The colors are great and they work well into landscapes as I did with another piece.  And they were quite inexpensive.
I am always intrigued with water and painting it – well.  So there are times that it just works perfectly the way I want it and others…hmmm…my evil twin emerges and all is lost.  Same thing with wheat fields…because we are surrounded by wheat fields and vineyards, they have to be represented the way I want them…not much compromised.  So this  you might be able to tell is going to have a train wreck somewhere in this narrative.  I had taken a reference photo of some fields with a road and sort of an edgy composition.  Got the back ground sky, hills, trees, hint of a house and barn all in and it’s looking good.  I have roughed in the road and fields with an under painting and started to work on the fields.  Then I worked some more.  And some more.  I know what’s happening, but I could not stop working on this field and let me tell you it was going no where.  I am working on Wallis paper;  get rid of the attempts of wheat; start again.  Yes ma’am, this is a train wreck.  My husband came by; didn’t say a word.  There you go….that spoke volumes!  I know dang well this is a wreck and it’s fatal!  Call it what you want; heat stroke, the emerging of my evil twin, a hissy fit, whatever…I gently untaped that paper from my board and folded it up, stuffed it all the way to the bottom of the garbage can and walked into the air conditioned house and sat down with a cup of coffee and watched a movie.  I considered a couple of other paths like tearing that paper to shreds, then stuffing all the little pieces of paper in the garbage but that tends to make a big mess and the pastel dust is flying. The other option was to set fire to the paper and the easel or got the chain saw out and made kindling…but that might have not worked in my favor since I don’t always end up the victor with power tools and matches.  I’ll just say that at our house we have several heavy duty power cords that are supposed to be 50′, but they are now about 46′.
So a couple of days later I can look back on this episode of discarding a piece of Wallis paper loaded with a lot of pastel as another learning experience.  When you know things are not going well…DON’T keep fighting the system.  Step back and go watch a movie!   And of course the next morning I am out digging in the garbage looking to see if there is something salvageable.  And I guess I can say that it is not often that something goes so far awry that I need to destroy it!  That’s the good thing!
So if you occasionally fail with a painting…it’s ok…if you learned something from it! 🙂
By the way…the painting of the water…it turned out.
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About bonnie griffith

I am a landscape artist who works in pastels, oils and acrylics. My work focuses on representational studies of the western US. I am basically self taught with lots of workshops and studies with several landscape artists such as Bruce Haughey and Clark Elster. I live in southwestern Idaho, am a native Montanan with a strong connection to the land. I spend as much time as I can in MT painting as well other parts of the northwest. I appreciate getting out in the field and working plein air because there is nothing like completing a painting in the true light of day and visually not being compromised by the use of a photo. In my work, my goal is to produce a piece of work that draws the viewer into the painting and challenges them to explore the scene; get a sense of the time of day, the temperature, the light or lack of. If I have gotten that viewer to step out of their reality and into that painting and enjoy it, then my work was accomplished as I wished. View all posts by bonnie griffith

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