pastel dust

I went again to Kontos’s pond and painted with my friend Bambi.  In a matter of weeks there area changes in the fields and vegetation.  The wheat field to the north has been harvested and the straw baled and there is more dry weeds and grasses around the pond.  While we were there a big blue heron glided in and landed on the little island in the pond, but stayed hidden from us.  We took a break in the midst of the paint out and walked the banks and pastures and shot bunches of images for reference.  When we finished painting  we stopped back at her studio and I looked at some of her pieces she has been working on.  She is talented and is growing so much as a pastelist. 
We always grumble a little about how much stuff we drag with us to go out and paint.  I have a French easel and it works good for short hikes to set up.  But I still have a box of pastels and another bag with paper and stuff that I drag along.  I need to load my tray in my easel with pastels and eliminate one bag!  Bambi however, has been on a quest for a better system and she found a great easel from Cheap Joe’s.  It is smaller than my French, but has good storage.  It seems more compact, but has great features and seems a little easier to put together than the French.  I believe it is Cheap Joe’s own design and it is quite the ticket!
Our SE WA fair opened today and as part of fine art department staff, we demo during the hours the fair is open.  Carly and I were there today for some hours and managed to complete the vertical pond pastel above and start another.  There was a  moderate amount of traffic and it’s a great way to talk to people about pastels and for them to watch us work.  My “Evening Storm Skies” nabbed the Best of Show  and first in the professional division.  “Velvet Underfoot” was 3rd.  It’s a nice reward to earn such a prize.  There are some beautiful pieces of work there.
The kid’s art is in the same area and last night when we were labelling them, it was great to see what uninhibited art comes from children.  There are some really good stuff.  My two grand daughters both had little watercolors entered; sweet little pieces they are so proud of!  And our friend’s son Wiley who takes oil painting lessons regularly entered an outstanding impressionistic piece.  It earned a Blue in the open division and justifiably so!
So three days of demos and Friday brings “First Friday Art Walk”.  I will show new works at Williams Real Estate office for the month of September and I am looking forward to having a lot of the pieces framed plein air style in mahogany and gold frames, hanging on their walls!
With that, I wish everyone a safe and happy Labor Day weekend and keep painting!!


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

2 responses to “pastel dust

  • Ida M. Glazier

    I have been out Plein-air today–and totally understand the problem of carrying too much!! I have sorta solved the problem, I carry a 1/2 french, a good back-pack ( for a laptop) and a Heilman box—bungees hold the box to the drawer so it don't fall. Works wonderfully. In my full French, I lined the drawer with memory foam, and also the palette bottom with the memory foam to go over the top of the pastels. That works well, but the full french weighs 14 lbs. the half weight's 11 lbs. I like my heilman box , I got the orginal size but they make other sizes as well, with an attachment on the bottom for a tri-pod. You should view their website. I don't think I spelled that right! The size of the papers or boards I put in my backpack are 11 x 9, and I can carry alot. Also I have places for viewcatchers, pencils, sketchbook, alchol and things you think are needed. I was out this am—and am still bothered by my trees! But I do remember what you told me, and I keep trying that. So much more practise is needed, tho!! I love plein-air, and will keep at it and maybe one day mine will be as nice as yours!!


  • Bonnie

    I have a portable box similar to Heilman, made by Dakota Arts. I put foam in it and it works pretty well. Sometimes I take the French (full) with me and sometimes I take just a little wooden easel and a board in my pack. The pastel box also has a space under the lid to put your finished works..9×12 size. A friend got that great one (portable art box;easel combination – from Cheap Joes…easier to put together than French it seemed. smaller.going to Seattle area in a couple of days…might take some pastels with. Be busy, but maybe a chanced to sketch or something. :-)thanks for the email!


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