Pastel Dust and Art-a-Day

First of all, here is an interesting blog site to follow.  They do a weekly radio talk show.  this week’s guest is a gallery owner in Costa Mesa, CA Randy Higbee.  Should be a good show.  The blog site directs you how to access the show.

Another note…I have always wondered why Dick Blick Co did not have a presence in the Seattle (or the northwest) area.  Well apparently they do at 1600 Broadway in Seattle.  Not sure when that store opened, but it is and that’s important!  I am always raving about how much I love Jerry’s Artarama and that is still the case.  Dick Blick has been a favorite for a long while and they have great stuff as well.  One thing they have are the Pilot Parallel Calligraphy pens.  If you are a calligrapher or wannabe – these are the coolest pens. They are easy to use, have great ink cartridges and come with different nibs for a variety of lettering.  I bought a couple of the pens and loved them.  Then my daughter decided calligraphy was something she wanted to go, so I “loaned” her my pens.  I need to go buy new pens because she is addicted to them and the art of lettering. (yea!).  Since Dick Blick has them on their website, just maybe at the store in Seattle they will also be!  And  just for the record…Dick Blick isn’t the only great art store in Seattle…if you are visiting or live there, the Daniel Smith store is one not to miss.  Their staff is the some of the most helpful and knowledgeable.  that says a whole bunch.  And DS also has their own line of paints that are wonderful…

So how is the painting a day going you might wonder.  It is happening and 4 days into the process, I have results.  I am working small…6×6″ and maybe even a little smaller.  Once again, I am going to continue playing with combinations of paper and pastels…

Painting #2 is 7×3″ about, is done on Wallis paper with Sennelier and Unison pastels, underpainted with Mungyo.  This combination really is great for those bold, bright colors to shine. 

I have found when I work on a “soft” paper, such as Rives BFK or Sommerset, your colors are more muted and not quite as bright.  The  “Tongue River In October” (Sommerset paper approx. 6″x8″) is one of that example.  This paper allows you to get that soft edge look quite easily using same pastels.  I love these papers for those foggy, wintry  scenes and ones that you just want a soft appearance to your painting.  You can’t build up too many layers on them, but you can really rub that pigment into them and get a velvety feel to the painting.  I don’t do much with workable fixes when I use these papers – but then I am not trying to get much detail either.  I will probably do this painting again on Wallis or Art Spectrum to really beef up the color. 

The next painting is  a 6×6 inch work from a photo I took in the mountains near Newport, OR.  I have done some larger versions of this.   For this painting I did a underpainting with red and then used Sennelier, Unison and Diane Townsend “terrages” pastels.  Some details accomplished with Mungyo semi-hard pastels.  One point to make is the DT “Terrage” pastels are the “gritty” ones.  I love these for their ability to be used as that little sparkle; that definition or suggestion of leaves or detail.  They work great to put a finishing touch on a painting.  I do use a workable fix in between the layers of pastel to assist with depth and character.  Nothing is sprayed or fixed on the final painting.

I took some really interesting photos of snow and shadows this past weekend and they will be the source for some of the daily paintings.  I will experiment with papers and pastels and post the results.

I am hoping that some of you will take the “30 day challenge” and do Art-a-Day.  It doesn’t have to start with the beginning of month; it just has to start!  If there is one thing I have learned over time is that one way to improve your work is to be diligent in doing it…keep after it.  And I think it is important to always be sketching and doing pencil drawings of things…it’s a great way to establish value in a painting.  Most important…keep painting and…happy 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

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