Monthly Archives: June 2012

Pastel Dust in Landscape


No b lack Sheep in this Family

What makes a painting happen?  In my world it starts with something that triggers my interest.  Painting happens nearly every day…at least some sort of sketching or drawing if not a painting.  If I am the passenger on a car trip, I might be sketching.  I have my iPhone or camera handy also when driving to record – not a specific scene to paint, but a chance to shoot a reference photo of something for a future painting…I am always looking…

So Saturday I had to deliver some work to Vintage Vine in Roslyn for the next show that opens the first part of July.  I decided to make a day of it and spend it scouting around the Cle Elum and Roslyn area for painting spots for the upcoming Fresh Air Festival paint out event July 14-20.  I have the opportunity to teach a workshop in pastel (July 17-19) and also do a demo (Monday July 16) as part of the event, so finding some good spots to take artists to paint and also spots for my own work was on my list of things to do.  We drove the streets and backroads and found some good spots with a variety of scene.  I shot a lot of images and enjoyed watching the weather change from bright and sunny to a dark clouded rain storm.  But  – leaving home early, about 630 a.m., driving the Walla Walla valley had the most impact on my eyes…and it reminded me why it is so worthwhile to get up early and go out and paint.  The trees that follow the river and the fields next to them planted with wheat or peas or potatoes or onions were cool greens of various values and the early sun cast a soft light on the terrain.  The distant hills were a soft lavender, a bit hazy in the early morning.  There were many opportunities for a great, tonal painting in the peacefulness that presented in the landscape.  I shot some photos, but none render the actual beauty seen with the human eye…it’s why we paint en plein air!  So paint when you can from life…it makes a difference!

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Pastel Dust en Plein Air – June Paint Out


DI love to work en plein air. So when there is an opportunity for a paint out, I am on it. We just hosted the Northwest Pastel Society’s annual paint out near Dayton and Walla Walla a few days ago. The weather was less than optimal but about 25 artists persevered and painted some great works over the 5 day event. The wind blew and it rained intermittently with temperatures in low 50’s at times, so at times like that one piles on layers of clothes, has hand warmers nearby, secures your easel with some weights and hopefully finds a place to paint out of the direct wind! I didn’t venture far from the car, parking it so that I could open the hatch back and be a little out of the wind. Worked great for my purposes. During one sunny, but windy afternoon I painted from a deadend road of a big red barn near Hwy 12…Another day along the Touchet River and later rendered a painting of my friend Betty hunkered down painted her own masterpiece in the grasses along the stream. One day I was bound to paint some atmosphere as the clouds were spectacular…the rains came and paper was speckled with rain drops. After they dried, I was able to eliminated them and complete the work. Another day, in the protection of some dense brush and Rock Hill, I painted the not so obvious scene of the trail leading into this area… So even with the elemnts not being kind…I managed some decent work….and it makes one appreciate the beautiful, calm, clear days we get to paint in at other times!  The message…always paint…it’s good for the soul!IMG_0705


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