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Green Sunshine: pastel 12x9 inches

, 08:42

Many hold-ups this past two weeks, unable to do any artwork, scanning, nothing at all. However, here we are with a pastel that was underway during the last post back in late June. The back garden apple trees are quite old and have twisted trunks and branches. This one is casting a lacy pattern of shadows on the lawn, allowing an interplay of light and dark colours. The tree was drawn freely to begin with, keeping it at the upper end of the pastel paper to allow space for the shadows. A limited few colours were used from the Rembrandt pastel range to do the drawing, and ongoing shading of the branches; green greys, grey-browns and touches of yellow-green.

The lawn was initially begun with a spread of cross-hatched lines done with conte carre sticks, using magenta, dark blue and a purple; this helped to lay in the pattern of the dark shadows. The lighter areas were also hatched in, using paler greens; followed by a light fixing spray. From here, softer pastels went in for the shadows, using Unison's dark greens, along with touches of complementary red or violet. Even in shadow the grasses and small flowers were perfectly visible, so these areas still needed to display some detail.

The background to the tree was created with darker blues and greys and "grubby" browns, smudged a little to reduce the edges of the individual marks. The mass of green leaves was worked with various soft-pastel greens, allowing for areas of strong sunlight in brighter yellows. Touches of red were added to give a little "flicker" of complementary colour.

Eventually the sunlit areas of grass were worked in, using green-yellows and a golden yellow; dotted with tiny marks for the blades of grass, seeds and flower-heads.

The pastel paper used was white PastelMat. I decided to use white in order to assist with the luminosity required for the sunlit patches.

A Place to Reflect: pastel 14x11 inches

, 11:11


Following my inner struggle to complete the recent small oil painting of marmalade jar and dish, I have managed to recover and successfully complete not one, or even two, but FOUR pastel paintings in the past week. Today's image was begun last week on a sheet of white Pastelmat card. I chose white because although I wanted a deepish green atmosphere to the whole thing, I didn't want a UNIFORM green all over. Starting therefore with white, I painted over the pastelmat surface with diluted ink, mixing together a deep blue with a deep green, plus a little touch of orange-red which took out the slightly garish appearance of the first two. I marked in the positions for the background trees, leaving an upper middle area white, which was actually a background field. The tree sections were darkened suitably to provide shadowy depth. The ink painting was carried on down into the water area, keeping it slightly lighter. The whole thing was left to dry.

Not all pastel papers cope with ink or other wet media. PastelMat seems to manage fine, and Colorfix is particularly amenable. I have also used fluid on Canson Touch. However do not use fluids on Sennelier Pastelcard, because the surface will flake off.

Once dry, I was then able to plan out the pastel. I say "plan" because in reality I tend to work by instinct; each picture I do is actually begun in a different way every time. I chose to mass in the darks for the trees on left and right, and also add dark "holes" for the central greeny-grey shrub. The upper pale yellowy-green field was added early, to provide contrast. From here, I simply worked downwards, marking in the horizontals for the landing-stage before continuing with the yellowy green growth and adding further colour to the background trees.

The bench was drawn in lightly with a harder Rembrandt pastel, using a pale blue-grey and working into it later with near-white. The boat was drawn in with the same harder pastels, ensuring the boat-curves were visible, before later adding softer pastel. On each side, the mauve-pink shrubs were created with medium greens plus suitable purples and pinks. Finally, moving to the water, all the same colours as used "above" were employed for the reflections, dulling them slightly by occasional light rubbing.

Unison's Dark Jewel range is especially useful for subjects like these; and smaller pieces of broken Daler Rowney pastels provided easier execution of the mauve-pink flowerheads. The work received light fixing-spray at several stages, particularly for the water, where the surface was brushed with acrylic medium at one point to dissolve the pastel dust and move it around. Overall, the result is very close to what I intended.

"Clouds over Portmeirion": oil 12x9 inches

, 08:48



Oils on canvasboard, 24cm x 30cm (approx 12x9 inches). Another from North Wales...Viewing the sky from a high vantage-point close to the Town Hall in Portmeirion. In front of me directly was quite a lot of open space and flat rooftop, not exactly inspiring material....so I cropped my photo down to exclude all this and concentrate mainly on the sky. A fairly quickly-executed painting; the first stage was done in around 2 hours and then I had to leave it for a couple of weeks; finishing it the day before yesterday in around an hour and a half.

My second painting, also completed on the same day, shows a different part of the country; that I'll put up here early next week.

Magnolia Window: pastel 10x10 inches

, 11:32



Pastel on Canson "Touch" brown pastel paper.
A local cottage has a very nice magnolia tree that spreads out across its front wall and flowers prolifically in the springtime. I have aimed to capture the Victorian window style and surrounding stonework, set against the blossoming tree.
Short post this time....very busy. This pic is listed at DailyPaintWorks.com

Lakeside Trees: pastel 15x13 inches approx.

, 11:37

A couple of items completed since last time, here is one of them, although a bit out of season. My local lake-shores always put on a good display in autumn and I have been keeping the photo of this one back for a while, before finally launching out on it. It provided the opportunity to use some of the dull and brighter reds in the pastel-box.

Queen's Parade, Brandon Hill, Bristol: pastel 12x12 inches

, 11:39

A subject like this is quite a step away from my usual stuff but it made a change and allowed me to get a break from intense, close-up work. Having said that, it took me a while to do all the windows....

This pastel is on Sennelier card, a warm sienna colour. It tends to be quite toothy and in some ways wasn't quite so ideal for some of the detailed parts, but it worked nicely in the grass and tree areas. The terrace of buildings, in reality, has been painted in various colours (thankfully none of them too brash) and add an extra dimension to a scene which would ordinarily be just a little drab during an English winter.

I used hard pastels to start the work with and also had to make a few starter attempts on the angle and positioning of the buildings---they start to slope downhill at one point. This layout I did at home, would have been tricky outdoors. The evening glow was built up with a layer of pastel pencils to start with, then soft pastel added on top. I resorted to hard conte sticks and pencils to get the windows and doors marked out. The park grass and trees were kept a little looser in working.