The road not taken…


Photo reference - Concannon vineyard

I based a painting on a vivid fall scene at nearby Concannon Vineyards.  I was attracted to the warm colors in the leaves on the foreground vines and also the patterns of the distant vineyards. The pastel painting was started as a demonstration piece at a local art gallery.  After spending several hours on the piece, I knew something wasn’t right.  My suspicions of a composition that wasn’t working were confirmed when I showed this work in progress to some artist friends.  The road created a roadblock in the scene. Back in the studio I eliminated the road that streaked across the painting.  Instead I created a pathway through the vines in the foreground and into the distance vineyard…Now I may enjoy a glass of Petit Syrah for which Concannon is famous.

"Late Harvest", pastel, 11 x 17

From the mountains to the Livermore Valley…


After painting on location at about 11,750 feet for an hour and a half,  it was time to head back down the trail.   Fortunately, I had secured the painting between the foamboard, as the usual afternoon clouds brought rain half way back to the trail head. 

Several months passed before I returned to work on the pastel back in my studio in California. There is nothing to compare with working on location.  But, with some photos for reference I was able to complete the painting started in the mountain meadow.

"Sitting With Columbine"

Painting along the trail in Colorado…

Last summer I hiked a trail called “Mayflower Gulch” outside of Breckenridge, CO .  I was prepared to paint with  limited supplies in a backpack and no easel.  After hiking up the old mining trail about a mile and  a half , I found the view that I had in mind.  The sloping meadow of wildflowers and columbine was enough inspiration  for a year full of paintings. My view of the snow- covered mountains was partially blocked by a few evergreen trees, but I chose to sit  by a tree that offered shade and  a cushion of pine needles.  I love  painting outdoors! Plein air painting is exciting and challenging.  The clouds move quickly in the mountain changing the light  and there are other issues of time, weather, and ants!

Painting in CO

My materials:

Paper: La Carte sanded pastel paper taped on to a piece of foam core board, a piece of glassene, and  then another piece of foamcore of the same size, and  secured with a large rubber band.

Pastels: About 40+  small pieces of pastels-  pencils, Rembrandts and Unisons.

New year, new beginnings, new box…

It’s a  New Year: 2012…

Remember the rush that you felt when you opened a new box of crayons when you were young?  The fresh aroma of new wax.. The array of sharpened sticks of color wrapped in the words “Crayola”…  That’s what I love about painting in pastel…  It’s just me and my box of color… and the Possibilities!

Fresh pastel set