Saturday, August 6, 2016

Daily Painting Challenge - Pastel Landscapes No 5

For painting number 5 in my daily painting challenge series I decided to paint a familiar seen, one I see every day.

art painting landscape pastel nature tree field summer

"Good Morning Summer"

8" X 10",  Pastel on sanded paper

This is what I see on summer mornings when I look out my kitchen window.  The morning sun lights up the grasses and the tree trunks.  I don't really feel like I fully captured the effect but that's what keeps us artists going, always chasing the effects of light and trying to put them into our paintings. The developers took the field to the north of me, hopefully this beautiful field that borders my backyard will be around much, much longer.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Daily Painting Challenge - Pastel Landscapes No. 4

It's day 4 of the daily painting challenge and I'm still hanging in there but I will admit I'm struggling to keep the steam up.  Maybe that's why I painted one even smaller than the last.

art painting landscape pastel cottonwood tree autumn fall foliage

"Lone Cottonwood"

7" X 5", Pastel on paper

I did something a little different for this one.  Rather than start with a photo reference I painted from a mini painting I did in acrylic some time ago, it's only 2" X 3 1/2", and it was painted using a 12" X 16" painting I did a year and a half ago as reference.  So this painting is three generations removed from the original reference photo and it still works.   This tree is a cottonwood that stands all by itself in a conservation area in the Heber Valley which is on the east side of the Wasatch mountains directly across from the Salt Lake Valley.  This reminds me of how thankful I am for the movement to restore and/or conserve areas of public land in a natural state.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Daily Painting Challenge - Pastel Landscape No 3

Here we are at day three of the daily painting challenge.  I'm keeping this post simple, here's the painting;

art painting landscape pastel rural farm ranch countryside

"Across the Acres"

6" X 8", pastel on mounted paper

This scene is based on a photo I took somewhere in the central Utah county of Sanpete.  That area of the state is more open than most of the rest allowing for broad vistas like this one of some storm clouds intersecting the peak of a small mountain in the distance across the acres of hay fields.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Daily Painting Challenge - Pastel Landscapes No.2

Day two of my daily painting challenge has come and gone and below is the result.  I decided to make a bit of a demo out of this so further below you'll see some photos of some intermediate steps of my painting process on this particular piece.

I have many photos I've taken on my hikes in the Wasatch Mountains, within minutes I can be out of the crowded, noisy suburbs and in a wild nature wonderland.  The thing that appealed to me most about this scene is the cool, dark shapes created by the foreground shadows and the background trees contrasted by the sunlit grassy area.

art painting landscape pastel mountain wasatch hiking trail

"Day Hike"

9" x 12", pastel on sanded paper

I have a bunch of sheets of 9" X 12" Colorfix sanded paper that comes in all kinds of different colors and I've decided to try using them up for this daily challenge series.  The painting from day one used a dark gray-violet tone.  Because I wanted to emphasize the coolness of the shadows in this painting I decided to use dark blue paper for this painting.  I lightly sketched the composition using a light gray hard pastel.

art painting wip first stage pastel

Next was a loose block-in using a couple layers and a light touch.  I often use a lot of violets for my block-ins, I'm not sure why but they seem to work.  In this case I used some greens and oranges as well.

art painting wip pastel block-in

This stage is basically more refinement of the block-in, gradually introducing more of the final colors.  I'm careful not to get too crazy with using too many different colors though.  I think I used less than 20 colors in this painting.  As you can see the dark and light shapes are better defined.  This is the stage where I want to be sure the composition is what I want before I get too detailed.  I'll spend some time evaluating the painting from a distance before moving on to the final refinements you see in the finished painting at the top.

art painting wip middle stage pastel

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Daily Painting Challenge - Pastel Landscapes No. 1

I'll admit it, I've been in a bit of a slump lately.  It's not that I haven't made any art, it's that my heart hasn't been fully into it and so I've been kicking around from one project to another not really finishing anything, at least not to my satisfaction.  I decided it's time I gave myself a good, swift kick in the butt, it's time for a challenge.

It's been some time since I last painted with pastels.  Pastels were my first painting medium but I've largely abandoned them lately.  I enjoy painting with acrylics but I figure a change of medium might help me get out of my slump so I got the pastels out.  To really kick it in gear I decided to challenge myself to not only paint with pastels but to also finish one small pastel landscape painting every day for at least a week.   Hopefully this will create the jump start that I need.

Just like much of the country northern Utah is experiencing a bit of a heat wave, though if memory serves me 100 dg+ weather used to not be all that uncommon in July and August but by the way they are making a big deal of it the stats must say different.  Anyway, it's way too hot to be painting outdoors in the late afternoon, or evening and that's the only time I have available during the week so I have to settle for using photo references and work in my comfortable, air conditioned studio, boo hoo.

To cool myself down, at least mentally I picked an autumn scene and to help keep it simple I chose a nature scene.  I encountered this quiet, shady spot while taking a walk on the Jordan River Parkway in the Jordan Narrows section.  I enjoyed taking in all the various colors and textures of the foliage, trees, grasses and bushes while I rested a bit, of course I enhanced those things a bit in the painting;

art daily painting landscape autumn pastel foliage fall

"Quiet Moment"

9" X 12", pastel on paper

I really enjoyed getting dusty with the pastels again, this should be a fun week.