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Thursday, November 21, 2013

"A Bentonville Winter" 9x12 Soft Pastel on Pastel Card


I've been very busy.  Holidays are fast approaching, and my house is a mess, laundry is piling up, and I've been preparing the grocery list for Thanksgiving.  Craziness abounds this time of year at our house.



Still, preparing for gift giving involves, at least for me, painting.  This year, I have completed two winter scenes in soft pastel for my daughter, Kim, and her family, to enjoy in their beautiful home.  The first is "A Blue Ridge Winter" based on a number of images I took while in the mountains, and a bit of imaginary play to create the winter scene you see here.



Sometimes, paintings look great in pairs or trios on the wall.  In this case, I thought that one lone winter scene needed another, so Kim provided me with a scene she took in Bentonville, Arkansas in the winter of 2010.  A beautiful reference, I used it to create the second winter scene painting.



Recently, I've been hooked on PanPastels.  They are soft pastels in round plastic pans.  They are used wtih tools called "Sofft Tools" that look like makeup sponges, and palette knives with sponge attachments.  Love them!  I use them in conjunction with the soft pastel sticks to create the mood of the painting exactly as I want it to be.



Using a 9x12 pastel card from Sennelier, I tape the edges of the painting to a board that I can secure in my easel.  While working in pastel, I prefer to have my painting vertical in front of me, so the pastel dust drops, otherwise, pastel ends up everywhere and I blow it all over the place to get it off my work.  

Looking at my reference, I make a quick sketch with a charcoal pencil.  No details here, just figuring out placement and any changes I might want to make.  In this case, I removed the fence from the reference.



Next step is a simple block in.  Putting some color and information down on the pastel card gives me some information for going forward with the composition and painting. The pastel is not put down heavy at this stage because the heavier the pastel I put down, the less opportunity I have to build up layers of pastel and add depth and interest.



Little by little, adding more information.  In this case, I added the cascading shadows across the snow. and did some more work on the rough foliage and bushes.



After working on the bridge, I realized the angle of the roof on the right (in the sun) needed adjustments.  I needed to move the roof up and make it longer.  Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and make these corrections.  NEVER leave something wrong on your painting!!  Fix it as soon as you see it.



Finally adding detail.  my favorite part of the painting!



And here is the final painting - "A Bentonville Winter" 9x12 Soft Pastel on Sennelier Pastel Card.





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