Living near the Grand River has given me an appreciation of the beauty and serenity of the wetlands and all the wonderful species that rely on the wetlands. The reference picture could be anywhere but it reminded me of this area and I loved the evergreen trees since they have so much character. I was growing tired of dominantly blue skies, so I painted this one mainly a pretty shimmery pink which didn’t translate through the camera so well, neither did the trees. Cameras and artwork just don’t always cooperate with each other so well. This was meant to be a quick study using a new surface that I created from Colorfix primer on Canson Board, and have to say that I’m very happy that the container is now gone and only three more Colorfix surfaces left to deal with before I can say a final ‘so long’ to this surface. I’ll be very happy to return to Wallis and Uart for my pastel surfaces. I used my usual Unison and Ludwig combination of pastels.
I think it’s funny how artists always say that it’s bad to use too much green in landscape paintings and yet green is one of Nature’s dominate colors; seemingly, the color of life. It’s is also one of my favorites (perhaps it’s the gardener in me) therefore I decided to break with conventional wisdom and paint a landscape using green as the dominate theme. Sometimes you just need to do things the way you want since art begins with the artists and it is an expression of those artistic desires. I worked from a picture that I had taken near the Grand River in late spring before the terribly dry summer really kicked in so perhaps this is an expression of what summer needed to be instead of what we got.
I used Terry Ludwig and Unison Pastel on Wallis Belgium Mist paper.
It’s been awhile since my last post I see…guess this means that it has been summer break time…or at least that’s my excuse. However, I’ve been busy at the pastel easel and have completed some new work including this one.
We decided to stop along the Grand River in Cayuga, Ontario on our way back from delivering some work to the gallery, so I took the opportunity to snap a few shots of the river for reference images. I loved how the gnarled willow tree was growing over the river like an old woman stretching after waking from a long nap. The bark was deeply creviced and the leaves and branches allowed the light to travel through creating a lace-like appearance. The sky was partly overcast lending a silvery appearance to the still waters of the Grand which is something I hope that I’ve managed to capture in this painting.
I used mostly Ludwig’s with a few Unison’s on Belgium Mist Wallis paper. For the darker tree trunk and branches I used the lovely warm brown pastel BE#6 that came with the Unisons Landscape Set of 72, it is the most wonderful rich velvety brown a pastel artist could ever want.
I’ll post my newer work over the next couple weeks.
Another trip to the Grand River with my camera and several less than impressive photo’s later and I managed to get something I could crop into submission to create a somewhat decent reference photo.
The original picture:
The Cropped Version:
And my final pastel painting. I changed the basic shapes of the shrubs to make them more abstract and I also simplified the trees so it was a little less busy and moved the shore line to make the line more interesting and musical. Once happy with the layout, I sketched the landscape in with hard pastels/pencils then blocked in the basic masses, followed by the more time consuming details. My materials included Faber-Castel Pastel Pencils, Nu-Pastels (hard), Unison and Terry Ludwig Soft Pastels on Wallis paper which has become my favourite pastel surface.
One of those ideal spring days arrived and I had the opportunity to take several photographs of the Grand River. After sorting through my less than wonderful assortment of pictures I decided to settle on one in particular showing the bridge and a few buildings along the opposite shore. I played around with the composition and finally decided that I didn’t want any man-made structures involved so this doesn’t act as a correct interpretation of the local, but I prefer my work to have little or no presence of human habitation. However, mostly I just liked the simplified version, the bridge and buildings just made things too busy.