There is a certain enchanting beauty about a heavy snowfall on evergreens at the end of a winter’s day. I wanted to capture the peaceful quality of a northern Canadian landscape since this is where I’m from and we certainly have had a peaceful and long winter this year, which has brought several inches of snow although I am getting rather tired of the snow at this point in the year. This will probably be the last snow painting that I depict for a bit and plan on painting other subjects including a few spring landscapes if I can find the proper references or the wherewithal to paint.
I rarely talk about the actual application of the pastel however it might be interesting to some so…Many pastelists like to use harder pastels in the beginning and layer the softer ones over top however I don’t really like the hard pastel I have well enough to use them so I move straight to the Girault which are medium hard to the really soft one’s like Ludwig and Unison and keep layering until I either achieve what I want or I run out of layering surface. I don’t bother with an underpainting or anything fancy. It’s better to concentrate on things I need to work on improving such as the values changes, composition and color application.
Early on a Winter’s Evening
I have discovered that I like working on small seascapes and enjoy the simple, smooth strokes and planes of color involved with the subject matter instead of the more highly textured and detailed forest painting that I normally create. I really like the soft pink in the colours and the soft focus of this painting as well. I used my favourite artist quality pastels mainly Unison and Terry Ludwig pastels on Wallis Pro White Pastel paper which as a sanded surface so that it can hold the pastel dust better and prevent it from falling off.
Sunrise Over the Lake, Soft Pastel on Pastel Paper, 9×12″
Lakeside by Twilight, pastel on paper, 14×18″
There is something that is so beautiful and tranquil about sunsets, I can’t help to paint them every now and then. I’m not really sure where this is but it reminds me of the lake I live near so I decided that this was good subject matter. I also really liked the warm pink and violet tones in the sky and tried to reflect and cool them in the water. I also liked the combination of the rock and shrubbery in the foreground and tried to bring a little detail into the picture. I used my usual combination of Unison’s and Ludwig’s on Colorfix Suede paper, which I’m starting to like better despite the lack of tooth to this paper.
Living near Lake Erie has given me an appreciation of the beauty and sometimes violet nature of the lake, but it’s always been the sunsets that are the most dramatic. For some reason I never seem to have the camera with me at the right moment so when I saw a friend post a picture of a sunset along the lake on her Facebook page, I just had to ask her if I could use it. Thank you Tracy!
I also tried a new surface with the Colorfix Supertooth paper and like it well enough since it allows for a couple more layers of pastel and it has a much softer texture; however, it doesn’t go as far as Wallis Paper. Pastels include the usual Unisons and Ludwigs and the under drawing was done using Faber-Castell pastel pencils. I also used a few of the very warm colors in the Ludwig Plen Air set to make those shadows in the foreground vibrate. I probably took the greatest amount of time trying to recreate that dramatic sky leaving me to wonder why something as soft and simple looking as a sky can be so complicated. This must be the smallest pastel work that I’ve done yet and have to say that it’s great to have a piece that I actually like that isn’t so large and didn’t take so many hours to complete.
Soft Pastel on Colorfix Supertooth Paper 9×11”