Monday, August 23, 2010

Alpine Meadow - pastel

Here is today's painting, based on one of the many photos I took on our hike last week along the Colorado Trail, up by Molas Pass and near Molas Lake.  It starts around 10,000', so no pines, or even aspen - just spruce.  The trail heads east and drops down about 1700' to the Animas River, crossing the DSNGRR (Durango-Silverton narrow-gauge railroad).

"Alpine Meadow"
9x12" on Canson M-T

When in Telluride this past Friday, pastelist Bruce Gomez working on his easel right on the sidewalk in front of the gallery his work is sold in.  Of course, I couldn't help but stop and watch for a bit, as his work was stunning!   I asked him what surface he was painting on, as it had a sueded look, highlighting the luminescence of pastel.  He said:  "Watercolor paper sanded with #80-grit sandpaper".  No underpainting or anything.  He was using a 2" paintbrush from the hardware store to both blend the pastels and dust them off.  Have a look at his website to see his beautiful pastels.  

Anyway, that was inspirational, and I decided to try sanding some Canson paper to see if that helped.  The above painting is the result, and I have to say that it did definitely improve the surface and ability to apply more layers.  Earlier today, I went and purchased two sheets of 22x30" cold-press Arches watercolor paper to try as a surface; I'm always up for trying something new, and this is a fast (and cheaper) way to try a larger piece.  

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