Monday, January 17, 2011

Roadside Decor - pastel - SOLD

Finished just under the wire with this painting, in terms of being able to get a photo of it for today's blog post [I take all my photos outside under shaded natural light - I hate using tripods and indoor lighting if I can help it].

It took me the longest time to come up with a title for this piece, and I changed it again as I was writing this part of the post.  And yes, it's another highway scene; I can't seem to stop painting them.

Roadside Decor
pastel on Strathmore 500-series paper

The contrast of snow against this road-cut section of sedimentary rock slope caught my eye.   The snow forms delicate patterns down the face of the uplifted rock, helping to define the curves and grooves within the eroded facade of pink and red sandstone, decorating it.  I really like the juniper along the distal edge of the flat land plane, so I kept some there, as well as a few tenacious individuals residing on the slope itself.  Meanwhile, the sun awaits  the traveler just up the road and around the bend.   There is a quiet drama in this scene.  

Unlike the last painting, also on Strathmore paper, this time I decided to use blending.  The paper was a mid-value brown, and I didn't feel visible paper would enhance this painting.   In one of Johannes' live painting demos with pastel, he recommended the use of a styrofoam packing peanut to blend the pastel with.  I decided to try it, and it was great, giving me more control over blended edges than my fingers could.  Working in this paper definitely requires some finesse, as it doesn't accept nearly as many layers as sanded grounds do, and I see areas that could use some finessing of the snow lines.   I'm probably a sucker for punishment to keep using it, but it does keep me on my toes as mistakes aren't easily forgiven.

And, here are a few photos from this afternoon's sky, taken when I was photographing the painting.  Temperatures were warmer, and snow clouds were blowing through the mountain areas earlier in the day.  It was a good day for cloudspotting .


  1. Wowie. This is the best in this series, in my humble opinion. Truly a fine work. Your subtle control of values is what amazes me.

    I need to put your blog on my Blogroll at Pastel, so I don't miss any posts.

  2. Sonya I can practically hear the hissing drone of tires under my feet. "Roadside Decor" makes me feel like I'm right there in the passenger seat. Lovely work.

  3. I, too, am in the driver's seat, looking at this makes me tuck in my scarf a little tighter as i am getting chilled. I am a real sucker for paintings with roads and this one is wishes on strathmore with p-nuts, a brave woman!!

  4. Hi Casey - thanks; I appreciate your thoughts and comments, as always :). I didn't have high expectations when I started this painting (seeing as it's on Strathmore), but it came out better than I'd imagined, and is probably one of the best pastels I've done to date. Obtaining correct values can be one of the biggest obstacles for a painter, I think, and it's even more challenging in pastel. So, I doubly appreciate your comment about them.

    Hi Lynn - ah, another fan of road trips! I'm delighted this painting resonates with you as well. Thank you much for your comments.

    Hi Cindy - thank you for your comments. I'm so glad to know that there are folks who like paintings with roads in them other than just me. And, it was unbelievably cold on this drive! The winter storm that came through caused temps in the high country to plummet to -22 that night. Your comments about the paper made me laugh :D.

  5. A really nice series you've got going, Sonya...makes me homesick for that country! :)

  6. Thanks, Don! I've actually never been to your neck of the woods before, but your paintings tell me it's a place I need to visit.


Your thoughtful comments add value to this blog - thank you so much for taking the time to leave them!

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