Sunday, February 27, 2011

Utah canyon country landscape - pastel

tags:  southwestern landscape painting - pastel painting - original art - 9x12 - Canyonlands NP - southern Utah

Wingate Colors Against a Turquoise Sky
12x9 inches
pastel on Wallis sanded paper

Based on a photo taken from our trip to Canyonlands National Park last October, this depicts the arcing cliffs of wingate sandstone that line the canyon and road leading towards the park.  The amazing array of colors found on the eroded face of this rock result from both the mineral composition of the sandstone itself, as well a biochemical process with manganese oxide, water and bacteria to form the deep purple-grays of desert varnish.  The fissures and fracture lines form a series of abstract shapes that always appeal to my aesthetics.

I couldn't resist a turquoise sky for this piece, although it doesn't photograph as well as I'd hoped.  Cirrus clouds were added as a diagonal thrust to balance the curves of the sandstone.  Chamisa (Chrysothamnus sp., aka Rabbitbrush), sage and juniper make up some of the foreground botanicals.  

For this piece, I pulled out some tube watercolors I bought for sketching and did an underpainting to block in basic shapes over a loose graphite drawing, with none of the original underpainting showing through:

Friday, February 25, 2011

Impending Storm - southern Utah

Impending Storm
6x8 inches
oil on canvas panel

A quick piece done yesterday, the location for this is off Hwy 191, which runs south to north alone the eastern edge of Utah.  Originating in northeastern AZ, it heads north through the small towns of Bluff, Blanding and Monticello, UT.  The road to the Needles District of Canyonlands NP is a few miles north of this view to the west.  The highway then continues through Moab, passing by Arches NP, before finally terminating at I-70.   This part of the Colorado Plateau is characterized by flattened sandstone mesas separated by shallow canyons, wide valleys and the discreet laccolithic mountain ranges of the Abajos and La Sals.  It is a visual delight.

The sky depicts the precursor of a storm - the formation of the cumulonimbus or thunderhead.  The distinctive anvil shape occurs when the towers of warm, moist air of the cumulus congestus rise and hit the cooler air of the troposphere, preventing the cloud from gaining additional height.  With the addition of winds at the troposphere, the leading edge of the cloud extends horizontally, often sending out wispy extensions, as shown here.   I always look forward to summer monsoon season in the southwest because of these magnificent storm clouds.  

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Observation Deck

Another limited palette painting of burnt sienna, ultramarine blue and white:

Observation Deck
8x6 inches
oil on canvas panel

A favorite feline activity:  staring out the window.  We call it "cat TV".  Nelson sits at the window in my computer room taking in the sights below.  This is one of his favorite channels, especially when the neighbor's kitty is outside.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Watch Hill, RI - miniseries quartet

tags:  original pastel painting - new england landscape - beach - lighthouse - original art - oceanscape 

I had to split this next miniseries, now switched to a 1:3 horizontal format, into two days.   It's a radical change in landscape subject:  coastal New England, specifically Watch Hill, RI.  Watch Hill is a quaint little coastal village that is also classified as a National Historical District.  It was one of my favorite places to go when we lived in Mystic, and why I ventured to paint it.  I wrote a post about it back in June, with photos taken during one of our trips there.

Napatree Beach Path
3x9 inches
pastel on reclaimed Colourfix

Napatree Point is a small barrier beach that extends west from Watch Hill, separating Block Island Sound and the Atlantic from Little Narragansett Bay.  For some reason, I've always been drawn to beach paths, especially when the ocean lies out of view, like here.  

Shoreline Patrol
3x9 inches

Gulls.  Noisy, messy and opportunists of any unattended food, they are nonetheless an omnipresent feature of beaches everywhere.   I find myself amused by them.   The original photo was nothing to write home about, but this crop eliminated extraneous detail and turned it into an abstract-like design.  I think this is only the second time I've ever attempted to paint an ocean shoreline (the first attempt went directly into the trash), which is probably pretty clear from this painting!

Beach Rose Fence
3x9 inches

Beach rose (Rosa rugosa) is found throughout the shoreline areas of coastal New England.  Walking along the beach, I saw them covering the outside of this picket fence and thought it was so attractive and representative of the quaint nature of this charming village.  The challenge here was to avoid cloning of the roses (in terms of size, shape and position) and to think in right-brained terms of everything as groups of abstract shapes, overriding the left-brain's attempt to depict them as individual roses, leaves, and formed shadows.   It's about creating an impression for the viewer.

Watch Hill Lighthouse
3x9 inches

I'll be honest here...I usually detest lighthouse paintings.  They conjure up images of kitsch and saccharine, Kincade-esque paintings found in touristy gift shops.  The fact that this is composed of a group of buildings vs. the usual cylindrical lighthouse is what brokered the deal to photograph and then paint it.   The lone gull was in the reference photo, and I decided to keep it.   At least I resisted the urge to add a rose trellis up the lighthouse, eh?

All of these were done on reclaimed Colourfix paper.  If I thought that painting on pristine Colourfix was  unpleasant, painting on this was tedious.  That I was even able to get any small shape to look like its intended form (the gull and lighthouse buildings), let alone at this small size, still surprises me.  

After this, it's back to my comfort zone in the southwestern landscape for a while.

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Vintage Light

tags:  contemporary realism - still life painting - Zippo lighter - 5x7 - daily painting - oil painting

A Vintage Light
5x7 inches 
oil on canvas panel's another from the weekly challenge paintings from the Daily Paintworks, this week hosted by Michael Naples:  the Zippo Challenge.  The challenge was to use burnt sienna, ultramarine blue and white to paint this vintage Zippo lighter.  I altered the format and experimented with different crops, being mindful to not repeat intervals and paying attention to values.  

The easy part was matching the variants of gray using just the BS and UB; the hard part was getting those details down correctly.  I'm actually surprised I was able to do this alla prima and not have it be a smeared mess, especially since I've never attempted to paint anything quite so detailed in oils before.  

I freehand sketched this on the canvas with a pencil yesterday, but did double-check measurements with a ruler just to make sure, and then adjusted shapes and lines as I went along with the paint.  This makes me want to do more still life paintings of shiny things!

Apologies for the reflective glare...I really need a polarizing filter for these wet paintings, especially when they are taken inside.


This afternoon's sky - sweeping cirrus clouds:

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Engineer Mtn - quartet miniseries

Tags:  Durango, Colorado - original artwork - landscape painting - Engineer Mountain - soft pastel.

Living in Durango, I had to do a series of Engineer(s).  Engineer Peak is one of those iconic landmarks of the area that everyone knows.  I've taken so many pictures of it from various hikes and Hwy 550 that I had no trouble choosing 8 images to work with (four will be in landscape format later).

I've mentioned before that Engineer looks great from all sides, at all times, in all seasons.  My hope is that these paintings give a glimpse into why Engineer is such an enduring (and endearing) fixture for the Durango area.

Engineer #1 - summer flowers
9x3 inches
black Colorfix

Taken along a section of the Crater Lake trail during our summer '09 visit, we were treated to both alpine wildflowers and a monsoon storm.

Engineer #2 - from the Colorado Trail
9x3 inches

This doesn't read like I wanted, but this is a view from the Colorado Trail looking across a valley and the slanted strata of the slopes that make up the area.  Aspen (some in fall color) and fir/spruce form almost orderly lines along the slope.  

Engineer #3 - Late Fall

A late fall image, also taken from the Crater Lake trail, but a few miles higher and south.   The trail was covered with golden grasses with scattered spruce and fir.  

Engineer #4 - Winter 
9x3 inches

Taken this winter on one of our snowshoeing trips, this is the view from near Andrews Lake (also the location of the Crater Lake trailhead).  

Friday, February 18, 2011

Views of Colorado - miniseries quartet

tags:  Colorado landscape painting - impressionist landscape - original pastel painting - barns - southwestern landscape - skies - Telluride, CO - creek painting - forest meadow

This next quartet is an assortment of views of southwestern Colorado, based on photos from our summer '09 trip.  I've now seen all these same locations since we moved here, and they are just as appealing as they were when we were visiting.

Hwy 184 Barn
9x3 inches 
pastel on white Colourfix 

Hwy 184 is a scenic two-lane road that connects the small towns of Mancos and Dolores.  This barn is one of my favorite sites along the drive.  

9x3 inches

This old fence, located along the Hermosa Creek valley, separates private rangeland from BLM and national forest land.  Surrounding hills and mountains are covered with spruce, fir and aspen

Hermosa Creek
9x3 inches

This scenic creek is popular with fly fishermen, and a nearby trail is used by hikers and mountain bikers.

Telluride Shadows
9x3 inches

The old mining town of Telluride, located in this small valley, is seen from the highway leading into town from the west.  Monsoon clouds cast shadows over the nearby slopes and mountains.  
[this photo was taken inside and is not as yellow as the image shows...I wasn't able to adjust the temperature any cooler].

Thursday, February 17, 2011

New miniseries - Sunset Strip Quartet

tags:  original pastel painting - landscape painting - sunset - original art for sale - impressionist landscape - southwestern landscape - cumulus clouds

Here is something completely different, and just the thing I've been looking for to break up the traditional landscapes I've been doing lately.  I was inspired by my blogger friend Jala's recent series of small pastel abstracts she calls "Strata".  They are mostly narrow vertical-format pieces of pure color.  I love them!  

I spent part of last night experimenting with a 1:3 aspect ratio crop with photos in my various folders on my computer, and realized I had just come up with a fun new idea.

I'm calling them "Miniseries", and it's a double-entendre of sorts, as it refers both to the size and the number.  My plan or goal is to do a quartet of paintings for each theme.

[Note:  Blogger seems to have some text formatting issues...the edited page says that the text is the same size and the same font but the "preview" page shows smaller font size for some text...not sure what to do about that]

First quartet:  Sunset Strips

Road Reflections 9x3 inches
pastel on white Colourfix

Available for purchase

I have this ever-expanding collection of sunset photos I've taken in various locations.  Some are good as stand-alone photos, some are good for reference material only and most fall somewhere in between.  Somehow, cropping them to this unexpected portrait format adds some level of uncertainty - an abbreviated glimpse into the landscape, but with enough information to tell a story...a short story.

Connecticut Cumulus
Available for purchase

These also seemed like a good way to use up the remaining pieces of Colorfix paper I have; each piece makes a quartet of paintings. For #1 and #4, I used an alcohol wash underpainting, which is really the best way to use this paper, I've found.  For #2 and #3, it was just finger blending to get rid of the white surface, with additional scumbling.

Sunset Virga
Available for purchase

In addition, these small paintings are a great way to experiment with palettes for future full-sized paintings.  In addition to these "strip" paintings, I've also done some in landscape format, which I have been referring to as "bands".  

Saguaro Silhouette

These were fun to do, even on the marginal surface, and I could see them becoming a regular part of my pastel repertoire.  I already have several more quartets lined up, of all different themes.  Thus far, it's only landscapes, but I can see this application for still life and even portraits.  

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Winter Shroud

Winter Shroud
11x14 inches
pastel on 140# w/c paper with Golden pumice ground

A companion piece, if you will, to the last painting.  I realized that I had this photo in my collection, and was drawn to it for the same reasons - golden grasses and dark, dramatic skies.  This is taken from the same location, but the view is to the southeast now, with the wind to our backs.  In the distance, San Jose peak - another small range just south of the border, receives a smattering of snow.

This reminded me that winter storms were a common theme to my photography and paintings last year while in southern AZ.   Two of the paintings can be seen here and here.  

The paper for this gave me some fits with blending; I am guessing it didn't contain a thick enough layer of the pumice ground to allow for the layering I needed, particularly at the top.  It also made trying to accurately depict a mountain partially shrouded in cloud and snow even more difficult.  

Now, I'm off to contemplate the next subject to paint.  I have so many ideas bouncing through my head and often when that happens, it takes longer to figure out what to actually focus on.


Monday's sunset:



Monday, February 14, 2011

Winter Along the Forgotten Road

Winter Along the Forgotten Road
11x14 inches 
 pastel on 140# w/c paper with Golden pumice ground

When I pulled together the reference photos for the Impressions of Winter series, I'd almost forgotten about this one.  It's easy to forget that winter isn't only about snow-blanketed land and frozen streams, but that it casts its influence across the desert regions to the south as well.

This painting is based on a photo I took last February - Feb 28, in fact - during my stay in Bisbee.  A winter storm blew through the region, dropping temperatures down into the low 30's, and produced fierce wind gusts.  I would frequently head out on photo shoots on such stormy days, assuming road conditions were acceptable.  On this day, I drove out towards the Huachuca Mtns., circling south towards the Coronado Nat. Monument.  

This region is a semi-desert grassland and lower areas are surrounded by Chihuahuan desert.  Scrub oak and manzanita are found throughout, and then there are these amazing spreads of grass that turn to pale yellow-gold in the winter - I find these to be absolutely beautiful.  It's increasingly difficult to find an area of this grassland that isn't broken up by housing developments now, but I found one.  Essentially untouched, save for a small fence and fading double-track road, leading straight to Mexico...which is probably less than 1/2 mile away.

The sweeping view of the Sierra Madre Occidentals within this basin and range province is obliterated by the storm and falling snow and rain falling to the south.  Behind me to the north, the Huachucas were getting a dusting of snow.  This is winter in the desert - subtle, mostly, but present.

Here is a photo of the blocking-in stage, prior to application of rubbing alcohol for an underpainting, which helps fix the pastel well into the surface.  I always use an underpainting on these home-made w/c paper surfaces when I don't tone the paper black as I dislike working on a white surface.  Plenty of room for corrections between this and the finished painting, thankfully.

Portrait of a Rose

tags:  floral painting - red rose - 6x8 - alla prima painting - original art - for sale - flower 

Portrait of a Rose
8x6" - oil on canvas panel

Another Daily Paintworks challenge I couldn't resist.  This weeks' challenge is "A Valentine's Day Rose", hosted by Qiang Huang.   I probably should have gone down to the grocery store and ante'd up $5+ for a single red rose to paint from life, but I wasn't feeling that ambitious, so I went with a photo.

I absolutely love flowers, and while they have always been a favorite subject to photograph, I can only recall only one floral painting I ever did, and that was in pastel about 16 years ago.  So, this marks both the first time I've ever painted a rose, or a flower in oils.

I always thought roses seemed very difficult to paint, so complex, and I wasn't sure I'd ever even want to paint them.  But, a single rose sounded like it might be doable, and I loved the simplicity of it.   And, it gave me a chance to pull out some of those cadmium reds and the Alizarin crimson that I seldom use now.  I definitely why Qiang says it is easy to overwork a rose painting.  I can also see why this flower in particular lends itself so well to Flemish painting techniques and glazing; the hardest part was getting the darks dark enough and not losing the edges while doing value adjustments in alla prima.

I'm probably close to wrapping up the winter series I've been working on, and maybe I'll take on some more florals, including some in pastel.  I've been wanting to paint flowers for some time now, and this was a good incentive to give it a go!

Everyone is probably getting sick of the winter and snow, but here are a few from our snowshoeing trip at Andrews Lake yesterday.  My hand is doing great - thank you again for all the well-wishes - and it didn't prevent me from using either my poles or camera:

Waxing half-moon over the Grenadier Range
Andrews Lake is directly in front.

Wayne surrounded by aspen, fir and spruce
And, look - there's the moon...again!

Aspen trunks and shadows
More interesting abstract shapes formed by these beautiful trees.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Two "speed paintings"

Lone Tree
9x12 - pastel on Strathmore Artagain paper

February Thaw
9x12 - pastel on Strathmore Artagain

I had planned on these happening yesterday, but those plans went awry when I had the lid of a metal dumpster fall from full height onto my right hand, smashing it .  After about 10 minutes of excruciating pain, immediate swelling and panicked thoughts of "will I ever be able to paint again?", heading to the urgent care center seemed like a prudent thing to do.  Fortunately, x-rays showed nothing was broken, but I left in a splint that killed any idea of painting.  And, it drove me nuts.

Feeling anxious and stir-crazy this morning, I took the splint off so I could at least type.  And despite the fact my 3rd and 4th fingers look like green and purple sausages, I discovered that I could hold pastels!  I cannot explain what a relief this was.

Anyway, these paintings are a sort of spin-off from the "Ten Minute Challenge", and are also part of the "Impressions of Winter" series.  They are based on photos we took on Wed around Florida (pronounced "floor-EE-ta") Mesa, an area of ranches and farms south of Durango.   The concept was the same:  paint quickly, focusing on masses and abstract shapes rather than details.  For these 9x12", I set the timer for 30 min. each, which is 1/3 of the time it took for the total time in the pear composite painting.   I sort of count them as good warm-ups for plein air work later this year.

They aren't going to win any awards, but believe me, I am pleased anyway!  That I could even paint a day after a pretty major crushing injury to my dominant hand, and that I finished them both within the 30 minute limit = success.  


Wednesday's beautiful sunset, taken 3 minutes apart:

3-part pano 

2-part pano 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Another memory painting

Memory of Canyonlands
6x8 inches - oil on canvas panel

This is the second "memory" painting, based on a photo taken from our mid-October trip there last year.  We spent a night camping outside of the actual park boundary, in a BLM-managed site called "Hamburger Rock" campground.  We sat in our chairs watching the sun set over the distal silhouetted buttes and mesas of the Island in the Sky district of the park.  The sky was a beautiful pale peach fading to an eggshell-colored blue towards the zenith, with streaks of cirrus clouds cutting across it.  

I had to make a few adjustments to the middle ground after the painting was done from memory, a thumbnail sketch, and notes as to colors in areas.  I know sunsets are considered trite and a cliche' by many critics, but what can I say?  I love them!  When I see this, it reminds me of the stillness and calm of that fall evening, and the joy I feel every time I watch a sunset in a beautiful place.


Here are a few more photos from that same late afternoon and evening at the campground:

Long Shadows
A lone juniper cast shadows across a patch of sandstone slickrock

View to the east
A few remaining spires of Wingate sandstone form small buttes east of the park

Island in the Sky
This wide-angle view, taken atop the "Hamburger Rock", looks towards the distal mesa defining the edge of this district to the north.

Sun Pillar
I had never seen this before.  It is classified as a type of halo phenomenon, but unlike sundogs, these are not caused by light passing through ice crystals, but merely reflecting off of the faces of flat crystals as they fall through the atmosphere.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Nine sides of a d'Anjou

Nine Sides of a d'Anjou
9x12 inches - pastel on black Strathmore paper

Making up for some skipped days, and because I've got another painting ready to post tomorrow, I thought I'd put this latest pastel up.

It's based on the Daily Paintworks latest challenge, hosted by Carol Marine.  For this challenge, a ten-minute limit was given for each small painting on a larger divided canvas.  The purpose is to paint quickly and focus on what you see, not what you think you see, and eliminate details.  It's amazing how quickly 10 minutes goes when you are painting; no time to dilly-dally - you have to get with the program immediately!

I must say this was one of the most valuable exercises I've done.  I've never painted a pear before, and it's been far too long since I even painted from life.  So, it was good on many levels.  I absolutely loved the process!  I admit that I did do some preliminary sketches of the pear with a ballpoint pen in my sketchbook before embarking on this pastel.  I didn't have high expectations for this, given the obvious limitations, so I used the black Artagain paper I save for such things.  I found the surface is improved greatly by sanding it.

The last two I finished with almost a minute to spare.  And, best of all, I think you can actually tell they are pears.  I am definitely doing this again in oils.


A photo of tonight's sunset.  We are expecting about 4" of snow here tonight as yet another storm rolls through.

Painting from memory

Memory Sky
8x6 inches - oil on canvas panel

After the last two paintings, both of which were a bit labor-intensive, I decided to take a short break and go back to loose and fast.  I spent a few hours yesterday with my sketchbook doing small studies of photos I've taken, including desert animals, some cloudscapes, Utah landscapes and even a few from my imagination. 

For this painting, done last night, and at least one other I plan to do today, I decided to try something different:  to try and work from memory, rather than relying directly on a photo during the painting process.  I did a thumbnail sketch, made mental notes about the clouds, their masses and color nuances, and the basic colors of the land.  The photo is one I took on our summer '09 trip to Durango, along the venerable Hwy 160, near Kayenta, during our drive to Phoenix.  The sky was filled with beautiful monsoon type clouds - very Maynard Dixon-like.  I took this photo, knowing I'd paint it one day.  

My goal for this study was to work quickly and not get caught up in an exact "likeness", but to rely on my memory studying the photo and experience painting skies to see if I could make it work.  After I'd finished the painting, I went back and looked at the reference.  There were a few things I didn't like about my memory version, so I adjusted those quickly.  Then, it was done.   No fussing or tinkering.  

I found it a great exercise, and I'll be doing more in between the regular paintings.  Good to mix things up in the studio; it helps prevent stagnation and the inevitable periods of burn-out.  Another thing I did differently for this was to use the tip of a disposable wooden chopstick to sign my name in the wet paint - worked like a charm!  

Saturday, February 5, 2011

An Imperial Day

An Imperial Day
8x10 - pastel on sanded paper

Another pastel break...this time to take part in the Daily Paintworks Challenge, hosted by Carol Marine.  This is the debut challenge, and sure to be hugely popular (there are close to 80 entries now!).   I have a thing for old vintage cars, both impeccably maintained beauties like this as well as those that have seen better days.  When I was in Bisbee last winter, I was lucky to have my camera along when I saw this beautiful '57 Chevy parked on a vacant street.  

It's the beautiful shine, chrome and extra details like that fancy taillight that make these cars so special.  This was a good challenge in many ways - I've never drawn or painted a car before, and I found it an absolute delight - even doing some of that insane detail which I usually try to avoid.  I'll definitely do more...


Some photos from our Little Molas snowshoeing trip yesterday:

 A herd of elk, appearing to be mostly calves, cows and maybe yearling bulls, grazes along a field near the Animas river just north of Durango.  The only time you'll ever see elk in daylight or near town is in winter as they come down in search of food.

As luck would have it, they were close to the highway and I had the telephoto lens on the camera, so they can be seen pretty clearly!

Grenadier Range panorama
Hwy 550 is seen, and the four visible peaks are White Dome, Peak 2, Peak 3 and Arrow Peak
This is a 5-part pano with vertical orientation of images.

Extreme iridescence of cloud.

The colors here resemble nacreous, or "mother-of-pearl" clouds.  However, according to my reference, nacreous clouds are only seen during twilight hours.  It was very windy and the sky was filled with lenticular clouds - of which nacreous are a type.  What makes nacreous different than other clouds is that they are found in the stratosphere - about 2x as high as even cirrus.

Snowdon Peak panorama
View is to the south.  This is a 4-part pano with horizontal orientation of images.  DoubleTake panoramic software program used for both

Thursday, February 3, 2011

"Bedouins"- after Sargent

"Bedouins" - 18x12 inches
copy of John Singer Sargent watercolor
pastel on Strathmore 500-series paper

I've been intending to expand my painting repertoire to include figurative and portraiture work, but have been so caught up in landscapes that I didn't seem to find the time.   The next painting in the Impressions of Winter series is a real head-banger, so I thought I'd take a break and jump into some figure work with a copy of one of the master's of portrait painting - John Singer Sargent.  

I can't remember when I first saw Sargent's work many years ago, but I was immediately drawn to it.  He is probably best known for his portrait work, in oils, of the aristocrats and social elites, such as his very well-known (and scandalous) painting "Madame X" [Madame Gautreau] - a technical masterpiece.  And while I admire these paintings for their brilliant execution, I find his portraits of unknown people, and those done on his travels throughout the world, to be more compelling in some ways.

My local library is a wonderful resource of inspiration and continuing education via its art book section, and there is always a book on a particular artist, art movement or period, or genre, to be found on my reading table.  Currently, it is Painters of Color and Light:  Homer, Sargent and the American Watercolor Movement, by Linda S. Ferber.  Although I don't do watercolor (it scares me!), I love it as a spectator.  The book, in addition to featuring about 150 watercolor paintings at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, goes into the history and development of watercolor as an inexpensive and decorative alternative to oils, and those artists who influenced it.  It's a wonderful book, and one I'll definitely be adding to my personal collection.

I was delighted to see that one of my favorite Sargent watercolors - "Bedouins" - was featured, and the haunting faces of these nomadic tribesmen, along with their colorful robes, made me want to give it a try.  The original painting is 18x12 inches on watercolor paper, so I chose a cream-colored Strathmore paper in the same size.  You can see a rather poor copy of the original here.

For this, I was interested in doing a copy as close to the original as possible, both in detail and palette.   I chose to use an 8-part grid to help with placement and scale, since I have a tendency to sight-size draw, and my drawing skills aren't what they were 15 years ago.  And, luckily, I was able to come close to matching most of the colors with my existing pastels.  

There are still issues, primarily with the faces; they are probably a wee bit too small, and the center man's face is a bit too narrow  Nonetheless, I found this hugely educational and it really forces one into right-brain mode.   I had enough foresight to take some in-progress photos, because I always enjoy seeing those by other artists.

initial drawing, using #HB pencil

Completion of the faces, which was unbelievably difficult at this small scale.  I was able to make some minor adjustments from the original drawing as I started applying the pastel (NuPastel) layers.

More blocking-in.  The packing peanut blending tool was amazing here.  I left certain areas unblended, as Sargent had done in his painting.

The fact that Sargent probably whipped this amazing watercolor out in about 30 min. or less and it took me the better part of 2 days to complete my copy just adds to my sense of awe at his talent and skill.  Thank you, Mr. Sargent, for the inspiration you continue to provide through your amazing work.
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