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.  


  1. Great idea and wonderful images.

  2. I did a extreme vertical yesterday and today. It is @ 19.5 x 12, or something like that. I don't know if it worked, but it's close. Cool idea, and they tell a story, which I like.

    Try select all, and then use the font tool to select large or normal. I select large for mine, which some people see as goofy large, but looks reasonable on my screen.

    Sometimes it helps to look at your blog on other browsers, just to check it. What I notice is that this post's font is smaller than yesterday's.

  3. Grr. There are some grammatical errors in that comment, and I did hit "preview," but it posted anyway. Silly blogger.

    Take care.

  4. Thanks, Helen - I'm glad you enjoyed these :).

    Thanks for the suggestion, Casey; I changed the font after hitting "select all", and it does appear to have fixed the problem (besides, I prefer Arial vs. Times for a font anyway). Blogger template formatting gets really twitchy sometimes when dealing with images, esp. if you try to reposition them after adding text...silly blogger is right.

    I've never done an extreme vertical format like this before, and it was fun, like seeing something that's been right in front of your eyes for the first time. I'd love to see your much bigger version!

  5. The extreme vertical format is great - it changes the whole image and when viewed on a screen parts of the image unfold as you scroll down.

    I have also been having a tussle with the font size, and image positioning as well - I thought it was just me - thanks for the tips - will see if that helps.

  6. This is a fascinating way to experiment with a series in a small format...fabulous idea. Question: what sort of framing/matting/mounting ideas will you persue with this?

  7. Hi Carol - it really does change the image and sort of shakes up convention a bit; I think that's another reason I am really liking these. I also found that it makes me think even more carefully about composition, and that's something I'm *always* working on improving.

    Hi Cindy - thanks! I think it will be useful on many levels, and maybe others will be inspired to try something similar.

    Re framing and matting: I am thinking an off-white mat (which I prefer for all my pastels that are matted) and probably a narrow black frame. I try to get standard size pre-made frames, so I'm going to see if a 9x12 would work at all.

  8. Beautiful. I love the spacious feeling from the expansive skies.

  9. I like the format. I've been considering a very vertical format the past few weeks for really the most basic of reasons: my wall space.

  10. Thanks Liz -nice how even a little narrow piece can still give the impression of a larger space :).

    Hi Lisa - that's really true. And, it might just be that a client purchases such a painting because it can fit where a standard formatted painting won't work.

  11. Thanks for the mention. Whenever I get a couple of new followers all of a sudden, I always know someone has mentioned me out there in cyberspace...
    I love the third and fourth ones. (The third one I read as "Sunset Viagra." Oops.) But the fourth one is really extremely my favorite. Love the bold divisions of sky and dramatic values.

  12. Hey, glad to help exposure for my fellow blogger and friend when I can!

    I wasn't sure if the 3rd one would read okay - the photo was sort of "out there", and many times that doesn't translate well. But, I had to at least try. So, I'm glad you like it. The last is possibly my favorite as well.

  13. While all of these are beautiful the bottom one is awesome!

  14. Thanks, Loriann - the bottom is my favorite as well :).


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