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 


  1. Oucchhhhhh! I'd said email me and tell me what happened, but please DON'T, as I hadn't even thought that it might hurt to type! Owwww. That sucks so bad.
    I've thought before, if I had to, I think I could probably still paint some half-decent pastels with my feet.

  2. Very nice - you are good with speed :-) the photos too!

  3. Jala, yeah, it was a bummer of a day yesterday. But, I realize how much worse it could have been (like if had slammed on my head!), and that it will soon be a non-issue and I'm so grateful! I totally want to see a "foot painting" - awesome.

    Thanks Helen - I'm glad you like them!

  4. Oh Sonya, I hope you get better soon. You're a trooper!
    Nice quickies to boot. Love the sunsets.

  5. Oh my goodness. I am happy my rural dumpster has a rubber lid. Tell them you want a new one!

    I'm glad you have a medical background (doctor) and that you'll know what to do. My medical wife would tell me to control the pain.

    Here's a prayer for your good hand. Get well soon.

  6. Thanks, Susan! I'm thinking/hoping that it will be pretty much back to normal in the next few days - I appreciate your thoughts :).

    Casey, thank you so much for the healing prayer and thoughts - they are much appreciated. The medical background is definitely useful in situations like these, if for nothing else than to allow for a triage-type assessment sans the E.R.

  7. Ouch. I feel (felt) your pain. But you're right; it does go away. May it heal quickly. Kudos for forging ahead anyway.

    I noticed that the horizon in your amazingly quick pastel studies are concave, while it's convex in the photos. Or is it the other way around?... No matter. Whether they're the result of optics or artistry, both demonstrate the enormity of our world. Beautiful!

    I just saw the "sun pillar" in your previous post. Fascinating! I've never seen one. Are they seen over deserts and/or oceans? You photographed it so well; thanks for posting it.

  8. Hi Sam - thanks! Thankfully, it is healing quickly - I can almost make a totally closed fist now ;). Curse my slow reflexes!

    The horizon line in the second painting was *slightly* curved in the reference photo, as the barn structure was atop a slight hill and slope. However, the combination of me painting it flat on the table rather than an easel caused this to be exaggerated. It wasn't until I finished and placed the painting upright that I saw just how tilted the building was - oops! Things like correct linear perspective can quickly go by the wayside in 30 mins...

    Re the sun pillar: my reference book didn't specifically say where they can occur, but I'm guessing they are probably not seen in the summer or close to the equator, as they require ice crystals to be present in the atmosphere (as do sundogs). I'm glad you enjoyed the photo; it certainly was a treat for me to see as well.


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