Monday, June 20, 2011

More outdoor pastels - ACEO, 16x12

After the recent plein air work I've been doing, I can't seem to find the desire to sit inside and paint, so today seemed like a good day to do some quickie florals and a tree sketch.  These are in the round brick wall garden located about 40' from the condo, in a grassy median strip on our street.  A large selection of marigolds, petunias and pansies were planted a few weeks ago, replacing the tulips that bloomed in early spring.

ACEO floral trio
2.5 x 3.5 inches each
pastel on black Strathmore

My pastel palette is lacking in saturated purples and violets needed to paint some of the flowers, but that will change in the next few days when the open stock pastel order I placed with Blick comes in.  I ordered over 60 pastels - mostly Mt. Visions, and a few Richeson Handmade - but I also ordered some of the Ludwig intense dark violets.  Almost every pastelist I know raves about these colors in particular, so I had to give them a try.   They are unlike anything in my current collection.  

And, then a study of this fascinating tree that is right across the street:

tree study
16x12 inches
pastel on Strathmore charcoal

It's nothing to write home about, but t'was good practice nonetheless.  The tree, in addition to having smooth white bark with the dark scarring, has these reddish strands of leaves(?) that hang down like thin fronds of hair.  It's quite remarkable, and very tall.  I have no idea of its identity.

And, in keeping with tradition, here are some photos taken at Santa Rita Park, last weekend, in the community garden:

Yellow and pink columbine



Purple & Blue - unidentified

Crimson and white columbine

Beautiful bi-color bearded iris


  1. Oh, I'm finding it hard to stay inside, too!
    Very interesting tree - no clue what it could be. Beautiful flowers - both the paintings and the photos. Can't wait to see what you create with your new tools.....

  2. Beautiful pastels and photos! Won't it be a treat when that box of new pastels arrives?

    I thought of you on my recent day trip to Brownville, NE, a little town that time forgot but artisans rediscovered.
    They are hosting a plein aire festival this fall: Paint Brownville Autumn Plein Aire Art Event (October 6-9).

  3. Hi Debbie - thanks! It just seems like painting opportunities are wasted when it's so nice outside, right :)?

    Thanks much, LeAnn, and thanks for the link to your Brownville post; I wasn't gone for most of the day on Saturday, and I missed that post! Based on your photos, Brownville looks like a great location for a plein air festival.

    Re the pastels: for pastelists, pastels are literally like candies, and opening a box of new pastels brings a sense of delight I can't describe (goofy, but true). They shipped yesterday, so hopefully, will be here by Thursday :D.

  4. Maybe the tree is white birch, that's what I keep thinking when I see the white bark and dark scars. White Birch have catkins which are reddish?? They don't grow this far south, so it's a guess.

    I agree about pastel shipments, you can see all the infinite possibilities in every stick.

    Please let me know how you like the Mt. Vision, I don't have any of those, and have no idea what to compare them to hardness wise.

    I doubt you'll be disappointed with the Ludwigs, there's a reason why everyone has those darks. I like his lights as well, a nice variety.

  5. Hey Dan - thanks for that possible ID; I know people were calling the aspen in the earlier painting "birch", so I guess they do look alike, although the leaves are nothing similar.

    Re the Mt. Vision pastels: I have many of them, and I absolutely love them! The T-storm gray set is indispensable - I use those colors in almost every landscape. The dark-dark blue that I used for the "tres amigos" aspen scars is a MV. Richeson Handmade are also excellent. They both compare to Unison in terms of hardness. They lay down wonderfully on the black Strathmore I use, but don't get chewed up on surfaces like Wallace like some of the softer Senns do. I only have one Schminke, which is the softest pastel I own (and I almost never use it...). If you like the texture of Unisons, you'll like MV and Richeson HM.

    Fellow pastelist and blogger Jala hates Ludwigs, and that's one reason I was hesitant to try them. But, everyone else really likes them, so I thought I had to at least try a few for myself.


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