Wednesday, August 10, 2011

After The Storm - pastel, 16x20 inches

After The Storm - 16x20"
pastel on black Strathmore
© 2011 S. Johnson

First studio piece in a few months, because I wanted to go bigger and because:  clouds + road + reflections = awesome to paint.  

I started it last week before I went on my trip and finished it up today.  It was based on a photo taken on the recent Sunday afternoon photo shoot (the post with all the horses) along Florida mesa.  

I had some specific things in mind when I did this, and for those that read The Pastel Journal, the article by Albert Handel on painting clouds was one thing that nudged my choice for reference photo.  He does some of the best skies, and his comment in the article about using different colors of the same value was apropos to this piece in particular.  For all the sky and cloud paintings I've done, I don't think I've done one quite like this.  The sky in particular was a blast to paint - subtle color and temperature shifts, lost and found edges - clouds are great for such things.  

Another reason was to have a piece to enter in the local county fair.  Yeah, laugh if you want, but I've always loved county fairs, having entered them since I was a kid.  I don't enter to win anything, but really to just support the fair and community.  I also entered three photos, and based on the # of entries, anyone winning a ribbon should be thrilled.  

Anyway, I chose 16x20 because I happened to have a couple of frames I refurbished in that size.  Normally, I don't care for the 4:5 format for landscapes; it seems too indecisive to me:  either square or 1:2 or 3:4 are my preferred formats.  

It also gave me a chance to experiment with framing the pastel directly against the glass, which I have never done before.  There was a recent article in Pastel Journal that discussed it, and which I couldn't find, but it gave the technique.  I use Coroplast for a backing - it is ideal for this method of framing - and framer's tape around the glass-pastel-backing to form a nice sealed package.  Pop it into the frame, drive the points in, and you're good to go!  


  1. A very dramatic sky - love the colors!

  2. Thanks, Helen - nice to hear from you again :)

  3. Wonderful clouds! Love the way your greens glow with that "after the storm" kind of light.

  4. Thanks Debbie - I really had a great time painting the clouds; they'll always be a favorite subject. I agree about how neat the earth looks after a storm has passed by; it really does transform the light, probably from the water vapor in the air.


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