Saturday, September 3, 2011

Chamisa landscape, pastel - SOLD

Chamisa Along the Wash - SOLD
9x12 inches - pastel on Strathmore 500-series paper
© 2011, SJohnson
Chamisa, also known as rabbitbrush, is to the southwestern plateau country what Goldenrod is to the east:  the bright yellow flower that rings in fall.  Several species inhabit the Colorado Plateau region, some of which are non-native.  However, it is an attractive plant and is popular with artists who paint the southwestern landscape.

I've taken several reference photos of blooming chamisa along the lower area hikes I've done recently, including the one this photo is based on - an unnamed trail near the Dry Fork area west of town.

I've run out of my favorite black Strathmore 12x12" paper (and apparently, it is discontinued), so I've resorted to using some Strathmore charcoal paper I've used until I can get a pad of the 12x18" Artagain.  It has a laid surface, which I don't care for, but for some reason, I've found it easier to use with these recent paintings.  I used the #220 sandpaper on the smoother surface of this warm gray sheet, and it seemed to work out well.

Some photos from that same hike, which was mostly intended as a butterfly outing:

Melissa Blue male on chamisa flower

A bee fly visits a late summer aster (Eurybia glauca)
A view of the meadow to the north along the trail
When I did this hike the first time in late June, the meadow was filled with lupine in bloom, and was a lush green.
This area made me a bit nervous due to evidence bears had been in the area (several piles of scat on the trail, and flattened bushes.  Thankfully, I didn't have an encounter with one.

A female Melissa Blue shows off her beautiful top colors while resting on the spent leaf of a Western Flag iris


  1. Thanks, as always, for your comments, Liz!

  2. I love the yellows and blues in this pastel. Sometimes it is easy to overlook what is right under our noses. I know I do. Perhaps I'll go out in the yard and pick some of the late season "weeds".

    And don't you just hate it when they discontinue something you really like to use. I hope you can find a good substitute quickly.

  3. I like it!

    I had an interesting talk with a very long-time pastelist about her use of laid paper, and she crumbles the stick and pushes the pigment in. Fascinating.

  4. The Chamisa are gorgeous now and you capture that wonderfully.

  5. Back at last!

    Thanks Ruth. It is true that it's so easy to overlook the intimate scenes and beauty in the commonplace, even what are considered weeds ;).

    Hi Casey - thanks! Interesting about the pastelist you mention; I find myself compelled to use much more finger blending probably for the same reason she crumbles her sticks - I don't like the gridded texture of the paper showing, or in most instances, the color, showing.

    Thanks Susan - the chamisa really are looking beautiful, aren't they? I'm also glad their flowers are somewhat long-lasting and carry the color into fall for a while. Very neat to paint, too!

  6. Sonya, the chamisa is what you mentioned on my blog, right? It is beauitful! I am always a big fan of what others consider to be weeds.

    Love all the colors in your painting - really makes an "ordinary" scene extraordinary.

  7. Hi Debbie - yep, the chamisa is what I mentioned as being the southwest version of goldenrod on your blog (well, we have goldenrod here, but it's not as abundant as chamisa is).

    I'm glad you like the colors in this, too :).


Your thoughtful comments add value to this blog - thank you so much for taking the time to leave them!

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