Thursday, October 27, 2011

Riverside Rocks and a 10-minute challenge

Riverside Rocks
12x9 inches - pastel on Artagain
© S.Johnson
A studio piece, based on one of the photos taken from Baker's Bridge the other day.  I was really into these rocks with all their fissures and interesting textural things going on, and then of course, there was the amazing green water and reflections with the yellow cottonwoods.

The reflections on this were a bit tricky; the brown central area is actually a section of shallow water, but I don't know if it reads  properly or not.  I think I could finesse it a bit more.  And the photo did odd things to the greens used in the water, esp. the darker reflections in shadow - they are a darker turquoise and not the more saturated green in this photo.

I think the best part about doing this in my studio was that I had access to all of my pastels!  No having to make do with what was in my plein air box.   And, I was finally able to use some of these beautiful dark turquoise greens I bought a while back.

And, here is yesterday's painting, done as a warm-up for the painting above.  It's this week's DailyPaintworks challenge - a revisiting of the Ten Minute Challenge from earlier in the year.  You basically choose an object (and this is an apple, believe it or not) and divide your canvas into small sections and paint the object several times in 10-minute intervals.  Even with a 3x3" size per square, it's not as easy as you might think.  I did a pear last time, and it was a lot easier than this Gala apple.

Apple Octet
6x9 inches

It's really funny having a partner around who isn't an artist and is totally comfortable being honest about  the paintings:  "the first one looks like an onion, and the 4th looks like a smashed pumpkin, and some look like they are rotting..."  Seriously, Wayne's comments make me laugh, and I know what someone will be getting in his Christmas stocking this year...

I tried to select accurate colors for everything prior to starting the painting, but you can see I sort of hosed it with the shadow colors on the first set of four.  By the 8th one, I was starting to get a bit better, and they are starting to look more like apples.   I just set the apple on a piece of Strathmore paper and rotated it under my studio lamp for each mini painting to get the differing shadows.

This is a great exercise, and I would encourage anyone who paints to try it, especially if you are trying to loosen up in your work.  Thanks so much for the challenge, Carol!


  1. Love your apple octet---and I'm still lovin' the gold leaves.

  2. Thanks LeAnn - I'm glad you like them. The apple study was a true challenge, but a tremendous way to help improve one's painting.

  3. Lovely painting - wonderful job with the rocks!To me, that brown central area reads like there is a rock just under the surface of the water.

    Wayne's comments about your apples are funny! I get the same kind of honesty from my kids ;-) I think the apples came out great - especially for that kind of challenge! That is one I really want to try once I dig myself out from this current pile of work that needs to get done....

  4. I love both paintings, Sonya! Your "Riverside Rocks" is breathtaking and your "Apple Octet" is wonderful! Wasn't that a fun challenge?

    Your Wayne sounds a lot like my husband. And their comments are so funny. A definite plus in any artist's studio! :)

  5. Debbie and Darla - thank you ladies so much for your sweet comments about the paintings; I really appreciate it :).

    Kids and men: you can almost always rely on them for their totally honest comments about almost anything, right? I'm sure we would all crack up sharing stories about remarks made from those close to us about our paintings ;).

    Although now I can go tell Wayne: "hey - two accomplished still life artists and another reader liked my apples painting, so put that in your pipe and smoke it!" Ha ha!


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