Friday, May 18, 2012

A view from the river - pastel painting, plein air

From an earlier trip.

Near the Footbridge - 12x12"
pastel on cardstock
© S.Johnson
Since I have not managed to keep with my schedule this week to get out and paint, I at least managed to finish up this piece, done two weeks ago.

The title refers to the footbridge where the Animas River Trail crosses the river, a stone's throw behind where I stood to paint this.

The hardest part - and that which I didn't finish on location - was the mid-ground row of trees.  Most are cottonwood and similar in color, save for the shadowed areas.  Massing them in was not easy.

During the time I was painting this, I had a guy who appeared to be quasi-homeless come down to converse with me.  After telling me of his misfortune of having someone steal some of his ink drawings and telling me he'd never been able to paint well with pastels, he then hit me up for money.  Does anyone bring money with them when they are out painting?  I certainly don't.  After realizing I was a financial dead-end, he wished me a good day and headed back up over the footbridge...which is how he'd seen me to begin with.

Later, a Canada goose paddled upstream past me to the second little grassy extension you see, and busied itself looking for food.  Later, I noticed it had moved out to hang out on one of the larger boulders in the river.

I think it's for these things that I also enjoy being on location.  In addition to the prolonged observation of place that location painting affords, I witness the small events such as these that add to the experience.


  1. Another beautiful piece, Sonya! I love how you capture the movement of the water!

  2. Thanks LeAnn - it's an interesting element to try and paint, especially on location. I do think I prefer to paint moving water from life, though, because it tends to look less "copied" and potentially stiff. If there's one thing that water isn't, it's stiff!


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