Monday, July 16, 2012

More Skies on the mesa - pastel, plein air

Because the clouds are amazing, I need more practice painting them, and I can avoid using much green.

Both done from Pastorius SWA.

Today's painting, looking south.  It was time for some turquoise skies and a bigger size.  I forgot that there are certain pastels that don't handle well on this paper, and oops - those would be the turquoises.

Florida Mesa Sky - 12x16", plein air
pastel on black construction paper
The entire area surrounding the lake is farmland, with distal mountains, so almost anything can be incorporated into the landscape:  grain silos, sheds, fences, roads, green fields, etc.

Saturday's painting, looking to the northwest.
Convergence - 12x12", plein air
pastel on yellow cardstock
I decided to try a piece of the yellow cardstock that comes in the packs I have purchased.  Using it for a high-key sky painting seemed a logical choice, and aside from the effect on the relative values of the pastels I used, it was a surprisingly easy transition from the darker colors I'm used to using.

I did this in probably 30 minutes, if that.  As usual, I waited until mid-afternoon to go out, at which time the clouds were really starting to kick into high gear.  When I set up my easel, the sky above was blue, but a wall of rain was falling to the southwest, probably in New Mexico.

Within about 15 minutes, these two cumulus clouds had merged, wind had kicked up, and by the time I was finished, the sky was almost completely filled with rain-laiden clouds that looked to burst at any moment.  If not for the impending threat of rain, I'd have definitely done another painting.


  1. Beautiful!! I especially like Convergence.

  2. Oooh, you are so brave to paint clouds on black paper, Sonya. They turned out great, too. One can almost feel the rain sitting in the bottom of the clounds. They're both really nice and I like the contrast between the two. They look like they could be much larger than they really are, too. Nice!

  3. Thanks LeAnn - I think Convergence is a more successful painting myself ;)

    Hi Liz, thanks so much. I love this time of the year because the skies are so gorgeous!

    Hi Sandy - thank you for stopping by and for your generous comments! It's funny, I have mixed results painting clouds on black paper; doesn't work so well with the surface I used for this larger one. It's good practice to paint clouds from life - I'm hoping that will translate to improved studio paintings later.

  4. Gorgeous paintings, Sonya! I was going to compliment you on your interesting compositions, but I can't narrow it down to just one thing with these two. I love everything about them. Nice work!

  5. Thanks, Darla! It has occurred to me that my landscape paintings and compositions are often very "unconventional", for lack of a better word ;). I'm not sure if that is a good thing or not, but at least in terms of plein air work, it seems to be the way I roll. These are probably more traditional than most I do :D.

    I have been missing paintings from you, BTW!


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