Monday, August 27, 2012

A vintage van and orange skies

The Orange VW - 12x12"
pastel on black cardstock
So, a couple of days ago, I was in my computer/office room and my eye caught the orange VW camper van parked across the street.  I'm sure it's probably been there ever since we have lived here.  Why didn't I notice her earlier?

I have no idea, but when I saw her sitting there, in all of her saucy orange glory, I realized she needed to be painted.  Unfortunately, shortly after I had this artistic revelation, and came back outside to scout for the best painting location, a red SUV had parked right in front of her - oh, bother!   I subsequently became preoccupied with painting her.  Yesterday was taken up with a longish hike/trail run in the mountains which wiped me out too much to paint.

This morning, as luck would have it, the SUV was gone.  I walked into the grassy median and painted from there.  I had her all to myself for about 2 1/2 hrs. while I painted.  I also discovered it's not a good idea to paint outside in flip-flops - I have a painful v-shaped sunburn on the top of my right foot.

Anyway, as always, painting man-made objects with two-point perspective challenges one's drawing skills, especially on location.   So, she has some "issues", but was nonetheless fun to paint.  I may have to revisit her as a subject in the future, maybe in oils.

Today aside, I haven't had the motivation to get outside and paint since we got back from our trip.  Overcast skies for a few days was a contributing factor, and I was not inspired to deal with more green and was just in a lull as to what I should paint.

For inspiration, I pulled out my Wolf Khan Pastels, a cherished part of my book collection for 12 years.  I love his work, and his bold, expressionist use of color.  I struggle with color most of the time; I find it hard to break free from the grip of local color, especially as a plein air painter.  I had been enjoying the entries on last weeks' DailyPaintworks challenge to use a pair of compliments in a painting, so this seemed like a good time to play with color in a studio piece, fueled in part by Mr. Khan.

There was a trimming of cardstock laying on the table, so I grabbed it and went through my photos until I found one that worked well with that aspect ratio.

Road and Yellow Sky - 3x12"
It was quick.  It was fun.  And I kinda like it.


  1. I love the van,(how brave to tackle a vehicle..eek!) but REALLY love the long format landscape...texture of sky and foreground, lovely shape across the horizon. And an interesting color palette to boot!

  2. Hi Sherrie - yeah, vehicles aren't my forte as a painter, obviously, but hey, really good practice to do. Thanks for your comments, and about the long skinny landscape - those were all things that drew me to paint it!

  3. Thanks Liz! I had to work for it, but it was fun. Something different :).

  4. I'm not sure how I missed this post before, but I love both of these. The van painting just makes me smile. So fun!

  5. Thanks, Darla - I'm glad it makes people smile; that is a great quality in a painting, I think :D!


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