Category: Coast

Marshland in Pastel

This was done on a heavy watercolor paper, first roughing in the background colors, then going over this with brush and water.  This is a process used by many pastelists to put in the background without filling the texture of the paper, thus allowing several layers of pastel as needed.  Once pastel has filled the texture, the color just slides off as you try to add more.  You have a couple of options when that happens, such as spraying with fixitive  which allows a little more pastel to be applied, or you can taka a stiff brush and remove portions of the painting to be changes.

I had picked up an off-brand of watercolor paper to work on and discovered during the process that the paper was a little too textured.  I’ll be keeping the pad for future watercolors, but using  this particular paper for pastels was especially difficult.

I have the process steps below.  The painting is 7-1/2 X  11-1/2 using primarily Unison pastels. Enjoy!

Here is the painting before completing the blending with water.  The sloping horizon line is due to a sloppy photo edit.

Background is now blended.

Here is the beginning of adding the marsh grasses, next is reflections in the water and completing the sky and cloud colors.


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Big Sur II

The following is a process study of a new pastel called Big Sur II. This painting is based on a photo I took several years ago during a trip Chick and I took up Hwy1. The size is 9 X 12 on Strathmore medium weight pastel paper and using several brands of pastels, including Terry Ludwig, Unison, Girault and Nupastel.

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Big Sur Spring in Pastel

This is a photo taken from Hwy 1 in the Big Sur area of California.  Chick and I took the trip several years ago and loved the views….although as a city boy, he wasn’t crazy about driving so close to cliffs that fell majestically down to rocks and the ocean.

About two years ago, I decided to paint this view using a technique I had been reading about which was to paint the large areas with acrylic and then put the pastel over that.  The idea being that some of the color from the acrylic painting would effect the pastel (since pastel is primarily a crystal).  Unfortunately, I guess I didn’t read enough.  I blocked in the areas with color….pink in the sky yellow and gold for the hills, etc.  I painted this on watercolor paper and put a rather heavy layer of acrylic down, totally filling the indentations in the paper and making a slick surface.  When I tried to paint over with pastel, it just slid off the acrylic.   So, back into the folder of “unfinished paintings” it went.

Since that time, I’ve done a lot more study and taken a demonstration class in using watercolor as the first layer…….thinly, of course.   So, a few days ago, I decided to see what I could do with the painting.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of it before starting, so I don’t have an example of that to show you.  I used  a spray fixitive  make by Lascaux to lay down a surface that the pastel might stay on.  It was a bit of a struggle with lots of  negotiating, but I finally finished the painting    (unless, of course,  I decide later to make changes…I do that all the time… is not always final.  I think you have to live with a painting for awhile to know if you are really done)

The following will show you the painting about 1/4 to 1/3 done from the top down, then about 3/4 done and the probable final version.  I hope you enjoy it!

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Blue Lagoon (Again) – Pastel

Well, I’ve been working on some other paintings, but this one was still bothering me.  I kept looking at the plant growing in the sand at the bottom of the painting and it kept looking like a 4-legged alien creature lying there in all it’s glory.

So, I filled in the areas between the “branches” and “Voila!” I felt so much better.  Check below to see the “before” version.

I think this one I’m going to mat, frame and call DONE!    Look for new stuff in the next couple of days…….well, maybe right after turkey day!

Enjoy!     (And if you feel like it, you can tell me if you like this version better than the last!)

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Blue Lagoon – Pastel

11″ X 14″ Pastel on watercolor paper; mostly Sennlier, Girault, Art Spectrum and Terry Ludwigs.

I believe I started this painting two years ago.  Got down just below the lagoon and couldn’t decided what I wanted it to look like.  I’ve been doing more and more landscapes from memory (?) or imagination, so if there’s anything that you can’t find the botanical name for……..I’ll make one up.

I put so many layers on the paper that I had to actually remove some to change color in certain areas.  This would have been the perfect piece to use my newly found method of painting the first layer of pastel on, but since I had started in the pre-water method, I felt compelled to stay with it.

I was sorry I had made that decision when I got to the bottom, but I just chugged on through.  I can certainly see how setting up your forms with pastel then going over with water (or alcohol)  saves frustration with working on certain surfaces.  I’m going to move onto the more textured boards, etc. , next since I’ve been reading comments as to how many layers you can actually put on before the board just closes shop!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this.  Remember, comments are always welcome.

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Autumn Cove

Finished this one this afternoon.  9 x 12 on Canson paper, various soft pastels, but mostly Unisons.  This is another one out of my imagination.  But, I have a couple of photos of scenes ready to use as beginnings for new ones.


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Autumn Cove – Part 1

Here’s the beginning of a new 9 X 12″  landscape in pastel.  I’ve been away for awhile and have a stack of photos and ideas for paintings, but today was just a landscape day…..even I don’t know what it’s going to look like when I finish because it’s all from my head.        Please enjoy!      (And remember, comments are more than welcome)

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Coast Sentinels — at last!

Well, after several sessions contemplating colors, shapes, etc.,…..everything I go through before I decide if I’m done or not….I think I am.


Approx 13 X 10-1/2


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Thinking of Eucalyptus

I’m still unsure of the trees, so I’ve been cleaning my room (I’d love to call it a studio, but that would be stretching it a bit) and just letting the painting simmer.  When I hit spots like this and I work on through, I end up sorry I rushed it………so, here’s what my painting looks like while waiting to be finished.   I know there is a photo of a cute, little dog sitting on the table easel along with a photo of local trees.  That’s Pango.  I think we are now officially attached at the hip or someplace else.  He had a bad ear infection a few weeks ago and it appears the medicine prescribed by our vet caused Bishi to go almost completely deaf.  He has always stuck by my side, but now there is an air of insecurity as well.    No….he didn’t put the photo there to remind me to watch for him….I just like to look at his photos when I’m working on other things.  Which currently is a reorganization of the material in this room.  I expect that when I’m finished and everything is in apple-pie order, I’ll be ready to finish the painting as well.

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Coast Sentinels Step Two

Well, it’s been awhile since I last posted.  Unfortunately, I pinched a nerve in my neck and haven’t been able to sit OR stand at an easel for awhile.   If you scroll down to before the post regarding the display at the bank,  you’ll see the first step in this study.  Hopefully, I’ll get it finished in the next day or two and move on.

I hope you enjoy!

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