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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Day spent out plein-air with a friend!

A couple of weekends ago , my plein-air friend from Dayton, Nevada drove out and together we went to Hope Valley to try and paint some of the fall color.  We try to do this each year, and as we are just learning plein-air, it has been challenging indeed!!!  Hope Valley, Calif. is a short drive from the ranch, and is at about 5500 in elevation. Very popular now with the photographers, and upper class vacationers mostly from the bay area who come to Tahoe and various places in the Sierra's.   This is where Richard Mckinley held a workshop in September, and Lorenzo Chavez last summer. A really great local water colorist, Lady Jill Mueller has also held many workshops here in the valley, as well as the college from Tahoe.  So you see, it is a rather "Destination" sorta place at this time of year.
            What we did, was pack all out stuff, and take it out to the middle of the valley where we could let our dogs be free.  They are border collies, and really won't leave our sides, but do love being out there.  It was so beautiful!!  Everywhere you turned was a new painting----if you could settle down and paint it!!  We took many  pictures, and Carole had a new camera to play with so that was fun, too.   She settled right down, and spent about 3 hours on her painting , which really turned out well.   Here she is!!

Now,  I had  a more difficult time settling.  I  did 3 starts, from 3 different places using 3 different papers.   So much information!!  And I really didn't do well, so I just tried to take it all in, so to speak.  ( maybe to much caffeine!)   anyhow ----I did do one from my memories and the photo's we took.   Choosing the right support is sometimes hard with pastel, to get the right finish you want.     I finally choose a dark aubergine colourfix plein-air board, 11 x 14----and worked on this off and on for maybe a week.    Now I have many more ideas to try------composition is always key, and at time is very difficult.   Anyhow, my effort is here.


  1. Ida, this is very nice. I like the texture the dark surface gives the bark of your aspens and rocks. I also like the way you varied your aspen folliage colors. I think painting aspens in fall is very challenging. I still don't have it down. Something about the value of the yellow leaves being the same value as the sky. Very tricky...

  2. Hi, Ida. Love your pastel work.
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