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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Diamond valley, this year in the snow

This year the snow in our area was both wonderful and very tiring!   We sure do need the snow pack for our summer irrigation, and water for the communities.  At Tahoe, the skiing was amazing even in this economy there was a lot of business!  The snow pack was reported to be 159 % percent of normal!      I spent the last few  days painting this scene which is viewable from our driveway, ( the peak) and about a mile for the full view either direction from our little Dutch Valley ranch.  Its Woodfords  Canyon in the background which is on Hwy 88 going south to Calif. and thru Hope Valley after the canyon.   I have been told about local people in the late 1800's having some rather horrific accidents with horse and carriage , going thru the canyon during a flash flood and rainstorm in the summer!   Its the southern route getting to the Gold Fields and over the Sierra's to Calif, so there are many stories.   The little house sits in Diamond Valley and now is all alone.  In the early 1900's there were many little ranches and homes as homesteaders tried to make a living here.  None made it, except maybe Snowshoe Thompson, a local legend.  He was said to have carried the mail thru all weather to California using snowshoes, a plaque is alongside the hwy that goes across the valley. The history is almost as amazing as the mountains here!
This painting is small,  9 x 11 on a grey-blue piece of Canson Mitientes pastel paper.  I have been experimenting using India Ink as  an Underpainting for pastel work on this paper.   Here is my value painting in ink for this scene.
I enjoyed doing the underpainting as much as the color part with the pastels!   I think using a value plan-map is a good way to achieve your goal sometimes, and always try to do this in thumbnails sketches in my notebooks.  doing it on the actual work simplifies the whole process.  Stapleton Kearns says an underpainting is done to separate the problems of color form the problems of values.  I think he is right.     I have often used a value-map underpainting in shades of purple for a watercolor painting, if I wanted to be sure of getting a likeness as close as I could. A sort of Giselle type underpainting.   It is surprising show the purples seem to disappear into the work, helping while not being noticeable.   Just my painting thoughts for today.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Windy morning...Last pastel chicken for awhile!!

snack time
Finished this today, a fine thing to do on a very windy day.  I do admit I am a bit tired of chickens, tho.   I wanted to try again, using Canson Paper, moonstone in color.   This rooster is so very colorful!   His hens are quite a bit smaller, very tuff, and he takes good care of them, always showing them whats for dinner first.   I love listening to how they talk to one another while they hunt for things on the ground.  Soon there will be little chicks following them around!  That is, if spring ever comes.

Monday, March 21, 2011

winter is back! so......inside work!

What are you looking at????

Today was a windy day, although not to cold.  I had been thinking about getting back to the chickens I have been working on  so......   I stretched a sheet of Canson MiTientes pastel paper, in a medium color- - - - Sand - - -and put a smaller drawing of the rooster on it.  I had wanted to try a Gouache painting, and thought this was a good subject for that.    I decided a looser background would work best, that would allow me to put the rooster in more detail - -  -although not a lot of detail.     And I wanted to include his shadow,  and I really wanted to see how it would all look on the MiTientes paper.   I have done this once before and really enjoyed it.   Sometimes I just want to paint!!    Although pastel is truly my favorite medium.     I still plan to attend the watercolor workshop I mentioned in an earlier post.    AND  guess what????  I am going to a Bill Cone workshop in Sierra City, Ca  later this year.   I love his work--_he is amazing to say the very least!!!  His  "Pastel and natural light "   workshop promises to be a wonderful thing!!!    To see his work,   try  or google his name.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Winter shadows and sunlight

This was finished just today, inside from a few photo's I took last November, 2010-  Its  on the ranch on Foothill Road, as you go up the hillside.  We have the rabbit Brush which each year blooms pretty loudly!   In 'o9 it was blooming pretty wildly    when Lorenzo Chavez had his workshop in Hope Valley, and actually painted one day here at the ranch because it was so cold in Hope Valley that fall.    This time, tho, there was snow on the ground, and as the sun was going behind the mountain long shadows were forming.   Interesting color and design I thought- - -  -so I painted them for you!

This is 11 x 14 Sennelier Pastel Card, in a warm sand color- -  -using turpinoid for a underpainting.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Plein air again, wonderful day spent outdoors

Mt. Raymond from the Alpine county Museum parking lot
This is the result of yesterdays Plein-air painting day  in Alpine County.   My painting friend from Dayton, ( whom I became friends from the Wetcanvas website)  drove over for a plein-air day.  It was  a great day of catching up, discussing art and artists, and painting!!    I used a wonderful grey 9 x 12 pastelmat, a great surface for anything.  I had gotten a full sheet, and cut for the both of us a 9 x 12.  Now I have to admit, My friend spent the time needed to do her thumbnails, and planning.   I did jump into  it, and was lucky that it turned out this well!!   I actually did a notan right on the pastelmat in a dark # 244 Nupastel, and painted over that.  I did have a bit of idea where I was going, and I hope it works for you the viewer as well.    It was very sunny, but breezy.  My 1/2 Jullian easel works so well , and today I used my new aluminum pastel-box, ( that was actually bought at a Big 5 store and held gun-cleaning supplies, is sturdy and lite to carry.)    It worked great, and was bungee-ed down to my eseal.

I  encourage all my followers to go to the Wet Canvas site to see all the art there, and also to learn and ask all the questions they want.  The information there is just amazing. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Just today,

Just finished this today, this morning - - - and am in the mode where you let it rest while you ponder if there are problems, and what they are.    I did plan this to be painted on black, while trying to use the black to show how rich his feathers are in the sun.     The candy corn idea came to me while making my thumbnails for the space in which black would occupy.     I used an all-media artboard, in black for this, but I painted it with acrylic black paint mixed with acrylic matt medium and pumice powder.   I was afraid the black of the board would fade with time, so painting it with the black acrylic paint might help that  (for lightfastness issues)       It also hepled the colors to glow much brighter than expected, and with shapping form.       I now have many drawings of this rooster in different poses, and am planning to use them for a watercolor workshop coming up in May.    Just could not resist trying them in pastel!!!!     The lady giving the watercolor class has a website , you can view her work at        She is a bit different and colorful.   It should be fun!