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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Back from Tubac

I'm fresh back from teaching a pastel plein air workshop in Tubac, Arizona. The weather was cool, intermittently sunny, windy and cloudy, so we had to pick our times to paint. Still, some excellent work was done by students and teacher both. Below are some examples of my work from the week. For more images and details, please see the pastel section of my Southwest web site gallery.

Paintings are 9x12, except for St Anne's church, which is 9x9.5. (And do I need to mention that these pastels are for sale? Some are available directly through me, and others are available from Los Reyes Gallery in Tubac. Contact me for details.

Saturday, January 7, 2006

Alligator Juniper #3 - The Fallen Hero

Another beautiful, somewhat warmer day. (I was smart and wore my coat this time.) About 50 years ago, a wildfire swept through our pretty little canyon. Some of the living trees still bear wounds -- you can still see the charcoal around their roots. A few of the trees didn't make it over the years, of course, and these fallen heroes, many of them alligator junipers, can be found buried in the scrub oak or sitting like monuments in clearings. They lost their bark a long time ago, and their graceful growth lines are now plainly visible.

Here's the one I honored yesterday.

"Fallen Hero," 6.5"x8.5", pastel.

Friday, January 6, 2006

Alligator Juniper #2

I wanted to get back to my alligator junipers, so I went out again yesterday with the pastels. It was colder -- 50 degrees -- so the session wasn't as long, even though I picked full sun to sit in. These beautiful, ancient junipers are a real pleasure to draw. In fact, they are better suited to drawing than painting. They have such wonderful lines and graceful curves, the way the older branches poke out of the newer bark.... Pastel is the perfect medium for this. You can paint or, in this case, you can spend time getting the drawing right and THEN paint.

I'm using Art Spectrum paper for these juniper paintings. It has a rougher texture than the Wallis sanded paper, and this also seems to suit the junipers.

"Alligator Juniper in Evening Light", 9x12, pastel.

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Sometimes You Just Have to Call It a Day

Sometimes you just have to call it a day. I've been doing web design for the last three days, trying to finish up a project before heading off to Tubac, Arizona, to teach a pastel painting workshop. (I know -- it's still over a week away, but when you do web design, you have to leave time for client feedback and "tweaks"!) But today the weather was so gorgeous, I just had to get out. So, I grabbed the pastels and went to our labyrinth.

The labyrinth has a gorgeous view of Jeffries Peak and the southern ridge of the Sacramento Mountains, but I didn't paint that. Instead, I painted our garden bench, glowing in the shadows with reflected sunlight. (It's also over in "The Weekly Painting". I make my work do double-duty!)

"Garden Bench," pastel, 9x12