Monday, February 20, 2012

Lace Lake II


"Lace Lake II"
Pastel on pastel paper mounted to gatorboard, 16 x 20 inches
copyright 2012 MaryAnn Cleary

This is another attempt at doing a pastel from an oil painting study that I did on site last fall. The original oil painting that I did I used a very limited palette in oil - ultramarine blue, transparent red, yellow ochre and titanium white. That painting is below and it is 11 x 14 inches.
"Lace Lake"
oil on linen, 11 x 14 inch

I also tried doing a pastel on an unfamiliar paper of the same scene called "Misty Afternoon". With that pastel, I used a very dark toned paper that would not hold much pastel pigment. The results are ok.

The day that I did the painting, the fog along Lake Superior made visibility nil. I headed up the mountain on the Gunflint Trail to the Trail Center to visit my friend, Sarah, and to do some painting. Lace Lake is a mile or so just before the Trail Center. The fog that day still clung to the mountains with a slight mist falling even though Lake Superior was many miles away.

Pastels are nice, but that day if I used them, the results would have been disastrous. Pastels and water make for spotted paintings and do not mix. 

On the pastel above, I mounted UArt sanded paper, 800 grit, to gatorboard. I am finding that the grit of the 800 paper is a bit too fine for me. I prefer a 400 or 600. The paper is light in color so I used a watercolor wash to block in my shapes. This helps with getting the basic design onto the canvas. It also allows one to use less pastel so that the paper does not fill so quickly with pastel allowing for more pastel layers.
watercolor underpainting for pastel

In the future, I hope to do more plein air or outdoor painting studies in oil to bring back to the studio to use for reference along with a few photos displayed on a computer monitor. However, the above painting, I only used the reference oil study. The original painting study helps bring back the feelings and essence for choosing the painting site. The mind remembers what is important and helps eliminate the unnecessary detail. 

When painting on location, it is so easy to get hung up on the little stuff and forget the real reason why you chose the location or subject. I am still learning that most of the time putting less into a painting is definitely more. By just suggesting what is there, the mind fills in the rest. I am finding that this is one of the most difficult parts of painting for me.

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