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15 Sticks and 10 Minutes

Last week I took a little break from my Birds in Pastel series, and worked on an exercise called 15 Sticks and 10 Minutes. The paintings are small landscapes about 4″x5″ in size. The 15 sticks and 10 minutes exercise is meant to help one loosen up and not become bogged down in details. How it works is by preselecting 15 pastels to represent the color palette of a chosen reference photo. Then a timer is set for 10 minutes and one is supposed to complete the pastel painting in 10 minutes. After completing this task, the exercise changes to 10 sticks and 5 minutes. Whaaat?

Well, this was a hard exercise for me! I tried and tried and when the timer would go off, I didn’t have my sky in or most of anything else. Finally, after many tries, I was able to finish a painting within the allotted time. It was a mess but it was discernible as a landscape:

15 sticks and 10 minutes
15 Sticks and 10 Minutes

I was completely frustrated and lamented to my husband how I felt so incompetent at not being able to do this exercise. He asked me a very interesting question after showing him the winter scene above. He said ” Well that’s not bad, but why are we trying to rush it?” I responded that its an exercise to help me loosen up and then he said “I like to know what I’m looking at.”

I agreed and decided to bring the painting to a more finished look:

15 sticks and 10 minutes exercise -
Snow Day pastel painting
“Snow Day”

“Snow Day” is a 4″x5″ pastel, painted on grey PastelMat paper. The reference photo I used was from about 15 years ago and was taken in the Sierra Nevadas. The lighting is awful in the photo because I was passing by this scene midday and had no other choice but to click it for future reference. The colors were greatly enhanced in the painting to compensate for the washed out photo. I like how it ended up as a finished piece.

Here are the other pastel landscapes paintings that were a part of this exercise series:

Dandelion Fields Pastel Painting
“Dandelion Fields”
15 sticks and 10 minutes exercise 
Surf's Up Pastel Painting
“Surf’s Up”

The Road around the Lake pastel painting
“The Road Around the Lake”

(The Tamarack Mountain Studio watermark is not on any original paintings. This is done for online purposes only.)

I won’t give up on this exercise and will be trying out the second part of only using 10 pastel sticks and trying to paint in 5 minutes. That will be interesting for me!

Currently on my easel is a pastel of a Sparrow that I’m finishing with highlights and details, for the Birds in Pastel series. I will share the new painting this week.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a great week! Much Love ~ Rhonda