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The Red Spinnaker Sail

Recently, I finished my latest work entitled The Red Spinnaker Sail. It was inspired by a sailing regatta a few weekends ago, which you can read about in my previous post, HERE. The sailboats were headed downwind and the winds were very light, so they all had their spinnaker sails out to give them more air.

Every week our local sailing club has races on Wednesdays and Sundays. We happened upon a race when launching our boat a few weekends ago, and there was a beautiful yellow sailboat with a red spinnaker sail, speedily passing by. My attention was caught by the vibrant red sail and so I snapped a few pics before it was gone, and created this painting.



(The Tamarack Mountain Studio Watermark is not on the painting.)

The Red Spinnaker Sail was painted on 9″ x 12″ white Pastelmat paper, with pan pastels and soft pastel sticks. I used Pan Pastels for my underpainting. The Pan Pastels are very soft, even softer than soft pastel sticks. They are applied with a specific type sponge made especially for these pastels. I used the pastel knives with sponge tips, which you can purchase with the pan pastels, as my application. They are too soft for my liking to be used as a final product, but made a perfect surface for an underpainting. I had to be careful not to apply too much of the pan pastel on my paper because the build up of pastel would be achieved too soon. I am not one who likes to use fixative, for many reasons, so getting an overabundance of pastel on the paper is always on the back of my mind. Once the tooth of the paper is gone, it’s very difficult to add more pastel.


There were many other colorful sailboats with awesome spinnakers but I chose to portray the red spinnaker because of it’s complimentary color scheme with the forest. Here’s a sailboat with a blue spinnaker that was just gorgeous!


The Blue Spinnaker Sail

I decided not to paint this sailboat because there would have been too much blue and not enough contrast. I love how the colorful sails are reflected in the water. That was another visual that caught my attention of the red spinnaker, the reflection of red in the water!


Alistair and Cordelia have decided to make an appearance and are engaged in a meaningful discussion of The Red Spinnaker Sail. Let’s listen in:


Alistair and Cordelia critique the Red Spinnaker Sail

“Cordelia, what do you think of this pastel painting with the Red Spinnaker Sail?”

“Well Al, you know I love sailing! It’s my favorite activity when it’s hot. You notice how my outfit goes well with the colors in the painting?”

“Why yes Cordelia, you are always well dressed. But I wonder what your thoughts are on this particular painting we are viewing?”

“My thoughts? Well, that big sail sure is bright red!”

“Yes indeed Cordelia. Do you like the painting?”

“Yellow is not my favorite color, nor is red. I prefer the more subtle colors of orange and teal, as you can see by my outfit.”

“Oh Cordelia, you jest. I can never get a straight answer out of you!”

“Let’s go Alistair, I’ve looked at the sailboat painting long enough. I guess it’s nice. But I don’t like red.”


I think we’ve had enough of Alistair and Cordelia. I never take them seriously anyway, but they can be fun. What do you think of “The Red Spinnaker Sail” pastel painting?

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time, much love and happy Summer! ~ Rhonda

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A Plein Air Adventure

This past weekend was just beautiful and perfect for a plein air adventure. We loaded up the boat with all our gear for a day out on Lake Pend Orielle which consisted of fishing rods, pastel gear and lunch.

We left early before the weekend crowd hit the lake, and launched during a sailing regatta which was so much fun to watch! It was wonderful to see all the colorful spinnakers as the sailboats headed downwind to the first buoy.


Sailing

After watching the sailboat race for awhile, to which I took lots of photos for future paintings, we headed out to find a spot to beach the boat. We came to a place on the lake called Granite Peak and found a beautiful lagoon where we had the place to ourselves. It was time for lunch so we broke out the cooler and made some delicious sammies.

After lunch, I rounded up my plain air pastels and accompanying gear and found a nice spot on the beach to paint a beautiful scene, while my husband fished.


Plein Air painting at Granite Cove

Plein air painting with pastel

I took the mini pastel box so my pastel was small, approx. 6″x8″. I used grey PastelMat paper and a variety of soft pastels. It’s hard for me to use such a small amount of colors on a painting, and longed for my big palette back in the studio. The next day, I revamped my colors in the box and hopefully now have it worked out to the necessary landscape colors I need for my next adventure. As you can see, why would I need so many pink colors? Beats me! Those are now gone and I added in more greys and browns.


The scene and mini pastel box

I love the lime green color of the water as it reflects the trees and then how it blends to blue from the reflection of the sky. It’s like eye candy to me! At one point my husband moved around to a rock on the bank in front of me so he became part of my painting. He had a great day fishing and caught six trout within the first hour! I had a great time on my plein air adventure too!

My depiction of the scene isn’t exactly like it was, but I feel I captured the essence of the landscape. This painting is titled Granite Peak Pastel and will become an addition to my series called the Beauty of Idaho. Here’s the finished piece:


Granite Cove pastel

The reason for the name of this area is all the rock walls of granite. There’s also a lot of granite rocks on the beach and in the shallow lagoon. The trees on top of the granite outcrop are leaning over from all the strong storms we’ve had this year. There were a few fallen trees laying on the top of the granite wall. I am always amazed that trees can grow in such rocky areas. Further up the mountain is a cave where someone long ago did some mining.

I think I will tackle a sailboat painting next and see how that works out. I recently purchased some pan pastels and am looking forward to trying them out. I’ll share my experience with them in my next post. Until then, thanks for stopping by! Please hit the like button so my posts can move up in the algorithm stats and more folks will be able to see these blog posts! I really appreciate it! Much love and Blessings! ~ Rhonda

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Chives Pastel Painting

This week I took a break from my landscape series to create Chives Pastel painting on PastelMat paper. I planted chives in the greenhouse last year and now they’ve tripled in size and have beautiful purple flowers. I cut a small bouquet and brought them in the studio to use as a reference before they are gone.

I honestly don’t know why I planted chives because I really don’t use them in my cooking. I like chives on baked potatoes every once in awhile, but that’s all I know to use them for. I guess it’s the pretty purple flowers that I really like most of all.


Chives Pastel Painting
Chives Pastel

Chives pastel painting is about 7.5″ x 10.5″ and painted on dark grey paper with Terry Ludwig and Unison soft pastels. I laid in the initial drawing with hard Nupastels and used a chamois to smooth out the background underpainting. Once all my underpainting was complete I used the soft pastels to build up the flowers. The vase was just a combo of all the colors smoothed into the shape of the vase and then highlights added at the end to define the shape.

It all came together rather easily but I’m still finding holes in my palette with respect to sticks I still need. I think to my self, “I need this dark color here” and go to my box to see if I have what’s in mind and no stick! Bummer. So earlier this week I made another order for more sticks! Once they arrived I made color swatches of each one in my sketchbook to make reordering easier later on.


New pastels

Can one actually ever have enough pastels? I don’t know. But opening a box of brand new pastels brings me back to childhood when on the first day of school, each student would find a brand new box of crayons, a new pencil, books and paper at our desks. I loved opening the box of crayons and seeing all the shiny new colors. I guess the art monkey found me at a very young age! I still remember finger painting in kindergarten and thinking that was the most fun a kid could ever have.

Well, that’s all I have to share this week. I hope you have a fabulous weekend, and I’ll be back next week with another pastel painting to share. Thanks for stopping by! Remember to hit that like button so my posts can move up in the algorithm rankings! Much Love ~ Rhonda


Note: If you click on each image above you’ll be able to see a larger single image in a Lightbox effect which is pretty cool!

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Camping and a Plein Air Painting

A couple of weekends ago I did a little camping and a Plein Air painting. The weather finally turned from cool and rainy to nice warm sunny days so we packed up and went on a three day adventure to the Moyie River, one of Idaho’s best rivers for rafting in the spring. We didn’t go rafting but saw plenty of people zooming by on the swiftly moving water. The river was over it’s banks and very loud!

The campground we stayed in is right next to the river so those staying in a tent don’t get a quiet night’s sleep! We stay in our truck camper so it’s very quiet. I took my big set of pastels and did a little plein air study of an easy up tent we bring with us for privacy at the back of the truck. It works out perfectly for eating in if it rains. There wasn’t anything better to paint and the river didn’t make a good subject either because there wasn’t really a good place to set up.

I made a short little video to share my adventure with you. It’s a fun video that describes the experience in a short two minutes:



The video doesn’t show the finished pastel painting very well, so here’s a better look:


Camping  and a Plein Air Painting called “The Tent”

“The Tent” was painted on Pastel Mat grey paper and is about 6″x6″ in size. It won’t become a part of my “Beauty of Idaho” series because it’s not a scene that can be placed in any one particular place. It’s just a little memento for myself of my camping and a plein air adventure. Every time I look at it, I’ll remember the sound of the rushing waters of the Moyie River and the warm breeze while sitting in the sunshine. I’ll think about the lovely meals we cooked at camp, and taking a shower outside in the portable shower tent. So much fun! I’ll also remember the stupid bugs! I hate bugs!!

Anyway, thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed this post and my fun video. Hit the like button if you don’t mind so my posts can move up in the algorithm rankings. If there was a thumbs down button I’d suggest hitting that too, cause either way, any type of interaction with my posts will help in the ranking. Until next time, have a great week! Much Love! ~ Rhonda

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Biking on the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes

Biking on the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes is my newest pastel in the Beauty of Idaho landscape series. It was painted on Buttercup PastelMat paper and is approx. 91/2″ x 81/2″ in size.

The inspiration for this painting came from a biking adventure my husband and I did last year on a section of the 73 mile long bike path. We rode through a particularly beautiful area with huge walls of rock on either side of the trail, lined with trees to which the temperature dropped about 10 degrees because of the terrain. Once past this area the scenery changes to open pastureland and it’s just so beautiful! I was attracted to the light patterns on the bike trail as the sun poked through the trees and open areas of the rock wall.


Biking the Coeur d’Alenes Pastel

{The Tamarack Mount Studio watermark is not on the original painting.}

I mapped out my values in a thumbnail sketch before beginning the painting, and selected a palette using mostly soft pastels from Terry Ludwig, Unison and Sennelier. There’s a particular pastel from Sennelier that I absolutely love for making trees. It’s the perfect color to use in the dark area of pine trees. The texture and feeling of the pastel is wonderful. Since I live in an area that has pine trees everywhere one looks, it’s a real help to have a pastel that aids in the depiction of pine trees. It’s the third swatch down in the second column that is the pastel I’m referring to. You can see its a darker yellow green which is the exact color of a pine needle.


Thumbnail for Biking the Coeur d’Alenes pastel

I’m thinking about entering this pastel painting in the Second Quarter Dakota Arts pastel competition along with the Blue Canoe Pastel painting I shared HERE.


Currently I’m adding finishing touches to a pastel I started this past weekend on a camping trip with my husband. I took my big pastel box and used our easy up tent as a subject, since I was surrounded by trees! There was a river next to camp but it was flowing really fast and high and there wasn’t a good place to set up since the bank was under water. I took lots of reference photos of the river and might do a pastel of the rocks and trees along the bank.


Plein air pastel painting

If you’re ever in Northern Idaho and love to bike, be sure and go Biking on the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes! We always pack a picnic and find a scenic spot to stop and eat. There’s picnic tables and restrooms all along the trail and plenty wide for lots of bicyclists.

Thanks for stopping by! Until next time, much Love ~ Rhonda



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