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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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Alistair and Cordelia discuss “Camping”

Alistair and Cordelia discuss “Camping”… let’s listen in! What do you think they will say about the painting?

Alistair and Cordelia discuss "Camping"

Alistair:

“Look at this painting Cordelia. It reminds me of my childhood when my family would go camping. I loved camping! We had so much fun running through the forest and having marshmallow fights.”

Cordelia:

“I never went camping Alistair. I don’t like dirt. Plus I need a soft bed to sleep in, and don’t fancy sleeping on the hard ground. Then there’s all those nasty bugs. I hate bugs!”

Alistair:

“Cordelia, you don’t know what you’re missing. Being in nature is great for the soul. Doesn’t this painting inspire you to go have an adventure?”

Cordelia:

“No, Al, it doesn’t! I’m a city girl. Can we go now? I’m bored.”

Alistair:

“Oh Cordelia, you don’t mean that. Aren’t you enjoying looking at art?”

Cordelia”

“I suppose. But I don’t like camping so what’s the point?”

Alistair and Cordelia discuss "Camping"

It seems the studio mascots, Alistair and Cordelia discuss camping, but not my latest pastel painting. They didn’t make any comments on whether they liked the painting or not. What’s up with that? Let’s just ignore them. If you want to find out how Alistair and Cordelia came to be a part of my blog posts you can read about them HERE.

“Camping” pastel was painted on 6″x8″ black Pastelmat paper in plein air whilst on a bike adventure last week. I took the mini pastel box with me and it fit perfectly in my bike bag. I started the painting after lunch but didn’t have time to take it to completion, so I finished it in the studio using my reference photos.

"Camping"
“Camping “

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

My husband and I did a bike ride last week on the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes, a 73 mile long paved bike path through the beautiful mountains of North Idaho. The trail takes you by scenic pastures, rivers and Lake Coeur d’Alene. There are picnic tables along the way, and we always pack a lunch along with my art supplies. My husband takes a mini fishing pole and while I’m painting he tries to teach a worm to swim. ; )

We stopped at a picnic spot next to the Coeur d’Alene river and this beautiful scene became my subject. Some people were camped by the river and had the best spot. It is so peaceful at this particular place on the river, since its far away from traffic and the city itself. I could have stayed there all day! “Camping” is another landscape painting in my “Beauty of Idaho” series that I started in February.


The weather has been very fickle and the day we went riding it was windy and cold, so that’s why I didn’t finish the painting. We had a head wind going back and it was the first ride of the year so my legs felt like jello. But it was great to be out and since it is early in the season, there were hardly any people on the trail. I can’t wait for better weather and to go ride a different leg of the trail. Next time I’m on location I’ll remember to take photos of my set up.

I’m working on another pastel now from last year when we rode this trail and it’s coming out really nice. I will share it with you soon. Thank you for stopping in and reading my post. I hope you found a little humor with Alistair and Cordelia! Until we next time, take care. Much Love ~ Rhonda

  • The Sun Drenched Meadow
  • The Red Barn pastel
  • Sparkle Pastel Painting
  • "Summertime" Pastel Painting
  • "Camping"
  • “Sunset Magic” Pastel
  • The Golden Hour
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An Art Manikin Review

Here’s a fun thing to do: an Art Manikin Review!

What is an Art Manikin? Well it is a tool meant to help one learn to draw the human figure. An Art Manikin with respect to the spelling is different than a regular mannequin. An Art Manikin is a small human figure originally made of wood; whereas a mannequin is a full sized figure meant to display clothing in a store. Now that we have the correct terminology, let’s have an art manikin review!

I have several art manikins but I’ve never used them to help me learn to draw the human figure. I am of the opinion that one should learn from life, so that is what I did. I took life drawing classes with models that would pose in the nude. It was great! At first it was a little intimidating, but once I got over the initial shock and looked upon the models as an art form, all was good.

So why do I have this collection of art manikins when they just sit on my shelf collecting dust?

studio shelf
Art Manikins

I don’t know why I purchased these art manikins! The first one I acquired was the tall wooden one on the left. I bought it from Blick.com many years ago. The small wooden art manikin, I have no idea where it came from. Maybe I bought it because I thought it was cute.

Wooden art manikin

These wooden manikins are totally worthless in my opinion. The face jumps out at me as the first thing wrong since no human head is that elongated. Secondly is the pelvis area, why is that indented? And lastly the feet are too big. Also the hands are useless for learning to draw a hand. They don’t make a pose very easily and tend to fall over a lot, which is very annoying!

Art Manikins Alistair and Cordelia

This is Alistair and Cordelia, the Art Manikins you’ve seen in my previous posts, as the snobby art critics who like to critique my work. Instead of sitting on the shelf collecting dust, I thought I’d put them to use as the studio mascots.

I bought these art manikins at Blick.com a long time ago, because I thought they were very cool. I never used them to draw with but they’ve been a part of my studio ever since. Sadly, Blick doesn’t sell them anymore and I was quite upset to find this out when Cordelia’s arm broke last week! I was posing her for a picture and her arm just fell apart at the elbow. Luckily I had already taken the photo. My husband was able to glue her back together and now she’s good as new!

I think these are the best art manikins I’ve ever seen. Their proportions are correct and they pose quite easily. I put them on doll stands because their main draw back is they don’t stand up on their own. Cordelia arrived with no hair, so I gave her a full mane of red curly hair. I think I’m going to paint in their eyes, because they have no eyes just a blank stare, with no pupils, hence the sunglasses. It’s kind of creepy.

One day I got the idea to see if Barbie and Ken clothes would fit them and they do! It’s just too much fun. So now they are dressed to the nines and I find myself perusing the kids toy aisle for more clothes.

Alistair and Cordelia look at a new art work

These art manikins are called BYIA Body Kun Dolls and are TOTALLY worthless! I bought them when it looked like Cordelia was going to be armless last week. I thought they were as large as Alistair and Cordelia, but they are tiny, only 6″ tall. One needs glasses to see them for drawing with! I guess I didn’t read the description well enough before ordering. Oh well.

They are no bigger than my small wood manikin and are so ugly! They feel awful to the touch and their heads are too small for their bodies. The plastic stands they came with are a joke as they are hard to maneuver. It’s difficult to get the plastic tube into the hole in the back of the manikins. Their joints don’t move easily and the expression on the male’s face is one of anger. Kind of weird.

I was so disappointed upon opening the package. I would not recommend buying these manikins unless you want to waste your money. I didn’t save the packaging or I would have retuned them. So now I’m just going to give them to my grandson. He will have more fun playing with them than I will ever have any use for them. I don’t even want them on my studio shelf!

So thats my Art Manikin review. I hope this helps a bit if you are looking to purchase an art manikin. But truly, you’d be better off drawing from life. You don’t have to draw someone in the nude to get practice. Ask a friend or family member to pose for you and have the model change the pose every 15 minutes. Learn to draw the gesture of the person then later you can add details. Use a large newsprint pad and some vine charcoal so you can easily add shading.

Thanks for stopping by! I’ll be posting my latest pastel landscape in a few days. Until then, Much love! ~Rhonda