Posted on

Bearded Iris Pastel

This week I worked on a new pastel using my Bearded Iris from my flower garden as my subject. The flower garden is a small patch surrounded by a fence to keep the deer out. It contains three Rose bushes, Iris, Lillies, Hollyhocks and Clematis plus hanging baskets of Petunias. Every so often I’ll plant sunflowers but that’s doesn’t go well, because the squirrels and chipmunks dig up the seeds before the sunflowers can take root. These days I start sunflowers indoors and plant them outside as a seedlings so the squirrels can’t change my garden plans.

Here’s a pic of this heavenly spot where the Iris grow:

Bearded Iris in the garden

Next week the weather is going to take a drastic change and go from the delightful 70’s to the 50’s with temps at night dipping in to the low 30’s. There’s even snow forecasted! The garden will be over with next week, so I figured this would be a good time to paint a new pastel in memory of this year’s abundant beauty. I used a photo reference for this piece because the Iris are long gone for this year.

On the easel – “Bearded Iris” pastel

I have a new pastel tray thanks to my husband, who built it for me. It will be fun filling it up with pastels. Right now it looks like I don’t have any pastels to speak of, but every color I need is there. The shelving has wheels so I can move the pastels close to my easel.

Here’s a pic of the finished piece. The watermark is not on the pastel and is done for online purposes. “Bearded Iris” Pastel is 7” x 9.5”. I’m super pleased with how it turned out.

“Bearded Iris” Pastel

If you like this new work, hit the “Like” button below. You don’t have to leave a comment, but clicking on the “Like” button let’s me know I have readers out there who enjoy reading my posts. The more readers, the more posts I will create. Otherwise, if I’m talking to myself, then there won’t be any posts.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a super weekend! Go out and enjoy the fall colors! Much Love ~ Rhonda

Posted on

New Interest in Pastels

Summer on the Lake Pastel Painting

Its been a minute since last time I posted! I’m still here ~ just been busy with the garden and my new interest in Pastels. I think I may have found my preferred medium of choice!

There’s nothing like a new box of pastels ~

When I was a kid I used to adore a brand new box of crayons, all pristine and freshly sharpened. Opening a new box of pastels brings back those fond memories. Pastels today, compared to what I used 10 or so years ago, are so much better. The paper has come a long way too and I’m totally in love with this medium. The way the soft pastels lay down creamy vibrant color on the paper is fascinating and delicious, if I may say! Here are some of my new works:


These are a few of my faves. You can see the rest of the new work in the Gallery under the Pastel Paintings tab. I’ve taken the pastels plein air painting and even on a super windy day, it was a pleasure to paint with them. I didn’t have to worry about bugs becoming stuck on the paper, as when I paint with oils. Or like when I paint with oils in plein air, no worries about yellow jackets being attracted to the smell, because pastels have no smell. You can understand why my new interest in pastels has such a great appeal to me. No fuss, but a lot of mess, which is the only drawback. Not to worry, if you work in pastels, you know to have a wet towel on hand to wipe your hands off.

Look at all those vibrant colors! The most wonderful thing about pastels is there’s no mixing to do, like there is with oil paint. I don’t have to think about adding just the right amount of medium or which colors are transparent or opaque, or complimentary and greyed down, etc, etc. I can just be free to paint what I see with ease and not have to wait for paint to dry.

Plein air pastel

The above photo is where I last painted plein air while on a camping trip. We stayed in a campground on the Moyie River in north Idaho and had a great time. My husband fished down below while I painted and my only complaint was the strong wind. But everything stayed together and only my hat threatened to blow away. I’m bummed that the summer is over and we probably won’t have any more outings. In the meantime, I’ll use my reference photos and paint in the comfort of the studio. I hope you had a decent summer and the trials of the times weren’t too harsh. Stay well, be prepared, and thanks for stopping by! Much Love ~ Rhonda

Posted on 4 Comments

New Work ~ “Bearded Iris Backside”

New Work ~

This new work entitled “Bearded Iris Backside” describes the back of the Iris where two buds were growing out of the stem. Why did I paint the back of the Iris? Well, viewing a flower from all sides is one of my favorite things to do before deciding on a view to paint. There are so many interesting parts to a flower and most times, the back is just as interesting as the front. Hidden behind this flower were two buds that I never saw until I turned the Iris around, upon cutting it in the garden.

The Bearded Iris had grown crooked in my flower garden and wouldn’t stand straight in the vase. So, upon turning the Iris all different directions, I discovered the buds made a more interesting story and I let the Iris be the backdrop to the buds.

Iris in a vase

The Studio Set up ~

Originally, when I placed the Bearded Iris into my vase, I didn’t add any leaves. The vase is too small to hold the thick stalks of the plant. Further into the painting I decided the composition needed the addition of leaves. You can see how there isn’t a good balance of the elements.

Iris painting in progress

Here is the point when the decision was made to add a single leaf from the Iris patch, which would add flow and balance to the composition. As the last bud was wilting I added a few leaves for reference. The blue tint to the vase is from the addition of water soluble fertilizer. I have discovered flowers last longer with this addition, and that adding an aspirin or some sugar to make flowers last longer is an urban myth.

Iris leaf added to painting

Finished Painting

The painting was done alla prima on an 8”x10” oil primed linen panel, using a tetrad color palette. Because the buds opened so quickly photo references were used to complete the piece. (The original flower set up wilted before the painting was finished.) Here is the finished painting:

Iris Backside oil painting
“Iris Backside”

This new work, “Bearded Iris Backside” oil painting, will be varnished and framed when it’s dry. Afterwards, the painting will be posted in the gallery under Floral Paintings. I’m super pleased with the results and had a wonderful time painting it.

Please note: the Tamarack Mountain Studio watermark is not on the original painting. The watermark is for online purposes only.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
Posted on

Stained Glass Update

In my previous post I shared the stained glass panel I’ve been working on and promised to share the progress. It’s tedious and slow going but I can see light at the end of the tunnel.

The drawing had to be scaled down from the original pattern because I realized I originally drew it to the size of the opening and forgot to subtract for the frame measurement! Geez. So in scaling down the project I was inadvertently left with smaller hard to cut pieces. I’ve cut and recut many pieces over and over. But it’s finally coming together.

After I finish fitting the right side panel it will be time to add the copper foil to each piece. That will be very time consuming because there’s 68 pieces or more and some are tiny! Oh joy. But the end product will be worth it and it’s going to look great in our greenhouse! Next post I will share the copper foiling.

I hope you are staying healthy and you are finding things to keep you busy during our stay indoors. These are tough times but we will prevail! Much Love ~ Rhonda

Posted on

Coping during these strange times ~

Greetings to all. I wanted to share an email I received from a favorite artist of mine, Roos Schurring. She is a wonderful impressionist artist from the Netherlands. You can visit her website HERE. She gave me permission to share her uplifting email with everyone during these hard times:

“Hi! It’s Roos here.
I wanted to write just to my Art Business students but decided it might be good to share this with you as well.
I hope you’re not glued to the news-inputs too much.
If you are, I hope you can break away from it.


Coming to your senses and deciding it might be better to keep a peaceful mind. Dedicating this ‘house arrest’ time to important tasks.

For example, that photo album you wanted to create, the attic that is a mess, you never had time for it, well you have now.
You can start a Blog, paint a lot.
You can create a whole new website from scratch.
You have time!

I think it’s these choices that make us who we are.
Most are floating on a stream, a wild river, almost consuming them.

But you can sit on the sideline. Yes, you can watch the updates, once a week, or better yet, read some about it.
Nothing you’ll be able to do about it.
But staying home, ordering your food, spending your time well.


I hope you’re spending your time well. That’s just what I wanted to say. You know what curiosity does.
Telling yourself you much stay in the closest loop, because it’s just ‘wartime’, that’s just bs.

Sure, the fear is real, the risks are real.
But I hope you’re not sinking away in the big negative spiral loop created by the news stations and media, driving on this fear.

Turn it off.
Do something productive or fun.

I saw the movie Ad Astra yesterday. You can buy it at Youtube.
That will take your mind off things.

After that, create a plan, ideas about what to get done now.
Making the most of a bad situation.

Bake a great brownie cake.


Be well!

Happy Painting as well, painting can put your mind on something positive as well.

Roos Schuring”

Does your neighborhood store look similar?

It can be surreal to go into your local grocer and see an image like the one above. Some of you might not be experiencing this in your city, but for our area, this is reality. We went to our local grocer this past weekend and I couldn’t believe my eyes! I thought, “This must just be because we are more rural and this can’t possibly be happening in town!” So I went to town a few days later to finish my weekly shopping and to my disbelief, every single store looked like this. It’s making me sad. It’s making me angry.

Anyway, while we are all hunkered down waiting for the next shoe to drop, I thought I’d share Roos’ words of wisdom. Find things to do you never had time for. Play with your kids and teach them some new things. Do art! Art has a way of taking our minds off time for a little while. Then afterwards you have something that wasn’t there before, to display and enjoy. Kids love doing art projects.

Puzzles, games, reading books, getting outside and enjoying nature in your area are other feel good things to do. When I was a kid, we played a lot of make believe games. We would turn a picnic table on its side and pretend it was a fort. We would hang a sheet between the poles on the patio and use it for a backdrop to put on plays for the neighborhood kids. We would turn the water on a patch of dirt and get it soggy to the point we could make mud pies. Has anyone ever done that? It was soooo much fun.


If your kids are grown and gone, now would be a great time to sort through all the stuff in the closets and get rid of things you never use. I did that a few weeks ago with my kitchen. It took me four days! I now have a bunch of stuff in boxes ready to sell in a garage sale, or give to charity. My kitchen is much more organized after doing this reorganization and clean up.

Get to know your neighbors! No one has time for neighbors anymore. Back in the day, our neighbors were always dropping in, unannounced, for a cup of coffee. My parents would sit at the kitchen table drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes (gag me city!) and talk for hours on end. Invite your neighbors over for a cup of tea, or coffee! Within safe distances of course. 🤓

If you’re the type that likes to play on your phone, tablet or computer, here’s a little digital puzzle you can play which will keep your mind off of the days’ troubles for awhile:

Sunset on the Villa

You can click the image or click HERE, to play the puzzle. If you’re not into playing puzzles, this might convert you!

Another good thing to do is go in the kitchen and create a new dish, or challenge yourself to a bake off with someone else! Like Roos suggests, bake some brownies. Yum. Here’s a link to a yummy breakfast recipe that uses up old bread; Cinnamon Roll Breakfast Bake! It’s super easy to make and tastes delicious! The ingredients are simple. You can omit the cream cheese, and just use raisins and cinnamon like a traditional cinnamon roll.

Well, I hope you are not sick, and that none of your family and friends are either. I hope you are coping as well as can be expected and the Lord is watching over you. Stay safe and remain calm. Much Love ~ Rhonda ❤️