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Sunset in the Park Pastel

Sunset in the Park is this week’s pastel work and is part of my ongoing series called The Beauty of Idaho. For those who are new here, I started a landscape series in pastel, on Feb. 25 this year, as a tribute to our beautiful state of Idaho.

This new work depicts a sunset in our nearby 4,000 acre state park called Farragut. Farragut State Park is a destination playground for many folks in the Pacific Northwest. It has cabins, rv/tent campgrounds, disk golf, fishing, boating, hiking, horseback riding trails as well as biking trails. All summer long as one drives by the park entrance, the sign is always out, which says “Park is full”. One needs a reservation a year in advance in order to stay for a weekend or longer trip! Luckily, day passes are available for those not wanting to camp.


Anyway, here’s my finished piece:

Sunset in the Park Pastel

I was drawn to the mesmerizing colors of the setting sun driving by the park one night, as the pine trees were silhouetted against a vibrant pink and orange sunset. I puller over and snapped a few photos, then stood in silent awe at the scene before me. The sun went down so quickly and within minutes it was over.

I love sunsets and in the summer it seems they are so outstanding. This is when we get the big cumulous clouds and sunsets become magical. I’ve taken many, many photos of sunsets in times past, but here in the northwest, they are the best. So, I decided to include this pastel painting, “Sunset in the Park”, as part of my landscape series.

Sunset in the Park pastel painting is approx. 10.75″ x 7.5″ and was painted on white PastelMat paper. I used a watercolor underpainting to help with the vibrance of the scene and as a guide to paint with. Before starting the piece I did a few thumbnails and a watercolor sketch in my sketchbooks. I also picked out a few preliminary sticks to begin.

Preliminary work for Sunset in the Park

I used a Moleskin watercolor notebook for the watercolor sketch and I must say, I’m not a fan. The paper buckles and there is too much sizing, preventing the watercolor from saturating the paper. It seems the watercolor just sits on top of the paper and when it dries its dull. So this book will just be used for studio studies of paintings and not taken in the field. I don’t use sketchbooks that don’t have good feedback and response to the materials because it’s not fun.

The kraft paper sketchbook is something new for me and I’m not sure about this one either. The paper is rather thin, and absorbs markers too fast. Pastel does well on it, but pencil looks dull. So again, this will not get much use other than for thumbnail sketches. Maybe Gouache would be better suited for this type of paper. I’ll have to order some and try it out. You never know, it could become my new found sketchbook love if I use gouache!


I didn’t include the Studio Mascots, Alistair and Cordelia, in this post because I’ve not received enough feedback from readers as to whether anyone finds them funny, or annoying. Only one person has commented about them and she thought it was hilarious. Thank you for that! I think it’s funny, but then I have a weird sense of humor. So let me know in the comments below if Alistair and Cordelia should continue with their art critiques or if they should be done away with!

Until next time, have a super week! Much Love as always. ~ 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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“Summertime” pastel painting

It’s been a busy week, but I was finally able to get a photo uploaded of my latest work. “Summertime” pastel painting is the next piece in the “Beauty of Idaho” series. This painting is my favorite so far and I will be entering it in the Dakota Art Pastels 2nd Quarter Pastel Competition. I’ve been entering the juried competitions on a regular basis and always have been accepted but have never placed. Maybe with this one I’ll get lucky?

The juror of the pastel competition is Marla Bagetta, who paints in a very loose and impressionistic style. So I’ve always been curious to know if a judge who is an artist, paints in certain manner, does that mean they will be only drawn to those paintings that are similar to their style? If that’s the case, then I have no prayers chance in hell of placing, because I paint in a photo realistic style. I’ve often thought that artists shouldn’t judge art contests because it’s like the fox guarding the hen house. Similarly, photographers shouldn’t judge photos.

I used to belong to a professional photography association and the monthly photography contests were judged by other photographers in the association. The same photographer always seemed to win because he had a unique style that everyone knew whose photo it was. Everyone knew it was the association president’s photo so how could he not win? I thought his stuff was bad, because it was underexposed and grainy. As if he invented grainy photos. I think someone from the public should judge artistic competitions because after all, it’s the public that buys the art and they know what they like. What do you think? Anyways, I digress. Here’s my piece:

"Summertime" Pastel Painting

“Summertime” pastel painting was created from a reference photo I took at the waters edge on Lake Pend Orielle, in northern Idaho. This beautiful blue canoe was tied up next to a floating restaurant and the lime green color of the water with the green umbrella on the patio was gorgeous! Plus the blue railings around the restaurant matched the canoe color perfectly. All those luscious colors were reflected in the still water. (The Tamarack Mountain Studio watermark is not on the original).

I have an affinity for canoes because of their unique shape. There’s just something about the design of a canoe, kind of like tug boats, that I find appealing. I would love to have a canoe but my husband doesn’t want one. He says they’re tippy, so we have kayaks instead. Maybe some day I’ll take a ride in one and see if that’s true.

“Summertime” pastel painting was painted on light green PastelMat paper with hard and soft pastels. I used a cool palette with complimentary warm tones to offset all the cool hues. The pastels used were from Terry Ludwig, Unison, Sennlier and Nupastel. No underpainting was done on this piece. I did a thumbnail sketch to map out the values and picked out a palette before beginning.

Thumbnail sketch of "Summertime"

As usual the studio mascot art critics, Alistair and Cordelia chimed in. They both gave “Summertime” a thumbs up! (Well as good as their mannequin hands would allow). A thumbs up with no snarky comments? I’m shocked! Thanks guys!

Alistair and Cordelia Give "Summertime" a thumbs up

Cornelia has a broken arm! While adjusting her hand her arm came apart at the elbow! I’m so bummed. She’s in the hospital having surgery now. If the doctors can’t fix her arm she’ll have to be “put down” and a replacement will be made. Stay tuned to see what happens!

That’s all I have for now. Thanks for stopping by. Until next time, much Love! ~ Rhonda

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“The Red Barn” Pastel

Alistair and Cordelia critique the barn pastel

“Cordelia, what are your thoughts about this “Red Barn” pastel?” asks Alistair of the lovely Cordelia.

“Well, Alistair, can I call you Al?”

“Why of course, all my friends call me Al!”

“Ok, Al. My thoughts on the “Red Barn” pastel are mixed. I do like the juxtaposition of the complimentary color palette, although I’m not a fan of overly green paintings. I don’t care for humdrum barn paintings as it were. I’m a city girl you know. But I must say there is something about this barn pastel that I like and can’t quite put my finger on it.”

“Cordelia, my sweet, you amaze me every day with your intellect!” “I like the daisies in the foreground. You didn’t see them? Look! I thought you liked daisies!”

“Why Al, you remembered that I like daisies! Yes I like those and the tall brown flower things on the left, whatever those are.”

“Me too! Well I’ve seen enough. Let’s do lunch. I’m starving!”

“I’m for that Al. Let’s get out of here!” amuses Cordelia.

I never listen to them. By the way, those tall plants on the left are dried up Mullens. Mullens grow like crazy here and are a beneficial plant. Mullen is used to help with respiratory issues and coughs.

Here’s my latest addition to the Beauty of Idaho series, called “The Red Barn” Pastel:

The Red Barn pastel

“The Red Barn” pastel was painted with hard and soft pastels on tan PastelMat paper. I used an alcohol wash underpainting to set the mood for the painting. I wanted to depict an old time look to the piece and feel I achieved that using mostly pink undertones.

This is one of my favorite barns in our area and sits in the middle of a large field next to the woods. I’ve always been drawn to barns and old wood, especially old buildings that are in disarray . Idaho is mostly a rural state and there are many farms with interesting barns dotting the landscape. This particular barn is nicely maintained and every spring lots of daisies grow in the pastures. The scene is so picturesque that driving by one day I had to stop and take a photo, knowing I would have to paint it.

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

I hope you enjoyed this pastel and the musings of the studio mascots, Alistair and Cordelia. Until next time, much love! ~Rhonda