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The Golden Hour Pastel

The Golden Hour Pastel is my latest pastel in the Landscape Series called the Beauty of Idaho. The scene is of a gorgeous sunset as viewed from our nearby state park, called Farragut. The park is about 4,000 acres and was once a naval training center during the WW2 era. In fact my late father-in-law trained at the center and his company has a group photo in the archives in the visitor center. I think that is very cool! Farragut State park has many campsites, endless hiking /biking trails, access to the lake and a swimming hole with sandy beach among many other amenities.

I created The Golden Hour pastel on Buttercup PastelMat paper and it is approx. 8″x8″. My palette was limited to the warm tones of purple, orange and yellow using soft pastels from Terry Ludwig, Unison, Senelier and Great American. I have a lot of yellow papers left to use and have been picking subjects that would go well with these papers. I like to order my pastel paper in pads as it’s easier to transport for plein air painting, but the choices one can order are limited to four sheets of each of a color in different combinations. So for instance the pad with yellow comes with dark grey and light grey which I prefer, but then it has two shades of yellow, Buttercup and Maize, to which I’m not a fan of.

I think the yellow paper worked well for this pastel and The Golden Hour came out quite nice. It was fun to paint in the trees in the foreground because it made the sunset come to life.

Alistair and Cordelia, the studio mascots, weighed in on The Golden Hour pastel as usual. I didn’t include their full conversation this time. I’ll let you use your imagination as to what was said.

The Golden Hour Pastel
“The Golden Hour Pastel”
Look at that beautiful sunset Cordelia
“Look at that beautiful sunset Cordelia!”
Alistair and Cordelia enjoy The Golden Hour Pastel
“Where are you shoes Cordelia?”
Alistair critiques The Golden Hour pastel
“Stand here Cordelia, you can get a better shot.”
Really?
“Really?”

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

I’ve started a new pastel that has complicated parts and a cool palette of blues and greens. So far things are going well and I’ll be back to share it with you next week. Thanks so much for stopping by and as always your comments are greatly appreciated, as it gives me valuable feedback. Until then, much love! ~ Rhonda

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A critique of “Miss Chicken”

A critique of “Miss Chicken” provided by Alistair and Cordelia, the studio mascots:

Alistair and Cordelia provide a critique of "Miss Chicken".
Alistair and Cornelia critique “Miss Chicken”

“Alistair, look at that pastel titled “Miss Chicken!”. Blue tail feathers?” “Really?” critiques the lovely Cordelia.

“Well Cordelia, you see this is art not a photograph. Of course chickens don’t have blue tail feathers in REAL life!” replies the ever knowledgeable Alistair.

“The title of the piece is “Miss Chicken” so maybe she thinks she’s hot.” surmises Cordelia.

“Perhaps, but then again, maybe the artist used her artistic license to create a colorful passage that we as the audience would enjoy. What do you think?” asks Alistair.

Alistair and Cordelia critique the "Miss Chicken "pastel

Alistair points out the the red wattle and comb and explains to Cordelia how the red and blue colors make the painting pop.

“You see Cordelia, the saturated colors of the comb and tail feathers balance out the more neutral colors of the main body feathers. It’s brilliant.” explains Alistair.

“Well maybe, but I’m not a fan of chicken paintings, Al. I’m a city girl, you know.”

“I mean the last painting we saw was of a Red Barn, which I’m not used to seeing because I live in the city. When will we see something different?” whines Cordelia.

“Oh Cordelia you jest!” amuses Alistair.

Let’s ignore the studio mascots, shall we?

As you see, my latest pastel is of a chicken. I just had to paint this chicken after being inspired by a video from Marla Bagetta. I love chickens and when I saw her paint this one I had to have one of my own. Of course our styles are very different and I really love how hers came out, but I’m pleased with mine. I took a little break from painting landscapes to do this chicken, which was really fun.

"Miss Chicken"

“Miss Chicken” was painted on Buttercup PastelMat paper and is approximately 9.5″ x 8.5″. I used a variety of hard and soft pastels from Terry Ludwig, Unison and Girault as well as Nupastel. My painting is more linear and controlled whereas Marlas painting is loose and freeform.

I have tried to paint the way she paints and I just can’t figure out how to do it. I thought if I used pastels it would help me to loosen up but this must just be the way I paint. Painting is like one’s signature, and reflects our nature. I’m somewhat of an introvert and a neat nut.

I have been paying attention to this phenomenon for awhile now and have discovered that an artist’s essence and personality comes through in their work. It’s really quite amazing. Just because I’m introverted and neat doesn’t mean anything bad, it’s just me. Some folks don’t like that but it’s okay. We can’t please everyone, right? I think this stems from my upbringing whereby my parents believed children should be seen and not heard. My mother despised dirt and would make my sisters and I pick up lint from the carpet after she had just vacuumed. I know! But whatever, I’m not able to change even though I’ve tried, and at my age its not worth it. But I will pursue a more loose style of painting and believe it or not the pastels are helping in my quest. Mainly, I’m having fun and that’s the whole point!

Currently on my easel is a pastel of a sunset and that’s really fun! In between getting the veggie gardens ready for the upcoming season, and planting my seeds to start indoors, painting has taken a bit of a back burner, but I’ll share as soon as it’s finished.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed “Miss Chicken” as much as I did painting her!

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

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“Sparkle” Pastel Painting

Today I’m happy to share with you my newest pastel painting entitled “Sparkle”, which depicts the magical glow at sunset, when the light makes everything sparkle. This scene describes the season of Fall on a nearby lake called, Spirit Lake in northern Idaho. It is the second painting in my new landscape series called The Beauty of Idaho, which I introduced in my prior post.

Sparkle Pastel Painting

A few years ago my husband and I spent the weekend at a local resort that had cabins on the waterfront. The resort is called Silver Beach Resort. The area reminded me of an old time vacation spot that you might find in the Catskill mountains, or perhaps a place kids go for summer camp back in the day. It was really quaint and the cabin we stayed in was very small, but so cute. It was late fall and we were the last guests of the season so we had the place to ourselves.

The reference photo I used to create this painting was taken while we were out fishing as the sun was setting. We were the only ones out on the lake and it was so peaceful and beautiful. There were no fish to be had that evening but the sunset was a perfect ending to a fun day. I spent a few hours searching my backup hard drive to find photos of the cabin to share with you, but no luck. If you click the link above you can see some of the photos of the cabins on their website. We stayed in cabin #3, which had no bathroom, so we had to use the community bathroom and showers. The tv only had an antenna which picked up one or two local stations but no worries, as we were there for the outdoor activities anyway.

“Sparkle” pastel painting was painted on grey Pastel Mat paper and is approximately 9″x9″. I used a variety of soft and hard pastels to create the piece. I spent about two days working on this painting to get the lighting correct as well as describing the lake. There weren’t any major problems to solve and it went very well making the whole experience very enjoyable. I absolutely love working with pastels!

I will be taking some time off to do some architectural drafting for my part time employer, and will be back when I have a new painting to share. Until then, much love! ~ Rhonda

“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” –Leonardo da Vinci

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The Sun Drenched Meadow

A few years back I drove past this little farm and the sun drenched meadow had parts of shade and sun due to cumulous clouds drifting by. A part of the meadow was so beautiful and bright with flowers and new spring growth that I had to pull over and shoot a photo. I was drawn to the contrast of light and dark and the red barn in the distance.

This pastel painting is the first in my new series of landscape pastel paintings entitled “The Beauty of Idaho”. The series will include sunsets, mountain vistas, lakes and rivers and more pastures with farms. Idaho is a beautiful state especially the northern area where I live, and so I want to pay homage to my home state.

"The Sun Drenched Meadow"

The Sun Drenched Meadow

Painted on 8″x9.5″ green Pastel Mat paper.

I think the green pastel paper was a great enhancement to the palette and allowed me to use it as a starting point when laying in my colors. I allowed parts of the paper to show through which gave texture to the meadow. On this piece I used an alcohol wash after applying some preliminary color and I can say I am not a fan of this method. The alcohol changed the texture of the paper and gave me some trouble with building up the layers. I won’t be using this method again. I much prefer using watercolor if its necessary, to create a preliminary wash such as on white pastel paper.

Painting the flowers was great fun and I had to be careful not to overdo it! My favorite part in painting the piece was laying in the sun drenched field and creating the shadows made from the clouds. Standing back and looking at the painting on my easel I had a great feeling of accomplishment. The painting seemed to just pop off the easel with vibrancy! I wish you could see it in person, because the photo doesn’t do the painting justice. Photos flatten subjects and one can’t see all the sparkle this pastel has to offer. I think this is why I’ve fallen in love with pastels, the sparkle! Plus, the immediacy of the medium itself and being able to paint intuitively, which suits me the best, is another reason I enjoy pastels.

The Sun Drenched Meadow pastel is available in the gallery. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did painting it! Until next time, thanks for stopping by! Much Love ~ Rhonda