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Poinsettia in Pastel

Merry Christmas!

Recently, I purchased a few poinsettia plants to decorate for the holidays. They are displayed in the living room and look so festive! I just love Poinsettias.

I also treated myself to a large order of new pastels! I finally got some rich reds that my palette was lacking. This haul of pastels is my Christmas gift to me.

Pastels and supplies

See the lower center small box of pastels with all the tones of red? That box inspired me to paint one of the Poinsettia plants and I had a great time doing so! Here’s the finished piece, “Poinsettia in Pastel”, which will be framed as a 5”x7” and used in the future as part of my Christmas decor…

Poinsettia  Pastel
Poinsettia in Pastel

Here’s a photo of the studio still life setup:

Studio  still life setup

My poinsettia plant is a bit thin in the leaves department because I almost killed both of them! The poinsettias are on the fireplace hearth where they don’t get my constant attention and I forget to check them daily for water. One day, I happened to look at the fireplace and both Poinsettias were wilted! “That’s just great”, I thought!

I rushed the plants into the kitchen and gave them long drinks. One perked up right away, the other was too far gone and lost most of its leaves. The one in the studio is the Poinsettia that survived the best, so I thought I’d better paint it before it’s gone, cause I just might forget to water them again.

All my shopping is done, and gifts have been shipped. I baked some Christmas sugar cookies using a new recipe off the back of the flour bag. Let’s just say that it was a wasted day, sadly. The recipe was awful and the cookies reflected that! We stomached a handful of them and threw the rest in the trash. Even icing didn’t help. The recipe called for sour cream and it just didn’t work. Yuck!

Well, that’s my excitement for the week! After the holidays I’ll be sharing the bird series in pastel that I’ve been working on. Here’s a sneak peak:

Red Cardinal Pastel
“Red Cardinal in the Snow”

(The Tamarack Mountain Studio watermark is not on the original paintings.)

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I’ll see you next year! Much Love ~Rhonda

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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

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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