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The Queen of Flowers: a giant Sunflower!

The Queen of Flowers
“The Queen of Flowers”

The Queen of Flowers is a giant Sunflower! I absolutely love giant Sunflowers and I painted this pastel painting of the tallest sunflower I’ve ever grown. It’s over 11′ tall! Most of the Sunflowers are finished for the season and are full of seeds. Soon, the resident squirrel will figure out there’s seeds to be had and will be climbing the stalks to get his treats.

Sunflowers are fun to paint and I did a few in oils, which you can view here. This giant Sunflower was really fun to paint in pastel. It is painted on PastelMat paper with soft pastels and is about 9″x9″ in size. (The watermark is not on the painting.) I think these giants deserve the name The Queen of Flowers!

Sunflowers

I’ve been busy with the end of summer garden chores like harvesting tomatoes and making pots of tomato sauce. Soon I’ll be digging up the potatoes and this week I dug up a big bag full of onions. It’s also time to plant garlic so that will be another garden chore to complete.

It’s so much fun to grow veggies! But this year was kind of weird in that we had an early onset of extreme heat and no rain all summer. Combined with extremely smokey days from surrounding wildfires, the lack of sunlight and intense heat did a number on all my plants, including the flower garden. My squash plants quit producing female flowers early and my rose bushes and Clematis vine didn’t produce flowers either until a few weeks ago when it cooled off. The only plants that did well were the tomato plants because they like heat. I’m hoping there will be a decent crop of potatoes.

I didn’t get in many adventures this summer because of the weather situation and the smoke. I love to paint plein air but this year that wasn’t in the cards. I’m hopeful this smoke will clear out soon! It’s so disparaging to not be able to see more than three miles and yet it’s not fog and it’s hot.

I hope you had a great summer! I’m ready for fall. How about you? Much Love and Blessings to you ~ Rhonda

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Pink Roses Pastel Painting

My flower garden is in full bloom with rose and Lillies of all sorts! It smells so wonderful and all the colors are a treat for the eyes! So here is my first floral painting of the year, called Pink Roses Pastel Painting.

Last week I picked some of my pink roses and brought them inside to enjoy, because they were suffering in the heat. It was really hot outside, in fact unusually hot for our area. We have been having some extreme hot temperatures for the last few weeks, so I have stayed inside! I’m not a fan of extremes in temperature, especially heat. It was the perfect time to do some still life paintings and pink roses made a great subject! So I thought.


Pink Roses Pastel Painting

It’s been awhile since I have painted floral genre and I’m out of practice. Needless to say this pink roses pastel painting was a challenge for me. As I look at the photo of the painting, I see lots of areas that could be improved, but I’m going to leave it as is and call it a learning piece.

I used wine Pastelmat paper that was 9″x12″ in size and soft pastels. After blocking in my sketch I set out to paint and after a few hours I was really unhappy with the way things were going. I took the paper off the easel and threw it in the trash. After taking a break, I came back in the studio and took the painting out of the trash and taped it back on the easel. I decided to use a brush and water to paint out what I had done, and create and under painting. Taking out my frustrations on the painting with water was great fun. I left it to dry and called it a day.

The next morning I turned on the easel light and was surprised to see that the painting could be salvaged and I could see a path forward. So, again, I played with textures and edges and ended up enjoying the process. I worked on staying loose and not blending the pastel.

Roses have always been hard for me to depict in a painting so now the challenge is on! I’ve got to figure this out! Pink is also a difficult color to portray especially in pastel, so maybe I’ll try some of my other roses that have red and orange in them. For now, I’m taking a break from roses and will sneak up on them another day.


Currently on my still life table is a white Lilly from the flower garden. I’m painting it in pastel and it’s coming along okay. The flower smells wonderful!

White Lilly

I’ve painted these Lillies in oils mostly, and created one pastel last year that came out great. I’m haunted by these beautiful flowers and every year I have to paint them. They only last a few weeks, so now is the time to capture their beauty, if at all possible.

I’ll be back soon to show you how the painting turned out. I hope I don’t wreck it! I am struggling with what color to make the background. White isn’t going to work, so I’ll have to invent something. I was thinking I’d make a high key painting by placing the flower on a white background, but now I wonder if that was a good decision. I’ll need to play around and see what happens.

Much love ~ Rhonda

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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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