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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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“Sunset Magic” Pastel

Sunset Magic” Pastel is a new painting I recently finished and is part of the series I’m working on called the Beauty of Idaho. I introduced the series in a previous post, and have been enjoying working on landscapes. Sunsets are one of my favorite landscape genres to paint because of the vibrant colors. I used a cool palette for the majority of the piece allowing the clouds to be the focal point in warmer tones. It was the clouds plus the pink horizon that brought my attention to the scene.

“Sunset Magic” pastel on the easel

This is a shot of the pastel on the easel to show the size, which is roughly 7.5″ x 7.5″. “Sunset Magic” Pastel was painted on wine PastelMat paper and depicts Lake Pend Orielle in Northern Idaho just after the sun has set. I was attracted to the wispy clouds that were highlighted by the sun while everything else was in near darkness. The clouds at the horizon were a vibrant pink and the pink colors were reflected in the water. It truly was a magical sunset that day!

In the above photo, are the studio mascots. They’ve been a part of my studio for years and I thought it was time to introduce them! Allow me to introduce Alistair and Cordelia:

Alistair and Cordelia Blue

Alistair and Cordelia are snobby art critics and here they are again discussing my painting! Cordelia finds it unbelievable that a sunset could be these colors. Alistair agrees. He’s pointing to the painting and says, “I agree with you Cordelia, how ridiculous that the water is such a bright pink! Its not like that in real life!”

Snobs! I never listen to them.

“Sunset Magic” Pastel

I am happy with the simplicity and vibrancy of this pastel painting. I think “Sunset Magic”Pastel truly captured the beauty of that evening as I saw it from our boat as we were coming in to the harbor. I used my artistic license and pushed the colors to the brilliant side because after all, this is art not a photo. ; ) I like this pastel for the playfulness in the color palette while at the same time it evokes a sense of peacefulness. One can almost feel the warm summer night and the stillness of the air as the waves gently roll upon the lake.

Feel free to leave your thoughts in a comment. Do you agree with Alistair and Cordelia? Too pink?

Thanks for stopping by! Until next post ~ Much Love! ~ Rhonda

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