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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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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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“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.}

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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