“New World” A Painting in Soft Pastel and a Watercolor Color Study

Hi all! It’s the day after election day, 2020, and I am looking to spend some much needed time seeking creative solace in my studio.

After doing some reorganizing and clean-up, I decided to post about a soft pastel painting and color study I finished up a while back with baby chicks as the subject.

We raise chicks almost every year on our little hobby farm, and this year I took hundreds of photos so I would be ready with inspiration when I had time to paint.

(You might be surprised just how many photos one has to take before getting a “good” one! Those chicks are always on the go!)

When the time came I painted this color study in watercolor….

Watercolor on Winsor & Newton watercolour paper

And here are some of the progress photos….

Once I finished, I knew that I wanted to do these little chicks in soft pastel too!

So I did….

Study (top) & Soft Pastel painting (bottom)

And here is a closer view of the pastel painting in better lighting to make the colors true.

“New World” 8×8
Assorted soft pastels on Strathmore mixed media paper
R. Sorrells, Artist copyright 2020

I hope you enjoy these little chicks as much as I enjoyed painting them!

Till next time—

I hope you are well and finding ways to stay creative!

~R

“Golden Pines” A Soft Pastel Painting

Hello creative ones! I am happy to be sharing one of my latest pastel paintings with you today. 🙂

I am finding that I am seeing myself more as a seasonal painter….although I have to admit that sometimes I am a little behind the season when I get around to painting my subjects.

While some of the United States is looking forward to or even starting to experience some spring-like weather, here in northern Indiana we are expecting snow and sleet for the next few days!

So today I bring you a wintery scene featuring some evergreen trees being lit with golden light.

I hope you enjoy this painting. And if you are curious about how I painted it, click on the link at the bottom of the post to see a time-lapse video on my YouTube channel.

Let me know if you like it!

My reference photo (copyright R. Sorrells)
Thumbnail and brown Clairfontaine Pastelmat paper with line sketch
Well into the process now…Needs just a bit more….
“Golden Pines”
Assorted soft pastels on Clairefontaine Pastelmat
6×8 in.
R. Sorrells, Artist
2020

Till next time!

~R

My First Open House!

Hello my Creative Friends!

It has been a while since I have posted. I have been really busy painting and preparing to attend a town-wide Christmas Open House near me.

I have painted approximately 30 paintings, designed notecards from those paintings, experimented with new techniques and materials, learned how to package and display my pieces, and more!

PHEW!  That was a lot of work, but I have enjoyed every minute of it… 🙂

Here are some pictures of my booth set-up as well as a slideshow of the pieces I will be selling.

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And if you want to see my paintings a little closer, here is a slide show for you.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I hope you enjoy it, and that your holiday season is Merry & Bright.

Take care and Merry Christmas!

~Rhonda

 

“Moody Blue” Soft Pastel Painting

Hello friends! Welcome back to my blog.

Today I have my latest soft pastel painting and progress shots. I don’t have a lot of progress photos for this one, as I  got carried away and before I knew it, I was making final marks! 🙂

I started this painting on Pastelmat after doing some fun acrylic ink underpaintings.
Here is the underpainting….

Acrylic Ink underpainting

 I started by sketching and blocking in in a VERY BASIC way…

Sketch-in with Nupastel

 

Block-in

 Pretty far in the process in this next photo:

Developing the sky and tree…

 

“Blue Day” Assorted Soft Pastels on Pastelmat, 4×4 in

 Hope you enjoy this one. Let me know what you think or what you are working on!

Also, you can follow me on Instagram @ArtGoneCountry.

Thanks for taking a peek!

Stay creative!

~R

Pastel Painting: “Paradise Lost”

Hello to everyone, and thanks for stopping to read about and view my latest pastel painting! 

In December of this year, I am going to be offering some of my pastel paintings for sale at a town-wide Christmas open house near me.

I am very excited and a bit nervous. As my daughter used to say when she was very little, “I’m nervous-cited!

First, I don’t really like to “market” myself or my art much beyond this blog, Instagram, and a few other places.
I am just not comfortable with the whole thing, but this open house is a way to dip my toe in, if you like, and hopefully enjoy myself in the process.

So, in order to get ready I have begun painting some smaller pieces that might appeal more readily to those who may attend this type of function. Solitude from my last post, is one of those smaller pieces…

Which brings me to today’s painting. I call it, “Paradise Lost.”

“Paradise Lost”

 

I started this painting with a fun acrylic ink underpainting: 

Underpainting in Acrylic Ink

Next, I blocked in using soft pastels starting with the darks.

 

Adding and building up the form:

 

A few more finishing touches and a signature, and I’m done!

 

“Paradise Lost”  Assorted soft pastels over acrylic ink
on Pastelmat paper, 4 1/8 x 4 1/8 inches 

 Let me know if you enjoyed this piece. I’d love to hear what you think!

Till next time,

Stay Creative!

~R

Pastel Painting: “Solitude”

Hello everyone!

I am back to share my latest pastel painting, so let’s get started.

Working on UART sanded paper, I applied an acrylic ink underpainting using a sponge to give me a head start on establishing the texture I wanted to create for the trees and grasses.

Acrylic ink underpainting

 Next I began adding pastel, establishing the darks and the sky early on.

Adding pastel

In the picture below, you can see some of the colors I tested for this painting. 

Here is the final painting. 

“Solitude” on UART sanded paper, 4×6

Hope you enjoy this one.

Till next time!

~Rhonda

Pastel Painting: “Nesting Behavior” with progress photos

Hello Friends!

Summer is almost done and we are starting up homeschool next week, so I wanted to take the time to post my latest piece along with some thoughts and progress photos showing my process.

I definitely had a different mindset for this one. 
I was aiming for something a little looser, less refined. More impressionistic, I guess.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it! 🙂 

 

FIRST MY REFERENCE: I took this photo in my front yard. 

Reference Photo

I think the photo is beautiful. But that’s a problem for me because as beautiful as this photo is, I am NOT into copying for the sake of realism. It’s just not my style.

As I grow and change as an artist, I find that I enjoy leaving some things to the IMAGINATION when I create a piece. I am not a camera and my eyes and brain don’t see the same way a camera lens does!

I also think it’s important to leave room for the viewer’s imagination—to suggest some things and let the viewer fill in the rest.
This approach INVITES rather than CONTROLS and let’s the viewer engage with the art.

 

PROGRESS PHOTOS & PROCESS

After selecting my reference, I began to do some expoloration—probably more exploration than I’ve done to prepare than for any other work!

First, I did a simple charcoal study to get a feel for the subject and composition…doesn’t look like much and isn’t meant to!

Vine charcoal sketch

Next, I did a simple line drawing for use on my larger paper.

Simple line drawing

Once I had a feel for the subject, I uploaded my sketch to iPastels to do a more in-depth monochrome study.

Monochrome

Now I was ready to move on to a color study. In the original reference (top), if you look closely you can see lots of green from the vegetation as well as yellowish reflected light. I wasn’t too keen about either, instead preferring to leave the background abstract and focus on all of the beautiful neutrals of the dove.

Completed Color Study

After completing the color study, my next step was to play around with the background. 

Remember, I wanted something loose that wouldn’t compete with the bird itself, so I uploaded the above image into iPastels and tried out different backgrounds…a real time saver and easy way to compare backgrounds side-by-side without wasting materials! 

I finally decided on the top right (blueish) background, and tested it out on the bottom left corner of the photo.

Background Choices

With my color and value studies to guide me, I began my painting on Pastelmat paper using a variety of soft pastels.

 

 

By the time I got to the stage in the above photo, I knew I needed to let my painting sit for a few days so that I could look at it with fresh eyes later.

So….after many days of life getting in the way 🙂 , I made a few white board notes of things I might want to change.

Refinement Notes

And Finally, the finished piece:

“Nesting Behavior” 5×7 Pastel on Pastelmat

Sorry this one was so long, but thanks for coming on this wonderful artistic journey with me!

I hope you enjoyed this post. Please leave your comments in the comment section.

See you soon and stay creative!

~R

A Light From Above: Pastel Painting Demo

Hi Creative Friends!

Today I bring you a brief pastel painting demo and accompanying video of a beautifully lit scene that inspired me to run outside with my camera when I saw it. 🙂

As you can see in the reference photo below, the far tree-line was lit with orangey-gold light, and it contrasted in such a lovely way with the dramatic sky and the darkened foreground…definitely inspiring!

I began my painting with a soft vine charcoal sketch on Pastelmat paper. You can see my thumbnail sketch to the left of my support.

Sketch

 Next I blocked in the major shapes….

Block-in

My palette of colors using a mixture of hard and soft pastels:

 

Here is the final painting!

A Light From Above  6×8 pastel on Pastelmat

Below is the link to my Youtube channel for those of you who would like to watch a video of this painting coming together. I hope you enjoy it as much as I had fun painting it!

 

Thanks for visiting! 

Till next time,
Stay inspired!

~Rhonda 

Reclaiming An Unfinished Plein Air Painting

I sat down at my easel. I was uninspired to start something new, but I had the urge to paint. Paint what?

I rummaged around my desk area looking through some of my ready-toned papers, when I found an old plein air painting I had started and left incomplete from a few years ago. In fact, it was one of my first plein air attempts!

Aha! In the back of my mind I remembered the day well. It was a fairly early summer morning, mainly overcast, but I had found shafts of sunlight peeking through a wall of trees at the edge of our property, causing my eyes to dance back and forth between the lights and shadows playing on the grass and fencing.

Hmm…. I had never gone back to try and finish it. Why? Well, at the time I guess I didn’t have anything more to say! I should also mention that this particular painting was also an experiment with a paper new to me: Canson Mi-Teintes “Touch”—a sanded paper by Canson.

I vaguely remembered doing a watercolor underpainting before applying any pastel, but I have no photo of that.

Here is the painting as I left it back then: 

I decided to see what I could do to say something more than I had when I first attempted this painting.

I wanted to discover how I had changed and hopefully grown artistically.

So the first thing I needed to do was to think about what I liked about the original attempt and what I wanted to change.

I decided that I really liked the sky—it definitely reminded me of that overcast morning with some moisture in the summer air.

I also liked the fence posts and my initial attempts at describing the light that was hitting them.

I felt the composition was weak. The grassy path looked more like stairs than a path with depth. 

Also, the values didn’t have enough contrast. Where were the darks?

Armed with a plan, the first thing I did was try to restore some tooth to the paper by brushing off quite a bit of the original’s pastel—mainly in the foreground and midground.

Next I used a dark Nupastel to deepen the areas of darkest values.
I also darkened the closest fence post as it was supposed to be in shadow.

As soon as I began adding pastel, I remembered how much I disliked this paper—and I STILL DO—UGH!!!
It felt like I fought the paper’s pebbly texture the entire time I used it—even with my softest pastels—not good…..

Determined to proceed but relieved of the burden to make this painting “framable”, I began to add more pastel.

As I worked, I continually reminded myself of what drew me to paint this scene in the first place. I was drawn to that interplay of light and shadow.

I also I wanted to crop my final image to be slightly less vertical.

Here is the final image:

 

My mission to say something more was definitely a challenge. 

Had I time and the inclination, I might say something more about the light, but for now this is enough.

This plein air/studio creation won’t get framed.

I don’t value it for the end product, but for the memory it helps me recall and for the chance to see my own growth!

Try reclaiming one of your own old artworks and see how you’ve grown. You might surprise yourself! 🙂

Till next time, 

Stay challenged!

~Rhonda