I sold this painting to a wonderful person, I am so very pleased it is going to someone that I know will enjoy it. These paintings of mine are a piece of me, so knowing that they are appreciated is truly a gift. This pear seems to be a favorite of many in my series of pears, and now it's on its way to a new home.
This is a place I like to go to with a local sketch group called the Patchogue Sketch Club. I join them in the summer months to go plein air painting. The local Maritime Marina is a great place to sketch or do plein air. It is close by and beautiful and I love being by the water.
I painted this using just Ludwig pastels, and I stuck to more muted tones. It was a gray evening, not much light to speak of, but the soft colors were beautiful. Nothing dramatic, but that soft light is dreamy and beautiful.
I find plein air painting most challenging. I keep at it, and I do think I'm learning quite a bit. Some of the sketches aren't turning out too badly now, a good thing.
This one proved to be an excellent learning tool. I find when using blue for skies and water, it can either be too "blue", or too "green". Violet seems to be the perfect "calming agent". I know it works great for calming the greens, and I'm finding that in small amounts (sometimes imperceptible to the viewer) it works wonders with blue.
Here is my first version of the scene, done on location. I was pretty happy (for a plein air......) with the vegetation. The water, not so much. It was moving water, so there were no reflections. Because of the light there was lots of sparkle on the water, very difficult to capture. I'll keep trying... I found myself wanting to use a "greener" blue, thus the turquoise choice. I thought it might marry the green of the landscape with the water. Well, not so much. In looking at this at home, I had a hard time reconciling the water with the painting. For some reason, the sky works better to me, the water seemed a bit too much turquoise.
So...........against most everything I've read about plein air, especially the statements that say, once you're done, don't go back into it in the studio....... I went back into it in the studio. I have to say, that although there are valid reasons for not going back into the painting (I've heard them all....), for me right now I much prefer going back into the work. My reasoning is that I'm not viewing any of these works as anything "precious", they are all learning tools. If I go back into it, while my memory is still somewhat fresh, I can experiment to see what would work better for next time. In the "calm" of my studio, with a clear head and no distractions, I can apply what I think might work, sort of let the pastel dust fly. I really don't care if I "ruin" the sketch, it really doesn't matter to me. The freedom to experiment on something not precious for me is a really good thing.
I confess that I wiped out the entire bottom half, all the water. I ended up with a turquoise underpainting, which was fine. There is plenty of turquoise in the sky, and it does need to be in the water, just not so much. I then went in with tones of blues and violets........ I can see how using violet in the water has helped to marry the water with the landscape. I used violet in the landscape portion, so adding it to the water in subdued tones does makes a big difference. I originally did have violet up near the shore line in the water, which I left, but I also added it to the lighter areas near the foreground. I also added tones of green and warm red in the water, again in an attempt to marry the scene. This is by no means a masterpiece, but I do feel that the exercise was extremely valuable, so to that end it is a huge success.
How much can I say about pears? Well, I'm running out of things to say actually..... this one is a Forelle pear, I liked the cast shadow, hence the reason for this particular view. I left this one with the blocks of color really showing, it sort of looks like patchwork. Just another experiment, each one is an opportunity to try something new. I believe #10 was also somewhat like patchwork.
Painted on Wallis Pro, using the same variety of sticks as before. The paper was toned with Pan Pastels. All I can say is so much for trying to do something less colorful...lol.... maybe my next one will be more subdued.
Another in my series of Pears Squared. I challenged myself (on Face Book, can you believe it????) to paint a pear using only the sticks in the Terry Ludwig Set "Best Loved Basics". It only has 14 sticks, and I am quite sure he wasn't thinking about painting pears with it.... I am positive actually. I had a hard time finding the colors I needed to get the glow I was after. Only one red and a pink really isn't enough, though I do have to admit it is quite a nice red and pink....
These Forelle pears are beautiful. Tiny, with lots of color. Painting pears is proving to be quite a useful exercise. I know I can translate much of what I am applying here to any other subject. If you haven't tried a series yet, I encourage you to do so. It really is quite a challenge, and in the process you truly do learn things, and even if you don't (which I find hard to believe), you will have things cemented in your mind for future reference. Either way, it's worth the effort.
I also used my set of Terry Ludwig Grays. The more I use this set the more indispensable I find them to be. They are highly useful, in just about any subject. I highly recommend them.
This exercise is proving to be valuable for working out backgrounds, amongst other things. Thinking about abstract shapes of color, value and temperature to get certain effects is something that can be used in all aspects of the painting, but doing it in the background is a great way to answer the question "I wonder what will happen if......". I did leave quite a bit of the background unfinished, and I am thinking I could do more with darkening on the left side for drama. I probably will leave this one, and try that technique on another pear. That's the beauty of doing a series like this, I can just paint another!
Also, I would like to do my next one with colors that aren't so bold, let's see if I can actually do that, knowing my love of color. I think more neutrals, using colors but toning them down a bit. The Asian pear was somewhat there, as well as the Bosc, this one looks more like a patchwork quilt, though I admit I rather like it.
This was an interesting pear to paint. It was throwing off lots of warm oranges, reds and greens from one perspective, and when viewed from literally two feet away the colors changed. I did this with two of my students, each of us painting the pear. We each had slightly different reflected light. It also wasn't very "interesting", the colors were subtle. The challenge was to paint what you saw, but exaggerate it to make it interesting.
For me, I chose to paint this on a green ground. I took Wallis Pro (white) and toned it with Pan Pastels, using primarily green, with a touch of turquoise and neutral tan. I then went in with a quick sketch, followed by the sticks. I wanted to paint a green background as an exercise in taming the greens. I think by doing this it will translate into landscape paintings, at least for me it will. I plan on using some of the techniques and colors I used here when painting my greens in the landscape, at least that's my story now, and I'm sticking to it!!!
Starting Friday May 2nd, and running through the month of May, I have a solo show of my pastels at the Islip Public Library. I spent the better part of Friday hanging 20 paintings. It was a lot of work, but I'm hoping it is worth the effort. I think it looks great, the lighting is very nice, and I have an entire wall.
I'd like to give a great big hug and thank you to my very dear friend, Doug Broadhurst. He is the person that hooked me up with this library. He booked the show for me, what a great guy. I love you Doug, and Janet too! You guys are the best . Now, keep your fingers crossed for me, maybe something good will happen.....
I see by looking at these photos that there are two light bulbs out.... me thinks a visit to the library is in order. Can't view the show in the dark!
I was able to group the still life and florals together, which I think makes for a cohesive display (I put the one abstract I have with the still life, it seemed to look best this way):
Here is a photo of the landscape paintings grouped together:
I really pushed the red in this one. I wanted to see what would happen. That's the beauty of painting small and doing a series, you get the opportunity to experiment, and throw caution to the wind. It's all about experimenting, and I'm enjoying this entire exercise. My dining room table is full of different varieties of pears, hoping to get in a few more this week. Good snacking also!
Painted on Wallis pro, using pan pastels to tone the paper, and then the assortment of softies that I've been using for this series, Unison, Mount Vision, Ludwig, Girault, Grumbacher, and Art Spectrum Pastels.