#P3: Almost Home

#P3: Almost Home (Pastel on Canson Paper, 10 x 12 inches)

This is my third attempt at using pastels. Since I am a rank beginner in pastels, I decided to limit the unknowns and simply make a copy of one of my own oil paintings. In this case, I copied my earlier Painting #60 – Morning Light. This earlier post also shows the source photo.

I have now expanded my pastel set to include more colors but all in all I only have about 15 colors. And I am sorely missing some grays and blues – or perhaps I just need to learn more about mixing them! Other than my inexperience, I really like the forgiving nature of pastel, and the very tactile feel of it. At times it feels like I am carving the painting by hand.

I used the rough side of the Canson Mi-Teintes paper. In my next painting I tried the reverse side and liked it better (next post). Think I will stick to that side from now on, or use Hot-Press watercolor paper.

The past week the rain and wind has been relentless. At night I hear the wind shake the world outside, rain pounding roof and windows. I feel my breathing quicken. Wide awake now, I feel for a moment a giant hand enclose my entire fragile life – a slight tightening of the grip, then release. Sleep comes again. In the morning I see signs of the cycles of like outside in plants and animals.

Being sensitive to this fragility is good, I feel. It makes me “see deeper into paintings” (Rilke). Robert Henri writes:

That time we sat in the evening silence in the face of the mesa 
and heard the sudden howl of a pack of coyotes, and had a thrill 
and a dread which was not fear of the pack, for we knew they were harmless. 
Just what was that dread — what did it relate to? 
Something ’way back in the race perhaps? 
We have strange ways of seeing. 
If we only knew — then we could tell. 
If we knew what we saw, we could paint it.

When I hear the giant pines being shaken to their roots in the night, I think of this poem by Transtromer:

The man on a walk suddenly meets the old
giant oak like an elk turned to stone with
its enormous antlers against the dark green castle wall of the fall ocean.

Storm from the north. It's nearly time for the
rowanberries to ripen. Awake in the night he
hears the constellations far above the oak stamping in their stalls.
Tomas Transtromer, translated by Robert Bly in
The Half Finished Heaven.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you are happy and content.

10 thoughts on “#P3: Almost Home

  1. This is a very atmospheric painting, and it doesn’t seem to suffer from a lack of tints either. I’m looking forward to further explorations in pastel!


  2. Your style is transferring over to your pastel work quite nicely, I really feel that this is a good sign. As your confidence builds with pastel, perhaps purchasing more pastels as you move along. There are some papers that you might want to look into that enables you to underpaint, such as Uart sanded paper. You might prefer the softer surface but there is a limit in how layered you can get with pastels on paper such as Canson. I prefer the sanded surfaces because I am aggressive and I like to layer extensively.

    That vulnerability is something that I am learning to embrace (I think that you are as well), I feel that it is a spiritual/inner heartbeat of sorts. I think many people are inclined to stifle the inner heartbeat with stuff, noise, food and alcohol, etc. We as a modern people are slowing losing that inner throb of being alive, the vulnerability of simply being human. I could go on and on but your mentioning sensing your fragile life made me think on this.

    I am really excited with your pastel work, the fact that you are not straying away from your own style is a big clue that pastels can fit and you have only 15 sticks! Amazing!


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