My (Continuing) Struggles With Pastels…

I worked in an art and framing store not long after I arrived in Australia 16 1/2 years ago. I did a lot of learning in that period having bought up all manner of mediums (due to being able to purchase at cost price, a luxury, truly) Anyway… prior to that I worked predominantly in black and white, pen and ink, pencils… I took a shine to acrylics straight away but they didn’t say what I wanted to say at the time, and dried all dull, oils were lovely but I found they made me cough, gave me skin irritations and made my hands all puffy. Water-based oils back then were a novelty more than a decent way to paint. Then came watercolour… My favourite. I avoided them like a plague. Far too hit and miss for a control-freak like me, but I caved in and they’re now my favourite medium of them all.

Then there’s pastel…

Hmmm… I think I like the idea of pastels more than the reality. That said, I’m bashing away with them. Dealing with the dust issues and the mess, the coughing… My lungs must look pretty right now. Anyway, I’m still trying. Here’s my 5th ever pastel attempt. There are a few little passages in this sketch that I like, at least I’ve learned by now, that it’s all about trial and error and working on weaknesses and playing on strengths. More? Mayebe…

pastel beach

Tonalist Sunset…

I’ve become very interested in a tonalist approach to painting, and to be honest, I feel I’ve been applying many of it’s philosophies throughout my time painting. As much as I love detail sometimes, the pure bliss of laying colours down this way really appeals to me. The work of the American Landscape master George Inness has really knocked me on my bum. The guy was incredible, a fellow Taurus and more importantly, a truth seeker, a seeker of life’s mysteries… his work and his unique approach to life really moves me. I expect to be making a lot of paintings in this manner in the future.

oil on board

8 1/4 x 11 3/4″

sunset_sml

Small Paintings…

This is how I make so much more progress in such a short space of time. These small paintings help to try out new things in a sort of ‘no pressure’ situation. Rather than working on huge masterpieces, I find it helps to have a few smaller works (these are approx. 7 x 9″ each) and try out new mediums, new subject matter and new techniques, the results are often surprising and really help your work in the long run.

oil on board

20160424_193640_smlmountaintop_sml

 

Some progress…

Been working periodically on this one, it’s lovely seeing it come together without a single hitch (touching wood as I say this). Looking forward to doing some more very soon.

oil on canvas.
27 x 20″

from here4_sml