First of a series? Small pastels

The Flood
The Flood: 10.7×8.3 in., pastels over ink underpainting on fibered buff paper

Last week I grew completely frustrated with the largish (16×20″-ish) pastel piece I was working on. I’d started it three times, experimenting with different underpaintings and tints. I had some wonderful source photos of last year’s flood in the Greater Binghamton region, and a request for art concerning the Susquehanna River, but I just couldn’t seem to make the piece come alive or please me. So I switched to a smaller format — a favorite 8.5×11″ buff fibered paper I use for a lot of different things — did a violet-toned ink underpainting, and worked loosely over that. And I’m very happy with it! The smaller size kept me from overworking the detail with the blunt pastel sticks, and the violet underpainting turned out to be a fine foil for the yellowish water, green foliage, and blue-grey sky (which became a light violet).

Rushing to get it to the Vestal Public Library in time for the small river-themed group show there, I took time for neither step-by-step photos nor even a good photo of the finished piece; I matted and framed it, jumped in the car, and delivered it. Today I finally got myself across the river to the library, and photographed it.

I’m thinking I’ll do a series of small pastels on the 2011 flood.

(Be sure to check out my pastels course, running June-July)

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