When you think of a canyon in Arizona, a familiar image probably pops into your mind. Though I have been to Grand Canyon several times, I chose to paint a scene from another show-stopper in Arizona: Canyon De Chelley National Monument. My viewpoint was more than 600 feet above the canyon floor.
18" x 24"
Pastel on Ampersand Pastelbord
The fiery red rock is such an enticing subject. I always begin by gridding my surface so I am sure to get the proportions right. I use a burnt sienna pastel pencil to draw in the grid, avoiding the sky area. The underpainting covers the grid pretty well. For sun-drenched scenes, I love using a blue and yellow underpainting. It really sets the stage for sun and shadow.
From there, I dive right into the color, starting with thin layers layed in with the side of the pastel.
I work in texture with strokes made from the end of the pastel.
The last part of the process is smoothing some edges, sharpening others, and checking values. Eventually, it gets to a point I can call it "finished". I'll revisit it again in about a week to have a fresh look to determine whether any adjustments should be made.
I had an addition to my studio this week. I know I said I wanted a minimal amount of furniture in the room, but it's become increasingly obvious that I need a better set-up for my pastels. I need to have them laying out flat by my easel so I can easily find what I'm looking for. I hate to rummage around in a box for what I need. The more pastels rub together, the more they begin to all look alike. My problem was solved with two beautiful tables made by my late father-in-law. They are long and narrow with glass tops and shelves underneath - perfect for laying out trays of pastels!
Time to plan my next painting!
Until next time,