Saturday, August 22, 2009

Back in my Pastel Days

Hidden Falls
Pastel on Paper

I thought it might be fun to show one of my pastel paintings from quite a few years back.  This was before I took up oil painting.  I used to love painting with soft pastels.  I loved the immediacy of the medium and the glowing, rich colors.  But at that time, my studio was a tiny little room in the back of our basement.  It had nice light with two windows.  I would sit and paint for hours and be very content.  The problem was the pastel dust.  I was literally inhaling it.  Then one day I decided to go in a completely different direction and taught myself how to work in oils.

People still say, ooooh I loved some of the pastels you painted.  Why don't you do it anymore?  Well, that was then and this is now.  And there's something about using brushes.  Guess I just found a new love.

13 comments:

Maggie Latham said...

Janelle, this is really very nice. I love the light in the back ground.
I too adore working with soft pastel...for the same reasons .....the immediacy of colour. After a life time of watercolour, I still think some of my best work was done in my few short years of painting with pastel. I understand about the dust problems and the hassle with storage, matting and framing.
I wonder if using pastel for thumbnails and colour notes as a prelude to our Tonalist oil work would be a good idea? When I look at some of my pastel paintings they are all very close in tonal range, even if some are high key.....and the layering effect on Wallis paper is very similar to the effect of glazing in oil.
Maggie

Diane Hoeptner (hep-ner) said...

Beautiful work, Janelle.

neetzy said...

What a beautiful painting. I also learned to paint with pastels. When I was in high school, I took a life drawing class at the local art center. I bought a set of 90 Rembrandt pastels for this. I really learned to appreciate the nuances of color through that class and I think it helped with my later study of oils. I noticed that Wolf Kahn uses pastels a lot. I might like to try them again for "plein air" studies as they require less prep. Also the dust isn't as annoying outside. Thanks for sharing!

Catherine Jeffrey said...

This is definitely a beautiful piece. It has similar qualities to your recent tonalist oil paintings. I so admire pastel artists...the pictures are often so vibrant and yet atmospheric.
As you say, this is now. I worked with acrylics for years doing more realistic pictures, and people who knew my work back then still comment on how my new work doesn't look finished! Be true to yourself!

Celeste Bergin said...

When I first started plein air painting Kitty Wallis went out with us every week..so I got to watch her paint on her paper and she taught us her techniques. I love pastel! Now, however, I'm "with" you--I'm converted to oil and I understand your comment that "that was then and this is now". It is funny how we move through our artist's journey and become more and more certain of certain things (like our medium). Your post reminds me of a post I did of an airbrush painting I did many years ago..it is a very good painting and I am proud of it--but I also know I won't be doing anymore airbrush. :)
(I love the light in your pastel--it is reminiscent of your current paintings)

loriann said...

Ah! A beautiful pastel! The atmosphere that you have created in this one is dreamy.

Karen said...

This has some of the same sensibilities as what you're working on now...your beautiful mark, but it's different, too.
Yes indeed that that was then and this is now...and who knows about the future?! So listen to that inner voice always.

(so sorry to read about Lucy...she looked and sounded endearing!)

Jill Berry said...

Very nice flow of light ~
I am immediately drawn to the sky, then the flow of the falls.
Great tumble-down motion achieved!
With your solo coming up, you've no need for exhibit opportunities, but this sure would have fit into our local "Falling Water" show.

Janelle Goodwin said...

Maggie - Great idea - using pastels for thumbnails and color notes! Especially since many of the pastels are gradated tones of the same color. Think I'll try that for Magic Hours class. Thanks!

Diane - Thanks so much for stopping by!

Neetzy - Seems a lot of oil painters start out in pastels or go vice versa. If you have any of your old pastel pieces, would you mind sharing them with us?

Catherine - Funny that you should mention "not looking finished". When I did pastels they always looked finished, but with my oils, they don't. Maybe I'm afraid to go too far.

Celeste - Wow, you went painting with Kitty Wallis? That must have been amazing. I'll have to look through your blog to see your post on air brush. I'm curious.

Loriann - Ah, a true pastelist. Although you get to use brushes with your watercolor underpaintings. The best of both worlds.

Karen - I'm glad you see similarities in my pastels and oils. And I've been thinking over your comments about the same type marks done by an individual artist. Kind of like one's own handwriting!

Jill - I wish I could see your "Falling Waters" show. You'll be showing this on your blog, I hope :)?

Kim VanDerHoek said...

The atmosphere in this pastel is so beautiful! The light pastels can capture is like no other medium. I understand the difficulties of using them however. One of my painting friends works in pastels as well as oils. She is brave enough to work en plein air with her pastels...and when she drops one or more on the ground it's gone forever.

neetzy said...

I might have one or two "old" pastels. I just bought a new set and thought I could use them for plein air. Might be easier than setting up for oils. I just finished a painting that I will post soon. I used a lot of paint and it is too wet to photograph(that is without me getting covered with paint).

Anita Stoll said...

From one artist who still paints with pastels and loves it, I will say this pastel is very beautiful, as are your oils. Does it really matter what you paint with when you creat such good art.

Janelle Goodwin said...

Kim - Yes, pastels are so fragile. But so very intense and beautiful on paper. Hope all is going well in your last trimester.

Neetzy - I thought your latest painting was simply glowing! I've often thought of using some my old pastels for doing small outdoor studies too. Good idea.

Anita - Thanks so much for commenting on my blog. Now I'm over to check out your work!