Searching for small pastel papers to continue my journey back into pastel, I came across 3 plein air studies I’d done in 2013. Just after Dad died, I attended a plein air painting event in western Maryland. Mountain Maryland Plein Air in Cumberland and Allegany County is a wonderful intimate event. I welcomed the chance to paint in some beautiful private gardens.
Stumbling across the old paintings in the drawer, they felt dark and lifeless. It got me wondering how they would look today. I set one beside a fresh pastel paper and began blocking in the background shapes.
I resisted the temptation of painting back into it directly. Moving on, I worked with the new palette for awhile. Nothing like it’s inspiration piece, I felt unsure.
I sucked it up and kept going.
A Peek into Joy’s Garden
Setting it in the frame helped me step back and see it away from my previous vision. I like to keep a few frames in the studio for just that purpose. So many times I can’t see a painting’s strengths and weaknesses until I see it in a frame.
A day later I found myself in the botanic garden photographing tulips. Sitting in the cafe garden with a cold drink, I felt at home. Mind racing with painting images, colors for the new palette I’d ordered. I can taste the sweetness. Can you feel the shift in the two paintings?
I sure can. The difference between saying goodbye to Dad and stepping into Joy’s Garden is profound. I hadn’t realized until I finished writing this, that today is the anniversary of Dad’s passing. Rest in Peace Dad.