Tweaking the Nest

A thought was murmuring in the back of my mind, but I was ignoring it. When a friend visited, she brought it to the surface.

“The nest doesn’t really show up.” she queried about my pastel of the osprey nest.

“No,” I replied unconcerned.

A day later the thought about my nest is now front and center. If I COULD, how would I highlight it against the deep Ultramarine cloud without it being garish

Pondering, I continued painting other canvases. Could I lighten the cloud? No that won’t work. The intense Ultramarine Blue cloud is what gives the whole painting depth.

Could I highlight the nest? No way, the nest is is shadowed by the cloud. It isn’t out on the point in the light. It’s at the back of the cove, sheltered and safe.

What if I scratch an orange line on the underside of the nest? Can I do it right the first time without messing up the whole painting? Maybe.

Tweaking the Nest

Scanning the pastel palette, I found a gold pastel with a sharp edge. Carefully I rolled it down the left side of the nest and pole. Then added one more mark at the top of the nest ~ just a spark of light reflected up from the sand.

Feeling the light on the beach, I ran the same pastel gently across the shadow side of the sand. Then found a pink highlight and touched it softly just in front of the nest.

Stepping back I found a soft blue pastel for a soft atmospheric mist behind the nest. Careful not to disturb the deep blues, I touched it only on one side.

Now I must say that all of the symbolism of the nest is not lost on me. I get it, or at least I think I do. I am a shy person. My nest is my studio and this website. Tweaking it is what I do. Shining a light on myself is not comfortable. Much better to let light from the landscape around me reflect on my nest.

And my friend? Oh she lives in a tree house!

Coastal landscape pastel painting
The Nest, pastel, 9 x 12, Purchase this painting>

Now if you want to delve deeper, ask yourself about the osprey. What does she do in her nest? What does she symbolize?

By the way, I’m finishing up on “Coming to the River, CreativSOUP.” This painting will be in that book!

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The Nest ~ Pastel and Oil Landscapes

Now I’d started a painting with this cloud. But it didn’t come to life until I did this pastel.

coastal landscape painting pastel
The Nest, pastel on Ingres paper, 9″ x 12″ 


The Nest ~ Pastel and Oil Landscapes

Once I had my pastel in hand, I could easily see and feel the vibrancy needed to complete the oil painting.

Thumb-tacked to the adjacent easel, the pastel helped me find the colors on my oil palette. This freed me from thinking too much. Using a palette knife, exuberant strokes blend together on the canvas.

Pastel is mixed on the paper as it is dragged through colors already in place. Palette knife is similar. Roughly blending on the canvas keeps the painting fresh, the calligraphy authentic.

palette knife oil painting
The Nest, oil on gallery wrap canvas, 20 x 24, 

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