Artist Quest for Color: Return to Pastel Landscape

It all started with a purple mountain.

Day before yesterday, I saw a purple mountain on one of the oil paintings currently on my working wall.

pastel landscape
Purple Mountain (Muse I), pastel on sanded panel, 8 x 10 PURCHASE INFO>

With the purple mountain in my mind’s eye, I moved the oil painting to my easel and stopped. Instead of going for the paint brush, I walked across the studio and laid out 2 trays of pastel. I dug through the drawer and found a small sanded panel.

Stepping back, I looked across the room at the oil painting. A piece of luscious vibrant purple pigment on the palette caught my eye. I grabbed it and stroked the mountain into the gritty surface.

Artist Quest for Color Unleashed

This unleashed a cascade of color. Lavenders, yellows, golds, greens, blues and finally vermilion red rang across the paper. A chorus of voices singing in harmony, one behind the other. I hung on for dear life and let them lead me by the hand. When they quieted down, I clipped the pastel to my easel and replayed their song in oil paint.

Now I am not going to post the oil painting ~ not yet. I have been searching for something in my art. Since 2012 I have been looking for a deeper connection. A deeper, more fluent connection with my own unique voice. This connection between pastel and oil satisfies my quest.

New Approach ~ Find the Trigger

I have struggled to make my oils behave like pastels. Why? Why not speak first in my primary language, then translate.

Touching raw pigment triggers something for me. This first piece is the beginning of a new chapter. Rather than post the oil paintings now, I will hold them until I have several. In the meantime, I will use pastel to open my door. (No pun intended!)

pastel palette
Colors on my pastel palette include hand mixed pigments from Unison, Sennelier, and Diane Townsend.

PASTEL LANDSCAPE  What many may not know is that pastel was my ‘first language.’ Although I have not used pastels much in the past 20 years, I first used them in college. Through the late 70s and 80s, my pastels won me entry to national exhibitions at Pastel Society of America, Pastel Society of Canada, Virginia Museum, and numerous others. My pastels are in the permanent collections of the City University of New York, Longwood University Art Museum, and many corporate collections.

I turned my back on pastel when clients asked for oil paintings. It IS time for me to come home! No more searching. Only singing with my own unique voice!

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