Friday, April 13, 2012

Storm over the Hills

Storm over the Hills, 8" x 10" Pan Pastels on light gray Strathmore Artagain pastel paper.

Yesterday's bright colorful sunset began as a storm sweeping across the land. I liked the way the orange paper set off the clouds and hills so I let the painting evolve into a sunset. I like it, it's cheery and warm. Today's is dark and dramatic. I used a reference from Johannes Vloothuis, in the General section of his Reference Photos pack (available from North Light Shop).

So this painting is tighter and more detailed. I deliberately split the area of the painting 1/3 land, 2/3 sky to keep it in my skyscape series but moved landscape elements and changed their relation to each other.

I bought the Artagain pad in curiosity to see how well it compared with Canson Mi-Tientes, my usual pastel paper. I love the colors - they all have flecks of darker fibers in them for a beautiful look. The biggest difference is that the surface is smooth, almost slick. I think the smooth side of Mi-Tientes is softer but the Artagain holds color just as well so it's toothier than it felt. Definitely a good non sanded pastel paper, available in pads or in full sheets.

I used my 10 color Painters Set again, but also used the colors in the 5 Tints set and 5 Deep Dark Shades set. I've mentioned those are the most convenient of the convenience colors - three primary and two secondary colors each in tints and deep dark shades. It's pretty easy to blend a deep dark shade with the pure tone to get the original Shades, easier than judging exactly how much black to use to darken an area. I could have done this entirely with the Painters, but found I was right about the convenience tints and deep darks.

Because I bought an extra 10 color tray by mistake it was easy to pull just those colors from my full range set and keep them handy too. So I've now got the short stack of small trays nearby for a whole series of Pan Pastel cloudscapes. Each one should have a very different mood and feeling.


  1. You really made good use of the limited palette, Robert. I like how you continued the colors of the sky in the mountains.

  2. Thank you! I sometimes think it's easier to harmonize with a limited palette.