July, 2013

Jul 13

In the grove

Morning in a citrus orchard

Deep in the Grove,  pastel,  11 x 17

I never tire of opening up a new set of pastels and gazing at them for a minute or two. The rich array of colors are only enhanced by their orderly display. It’s always tempting to think about leaving them that way. Like a new box of assorted chocolates opened up, the invitation to dig in causes the hand to hesitate: too attractive to disturb, too tempting to leave alone. In this composition of citrus ripening on a warm morning I selected a rich rusty orange to begin composing.

The first thing I do with a new pastel stick is remove the paper sleeve and expose the full surface of the ‘painting stick;’ its sides provide an added range of expressive possibilities. I begin all my compositions by ‘carving out’ several descriptive and rythmatic shapes using flowing lines of uneven weight. This is achieved by modulating hand-pressure on the stick, lifting up and tilting it as needed for expressive effect. As you can see in the finished painting this first rust-red color appears in places through all the colors that followed it. The earliest marks remain visible, contributing to the overall visual complexity of the finished painting surface and its impact.

Morning in a citrus orchard

Detail of painting

Jul 13

Invitation to bend

On the outskirts of Redlands, CA

Road Bends, pastel, 12″x16″ 

I painted several times along this stretch of road on the outskirts of Redlands, CA. Once a ‘sea’ of citrus trees quenched the eye in all directions, but by the 1990s orchards were disappearing, replaced by stark and dusty places and nostalgia for what’s gone missing.