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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

WIP Pastel Painting, Cholla Cactus

I finished the cholla cactus painting a few days ago. It took a couple of days waiting for the sun to get the last photo. I take final photos of pastel paintings in full sun. It seems to keep the colors and values more true. Some colors and the way they are combined sometimes cause problems when taking photos.

The WIP (work in progress) photos were taken inside and I tried to adjust the color to be as true as possible to each stage.

Click on photos for larger image.

The board, Masonite primed with gesso and Fine Tooth Colourfix Primer, Burgandy, is taped to a larger Masonite board. This is done so that the painting does not sit in the tray of the easel and you can easily reach the bottom of the painting. You see that tape is placed on the back of the painting and then that tape is taped to the supporting board. This leaves all edges free so the painting can be painted to the edge of the board.

The landscape was started with the sky and background. The main flowers will be in the foreground. The sky was a dark evening sky which was blended with a plastic bag over my fingers and with my fingers so that it will not compete with the flowers. The mountains were treated in the same manner, very little texture or detail. Then the main flowers and cactus were developed, arranging the lights and darks in place. The painting is from photos I took, but the composition was changed to make a more pleasing composition.

The color was developed with varying values and hues of green. Darker and cool green move to the back and brighter and more yellow green come forward. It was a dance of getting the colors down in a pleasing and believable pattern. I usually don't blend in pastel paintings except in shadows or skies.

Detail was added without drawing every cactus needle and stem. Color is true to the beautiful cholla blooms.

Cholla Blooms
Pastel on Board, 11 x 14 inches

The finish! I love it when my plan comes together. What do you think? I have always loved this type of cactus and they seem to be disappearing, at least near Magdalena. These blooms, which last for a very short time, were very near the motel where we stayed for the Old Timers Reunion/Festival in July.


Valerie Jones said...

I love this painting! The blooms are so vibrant against the dark mountains.

Jo Castillo said...

Hi there, Valerie. Thank you so much. :)

Joanna said...

Mmmmm...very pretty.

Bag Blog said...

I like the cacti and the colors.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Jo: I thought the first picture were good but the last one is outstanding. You do a wonderful job on these pastels.

Jo Castillo said...

Joanna, Thanks, guess you will see it in person. :)

Bag blog, I'm glad you like them.

Fishing guy, appreciate the visit and nice words.

Rose Welty said...

Gorgeous color Jo, your strength!

Anonymous said...

Jo, this is stunning!
I love the way the cactus is intense in the foreground, and the mountains are soft in the back. Very, very nice.

If you run out of cholla, I can send you some... :)

Jo Castillo said...

Rose, thank you so much. By the way, I'm no pro, but I could answer some questions on your new venture into oil painting. Working with color such as dark to light work with pastels and oils ... and pretty well with acrylics.

Rose Welty said...

Jo, bring it on girl! I'd love to hear from you...definitely going to have to work on values for number 2.

Jo Castillo said...

Rose, OK. I'm on my way over to your blog to have a look.

About Me

My photo
Bastrop, Texas, United States
I Grew up in a small town , Magdalena, New Mexico. I enjoy art and the pleasure other people get from my work. I always donate some of my sales and art to charities, especially for children. That started in Bolivia with Para los NiƱos. (Link on sidebar) "I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colors. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns." -- Winston Churchill


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