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Work in Progress

I took part in Enid's  pastel class (Zoom).  September assignments dealt with Notan sketches and values.    

 Notan is a Japanese term which literally means "light dark harmony". Artists use "notan studies" to explore different arrangements of light and dark elements in a painting, without having the distraction of other elements like color, texture and finer details.  I took this from:
I missed a couple of classes so I did a page of 2 value sketches to see what I thought of my photo to paint from.

The class had progressed to using a value study for the start of this painting.  I usually do an under painting if starting on a white canvas and then put down my light and dark colors for my sketch.  That is my value study in a nutshell.

This is an 11 x 14 inch white Pastelbord.  I put on a watercolor under painting.  I did it shortly before class.  I would have liked to make it darker in value but didn't have time for the water to dry.

I put in my basic colors placing the dark and light values.  Usually in a landscape the sky is the lightest value and is in this painting.  

We worked about 30 minutes.  I hoped to have my dark areas linked together, this unifies the painting.  This is a minimum start.

Where will I go from here?  

  • Place more dark values.
  • Work all over the painting.  Concentrating on one area tends to create more detail than necessary and I get bogged down and overwork an area.  I was already working too much on the window which I will most likely move toward the tree and have that as the center of attention.
  • Keep in mind to have some orange in the greens to keep them natural looking.
  • Put some of each color family in all parts of the painting.
  • Try to have some variety of color/value or items to lead the eye around the painting. 
  • I think I would like to have distant mountains instead of the hills in the painting.  See how that goes. Maybe that would remove the other buildings behind the tree.  Hmmm.
  • Have a light touch with my pastels 

I can still make changes without starting over.  I'm liking the colors so far.  As you know I would rather paint from life and since I am not doing that I can have free rein of my background or changes, right?  Well, you can do that even if you are painting on site.  Artists' license.

 A couple of days later, I continued to work on the painting.

I developed the house and continued working on the light and details.  The house appears to be leaning to the left.  Is it the trees or the roof and walls.  Time to check it in gray scale which may help me to see errors.


I like my values, but it wasn't help with the leaning.  I continued to develope the details and work on the foreground.  I wanted to lead the with the light in the foreground.  The photograph I had showed a blank field or grass so color and value would tie it all together.

I decided to leave the background as it was.  And the final painting.  "Leaning Trees" pastel on Pastelbord, 14 x 11 inches.

Critiques and comments are welcome.


Elizabeth Seckman said...

That is gorgeous!

Jo Castillo said...

Elizabeth, thank you so much...Sorry for the delay in answering. Wow.

About Me

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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 Niños. (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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