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Pastel Technique: Grass without the Blades

As I was painting the grass portion of a recent landscape started in plein air, I was faced with the unexciting challenge of painting mowed grass (very lawn-like) at the Pittsfield Preserve off Marton Road near Saline, MI.

I decided to throw a little complementary red as a first layer to help enhance the green hue of the grass. Then I worked some deeper green-blue for the more dense portions of the lawn area.

Below, as I noticed the silvery-finish of several portions of the grasses (those that were bent and more directly reflecting the sunlight, as well as thinning areas of the grasses), I applied a light green-gray pastel to a few areas.

I then began to blend the lighter green-gray with a gray pastel pencil.

These few techniques allowed me to avoid getting caught up in the details of blades of grasses.

Here is a work-in-progress version, prior to applying the light green-gray hues. I like this little vista. To find it, if you are in Saline, take Marton Road north of Textile, park in the preserve lot on the right, hike to the south and east (the barn and field will be to your right) until you hit a new field with a pond (bench to your left). That's the spot.

Starting a new "Landscape in Pastel" class at the Michigan Art Center next Wednesday. More info here.

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