Plein Air Pastel Painting - Pittsfield Preserve


With a clear blue sky I headed out this morning at about 7 am with my dog Cosmo with plans to do a plein air painting in the Pittsfield Preserve. I highly recommend that any landscape painters, hikers and joggers explore the variety of nature preserves in the Saline area.

Cosmo (my Shi-Tsu mix) and I parked in the small lot on Marton Road and headed first for our traditional weekend morning run. At about the half-way point, I found a setting for this mornings painting.


The sun started to shine above the eastern treeline and began to highlight the cool green and blue landscape and the tall, mature trees before me. So back we went to the car to grab a box of pastels and a desktop easel.

I chose a 9x12-sized sheet of Uart 400 grit as my canvas. I brought along a camp chair with the idea that I would sit with the easel on my lap and paint. However, my scene compromised by the lower vantage point of sitting. So my solution was to simply stand, holding the small foam core backing with the sanded paper securely taped, and painted without a traditional field easel. It worked wonderfully, and not much gear to lug through the prarie!

I kept the box of pastels on the seat of the chair, and Cosmo was secured with the loop of his leash anchored by a leg of the chair. Here's the final plein air painting:


We spent a bit over one hour onsite. By the way, all of my plein air experiences with Cosmo tend to end with a controversy, and this one is no exception.

A gentleman and another dog emerged from the woods and headed our way on the path where Cosmo and I were settled. The man suggested that the dogs meet. Perhaps his dog had a recent bad experience with s Shi-Tsu mix, as his eyes flashed anger and his arched upper lip revealed the sharp canine teeth of a dog not interested in the least to make friends. Cosmo immediately barked wildly, the man, with a fearful look on his face, tugged his dog away, and Cosmo spent the next ten minutes yelping uncontrollably at the passing terror.

So we packed up and went home. A few finishing touches to the painting and it is done. You can find my paintings for sale on my Etsy site.


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