Pastel Technique: Impressionistic Touches


On another plein air excursion this past weekend, I came across a bucolic early morning scene at Wooley Pary, just west of South State Road on Textile Road, in Saline.

Maintaining a"loose" approach with pastels can enhance the impressionistic style of a landscape painting. The scene was early morning - about 8 am - and the air was moist and the atmosphere hazy.


The reference photo below does not do justice to the atmospheric and colorful charm of this scene:


Here's my plein air setup. My pastels selection covers 3-6 values among the primary, secondary and tertiary hues. I add a few values of grays and my lightest lights. As for those tricky greens, I cover the same value range of yellow-greens, blue greens and green-whites.


As this was a plein air excursion, my studio assistant Cosmo tagged along:


I realized that the benefit of bring my dog is that his patience lasts about 45 minute to 1 hour. That forces me to quickly compose and start blocking in the major shapes and values of the painting.

I chose to pursue rough strokes and small blotches of value and color to capture an impressionistic view of the scene. I took a few reference photos to complete the landscape in my Saline studio.

Even dragging Cosmo on a leash, the gear was not overwhelming. The easel folds up to a suitcase style (2 legs are removed and packed away), my box of 70 or so pastels is sealed tight, and I lug camera, camp chair and backpack, all hanging from my shoulder.

The challenge is when Cosmo spots a rabbit while we are traipsing along with all this gear! More enhancements to the Wooley Park landscape to come!

#Saline #Michigan #WooleyPark