"Good Morning, Autumn" was inspired by a stroll through Prairie Park at Pittsfield Township Hall near Ann Arbor, MI. Here is the vibrant reference photo, displayed on my computer screen:
As I discovered my pastel paper supply running low, I dug up a 10x10 I started a few years ago but decided instead to re-purpose the paper and start fresh. I sprayed fixative on the old work-in-progress, letting that dry before reaching for my collection of acrylic paints to obliterate what survived of the old, attempted painting.
The main points I wished to convey in this painting, besides the vibrant reds popping through the greenery, included the diffused early morning sunlight bathing the tree line, and that wispy tree in the distance. To bring out the vibrant reds and to contrast with the greens, I chose an orange-red acrylic underpainting:
I sketched out the simple composition with a dark green-grey pastel. Note the impasto painterly effects, specially along the diagonal red band. The bumpy paint tends to show through the layer of pastel, enhancing the complementary color impact.
I worked from top to bottom, layering in the sky then working on the foliage. The rough surface caused by the acrylic paint forced me to apply pastel strokes in a bold manner, tapping the hard surface of the board to "make my point." It helps to have a glass of wine nearby.
Below is the final version of "Good Morning, Autumn."