Pastels!

 

 

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I've been thinking about and experimenting with ideas for a project about the Ottawa River Watershed for some time. I made a number of small plein air drawings in pen and ink and watercolour. Then I fooled around with pen and ink in a mural format like this one of last year's flood at Pinhey Point.

Then I did a really large painting, on canvas, of the flood again, this time at Crystal Bay. Here is part of it, just a working photo, in progress. I spent many days on this one but I didn't finish it, it never really seemed to take off. Not to me, anyway, although others seemed to like it.

But, clearly, I wanted to create images that were linear, like the river bank. Now, I've never really been interested in working in pastel. Over the course of a long life, however, I've learned how foolish it is for me to say, " I will never... (fill in the blank)." I used to say, for example, "I will never do yoga." and look how that turned out! (I've been practicing yoga for years!) Then I happened to see the work of an amazing artist, Zaria Forman, who does wonderful work in pastel, in very large formats. I found myself doing research about papers, brands of pastels, techniques. I ordered papers, books, pastels. It can get very expensive, when I'm in the grips of a new idea, I'll tell you that! But I'm really enjoying this medium. I can work more quickly and intuitively. And pastel is more flexible than I thought. I learned from a book called Pastel Innovations by Dawn Emerson that you can use ink with pastel, matt medium with pastel- all sorts of things! So, I've been doing that. Now I'm working on sets of 18" X 12" images on UArt, a sanded paper of five locations along the river. They are:

Victoria Island
Lemieux Island
Andrew Haydon Park
Crystal Bay
Morris Island
Each set will have 5-7 images, they'll be framed, very simply, and hung together, like a mural. To look at them you'll have to walk along, as if you were walking by the river. I'm also doing single images for each of the tributaries, e.g. Graham and Stillwater Creeks in AH Parkland the Mississippi and Madawaska rivers. And I'll still do paintings and pen drawings of trees, flowers etc. at each location. So it will be almost like – The Victoria Island Portfolio, The Lemieux Island Portfolio. Eventually I'd like to do sites all along the river. Here are some e.g.'s.

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