Poppies in Pastels

This is the second week of an online class in pastels, through the local adult school. I had begun the class last spring, a couple of weeks before the pandemic lock down hit California. I got my money refunded, which was good as I’d only had 2 of 8 classes under my belt. This fall, the same school and same teacher are available as a virtual class, using Zoom.

I am not a big fan of online classes that are live simply because I love the real-world interactions of students and teacher. Being able to wander around a classroom, have a conversation or two, discuss things with a teacher in depth (and close up!) when painting are all big, big advantages to a lap top and a poor monitor, as well as limited video capabilities. Still, learning does happen! I just like real life better than virtual. Nonetheless, critiques are possible as are good suggestions, some of which helped my painting out a lot.

That said, it is fun to paint in pastels. Here, the California Poppy Reserve was the subject matter, particularly wonderful after the beautiful, wet spring and “super bloom” we had. I used 400 grit Uart sanded paper, Rembrandt and Nupastels with a bit of charcoal, and sealed it with a Krylon semi-gloss acrylic finish.

A View from the Poppy Reserve

Rummaging through my photo files, I returned to my visit at the California Poppy Reserve last spring.  We drove through winding canyon roads for a couple of hours to come to the open space and hills near Lancaster, California, where the acres of blooms were in full and colorful display.  Golden hills, Yellow and purple hills.  Winds of 50 mph (really!), cold, scudding clouds, shadows racing across the landscape.  My hands were so cold it was almost impossible to hold the camera!

Here is the preliminary sketch.

And here is the final painting.  It rather lacks depth of field, but it does have the intensity of color I remember of the day.