Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Below the Lower Falls, 19x27"

Below the Lower Falls, pastel on paper by Adriana Meiss
    This is one of two large paintings I finished last week. Both were based on several photos taken at Letchworth State Park, south of Rochester, NY. This place is where they do portaging. At the time of my visit there, I had the intention of painting on location but to get to this point I would have had to carry all my heavy equipment for more than a mile, so I had to content myself with taking photos. It was quiet and beautiful, and we all in the family still remember the tiny water snakes and frogs we saw near the shore.

   Here is a progression:
First Stage. I decided to to use a sheet of Colourfix paper in terracotta to complement the greens. I started by blocking in the main masses-- I like to start with the sky because it helps to set the mood/temperature of the painting. Strokes are applied in different directions just to fill in the spaces.

Second Stage.  I began to define the masses. It's a good stage to look for areas that need corrections. This painting is all about the water, so I had to carefully determine what colors I was going to use in the different areas, and in what order so that I wouldn't end up with muddy water.

 Third Stage. At this point most of the pastel application has been done with the side stick.

Fourth Stage.I did a lot of blending, first with packing peanuts, then with my fingers. I loved working on that transition in the reflected sky, from cerulean to blue-violet, then to sienna. I had to wash my hands very often to prevent dirtying this area.

Fifth Stage. Rocks aren't a favorite subject to paint, so I took my time experimenting. I used color pencils and Nupastels for the submerged rocks. Almost done...

Final Stage (this is the same photo as at the beginning of the post). While I liked the color intensity in the stage above, it did not reflect the humidity of midday, so I grayed/dulled some areas. This was followed by more reflections on the water, some ripples and softening of  edges.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Dusk Reflections, 12x12

Dusk Reflections, pastel on board by Adriana Meiss

    I learned today that this painting and a larger one were accepted in the Northeast National Pastel Exhibit at Old Forge!  It was just the kind of good news I needed, after two disappointing rejections, one from another show and one from a plein air event. 
 My work has been rejected many, many times, and even though I try to take things in stride, somehow when rejections come one after another they amount to a big blow and I usually begin to question my art, at least for a little while. This time I did not have time for that. I've been busy working on two large paintings and can only think ahead, to when they are finally finished. It's something to keep in mind next time I submit work to a competition.