Painting a Day – Capistrano Bougainvillea

Original pastel. 8″ x 12″ on Canson paper

I’ve been wanting to portray this scene ever since I saw it earlier this year, but somehow I could never get the brilliance I wanted using watercolor. Pastel, on the other hand, gives me the opportunity to capture some of that fluorescent look.

Yesterday I spent the better part of the day at an art expo held annually in Burbank, and had a great time strolling among the booths of the trade show, trying out brushes, testing different brands of pastels and experimenting with different kinds of paper. One of the highlights of the show was watching one of the demonstrators in the Winsor and Newton booth make French Ultramarine Blue paint by hand, using various binders and a glass muller. At the end he scooped it up and gave us free samples. The milled paint would be more brilliant, he advised, but I think this has its own beauty.

More about the show later this week, please check back.

Did I mention I’m lusting for Sennelier and Girault soft pastels? This painting (yes, pastels are often called paintings, not drawings) was done with Rembrandt pastels, but I’d sure like to get my hands on some Giraults …

Santa Barbara Bird Sanctuary Railroad Trestle Pastel Painting

9 x 12″ – pastel on Mi-Teintes paper

I plan on opening an ebay store in the next week or so, and this will likely go in it.

The Amtrak Surfliner goes up and down the Pacific coast through Santa Barbara and passes by the bird sanctuary near Montecito, the inspiration for this artwork.

I just don’t think I’ll ever get tired of drawing and painting eucalyptus trees … their forms have so much variety in color, size, shape of foliage.

Painting a Day – Sunflower fall

Art, daily painting, floral, Nature, Pastel | October 3, 2006 | By


Ah, the treasures of fall. First persimmons and now these. Fruit and flowers are in abundance everywhere I look and I want to paint them all. This little pastel is 4″ x 4″ and was so much fun to do – especially the velvety dark centers.

Painting a Day – Japanese persimmon

Art, daily painting, For Sale, Nature, Pastel | October 2, 2006 | By

4″ x 4″ pastel on paper


Last Sunday we went to our local farmers’ market and I picked up quite a few unusual fruits from specialized growers. This little fellow is called a Japanese persimmon – a Fuyu, to be more precise. Unlike many other persimmons, it is short and round and looks a little bit like a tomato. I don’t know when it will get sweet but in the meantime I’m going to have a good time painting and drawing it. The oranges, golds and greens in the skin were a powerful lure.

Occasionally I’ll add a bit of pastel to a watercolor to enhance certain colors, but I haven’t done too many lately.

The Tujunga sunset (below) was my first attempt to get back into it (in June) after far too many years.

The good thing about letting your pastels sit around for a awhile is that they don’t dry up, fade or show any signs or deterioration. The bad thing is that your fingers get rusty. But that’s what learning’s all about, and I’m enjoying the process.

Have you revisited a medium that you put aside long ago? What did it feel like when you started up again? Vaguely familiar like riding a bike? Or strange and foreign?