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 …


  1. Debbie
    October 8, 2006

    Love the pinks in this piece!

  2. PAmela
    October 8, 2006

    great color… I love mauve’s, pinks, etc…. when I paint I use those tooooooo much.

    I visited my teachers art show (actually her husband too) and my favorite painting was lavendars, mauve’s pinks… she had been photogrpahing the setting sun through some dunes and grass on Oregon Coast, when a woman and two young girls climbed the dune and sat down to watch the sun set… so she painted it and it was just fantastic.

  3. Gladys
    October 8, 2006

    It’s very pretty. Loved it.

  4. wendy
    October 9, 2006

    Lovely free use of the pastels. I haven’t used pastels for ages so must have a go again. Once upon a time I was mad on oil pastels but I haven’t seen them around these days. Of course with real pastels you need a good fixative. Some artists do such fine work with pastels, detaiiled and tiny strokes, but really it’s okay with broad strokes I think.

  5. Susan
    October 9, 2006

    Karen, I’m loving this foray into pastel. How delightful!

  6. Felicity
    October 9, 2006

    It’s wonderful, I think you have a natural affinity with pastel!

  7. Suzanne
    October 10, 2006

    I love the bush detail. The color is amazing…it almost looks as though it is on fire.

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