Packsaddle Clouds

Packsaddle Clouds: 16×20 pastel on sanded paper. $272 unframed

Packsaddle Mountain is a local landmark in my area. The elementary school and multiple local businesses have acquired the same name. It can be seen for miles. I see it every day that I come home from work before sundown.

Ever since I started painting I’ve wanted to see if I could capture it. I’ve tried two or three times with dismal results. But this time I feel it’s safe to say it’s not bad.

Recently I took a workshop with Liz Haywood Sullivan devoted to skies. I call highly recommend her workshops! I learned so much. Sure was kind but not afraid to give helpful critique, and there were so many tips and hints I picked up: from how to pick up a shattered pastel from a hardfloor (use a business or credit card) to the best way to sign a painting (use colored pencil–not pastel).

I was so successful in painting a study of this same piece at the workshop that I came straight home and set up to do a larger, more complete version on my own.

I made two mistakes right off and fought them all the way to the finish: I chose a different kind of paper than my usual UArt 400, and I failed to make the underpainting light enough. That is not usually a problem, since the contrasts between dark and light are really what make a painting, but when you’re work with sky, it turns out you can easily make it too dark.

Nevertheless, my first decent Packsaddle painting is done, and I will not hesitate to do another. But right now it’s bluebonnet season, and I’m going to concentrate on getting some more pieces done that celebrate that!

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