Friday, May 6, 2016


                        Crescent City Lighthouse  | Pastel | 6x6

If you've ever been to Crescent City, CA, you'll recognize this scene. Located right on the border between California and Oregon, this iconic lighthouse sits on its own island. Access is via a graveled roadway and only at low tide.  Back in the 1990's, I spent a lovely week in Crescent City taking a watercolor workshop with Judi Betts. We all went out to the island one day and painted the lighthouse from different angles.  Revisiting the area this past year, I couldn't help but smile broadly as I looked on at the lighthouse, recalling a wonderful comraderie we artists shared that week and especially that day painting this beautiful landmark!

Painting Notes:  I got very precise on this little gem - couldn't help myself! I wanted it to look exactly like it is, leaving out only a few scraggly bushes and an out building on the far right.  This is a candidate for a much larger rendering where I can use broad brushstrokes on the rocks and landscape. Brush strokes, of course, implies one using a brush, but in pastel jingo, it means using the side of the pastel to make gestural sweeps across the surface.  Now that we can no longer get Wallis warm Belgian Mist pastel paper, I'm appreciating UArt paper for its similarity to Wallis and embracing underpaintings. I used SpectraFix, a casein based fixative to soak the dark colors and sky into the paper. I was too heavy handed with the spray coat and have to keep this one taped down at least overnight to get the paper to lay flat again. Note to self!

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