Coop at Dawn

This is the chicken coop that Ron and I built at our old place in Ohio. We sure enjoyed having chickens. This was a lovely early autumn day and it appears, in the photo, to have a light frost on the ground. What a peaceful morning. This is soft pastels on a handmade surface. I cut some red matboard to 8×10 and coated it with clear gesso, which has grit in it. So, I made my own sanded surface. It worked well, I think.


If you know somethin’ well, you can always paint it, but people would be better off buyin’ chickens. — Grandma Moses

Isle of Staffa

The Isle of Staffa is an uninhabited island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. It is mostly rock which stands in columns. This picture is soft pastels on 9×12 sanded paper.

I got the photo from the book, Scottish Symphony. I get a lot of big old coffee table books with wonderful photography at thrift stores. Or I used to before the thrift stores around here decided to stop dealing in books. But, I still have the library book store. Yay!


There are few places in my life that I’ve found more ruggedly beautiful than the Highlands of Scotland. The place is magical – it’s so far north, so remote, that sometimes it feels like you’ve left this world and gone to another. – Julia London

Enjoying a Joke

This is another portrait from the book Images of Greatness by Pete Souza. This is 12×16 pastel pencils on toned paper. The caption says:


“The president laughs while swapping stories with the ‘fellas’ during an afternoon of chores. The ranch was the one place where the proverbial bird was let out of his cage. He always insisted that his trips to the ranch weren’t really vacations, but rather ‘a change of scenery.’ From what I observed, the ranch was certainly a place where he reinvigorated himself.”


Without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure. — Ronald Reagan

A Pear Trio

These pears came home with me accompanied by the preceding lemon. I did not put a wash on the sanded paper, this time. I think I like a wash better than plain paper. Experiments are always necessary, don’t you think? The pears were delicious, by the way.


I was feeling well enough to eat the pears. — Lizzie Andrew Borden

Sometimes You Just Get a Lemon…

I went to the supermarket and just happened to get some portrait fodder: three pears and a lemon. I enjoyed picking them out just for their portraiture qualities. LOL! The whole time I was in the store I was just itching to tell everyone that I was going to paint their portraits. I didn’t tell anyone. You would have been proud. Maybe… This is soft pastels on purple washed sanded paper, approximately 9×12.


We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons. — Alfred Newman

Reaching for the Caribbean

Soft pastels on sanded paper over a deep purple alcohol wash. An alcohol wash is made by putting a light coat of pastel over the paper, dipping a soft brush in rubbing alcohol, and rubbing the pastel into the paper. It stains the paper without taking up any of the tooth so that I can add a lot of layers of dry pastel on top of it. I love the look and it affects the colors applied on top, changing temperature or neutralizing them or whatever. I think it is nifty.


There’s definitely healing properties to being in proximity to the ocean and that breeze. There’s something about that Caribbean climate and humidity. — Johnny Depp

Bahia Honda, Florida

This picture is soft pastels on sanded paper over a bright fuchsia alcohol wash. I enjoyed doing it, although it was difficult not to blend. I am a blending addict. LOL!


The state with the prettiest name, the state that floats in brackish water, held together by mangrove roots. – Elizabeth Bishop

Pear — Yummy!

This pear is yummy in more ways than one. I love how it came out! I followed a youtube tutorial by Alain Picard and, although it was difficult to allow the marks to stay on the paper and fly around making more marks, I enjoyed it and love it! This is pastels on sanded paper. I really want to loosen up and so I got tired of my tight-fisted landscapes and went searching on youtube. I struggled to do what he said to do. LOL! I gritted my teeth when I wanted to smooth everything out. I had to walk away and come back several times, because I was actually thinking of taking it down from the easel and putting it on a table so that I could hang over it and do details, which would have ruined it. Do you think I caught the essence of the pear? I think so. Yum!


I do love pears. All types of pears. Not too firm, not too soft; they have to be at the right time of their life. — Christina Milian

Howard Tunnel

This is not part of the course I am taking. I just wanted to do this picture. I took the photo several years ago. It is part of the Kokosing Gap Trail in Knox County, Ohio. This is a 9×12 on toned paper, pastel pencils.


Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light. — Helen Keller

Stormy Waters

This is the water lesson in the Pastel Landscape Mastery course with The Virtual Instructor. I am starting to get discouraged. Skies and water are my nemeses. (Is that the right word? LOL!) I guess that means I need more practice with them. Ugh…


Inside my empty bottle I was constructing a lighthouse while all the others were making ships. — Charles Simic