Same Subject – 2 Interpretations

Rockaway Road - pastel demo on Wallis paper toned with yellow ochre, 9x12 in.

Rockaway Road, pastel demo on cobalt blue toned Wallis paper, 9x12

Here is a good example of how the background color of a pastel painting can change the mood and tone of the finished piece. Actually, the background color influenced my color choices in both of these demos. I did the one on the yellow ochre first, playing off the color of the paper with violet-blue shadows on the road and in the darks of foliage. The lighter colors in this version are not quite as autumnal or vibrant as in the second, they are more subdued and the overall feeling is one of warmth and sunlight.

The second painting uses the stronger oranges and rusts against the blue background to make a bolder statement. The overall tone of this piece is cooler, a bit more woodsy and very fall like in feeling. I had not intended to do two demos of the same subject, however my workshop students were quick studies and finished the still life set up sooner than I thought they might, so I decided to introduce the landscape and a bit of abstraction. These were both done as a means of demonstrating how to use a reference photo purely as a departure point rather than something to slavishly copy. Always think of your painting as something new, not a copy of something that already exists in real life, or on paper.

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