Oil and pastel...

The Big Questions: Is it Finished? Does the work feel Complete? Am I quitting because I’m Tired of squinting at yellow?

Thinking about this for a show submission in June. After seeing a Picasso at the SAM where he used pastel with oil, I made an experiment and enjoy how it’s turning out. A part of me wants to hang the work upside down. The stalks are so tall, when is the last time anyone has looked down into the face of a sunflower unless it was in a vase?

Pendleton sunrise...

Another piece from the current show at Clackamas County Federal Credit Union Gallery, sponsored by Clackamas County Arts Alliance. Whew, that’s a mouthful.  Woke up one morning in a Pendleton hotel looking over this scene. Part of the challenge is making the symmetry of the repetitive rolling hills interesting. 

Take a breath...

We’re so pressured in this country for product and outcome, we seldom give rest the respect it’s due as part of the creative process. After a press to make several pieces for the show, I am able to relax ~ at least in terms of art making. Gently clean the pastels. Sort them again by my palette and what makes sense to me. Enjoy how pretty they look before diving in and creating color chaos again. 

Paint me home...

Mt. Sanford and the Copper River Basin is a successful rescue project.

I started the piece years ago in a Spokane basement studio and it was almost finished.  The studio was a favorite hangout for some nasty spiders so we had regular pest control. At the time they used a spray and while I saw the potential risk, and asked the service person to be careful, I didn’t follow my intuition and move the piece. The result was bug spray dripping into the pastel. There was no point in being upset at anyone but myself since I clearly didn’t listen to the discernment prompt.

Fast forward ten years.

It’s been sitting in my studio and I have no idea why I didn’t put it to rest in the recycle bin since it looked pretty bedraggled with nothing left to lose. Decided to experiment to see if I could reclaim the work. Sprayed a couple of coats of Spectra Fix Degas Pastel Fixative lightly over the surface and the droplet evidence disappeared. Normally, I don’t use a fixative on any pastel work, yet this allowed me to go back into the nearly completed painting and revive it to the point I’m happy with the result. Since I don’t know to what extent the insecticide affected the archival quality of the work this will remain in my personal collection.

Refuge One

Pastel on Gator Board, 27” x 15”, 2011
I don’t know if this piece is “finished” or not - I’m ready to put it away for awhile. The support is very rough multiple applications of pumice gel on gator board. Getting used to the texture of the surface was a challenge that became an interesting opportunity to relax and allow the support to interact and participate in forming the image.

Memory Painting

Pastel, 12” x 16”, 2011Today’s twenty-minute memory painting of last Friday’s expedition for photographs. Twenty-four degrees riding in the open air. Birds, sun and good company. Can’t get better than that.

Blue Girl

Pastel on BFK, 30 x 22”, 2010
This is my favorite drawing of the past few months. I’m happy to have captured the model’s intensity. The piece is so powerful up close and personal, people are either repelled or fascinated by it.


I loved the way the model's attitude came through on this piece. Pastel on BFK, 30 x 22”, 2010I enjoyed the way this model’s presence came through.  I also found a new freedom to cut loose with the materials.

Cow Eyes

Or - an artist creates beauty in strange places Pastel on Wallis paper, 18 x 12”, Sept 2010I liked the quality of this painting of a cow’s eye.  It could have used some interest in the corners, however, it became a bull’s eye - pun intended - a target focal point, so I darkened the corners in and said good enough.


Pastel on paper, 16 x 11"
The models would not stand still so this was a very quick drawing. One of the first pastel paintings I attempted.

This one started it all...

Pastel on watercolor paper, 24 x 18"I wanted to try watercolor and had what I thought was a beautiful white begonia washed in with a pale yellow. I took it along to an orchestra rehearsal to show a friend who paints in watercolor and his response in the 15 seconds between numbers was he thought it was the most insipid watercolor he’d ever seen. It could have been because he was a brass player. I thought insipid be damed and started into it with pastel. The work may still be insipid in terms of pastel proficiency, however, at the time I was very happy with it. Thus began my love affair with pastel.

As Artist...

Some of you have asked to see my art…. this was done a few years ago and remains a favorite. Because of my affection for the subject the painting was so much fun to do. I was beginning to experiment with color in terms of value and discovered pastel at the same time.  Using pastels is like having the color flow out the tips of my fingers.

Richard, pastel , 20 x 24”.