Although I’ve worked with many different mediums, pastel and charcoal are my primary medium right now. They fit the methods and subject matter that I am focused on.
My subject matter is landscape and seascape primarily. Being a USCG captain, avid fisherman I spend a lot of time on the water and living in rural South Jersey I’m immersed in the beauty of the outdoors. At the start of a painting I have an image in mind from my travels, sketches and photos.
I begin by working generally over the entire surface. Filling in the base colors which will lay beneath. I work the base in by rubbing the pastel in until it suddenly begins to take on mass. Layering color on top I create depth and space by looking through one color to the one beneath.
Still working over the entire surface I add form in blocks of color. I avoid outline as much as possible because it doesn’t exist in nature.
My goal is to capture the essence of the moment. The warm glow of sunshine, the cool of the evening. I seldom incorporate details. Instead, the suggestion of detail. Through pastel, smudging, scraping, etc. I can create the illusion of the sun sparkling on the waves, the grasses in a meadow. It’s the natural tendency of the pastel on paper that I try to unleash and not quite control.
In the end it’s not especially about the subject chosen. As Fairfield Porter stated, “Subject matter must be normal in the sense that it does not appear sought after so much as simply happening.”
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