Salt Marshes, again, and again

Last May while visiting Stone Harbor, I took an iPhone picture of the salt marshes along the causeway leading to Seven Mile Island, a barrier island along the southern end of the New Jersey shoreline. The marsh grasses were a spring green with some winter browns mixed in at that point.Landscape New Jersey

View of Stone Harbor, NJ

Last summer, I took a charcoal drawing course and drew the scene of the salt marshes in black and white, with soft vine charcoal on watercolor paper:


Today, I revisited the scene in pastel: 12×18, Canson pastel paper:

Salt marshes, New Jersey

This part of New Jersey is so beautiful. I enjoy revisiting it, in person, and in different art mediums. Next, sometime this winter, I will paint the scene in watercolor then oils. By then, it will be time to drive ‘down the shore’ again, as we supposedly say in New Jersey.

Salt Marshes, New Jersey

I just started a charcoal drawing course last night. The switch from the brilliant colors of pastels that I have been using the last few months to black and white was a jolt. I thought it would be nice to sort of simplify my thinking or observing of the world to just values and forms and lines without colors kind of calling out to me. What I need to do is turn my photographs into black and white but last night I was expecting a still life and was not prepared to just ‘do whatever you want.’ I based this drawing on a picture on my iPhone that I took in May. The picture is looking from the Stone Harbor Wetlands Institute over the salt marshes and bay toward the barrier islands of south New Jersey.

Salt Marshes, charcoal on watercolor paper

Passaic River, New Jersey

I started a pastel landscape of the Passaic River which runs along the edge of my town as it loops around northern New Jersey. I decided to take a break from the landscape of the Adige River in Verona, Italy which was at the stage where it was driving me crazy. So I thought, just grab the small pastel pad and do a relaxing little sketch based on some pictures and sketches I made last spring. Of course, paintings have a way of taking on an ornery life of their own. Despite its small scale and my promise to myself to just relax, I struggled through a number of issues. I worked on this at home without the guidance of my art teacher. I have reached a stopping point and ‘The Passaic’ was photographed this afternoon in my makeshift kitchen photo ‘studio’ (ha ha, see my previous post about photographing my work for this blog.) ‘The Passaic’ will be wrapped in glassine and put out of reach and sight for now. So here it is, pastel on 9×12 tinted Canson pastel paper.

Passaic River, NJ, pastel

Pastel Landscape of Verona, Italy, part 2

My pastel landscape of a riverside park along the Adige River in Verona, Italy is almost done. Possibly really done. I’m not sure. When is a painting ever done? The painting has been ‘resting’ on its drawing board, swathed in glassine to protect it and out of sight, almost out of (my) mind on top of a large old wardrobe in my studio. Today, I decided to photograph it in a very down and dirty (impatient, unprofessional, please don’t make me get out a camera and tripod and Adobe Elements) kind of way. So here is a shot of this landscape. I think this is the shot where it was propped on my kitchen counter and not the one taken outside, leaning against the garage. I used a white foam board as back drop and late afternoon northern light illuminating the scene. I got confused on the HD/no HD and remembering to turn off ‘Live’ in my iPad. But anyway, until I get serious about this photographing my art thing, this will do. In the outside shot, the colors were prettier, but when I uploaded the images to this blog, both images looked the same. For the beginnings of this painting, from photograph to sketch, through various stages of putting down the color, see my previous post.

Pastel of Verona, Italy

River Adige, Verona, Italy, pastel

Pastel Landscape Of Verona

In April I visited Verona, a city in the northern Veneto region of Italy, known as the setting of Shakespeare’s play ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ As I wandered around the old city, I crossed the Adige River at the Castelvecchio and came upon this scene of a river walk and park filled with strollers and their dogs, shaded by umbrella trees and tall cedars. I took the shot below, later sketching it in a small travel sketchbook. The next month, I started taking a pastel class at my local art center and chose this view for the landscape exercise. Below are two pictures of the work in progress which has taken three studio sessions of 2 1/2 hours each. I expect to finish this painting in the next two classes. The work is 22 x 17 inches on sanded pastel paper. I am using starter sets of Faber Castell and Rembrandt soft pastels. For more information about pastels, see my previous post.