Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Kelp Forest 11" X 17" Pastel on Wallis paper

                                                                               
        
I really enjoyed painting this one as I never before had painted kelp. Funny how one can "let an idea simmer" for a long time, and then you realize it's time to actually put paint/pastel to paper!
When we lived in Monterey, CA we used to watch the scuba divers suit up and spend hours exploring the kelp beds of the California coast. I can only imagine what beautiful things they saw.

I did an underpainting first using Caran d'Ache watercolor crayons deliberately letting the colors run into each other. Than I applied several layers of pastel using sticks of several brands including Terry Ludwig, Unison, Sennelier and a few Rembrandts for the small details. My favorite parts to work were the different patches of ocean water. Blue and turquoise have always been my favorite colors, so I was in my element!


20 comments:

  1. It does have that underwater/glowing light at the surface feel to it! Funny but I can picture standing outside at the aquarium looking at the water and I think (if I am not forcing a memory!) looking at kelp floating on the water. It's been awhile but your painting sure reminds me of that experience. Lovely colors and I do enjoy your results in pastel.

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    1. Monterey Bay Aquarium has, as I'm sure most aquariums do, a huge tank that shows a kelp forest complete with aquatic life and currents. It's mesmerizing to stand and watch the swaying of the kelp, the colors and the fish and otters that swim within it. Gives one a great appreciation for the activity that takes place underwater.

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  2. Excellent painting, Carol. It was a good to use Wallis paper...it really gave it the wonderful texture on the leaves. The colors are gorgeous and perfect shadows on the right....Wonderful work!!!

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    1. I agree with you, Hilda. Wallis is a wonderful surface to use anytime texture and depth of color is needed. It does buckle a bit when a wet underpainting is applied, but usually it's workable. Thank you for your kind words.

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  3. Love these colors and the wavy texture of the leaves , great subject. You really get the feeling of being deeply under water , asyou can see the light just in the right top corner . I can tell you really like these colors, you are wearing the same on you photo smile :-)

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    1. You have a sharp eye, Jane, to catch the match between my painting and what I'm wearing in the photo. I didn't even realize it! Yes, these colors have been favorites of mine since childhood. I greatly appreciate your comments!

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  4. Great choice of subject, the kelp seems to undulate as I look at the painting, the colors are glorious. This is so unique'. Love it!

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    1. Thank you, Jean. I'm glad it captures an undulating, swaying motion as I think that's the beauty of this plant. I've often wished I had scuba diving skills to be able to see it first hand. Am grateful for your nice comments.

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  5. This is so beautiful. Gorgeous colors.

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    1. Rhonda, thank you very much! I LOVE the colors you've used in your Spoonbill series. What fun and how wonderful they all are turning out!!

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  6. Carol it has been some time since I visited your blog. Lovely painting with favorite colors of mine also.You created beautiful movement throughout the painting. I am taken with your use of oil and pastels. So often I am somewhere where oils will not work (vacation, etc.) and I have not thought of pastels. Yours are an inspiration.

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    1. What a kind thing to say, Helen, and I thank you! I know just what you mean about ease of travel with painting supplies. It surely can be a challenge, but I trying hard to make it work. On her blog Karen Margulis has some excellent ideas on how to travel with both pastels and oils. Your "White Roses" captured my heart! I bet they "WOW" in real life at that size. Good for you!

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  7. Beautiful! Love the colors and the delicacy in the details. If you look at it for awhile, the kelp seems to be floating, moving.

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    1. Thank you very much, Lorraine. Nature is so amazing in designing things. These kelp stems and leaves are suspended by the strings of yellow, bead-like balls (bulbs) that are filled with air. This allows the current to carry the plant back and forth. If or when the kelp washes up on the shore children have a great time popping the balls (bulbs) by stepping on them. We used to do that as kids, also.

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  8. Lovely colours and a feeling of texture! Beautifully painted Carol.

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  9. Thanks so much, Helen. This piece had a lot of twists and turns (no pun intended) which made it a fun project.

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  10. Love the colours and rhythm of this piece, I can imagine it was a delight to create. I have a drawer full of water colours and pastels I should have a go at using them again, not much waiting for paint to dry like oils!
    Well done!

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    1. That is certainly an advantage in using pastels. You'd be wonderful working with that medium. But, then we'd all miss your inspiring and creative oil paintings. Thanks for writing, Diana.

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  11. I do get a wonderful feeling of undulating leaves, gently waving in the water. And I so understand about letting ideas "simmer." I sometimes return to reference photos several years after taking them to do the painting!

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    1. That happens a lot with me. Waiting kind of offers a more objective feel sometimes. Loved your portrait done in Max Ginsburg's class!

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