Studies from early morning dreams

You know those mornings when you toss and turn from 4am until 6am; most of the time the dreams I have during those few hours are silly, but the other morning – not completely awake – I was thinking about pastels. It’s an obsession, I say. I had two dreams or visions, one of very deep dark woods, no leaves, just velvet black and grey tree trunks highlighted with some intense blue. The other vision was of the tree in our yard with the creek behind it and the path leading into the woods in primary colors. Just three values of three colors. It was an enlightening vision, I often feel like color is an enemy when I paint – just too many competing for attention, so this concept was amazing.

You know when you finally get up at 6 and have your cup of coffee those early morning dreams fade, the ideas seem unrealistic and out of place. We all know that our brain has actually sent us useful information or made connections for us we need, we just need to continue the thought process – but I don’t.

Until this time. The dreams seemed crazier and crazier with every cup of coffee I drank, so I grabbed a pen and wrote down what I had seen in my dreams as detailed as I could, because it was going to take a lot more coffee to be brave enough to attempt these paintings, a pastel black & white and just primary colors.

A few weeks ago I met artist Chase Walker at the Rochester Art Supply Store. He is an illustrator and oil pastelist. He suggested I try my pastels on black paper, that it helps the colors pop and allows your strokes to stand out better. These two images were perfect to try with black paper.

I tried the deep dark woods first and was pleased.


Into the dark 5 x 7 chalk pastel on black paper

Next for the landscape in primary colors. Overall it was a huge success, as far as color goes. The tree leaves caused me serious pain and the creek just ends at the tree. I could go back in and fix that, but not much help for all those leaves! Good lesson learned. I believe from now on I will pick three colors and their values. I believe it will work until the spring when there are just too many different greens – hopefully I can keep that to 4 or 5 pastels and their values.


Maple in November 5 x 7 chalk pastel on black paper

Because the first one was close I thought I would try it again, however I was out of prepared black paper. I used a bright yellow paper for this one 5 pastels and their values. Again mostly successful and vibrant with minimal pastels used.

Maple in November 2, 12 x 18 chalk pastel

Maple in November 2, 12 x 18 chalk pastel

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