Sunset Over the Hayfield

Y’all can probably tell from the title that this isn’t the third candle picture. Don’t worry – I can explain … that’s why I have a blog! So yesterday after posting in here in the morning, I picked up my 11 by 14 inch sketchbook, turned to a new page, and then gridded and sketched out my third candle picture. I had to at the very least mark off the boundaries to make it 10 by 14 inches, because that is the size of my watercolor block I plan to use and also because I had cropped the reference photo to a 5:7 aspect ratio because Microsoft’s photo editor does not have an 11 by 14 aspect ratio as an option. (Or, if it does, I have not yet found it.)

So, sketch completed (I am scanning it as I type right now) I picked up my 11 x 14 in oil and acrylic paper pad and opened to the top page … and stopped, because there was a sketch already on it. I immediately recognized it, and remembered exactly which ref photo I used to sketch it, though I didn’t remember which medium I had originally planned to use to turn sketch into painting. Had I meant to use my oil paint? Acrylic paint? Or oil pastels? Whichever I intended back when I sketched it, I was in a definite oil pastel mood again yesterday, and I can point to Judith at Artistcoveries for that because she has been blogging her progress with the oilies as she clambers up the somewhat steep learning curve with an enthusiasm that reminds me of my decision to learn how to use these. (See her Zinnias post for a good example of the progress she is making.)

So I pulled out my oil pastel sets (yes, plural) and set up my painting tray once I determined the cats were napping and started in on it, because this is a piece I am still enthusiastic about making – as the post and artwork title suggest, it is a sunset over a hayfield. I would probably have to do a whole series of meditations and journaling to figure out why I just love hayfields as an art subject, but right now my main concern is making them and analyzing later. Y’all may recall I painted a hayfield back in December in watercolor which also featured the large round bales. My mom’s comment was I had too much sky in it, but honestly there are definitely sunny cloudless days here in the flatlands of Florida where the sky feels huge, and that feeling was in my painting.

The good news is I remembered to snap a couple photos for some in-progress pictures. The even better news is they turned out pretty good for me and my cheap old digicam! The main problem I had was positioning myself to avoid casting a shadow on it. This is after the first layer, using my big Mungyo Gallery (standard) set which is just above the the sketchpad on my old-fashioned TV tray I use for painting at my computer desk.

in-progress picture of Sunset Over the Hayfield and my big set of oil pastels I like to use for the first layer

After blending in the first layer using cheap cotton swabs, it was time to switch to the softer oil pastel sets, the Mungyo Gallery Artists’ series and the Erengi Art Aspirer, which has colors Mungyo doesn’t. These aren’t as soft as the Sennelier brand, which isn’t exactly a bad thing down here in Florida. I have a small set of six Sennelier, and am hestitant to try to take them outdoors during the summer for fear of them just straight-up melting like ice cream. (For the record, spellcheck hates all of these brand names.) After a while of making marks, blending, and then layering over, it was time to lay the first layer of ModPodge, which I did right before joining hubby outside to feed and put up our various critters. When I came back in, the ModPodge still wasn’t fully dry, which is normal on a day with better than 20% chance of rain.

This morning while working on my second mug of coffee, I scanned the finished and dried oil pastel painting, then laid down a second coat to make sure I didn’t miss any spots or have too-thin areas where I built up my layers of oil pastel. Here it is, in all it very colorful glory:

Sunset Over the Hayfield, 11 by 14 inch oil pastel on primed paper, sealed, original available $140 USD

I’ve uploaded the original for sale at Daily PaintWorks, and of course if you are local to me you can buy it in person (just contact me and we can make arrangements) while if you are out of the area there is a shipping option on DPW. Prints and puzzles are available at my Pixels store. Finally, I have uploaded it to RedBubble so you can get it printed on all kinds of accessories and swag – they have even added pet mats and blankets.

So, about that third candle painting? Since I still have not decided if I want to paint it in watercolor or oil pastels, I think I will do both. I’ll also try to remember to take more in-progress snapshots, and will group the sketch scan with the finished pieces. If I can maintain this level of motivation, I may even have it done in a day or two! Wish me luck.

3 thoughts on “Sunset Over the Hayfield

  1. Beautiful art! i now have several sets of the ‘oilies’, too, and some i like better than others. overall, the Mungyo are probably my “go-to” brand as often as not, but definitely the Senneliers for creamy blending and finishing touches. I bought a set of white Paul Rubens and loved them… so I bought a set of colors. I don’t like them at all! While the white sticks were easy to blend with, the colors don’t blend well at all. Have you had experience with the Rubens?

    1. Thank you, Judith. I have not tried the Rubens yet, since right now I am happy with my Mungyo sets and the Erengi set. I’ve also tried Pentel (meh), Loew-Cornell (gave to my husband because I really don’t like), Crayola (decent for the price point), and Van Gogh (not bad, but I only have a set of 12). And somewhere I have the small set of six Sennelier, which are like working with soft lipstick and I only use as the very top layer – THAT is the white I love the most.

      1. I have the Pentel — which I find useful for practice and when I’m playing with the grandkids. I also have Daler-Rowney (all right) and the Cray-Pas Expressionist (which I like except that the sticks are big and chunky, so not as comfortable for me to use.) I am really finding the Mungyo to be my most-used set. Those, along with the Senneliers, are really about all I need. I do like the Rubens white, but not the colors! I’ll have to check out the Erengi set. I’m guessing the Crayola is probably surprisingly good for the price. I’ve seen that happen with watercolors and watercolor pencils. I’m not familiar with the Van Gogh either. I’m really glad I started playing with the oil pastels again, and I’m finding so much more information available now than when I first tried them 6 years ago.

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