Watercolor and Pastel Artists at CHAW

Martha Pope captures the essence of the Missouri River Basin in pastel

Editor’s note: In this post, Martha shares how the inspirations of another artist and a stunning landscape informed her pastel piece Upper Missouri Basin, which is currently part of the show “Summer Work” at the CHAW Gallery, 545 7th Street, SE, Washington, DC. 

Martha Pope: Upper Missouri Basin

This year, two travel opportunities inspired my recent paintings.


In early spring, I found myself in Carmel, California, where I was introduced to the work of the artist Edgar Payne (1883-1947). I’m particularly attracted to the texture and rhythm of Payne’s brush strokes, and to his choices of color. This Payne painting is titled Boats of the Adriatic.

Martha 2

In July I joined a group canoeing the Upper Missouri River in Montana. The river scenery, with chalk white cliffs, huge skies, and rippling reflections was captivating in its beauty. In the pastel I created, Upper Missouri Basin, I used this river photograph with strong horizontal lines for composition and leaned heavily on Payne for style and color. I used the photograph as reference for aspects of the scenery that intrigued me, especially the broken reflections of sky seen in the river.  I freely added or subtracted objects and color, not caring if the finished painting “looked like” the photograph, but hoping that it captured the essence of the scene that inspired it.

Martha Pope Upper Missouri Pastel on sanded paper

Martha Pope: Upper Missouri Basin. Pastel.

Martha’s profile is available here: Martha Pope.
To see some more of her work, click here: Martha Pope’s Gallery. 

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This entry was posted on September 14, 2018 by in Artist process, Pastel and tagged .
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