Watercolor and Pastel Artists at CHAW
Editor’s note: In this post, Anne shares her process in creating art from a scene that inspired her. Her pastel is currently part of the show “Summer Work” at the CHAW Gallery, 545 7th Street, SE, Washington, DC.
“A Scene of Visionary Enchantment” was how Merriwether Lewis described the White Cliffs of the Missouri River in Montana when he and the rest of the Corps of Discovery first saw them in 1804. The cliffs haven’t changed, and they astonished my group of 20 women on a canoe trip this summer over the same 50-mile stretch of river from Fort Benton to Judith’s Landing, Montana.
Many of my paintings are inspired by trips I have taken, and since there is little time to paint, I work from photographs when I return. Also, my medium—pastels—is so heavy and cumbersome it doesn’t lend itself to painting en plein air.
In starting a work, I make a quick sketch, trying to isolate the lights and darks and figure the best size for the finished work. Then I use sanded paper taped to a drawing board and make a rough drawing. I don’t draw any details, just try to get the proportions right.
I then start at the top of the painting since my hand and arm would mess up the bottom if I worked from there. I had to use all the grays and browns that I possessed to bring out the contours in the cliff. After many layers of both soft and hard chalk, I hope the finished product looks “weighty” enough.