"Promises to Keep", soft pastel on self-prepared board, 8 x 12 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Promises to Keep, #30in30, Day 16

"Promises to Keep", soft pastel on self-prepared board, 8 x 12 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“Promises to Keep”, soft pastel on self-prepared board, 8 x 12 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I am participating in Leslie Saeta’s annual “30 in 30” painting challenge this month. This is my painting for day 16.

This panting is named for the famous poem by Robert Frost, Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening, which was my first thought when I walked around a bend in the trail to see this alley in the woods filled with deep snow. I’d been hiking around Kane’s Woods with a friend after a heavy snow to get as many snow photos as I could, knowing I probably wouldn’t stop to paint. Late in the afternoon in early January the light was fading but those wonderful dusky shades were filling the white and gray of the snowy surrounding.

How do you capture the bare trees with snow without drawing each twig and fluff of snow?

When I prepared a dozen 8 x 12 hardboard panels with pastel grounds I made each different, and some with texture that I would use as part of the art. To this board I applied white acrylic ground with marble dusk mixed in and rolled it with a small flocked roller. The ground mixture on the hard surface puckered and formed a textured surface.

The texture was just deep enough for me to work pastel down into the texture, then scrape other pastels over the surface of the texture to achieve the shaded appearance in the snow itself, and I also used it to scrape the darker warm gray pastel of the tree trunks over the surface in the wooded area to get the effect of the many tiny twigs piled with snow. I also used it to get the effect of the snow on the vertical trunks where it settled on the bark.

This land was a portion of land involved in the Whiskey Rebellion in Scott Township, west of Pittsburgh, in Western Pennsylvania. It’s also a trail I walked on as a child, long before it was a “trail” on conservation lands. I’m glad to be a member of the Scott Conservancy and be a part of conserving this land.

I took this photo in 2009. It’s about time I painted it.

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For a list of my other paintings in the 30 in 30 challenge visit this page.

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