Allegheny River Reflections, pastel, 12, x 16 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Allegheny River Reflections

Allegheny River Reflections, pastel, 12, x 16 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Allegheny River Reflections, pastel, 12, x 16 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

This is a view of the Allegheny River in Western Pennsylvania, seen from Tarentum. I took a quick walk through the park along the river on a beautiful autumn day and took as many photos as I could. The hill is very high and steep behind this row of trees and otherwise the hill comes down to the bank of the river, but for this short stretch the row of trees was separated from the hill, deep in bluish shadow, while the trees caught the late afternoon sunlight.

I knew I wanted to keep this loose, just capturing the visual of the reflection and the contrast with the bright sunlight, bright leaves, and dark hillside.

I had intended to use navy blue paper for this painting because of the bluish cast of autumn, but I had no navy blue left in the pad of paper, so I used black. I used Strathmore charcoal paper, which is lightweight and has a finer texture than the other black pastel paper I’ve used. When paper is made the pulp is poured into a mold that has a screen in the bottom of it. The paper pulp is spread on the screen, then pressed into it with a piece of heavy felt. As it dries the paper holds the screen pattern on one side but is relatively smooth on the back. I considered using the “felt” side, which has only a slight screen texture, but then decided I wanted to use the texture to build the detail in the trees.

This was my painting from Day 26 in the September 2017 daily painting challenge. See other paintings in this and other painting challenges on the page Creative Challenges.

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