Bombay Hook: Pastels and Plein Air

Bombay Hook--Snow Geese in the Marsh

Bombay Hook–Snow Geese on the Marsh, by Kelly Anderson

Medium: pastel on paper, 8 x 10

Pastels and Plein Air on the Marsh

Last week, I had the wonderful opportunity to paint ‘en plein air’ at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge with the Plein Air Painters of the Mid Atlantic (PAPMA). Although a tad chilly, it was a mostly sunny day and not too breezy. Great weather for October!

I love ‘the Hook’ in the post-summer season. Most of the annoying insects are gone, and November is one of the peak months for migratory birds. A huge win, win for painting outside for several hours in a sitting!

Since I am new to plein air this year, I wanted to choose a medium that was easy to transport, work with, and set up/break down in the advent of a sudden weather change. I chose soft pastels. Also, I like how pastels feel in my hand as I work with them on the paper.

For this piece, I used Canson’s Mi-Teintes paper in a soft yellow, and used the smoother side. I painted with a combination of Prismacolor’s Nupastels and Loew Cornell soft pastels. My fixative is Krylon’s Workable Fixatif.

I used lavender as my base layer, and worked it in with my fingers. Then, I chose a medium value to lay in the basic shapes of the different elements in the painting, and sprayed my first layer of fixative. Starting with the sky, I painted from background to foreground, top to bottom, with the exception of the snow geese and the individual reeds. I then sprayed my second layer of fixative, and let dry.

I added the individual blades of grass on the large marsh clumps and the final touches on the reflections in the midground. Then, I added the phragmites in the foreground. Finally, the snow geese were the last to be added, and the painting was finished. Woot!

I really enjoyed working on this piece, and was relaxed during the entire process. I am mostly satisfied with the way all of the individual elements turned out, and am happy with my composition. I had a great day plein air painting with PAPMA at Bombay Hook, and am looking forward to my next excursion!



Posted on October 23, 2015, in Pastels, Plein Air and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Maria Liberto Bessette

    Well to start – I just love this post. You inspire me as I read your words about the materials used and process of creating your plein air piece as well as your experience out there at the refuge several weeks ago. It is intreging to read the posts on the 30 Days To A Blog Challenge. Congrats on that. Your desire to constantly seek and learn is well inside you. Now through your posts I am honored to know another side of Kelly, my cousin. I am so glad we have a kinship whether we are related or not.

    Keep it up and I’ll keep reading!


  2. Thanks so much for your kind words. Painting with PAPMA this year was such an enjoyable experience! Now, whenever I walk outside, I also am looking for something interesting to paint! Thanks again for reading.


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