I first became attracted to the more intimate views of nature while in Vermont for a pastel workshop in October 2010. It was a dreary weekend, and the subject was capturing the fall landscape. Consequently, most of the time was spent working inside from photos. My wife and I did manage to get out and take some photos of the fall colors, muted by the rain, on the grounds of the southern Vermont fine arts center in Manchester and in the nearby Merck Forest. The result was a first set of pastel landscape interiors: Autumn Wood; Less Traveled; Autumn Walk; and Bend in the Road (below).
I have since been drawn to these intimate spaces that in many cases are within a stone’s throw of our home, and have tried to capture the peace of these quiet spaces. For example, the pastels Spencer Path 1 and 2 below were painted from along the trails at the Spencer Crest Nature Center.
Coming of age and living in the northeast has drawn me to another type of interior that conjures up memories of Richard Russo novels, Hemingway’s “A Clean and Well-Lighted Place,” and the poetry of Charles Bukowski. I have long noticed the later winter sun on a Saturday afternoon in an ‘urban’ setting like Market Street. The lunch crowds have gone and people are just starting to filter into the bars. The low sunlight filters in through the windows, the interior lighting is soft, and the mood is quiet. The few characters are mostly alone with their thoughts. “Brewery Talk” and “Old World Café” are two pastels that try to capture the feeling of a late winter afternoon spent inside a place where one can reflect – be it with a cup of soup, a pint of IPA, or a shotI am continuing to explore interiors – both landscape and urban – and possible variations.
Working with pastels on these themes allows me to work quickly to capture the emotion I feel when I see these places. I can capture the fall colors or the warmth of a bar or café quickly and not overwork the subject. of Black Velvet.