Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Michael Chesley Johnson - Sedona Patterns

"Sedona Patterns"
5x7, pastel, en plein air

I arrived in Sedona last Saturday after a long time of being on the road. I'd forgotten how beautiful this place is! Monumental red rocks and sweeping vistas, but also intimate close-ups of juniper-edged arroyos, and weather that can't be surpassed. Most days have seen temperatures in the 50s, which can be plenty warm when you're outdoors painting. We've had plenty of bright sun and flawless blue skies, but also a day or two of spitting rain and snow, both of which add to the quiet mystery of Sedona. It's truly a painter's paradise.

To get back into the painting after traveling, I sat down the other evening to do a little pastel. I call it "Sedona Patterns" because it is a very abstract piece, but one I had fun with. I didn't even do an underpainting, but just launched right in with the pastel on a small scrap of sandpaper. (I used mostly Polychromos pastels and Wallis Sanded Pastel Paper, the Belgian Mist color.)

If you haven't heard, I'm teaching two pastel workshops for the Sedona Art Center this winter. On Saturday, January 31, I'm teaching a one-day studio workshop for beginners. I'll show you two of the methods I use to paint in pastel, and we'll have lots of time to work with different materials and techniques. Then the week of March 23-27, I'm teaching a five-day outdoor workshop for all levels. I'll show you how best to use pastel in an outdoor settin, and we'll have fun exploring some of my favorite painting spots. I hope you'll join me for one (or both!) of these workshops.

Michael Chesley Johnson

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