Day 31 # stradaeasel
This was the most difficult scene of the whole month and it’s fitting that it is my last one in the challenge. Thank goodness, I did the preparatory work yesterday.
Last night, as I was looking at the scene (it’s set up here in our living room) I really liked how the warm light from the overhead lights were casting reflected light on the slate blue couch and the wall behind it. The light coming in through the windows this morning, was a cool gray light. The play between the two was really fun to paint.
I purposely kept the technique loose and rough for this painting. I wanted that kind of “raw, jazzy” feeling to it which is representative of music, at least to me. The guitar, as you can imagine, was the most difficult object to paint as I wanted to get some of the detail but also retain that loose technique. I’m looking forward to doing more guitars in the future. They are such beautiful art objects.
I can’t believe this journey is coming to an end. I’ve been answering some of your kind comments and coming to terms with how I’m feeling about the experience: both happy to have completed the challenge and sad that I won’t have the daily interaction with you all.
The challenge was truly hard the first two weeks and I just soldiered on. The thought that drove me was that for a relatively short period of time, a person could devote themselves to one task with the knowledge that they would be better for it. In other words, I had to take my medicine to get better.
I had a routine. Check the weather, have my gear packed and ready to go. If the weather cooperated, my first choice was to go outdoors. Having quite a few gray days for a couple of weeks, challenged me to look for other inspiration. That opened up many new learning opportunities.
The experience made me more comfortable with still life, painting flowers, objects, and fruit. I got a great taste of painting snow and I’m not finished, yet—that well is deep. A wonderful benefit was that as the weeks went by, my desire to paint every day grew stronger.
To paint from life truly gives you a visceral knowledge of a scene or object which can’t be duplicated in any other way. I think that is deeply ingrained in me now, if it wasn’t before.
Thank you all for keeping me company during this journey, for all your comments and support each and every day of the challenge. Words can’t describe how much it meant to me. I feel so blessed to have you all in my life!
I thought I’d show the work in progress with photos so you get a feel of the process.

This is the first stage of the painting called the “block in.” The colors are roughly added concentrating on lights and darks.

The scene and the block in on the easel.

The block in has now been rubbed into the sanded paper. I use pipe foam insulation cut into small pieces for a blending tool.

I’ve started building layers of pastel on the wall, couch, and pillows building up light and shadow and detail.

Just about finished but the hardest part is still to do. All the details of the guitar—the neck with the frets and strings, the sound hole with the mother of pearl accent, and the final highlights and shadows.

This is how I manage the details. I place the painting flat. Using a plexiglass bar that sits a couple of inches above the painting, I rest my hand on the bar to make fine detail and draw the strings. For the strings and the smallest details, I used pastel pencils which I can sharpen to a point.