Day 7 of the Strada Challenge

Summer Peaches, 6″ x 8″, pastel

Yesterday was 85 degrees and today the thermometer is trying hard to climb above 55. On a day that isn’t very summery, I chose to stay indoors and paint some sweet summer peaches. The challenge with this fruit is getting that soft velvety texture. I used a navy blue paper and kept it fairly loose. The warm golden and red tones of the peaches pop against the blue plate and background.

My sister asked me what the Strada Challenge is and I realized that probably a lot of you don’t know. Strada makes a series of plein air easels. They put on this challenge twice a year, in January and September. People from all over the world participate. If one completes the challenge, then they have a chance to win a Strada Easel. I believe Strada gives away 5 easels with each challenge. I’m not doing this to win an easel although that would be a nice bonus. By committing to the challenge, I’m compelled to paint daily. Also, by posting the paintings, I think that some of my FB followers enjoy seeing how an artist works and the thoughts behind the choices that go into making a painting.

Below is the setup of the peaches and you can see my pastel sticks on my easel. The grated surface that the pastels sit on is actually an air filter. As I’m working, the pastel powder drops first on a piece of masking tape that is stuck to the bottom of the backing board with the sticky side up. If there is pastel powder in the air, the air filter sucks it down. That is probably one of the downsides of painting with pastels however every medium (oil, acrylic, watercolor) has its pros and cons. I love the vibrant pigments of pastels and the immediacy with which one can put down colors which is why I work with them over other options…and there are no brushes to clean!

Now that I’m done, I get to eat those peach slices!

Photo of Summer Peaches painting set up

©Francesca Droll, Summer Peaches set up