Saturday, April 17, 2010
Benton Road Railroad Tunnel Pastel Plein Air Painting
I just did this painting on Thursday afternoon. It was a beautiful day and I have been wanting to paint this scene for a project with the Pennsylvania En Plein Air Society called "Whistle Stops and Depots". The project involves plein air paintings of existing railroad structures in Northeast PA or paintings from photos of demolished structures. We have a big show opening in July!
At any rate set up was tricky because the angle I wanted to paint from involved being precariously close to the drainage ditch along the roadside. I made the executive decision to park my car along the road and stand behind it to paint. It is a small local road with not too much traffic and I figured that way people would see the car and move over. Besides it is easy to set my pastels out in the back of my SUV with the back door up to be used for shade or rain shelter if need be. What started out to be a beautiful afternoon digressed into part sun and part shade and a brief barely there sprinkle. Luckily for me it was mostly pretty pleasant. A neighbor stopped with her dog and watched me work for a while and I explained part of my process.
After several hours I was satisfied with my result and began to pack up. As fate would have it, one of the legs on my french easel telescoped in unexpectedly and the easel overturned into the drainage ditch which, of course, was full of mucky water. On the upside to this minor catastrophy, the easel drawer was closed up and locked down and the painting was safely nestled on the back seat of my car. I proceeded to resurrect my soggy easel and clean it off. Another neighbor driving by stopped to chat and admire the artwork. All in all, I consider it a successful painting and a lovely afternoon. I may do some minor touch ups, like adding the date at the top of the tunnel, but I'm pretty pleased with it just as it is! I hope you like it too!
Technical Info: The image is done in soft pastel on sanded paper and is 12 x 9 in size. It will be part of the PEPS show at the Schulman Gallery at Luzerne County Community College in Naticoke PA. The show opens on July 23 from 6-8pm and will be on display until August 25. There will be many other wonderful railroad images there. I am planning to have a number of pieces in the show. Some of them new and some that have been done in the past few years as the project spans multiple years.