Pastel painting by Rose Ganucheau of Purple Muhly grass at Helen Floyd Park, located near Mayport, Jacksonville, Florida.
Painted on an outing with the First Coast Plein Aire Painters to Helen Floyd Park. The park is situated on a spit of land that follows the south shore of the St. John's River, close to it's mouth. Surrounded by water vistas in all directions; rivers, marshes and estuaries, it was hard to decide which way to park the easel. The Purple Muhly grass was dense and in full bloom everywhere. I finally chose a direction which back-lit the grass emphasizing it's pink-purple hue. I was overwhelmed by the mass of color and couldn't help but think of Monet's Poppy paintings.
Pastel painting of the view from the Duke Marine Lab on Pivers Island
Painted at the Duke marine Lab in early summer 2007. I found these short leaved, gnarled pines where I set my easel under their dappled shade looking back toward the road to Beaufort, NC. It was beachy-breezy, and I had to hold onto my gear as I painted. I couldn't keep the hat on my head, and ended up with a sunburn. The sky and water were a hundred shades of blue as the light ricocheted off the constantly moving landscape.
Pastel painting of the view from the Coast Line Convention Center.
This sunset scene was captured in early December 2006 during an art show at the convention center. I worked from a series of photographs that I took over a period of ten minutes. Although the great majority of my pastel paintings are painted on sight, the fleeting nature of sunsets requires a different approach, as the sky can change completely in just a few moments. I suppose that's why I find them so fascinating.
Original pastel painting of Bank's Channel overlooking Harbor Island, Wrightsville Beach, NC
Bank's Channel runs behind Wrightsville Beach. This scene was painted at the small public boat dock and park next to the south bridge on a sweltering late- summer day. More and more clouds kept popping up in the sky, growing and blowing across the landscape. I wondered where the folks in the sailboat were headed next.
Pastel pleine-aire painting of the Myers Cottage which houses the Wrightsville Beach Museum, NC
Painted in the early afternoon at the Wrightsville Beach History Museum. The cool green roof and shady wrap-around porch of the historic Myers Cottage invite visitors to "put their feet up and set a while". Although moved from its original site, I decided to put it back where it belongs next to the ocean nestled in the dunes. From here you can hear the waves crashing and smell the salt air as you sit on the porch shelling butter-beans for supper.
Pastel pleine-aire painting of cypress trees in Greenfield Lake in Wilmington, NC
I suppose Greenfield Lake was once a tidal creek leading into the Cape Fear River, but a damn keeps it fresh now. The many fingered lake is bordered by a walking path and is a profusion of azaleas and other flowers in the Spring. I was surprised by how red the cypress trees were in springtime. The geese are a common sight as are Great Egrets.
Pastel painting of the cypress lake behind the New Hanover County Senior Center.
Painted in early fall, I stood among the cool shaded trees at the edge of the lake. I marveled at the reflections in the water, and promised I would come back when the trees turned burnt orange.
Pastel pleine-aire painting of a U-pick Strawberry Farm in Wilmington, NC
When we set up our easels to paint the berry pickers at Lewis farms, we were delighted when a bus load of school children pulled up. Seeing their faces full of delight and wonder (not to mention strawberries) was the highlight of the expedition. It's always a special outing for families with strawberry ice cream to top it off.
Pastel pleine-aire painting of a garden in Demarest Landing, painted during the New Hanover Arboretum's Art in the Garden Tour in Wilmington, NC
I painted this during the Art in the Garden fundraiser. I loved the way the landscaper combined the native North Carolina trees with landscape specimen in a gorgeous variety of colors and textures. An inviting place for a lazy afternoon.
Pastel pleine-aire painting of The children's garden playhouse at the New Hanover County Arboretum in Wilmington, NC
The sky started out clear the day we painted this adorable child-sized garden play-house at the Arboretum. As the time flew, large clouds built up behind us and beyond the trees. We eventually had to take refuge in the little house and managed to escape for a moment back to time when we used to "play house".
Pastel pleine-aire painting of a garden in Demarest Village.
I really loved this lush garden with its free-flowing plants. The "bug-zappers" at the left were simply the fluffiest hens I had ever seen. I had to paint quickly under the gathering skies.
Pastel painting of a cardinal in a bare Sycamore tree in early spring in Wilmington, NC.
A cardinal perches in a bare sycamore tree as red maples burst into bloom in very early spring in my neighborhood. I under-painted the sky in watercolor and then layered the pastels over it to create optical blending in the sky. Spring is always so dry here and the atmosphere is so clear. We call the color of the sky "Carolina Blue".
Pastel painting of the verdigris garden gate on Nun St. in Wilmington, NC. The stone sphinxes have head that look like nuns in habits. It's a beautiful gate, and I often wonder about the garden behind it.
Pastel painting of a lacy green vine clinging to a stark red brick wall in downtown Wilmington, NC
A brick wall wears a lacy necklace of delicate vines in this pastel painting of a scene I came upon in downtown Wilmington, NC. The fallen leaves and cast shadows add interest to the composition. Sometimes we find beauty in the most un-likely places.
We planted this maple tree when we moved into our house and have watched it grow, so slowly, every year. I marvel at how the light plays off its leaves looking orange, red, and even purple, depending on the angle.
Pastel painting of foggy sunrise through cypress trees in Greenfield Lake in Wilmington, NC
For this pastel, I chose a light blue paper to re-create the dynamic glowing effect used by the Hudson River School painters.
Pastel pleine-aire painting of the hidden lake at Hugh MacRae Park in Wilmington, NC
This was my second painting trip to the lake at Hugh MacRae Park. I would often walk around the park, while my children were at classes at the YWCA. It's funny how you can't even see it from the road. I wonder how many people drive past it every day and don't even realize that it's there.
Pastel painting of a coastal sunrise in Wilmington, NC.
The atmosphere is always changing when you live at the edge of the earth, where the ocean meets the coast. There is always heat or moisture clashing with cold or dry somewhere along the edge. This incredible sky was photographed through the window as we did early morning field trip drop-off. I went to work the minute I got home. Digital photography has greatly effected my sunrise and sunset paintings. What would have been lost can now be re-created.
Pastel pleine-aire painting of palmetto fronds in a garden in Demarest Landing, painted during the New Hanover Arboretum's Art in the Garden Tour in Wilmington, NC.
Light and shadow create the design in this pastel painting of palmetto leaves catching and reflecting the sky.