Endless Possibilities (Pastel)
Endless Possibilities (Pastel)

Pastel on Wallis Paper
Size: 24×36
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Hunting with an eager, but somewhat overwhelmed, pup on his first big hunting trip in Eastern Washington, last October, was the source of inspiration for this work. Cadbury (a young and all too eager to please Boykin Spaniel) spent most of the preceding months practicing basic upland bird hunting skills and retrieving in Skagit County, on the Western side of the state, where the landscape tends to be much more closed in character; with plenty of big trees, thick undergrowth, brambles, fences, and buildings. We had been hunting most of this late October day and it was nearing sunset as we work the quail in some of the moist over grown areas just below Sullivan Dam in the Potholes Wildlife Reserve. There are some great vistas there with some classic views of the basalt mesas made when glacial lake Missoula periodically spilled around the ice dam near Grand Coulee during the Pleistocene. Cadbury stepped up to a rock outcrop as the setting sun turned the sky pink, looking out over the expansive view wondering whatever I would want him to do next. I could not even make up my mind, there were just way to many possible place for birds to hide; the cliffs, the sagebrush, the marsh, the tree lined bottoms, and the lakes all going on for as far as the eye could see. It was way too much to do, with too little time to even start thinking about it, before twilight would be on us and we would both be setting our focus to cooking dinner and settling into the tent for the night.

This pastel painting was all based on a single simple digital photo I took, that came out extremely well. I under painted everything on museum grade Wallis paper with designers gouache to lay out the form, basic hues, and values of the piece. Most of the rest of the work was done with pan pastels and applicator sponges and some chalk sticks. The little bit of tight detail, namely Cadbury and his orange hunting skid plate, I did with pastel pencils. I tried to capture as close a sense of the original atmosphere as I could, everything coming back to focus on the sweet bewildered little dog in a very big world of opportunity.

Technical Details

  • Camera: Expr1640XL1640XL
  • Taken: March 30, 2012

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