Pastel painting of dissipating winter haze

Dissipating Winter Haze
24 x 24 in.

Carol Strock Wasson: Dissipating Winter Haze won 1st place at the Dakota Art Pastels International Soft Pastel Competition 2021 First Quarter. Juror Richard McKinley stated, “Some paintings defy explanation; they are meant to be experienced and felt. This is such a piece. The profound mystery and portrayal of atmospheric space elevated this pastel painting to a level often strived for, but frequently missed in traditional landscape painting This painting should hang in a museum next to Whistler, Inness, Carlsen, and Harrison as an example of Tonalism at its best.” The painting also won the Cecil F. Head Fund Award at the 89th Annual Juried Exhibition Indiana Artists Club 2021.

My typical process begins with small plein air color notes, just notes of color that capture the feel of the light. I have found that pastel is the perfect medium for this process.

In the studio I like to do larger paintings based more on composition and design. I do not try to copy the plein air sketch, but I use it as a starting point.

I paint with oil, but primarily with pastel, I think pastel is the best medium you could work with. Its versatility and ability to adapt to any underpainting or overpainting I choose to do whether it is watercolor, oil, acrylic, monoprint, college. It is a medium with endless possibilities. People often confuse pastels with “Chalk” that is a grave word to say to a pastelist.

Saying chalk to me will usually get you the pastel speech “Pastel is pure pigment held together with a binder; you cannot get any purer than that. Pastel will never crack or fade. Pastels painted in the 17th century are still as fresh as the day they were painted”.

Many people think that pastel is delicate and dainty, not in my world, I use brayers, sticks, razors, brushes, and anything I can think to use. Pastel has never disappointed me.

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