Country Shadows (a quick landscape in pastel)

"Country Roads" 9 x 12 chalk pastel on paper
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This piece was inspired by a view from the tram at the San Diego Wild Animal Park (now known as the Safari Park), painted with chalk pastel on orange-toned Canson Mi-Teintes paper. It was a quick, furious painting session-- mainly to blow off some steam after an irritating phone conversation. I've heard many times about the calming nature of blue, so I thought I would use blue for some cold shadow in this piece.

The actual view of this area is much more full of objects, but I thought I would stick to the simple, back country view that is quite common in the hills of San Diego County. There are still plenty of serene areas within minutes of the freeways here that boast shadowed hills dotted with trees. There used to be much more; as a child, I remember going on "boring" drives through the country with my parents on the weekends. Once I bought my own convertible after college, I gained a new appreciation for driving though the open fields and majestic hills out here.

On one such drive, I missed the exit to Temecula and ended up driving past Mount Palomar and out to Lake Henshaw, before finally finding my way back onto Highway 79. I had a vague idea where I was, and it was a warm, pleasant day to drive, so I just kept going (following a bunch of people on motorcycles-- I figured they knew where they were going) until I reached a familiar road. What would have been a twenty minute drive turned into a two hour one, but it is one of my most pleasant memories.

Now that I'm a mommy with a toddler, the prospect of taking such a drive terrifies me. It'll be a few years before I have the time and the lack of fear to wander around the back roads in a convertible again. For now, I'm content to paint them instead.

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