Sunset Blues and Danish Rooftops

"Carlsbad Sunset North"
8 x 12 Chalk pastel on paper
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We get a lot of awe-inspiring sunsets here in California, especially along the coast in the fall and winter for some reason.  One of our favorite sunset spots is at the beach in Carlsbad.  If you get there on a day where the ocean fog hasn't rolled in early, the last hour of sunlight makes for spectacular viewing.

I used blue-toned Canson Mi-Teintes paper for these two sunset pieces, one showing the view north (including the distant lights of the Oceanside pier) and one looking straight out over the horizon.  I took the reference photos back in December, on a day where we decided to avoid the Christmas shopping rush and hide out down along the beach for a few hours.

"Carlsbad Sunset West"
9 x 12 Chalk pastel on paper
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Both sunset pieces are daily painting exercises, completed in one session each with the exception of a little finishing before posting.  I tend to go over my horizon lines with a ruler.  If I don't, I can hear my grandmother's voice every time I look at it, reminding me that a water horizon must be absolutely straight.  It's funny how some of those early art lessons stay with you for life...

This last piece was rescued from the pile of epic failures:

"Solvang Skyline"
9 x 12 Wax and chalk pastel on flat canvas
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It started with wax pastels.  I was in the throes of morning sickness, and worried about using chalk or acrylic.  I decided to try wax pastels, blending them with a bit of water.  I disliked using them for two reasons: the smell bothered me (probably wouldn't have been in issue if I wasn't in that awful first trimester), and the color didn't pack enough punch.  If I had more of a delicate touch as an artist, they probably would have been great.  As it was, the effect was like weak watercolors, so I put it away for a few months.  This week I decided to give it a touch up with the chalk pastel, and was much happier with the result. 

Solvang is a Danish settlement community along Highway 101 in California.  It's become a must-stop for us on any trips up to Central or Northern California, as it's a great place to eat and has some interesting shops.  I've taken a lot of pictures there, but this is the first time I've painted one of them.  If you're craving a little taste of Europe, this is a good destination to get your fix!  We always save room for a little bakery stop before leaving.

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