Done! Anchorage & Irene

I finally finished my pastel “Anchorage! You can see the progression in the below posts. It has come a long way, and it took me a long time to finish but I fell in love with the subject even more so than when I began. The light in Anchorage in the evening is the most amazing light I have ever seen. I have also finished a little drawing called “Irene”. I had some fun with this one adding abstractions and atmosphere to it. Now it’s time to start new work. that is always a little unnerving.

I am going to do a large drawing in the style of :Reverie” or another girl reading a book. I already prepared the drawing board and it is just waiting. It is going to be approx 18×24 in graphite, charcoal and Conte Noir. I am also starting two pastel still lives and an abstract snowy landscape of Anchorage again. And I am still working on my little grisaille still life. I want to start a new painting so bad I can taste it. In color even!  Anyway, here is “Anchorage” and “Irene” . I really hope you like them!


Squash on Blue – First Pastel Drawing

My first pastel drawing is done. I know it is really simple but it is my first use of the medium and was the most fun with a medium that I have had since I had to stop oil painting. The only thing about pastel that makes me cringe is the vulnerability of the surface but I am using a self prepared surface that has a lot of pumice tooth so your not supposed to have to worry about the permanence. Still….. In all other regards it a really fun medium. Pure, opaque pigment lets you layer easily and blend there on the paper. People call it drawing but it feels quite like painting to me. I do miss using my brushes though, and the smell of turp. As a alternative medium it is making really happy at the moment. I am working on two other pastels I will post the results when they are done.

Hard Pastel
Prepared Arches Paper
11″ x 15″


Reverie – Graphite, Conte on Paper

Here is a gallery of my most recent drawing Reverie. I am finally starting to come into my own in class and get comfortable with the mediums. I have also been looking at a ton of great contemporary representational artists that both elevate my aspirations and inspire my learning. Looking at great art also keeps you humble, very, very humble! For the first time in a completed drawing I achieved the goals I had and found a few unexpected lessons along the way. I am now drawing almost every moment that I am not in class or asleep and I am loving it. I am also exploring pastels and will put up my first pastel eggs as soon as I get a picture of them.

I am so grateful to the circumstances that have made my study of art possible – though they are so – very – hard. At 46 years old you hear a lot of things in your mind that carry doubt and fear. To start over, to begin new where I should have begun years ago is a humbling moment of acknowledging big mistakes and embracing a future that you have no idea where it will lead. So many of the artist’s I look at with awe are younger than me and have already been doing their art 10-15 years, and I wonder if I can even achieve half of what they have achieved in terms of craft, I wonder if I should even be so bold as to try. The answer to that lay in my heart and is truth, and must be honored. One thing that my experiences and age has taught me is to appreciate the ride, enjoy the act of creating itself and don’t let competition and outcomes drive too much of your activity. It is the ego that wants to be a great artist. It is the Artist that simply wants to create. Be the artist, do your very best.

ReverieGraphite and Conte Pierre Noirre on Paper
15.5″ x 22″

Salt – A New Poem

A new poem from the workshop I am in right now. One of the books we are using a book called In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poets Portable Workshop by Steve Kowit. I have found it really useful for accessing forms of poetry that one might not be used to writing about. In this case, it is a memory from childhood. I have never written about memories so it is new for me, and quite rewarding once it was shaped into a poem.


Long dunes slide into crags where the water’s beat
Wears deep grooves between sand and rock.
The air salty cool and grey. I can hear laughing
Over by the big rocks. Far ahead my brother
And sister jump through caves that look
With hungry, cracking eyes and pointy teeth.

I never could keep up with them, though I tried
With everything I had. My legs would not move
As fast or jump as far. But I was almost there.
A few more rocks, one more jump and I could
Play with them and they would smile at me.
I did not even look down.

I reached hard, stretched my legs hard to find
The ground but it was gone.  All I could taste was
Spinning salt. Rough bites of rock clawed at my
Little arms and legs. Fists clenched sand and water

A warm, huge hand found me, a limp, wet doll.
I was pulled up and out of the churning water,
Softly sprawled onto hard rocks. My father
Slapped my back with soft, hard thumps.
I coughed out the sea. Everything was salt
And so cold. He stripped me of my wet clothes,
His giant green windbreaker swallowed me
With comfort and warmth. I heard them playing
Still and I started forward again
To the only place I ever wanted to be,
Wherever they were, my big brother and sister.

“You are too small for those rocks.  Here take my hand
And walk with me. I will walk with you.” I looked way up
At my Father’s careful eyes looking down into my tears,
Little fingers wrapped around one of his.
The wind whistled through the crags.
He found a tide pool with a starfish.
The distant laughter slowly faded,
Fading like a longing fades when you first learn
That there are places not meant for you.

Sandra Walton 2013