Monday, December 21, 2009

Candlelight Mass

 11.5 x 10.5" Soft Pastels on Wallis professional grade sanded paper

This painting began with a photo of Japanese Maple leaves back-lit by the bright November sun. I imagined I would paint a sunny salute to the winter blues. But I studied the reference, squinting and glancing for quite some time. I wanted to be sure I knew what this painting was about before I began. Christmas music played soothingly in the background. Soon I saw that the leaves looked like little red-robed fairy-angels hovering over a candle lit service in a large cathedral. The blue sky became the cathedral window, soft with the blue of an early evening sky. The little halos of light became distant candles. When I finally finished, I saw the Virgin Mary in silhouette with babe in arms, an entirely unintended likeness.

I liked the process for this painting. Figuring out the background was a trick, but after that I was not plagued by fears that I was toiling over a disaster. I love layering rich color with pastels.

Have a blessed holiday season, everyone!


  1. You've figured out the background quite well for it does not compete with the "star" but only enhances its significance. Bravo!
    And Happy New Year.

  2. Thank You for stopping by with a comment!

  3. This pastel is exquisite. It fills my eyes, which is the greatest compliment I can give.