Orchard in the Mountains 9×12 Pastel

Orchard in the Mountains 9x12 Pastel by Michael Chesley Johnson

Orchard in the Mountains 9x12 Pastel

Although no longer live in Arizona, I still go back to teach plein air painting workshops there.  (Visit www.PaintTheSouthwest.com for a schedule.)  This is a demonstration I did at Slide Rock State Park in the fall, when the apple trees were showing their golden autumn finery.  It was an overcast day, but that just made the color all the richer.

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Lake in the Desert 9×12 Pastel

Lake in the Desert 9x12 Pastel by Michael Chesley Johnson

Lake in the Desert 9x12 Pastel

As part of a workshop I gave to the Tucson Pastel Society, I joined everyone for a plein air outing at a local park.  Tucson, I remind you, is in the desert.  But they had a nice lake, surrounded with cottonwoods, willows and cattails.  We were able to catch the morning sun.

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Bend 9×13 Oil

Bend 9x13 Pastel by Michael Chesley Johnson

Bend 9x13 Pastel

This painting surprised me–it really did.  Created as a demonstration for the Tucson Pastel Society to illustrate my “best guess” method, I wasn’t sure where it was going, or even if it would work out.  This feeling of “uh oh” is one of the worst things to happen when you are demonstrating!  All that said, I was quite pleased when I got it home.  It’s a very abstract, expressive piece for me, and I love it.

For a larger image and more detail, please click here.