Posted in pastel painting demo

Pastel Painting Demo: “Fallow Field in Winter“

Hello everyone!

I hope this post finds you well and loving life. I can’t believe it’s already February! My, how time flies…

Well, I’ve been moved in to my new studio for about a month now, and it has taken me some time to adjust to working in the new space….something I wasn’t expecting.

I have spent the last several weeks in this new year cocooned in a sort of creative solitude. My goal was to forge a new process or rhythm of working in my studio balanced with the demands of family life, schooling, and other obligations. Not easy.

Mainly, I have been focused on musical inspiration. Many of you may not know that I play violin, so I have to keep up my skills on that instrument. But recently I have also been learning to play guitar—something I tried to teach myself long ago, but that’s another story….

In addition to learning something new, I don’t mind telling you that I had a little trepidation about creating my first art piece of the new year in the new space….and I was feeling the pressure.

When I feel pressure, it’s usually because I am raising my expectations to unreasonable levels, and then I tend to procrastinate so as to avoid that pressure, and it can become this vicious cycle.


Anyway, I gave the perfection and people-pleasing parts of me a good kick in the pants, and went out to the studio to play. And today’s post is the result!

I hope you enjoy it. 🙂

Let’s start with the piece.

Now for the progress shots….

First, the set up:

Next, an underpainting of cool blues and purples for this snow scene:

Slow building up of color and establishing the sky.

Deepening the shadow areas and beginning to feel my way with those pesky wintry trees:

More development of the dried grassy areas, as well as the trees:

At this point in the photo below, I thought I was getting close to being done, so I put up some black artist tape….Usually, I use a black mat that I keep on hand for this purpose, but I didn’t have a square one handy!

Hmmm. SOMETHING was bothering me. The painting was missing something or a even a few things, but what?

It was at this point that I let the piece sit on my easel for several days while I thought about it. I often need to step away for a day or so while the painting “cooks”.

When I came back to it with fresh eyes, I used my editing app on my ipad to make some notes of things that I thought needed to be changed.

For starters, I wanted more contrast in the overall piece.

Next, I wanted to bring more unity to the color scheme—especially by tying the sky colors into the rest of the piece.

Finally, I needed to lead the viewer through the work with some subtle hints about where to look.

In the photo above, you can see that I added subtle hints of turquoise into the snow shadows to tie the sky into the rest of the scene.

Next, I deepened some of the dark areas for added contrast.

And lastly, I pushed the colors ever so slightly in areas where I want the viewer to look—namely the golden grass near the focal tree and continuing in the mid-ground grass.

And here is the final result once more.

“Fallow Field in Winter” 8 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches
Assorted soft pastels on Pastel Premiere sanded paper
Rhonda Sorrells, Artist
copyright 2020

I hope you enjoyed this one. Thanks for stopping by and visiting!

Now go get creative!


Posted in pastel painting, pastel painting demo

“Moody Blue” Soft Pastel Painting

Hello friends! Welcome back to my blog.

Today I have my latest soft pastel painting and progress shots. I don’t have a lot of progress photos for this one, as I  got carried away and before I knew it, I was making final marks! 🙂

I started this painting on Pastelmat after doing some fun acrylic ink underpaintings.
Here is the underpainting….

Acrylic Ink underpainting

 I started by sketching and blocking in in a VERY BASIC way…

Sketch-in with Nupastel



 Pretty far in the process in this next photo:

Developing the sky and tree…


“Blue Day” Assorted Soft Pastels on Pastelmat, 4×4 in

 Hope you enjoy this one. Let me know what you think or what you are working on!

Also, you can follow me on Instagram @ArtGoneCountry.

Thanks for taking a peek!

Stay creative!


Posted in pastel painting, pastel painting demo

Pastel Painting: “Paradise Lost”

Hello to everyone, and thanks for stopping to read about and view my latest pastel painting! 

In December of this year, I am going to be offering some of my pastel paintings for sale at a town-wide Christmas open house near me.

I am very excited and a bit nervous. As my daughter used to say when she was very little, “I’m nervous-cited!

First, I don’t really like to “market” myself or my art much beyond this blog, Instagram, and a few other places.
I am just not comfortable with the whole thing, but this open house is a way to dip my toe in, if you like, and hopefully enjoy myself in the process.

So, in order to get ready I have begun painting some smaller pieces that might appeal more readily to those who may attend this type of function. Solitude from my last post, is one of those smaller pieces…

Which brings me to today’s painting. I call it, “Paradise Lost.”

“Paradise Lost”


I started this painting with a fun acrylic ink underpainting: 

Underpainting in Acrylic Ink

Next, I blocked in using soft pastels starting with the darks.


Adding and building up the form:


A few more finishing touches and a signature, and I’m done!


“Paradise Lost”  Assorted soft pastels over acrylic ink
on Pastelmat paper, 4 1/8 x 4 1/8 inches 

 Let me know if you enjoyed this piece. I’d love to hear what you think!

Till next time,

Stay Creative!


Posted in pastel painting, pastel painting demo

Pastel Painting: “Nesting Behavior” with progress photos

Hello Friends!

Summer is almost done and we are starting up homeschool next week, so I wanted to take the time to post my latest piece along with some thoughts and progress photos showing my process.

I definitely had a different mindset for this one. 
I was aiming for something a little looser, less refined. More impressionistic, I guess.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it! 🙂 


FIRST MY REFERENCE: I took this photo in my front yard. 

Reference Photo

I think the photo is beautiful. But that’s a problem for me because as beautiful as this photo is, I am NOT into copying for the sake of realism. It’s just not my style.

As I grow and change as an artist, I find that I enjoy leaving some things to the IMAGINATION when I create a piece. I am not a camera and my eyes and brain don’t see the same way a camera lens does!

I also think it’s important to leave room for the viewer’s imagination—to suggest some things and let the viewer fill in the rest.
This approach INVITES rather than CONTROLS and let’s the viewer engage with the art.



After selecting my reference, I began to do some expoloration—probably more exploration than I’ve done to prepare than for any other work!

First, I did a simple charcoal study to get a feel for the subject and composition…doesn’t look like much and isn’t meant to!

Vine charcoal sketch

Next, I did a simple line drawing for use on my larger paper.

Simple line drawing

Once I had a feel for the subject, I uploaded my sketch to iPastels to do a more in-depth monochrome study.


Now I was ready to move on to a color study. In the original reference (top), if you look closely you can see lots of green from the vegetation as well as yellowish reflected light. I wasn’t too keen about either, instead preferring to leave the background abstract and focus on all of the beautiful neutrals of the dove.

Completed Color Study

After completing the color study, my next step was to play around with the background. 

Remember, I wanted something loose that wouldn’t compete with the bird itself, so I uploaded the above image into iPastels and tried out different backgrounds…a real time saver and easy way to compare backgrounds side-by-side without wasting materials! 

I finally decided on the top right (blueish) background, and tested it out on the bottom left corner of the photo.

Background Choices

With my color and value studies to guide me, I began my painting on Pastelmat paper using a variety of soft pastels.



By the time I got to the stage in the above photo, I knew I needed to let my painting sit for a few days so that I could look at it with fresh eyes later.

So….after many days of life getting in the way 🙂 , I made a few white board notes of things I might want to change.

Refinement Notes

And Finally, the finished piece:

“Nesting Behavior” 5×7 Pastel on Pastelmat

Sorry this one was so long, but thanks for coming on this wonderful artistic journey with me!

I hope you enjoyed this post. Please leave your comments in the comment section.

See you soon and stay creative!


Posted in pastel painting, pastel painting demo

A Light From Above: Pastel Painting Demo

Hi Creative Friends!

Today I bring you a brief pastel painting demo and accompanying video of a beautifully lit scene that inspired me to run outside with my camera when I saw it. 🙂

As you can see in the reference photo below, the far tree-line was lit with orangey-gold light, and it contrasted in such a lovely way with the dramatic sky and the darkened foreground…definitely inspiring!

I began my painting with a soft vine charcoal sketch on Pastelmat paper. You can see my thumbnail sketch to the left of my support.


 Next I blocked in the major shapes….


My palette of colors using a mixture of hard and soft pastels:


Here is the final painting!

A Light From Above  6×8 pastel on Pastelmat

Below is the link to my Youtube channel for those of you who would like to watch a video of this painting coming together. I hope you enjoy it as much as I had fun painting it!


Thanks for visiting! 

Till next time,
Stay inspired!


Posted in pastel painting, pastel painting demo, plein air

Reclaiming An Unfinished Plein Air Painting

I sat down at my easel. I was uninspired to start something new, but I had the urge to paint. Paint what?

I rummaged around my desk area looking through some of my ready-toned papers, when I found an old plein air painting I had started and left incomplete from a few years ago. In fact, it was one of my first plein air attempts!

Aha! In the back of my mind I remembered the day well. It was a fairly early summer morning, mainly overcast, but I had found shafts of sunlight peeking through a wall of trees at the edge of our property, causing my eyes to dance back and forth between the lights and shadows playing on the grass and fencing.

Hmm…. I had never gone back to try and finish it. Why? Well, at the time I guess I didn’t have anything more to say! I should also mention that this particular painting was also an experiment with a paper new to me: Canson Mi-Teintes “Touch”—a sanded paper by Canson.

I vaguely remembered doing a watercolor underpainting before applying any pastel, but I have no photo of that.

Here is the painting as I left it back then: 

I decided to see what I could do to say something more than I had when I first attempted this painting.

I wanted to discover how I had changed and hopefully grown artistically.

So the first thing I needed to do was to think about what I liked about the original attempt and what I wanted to change.

I decided that I really liked the sky—it definitely reminded me of that overcast morning with some moisture in the summer air.

I also liked the fence posts and my initial attempts at describing the light that was hitting them.

I felt the composition was weak. The grassy path looked more like stairs than a path with depth. 

Also, the values didn’t have enough contrast. Where were the darks?

Armed with a plan, the first thing I did was try to restore some tooth to the paper by brushing off quite a bit of the original’s pastel—mainly in the foreground and midground.

Next I used a dark Nupastel to deepen the areas of darkest values.
I also darkened the closest fence post as it was supposed to be in shadow.

As soon as I began adding pastel, I remembered how much I disliked this paper—and I STILL DO—UGH!!!
It felt like I fought the paper’s pebbly texture the entire time I used it—even with my softest pastels—not good…..

Determined to proceed but relieved of the burden to make this painting “framable”, I began to add more pastel.

As I worked, I continually reminded myself of what drew me to paint this scene in the first place. I was drawn to that interplay of light and shadow.

I also I wanted to crop my final image to be slightly less vertical.

Here is the final image:


My mission to say something more was definitely a challenge. 

Had I time and the inclination, I might say something more about the light, but for now this is enough.

This plein air/studio creation won’t get framed.

I don’t value it for the end product, but for the memory it helps me recall and for the chance to see my own growth!

Try reclaiming one of your own old artworks and see how you’ve grown. You might surprise yourself! 🙂

Till next time, 

Stay challenged!


Posted in pastel painting, pastel painting demo

Pastel Painting Demo: Country View

Hi creative friends!

Today I am bringing you a pastel painting demo for a recent painting I did.
I have included a few progress shots, as well as the video.
(Click on the photo above.)

UArt 400 and the thumbnail

Below you can see the underpainting I did using hard pastels.
I chose rosy hues in four values, and then I smudged these into the tooth of the paper using a piece of foam pipe insulation. 
This lets me start with an unfocused, dreamy quality. 



About midway through the painting…

Here is the finished painting. You can see little bits of the rosy underpainting peaking through..

Country View, 4 3/4 x 12

I hope you enjoyed this latest post and video.

If you haven’t already, please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel—just click on the sidebar arrow on the right near the top of this page.

Thanks for reading….And stay creative!



Posted in pastel painting demo

Toning Paper with Acrylic Paint for Pastel Painting

Hello fellow artists and friends!

In today’s post, I wanted to share my most recent pastel painting video, as well as a peek at the underpainting I used for the painting.

You can click on the photo above to watch the painting demo.

I like to paint on toned paper, but the sanded papers that I like to use do not come in very imaginative colors.
So, time to create my own! 

For this painting, I decided to try toning some Fisher 400, Uart 400, and Pastel Premier papers using Golden acrylic paint in Quinacradone Magenta. 

Untoned sanded papers

 I thinned the paint with water and applied it on each of the papers using a wide brush.

Each paper took on a slightly different tone.

The painting in the video was done on the Fisher 400 paper. 

Here is the painting at the end of the video.
You can see the magenta of the toned paper peeking through….

Violet Sunset

Many thanks to artist Susan Jenkins for sharing the reference photo shown in the video!

I hope you all enjoyed this post.

Till next time,

Stay creative!



Posted in pastel painting, pastel painting demo

Pastel Painting Demo: “Quiet Day”

Hello all of my creative friends!

I hope you are all enjoying your holiday. My family and I are feeling truly blessed by having some time off to spend making memories with each other and doing some of the things we love to do—like painting! 🙂

To that end, today’s post includes a pastel painting demonstration with photos and video.
So, let’s get started!

My inspiration photo for this demo is of a scene in our backyard. This photo, as happens in many of the photos I shoot, has an interplay of light and shadow which piqued my interest. 

Inspiration Photo

When I started this painting,I made the decision to paint without a plan—dun, dun, DUN!!! 
What?! No thumbnail?? No value study?? 

I know, I know…Normally I would do those things to get to know my subject and to take a few passes at it in order to be better acquainted before jumping in to paint. But, not this time. Why?

Well, a few reasons. 

First, I was feeling spontaneous! For those of you who don’t know me well, I am not often spontaneous.
I am, in fact, a planner. But being spontaneous is something I value because for me, it is connected with PLAY.
And play is something I am striving to do more of, especially in the coming year.

Second, like many of you, time off is limited for me. I am not the kind of artist who likes to work in broken segments of time on a project—ten minutes here, fifteen minutes there.

Instead, I tend to like to work in longer sessions of at least an hour in length. When I work this way, I can get into and stay in “the Zone” more easily. And when I have time off, it’s actually possible to work in the way I prefer. For this painting, I just wanted to jump right in.

Finally, I wanted to challenge myself to work in a different way. Not having a plan is kind of like working without a net. Maybe something good would come out of it, maybe not. But I would definitely learn something along the way, and that’s a wonderful thing!

The photo below was taken at about the half-way point.

Blocked In

Here is the finished painting. I asked my brother to suggest a name for it; hence, “A Quiet Day.”

“A Quiet Day” pastel on Pastelmat 8×10

Here is the link to the video I made of my painting process. I did not videotape my final mark-making because I like to take a break from the painting before I make those final decisions. Enjoy!


I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed sharing it, and I hope you have lots of time to nurture your own creative play-time in the coming year.

Till next time friends,






Posted in pastel painting, pastel painting demo

Pastel Painting Demo: “A Quiet Dune”

Hello creative friends!

Today I would like to share with you my very first pastel painting video demonstration! 

…much jumping up and down with excitement… 🙂 

I hope to improve with each painting and video I do, but for this first attempt I have to admit that there was a bit of a learning curve.  I had to learn to forget about the camera’s presence enough to work as I naturally do, and yet remember when to stop and start at logical points to hopefully make editing easier.

I decided not to do any voiceover work and just let the process speak for itself.  

Also, this painting is the foundation of a future blog post I have planned to compare UART 400 to some homemade surfaces.  I want to do the same basic painting for each surface, so this is the first of that series.  This one is done on UART 400, no underpainting of any kind.  Not typically how I  would start, but since the painting is of a sandy dune, the untoned paper served the purpose.


“A Quiet Dune”

This is a summer scene from the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore—an area my family and I grew up around and love to visit.

Now, onto the video!

P.S. I know the music is monotonous after a point, so feel free to mute it as you watch.  I may have to have our string band come up with some background music for future lengthy videos!!!  

(Yes, I lead a string band!!!  Hi (waves) Pickin’ Friends!)


Thanks for watching, and please subscribe to my YouTube channel if you haven’t already.  Once subscribed, click the little bell icon to get notifications of new videos.

And of course, THANK YOU SO MUCH for reading and following my blog and letting me share my creative journey with you!

Till next time, stay creative!