Catching Waves in Pastel


Guest post by Lisa Skelly

On this day in Corona Del Mar in Southern California the surf was big and dramatic. The waves crashing against the large rocks made for beautiful, dynamic color and composition. It was a magical day out painting and capturing the light coming through the big surf.

“Big Surf at Little Corona” (pastel, 11 x 14 in.)

The biggest challenge was choosing the the best spot to set up because there were so many beautiful waves that were vying for my attention.

I focused on creating a strong composition, drawing attention to the focal point. I tried not to overwork the spray in the surf and to have a plan to keep the painting fresh, strong, and engaging.

“Big Surf at Little Corona” was awarded Best Plein Air Pastel in the January 2023 PleinAir Salon competition.

“Waves of Jade” (pastel, 8 x 10 in.)
“Reflections of the Heart” (pastel,16 x 20 in.)
“View from Lucy’s” (pastel, 6 x 8 in.)
“Exhilaration” (pastel, 8 x 10 in.)

Drawing on her lifelong love of nature and her training in fine arts, Lisa Skelly‘s work reflects her passion for the outdoors and her deep appreciation for the power and beauty of the natural world. By using soft pastels, she is able to convey the fluidity and movement of waves, the depth and texture of landscapes, and the ever-changing drama of the sky.

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PleinAir Magazine and American Watercolor Weekly Editor-in-Chief With more than 20 years experience in art publishing, Kelly Kane has served previously as Editor-in-Chief of Watercolor Artist magazine and Content Director for The Artist’s Magazine, Drawing, Acrylic Artist, and Pastel Journal. She has interviewed many of the preeminent artists of our time and written numerous articles about painting, drawing, art education and art history. She is now the Editor-in-Chief of PleinAir Magazine and the American Watercolor Weekly newsletter. Click here to send her an email.


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