On a freezing cold day back in January, I had an appointment at the dentist to have a filling replaced. Knowing how quickly the station car park fills up, I drove up early and parked my car then found myself with half an hour to kill before I went for my appointment. Those of you who know Fleet will be aware that the station is right next to Fleet Pond, a nature reserve that has featured previously in this blog. It was an icy day and the pond was completely frozen over so I decided to spend my time watching the sun rise. It was a beautiful morning which was inevitably going to end up in a painting one day. It took a couple of months for me to come back to it. This is often the case as I mull the picture over in my head, trying to work out what I want from the end result. In this case it was the blues and pinks of the sky that stayed in my mind so that's what I set out to capture. I used a watercolour under-painting, followed by pastels - a technique you'll have seen me use once or twice before.
Having finished this picture, I took a bit of a break from painting over the summer, I focusing instead on landscaping the garden. Those of you who also paint will know that after a break, it's sometimes hard to get back into things and when I returned to my easel I was at a bit of a loss as to where to begin. I've stopped parking my car at the station now (the cost is ridiculous) and instead use my parents' driveway which is a 10 minute walk away round, you guessed it, Fleet Pond. So now I get these fabulous sunrises every single day of the week. It seemed an obvious place to start - pick up again where I left off. The next few paintings ended up in the bin. I couldn't seem to get what was in my head out onto the paper and I screwed them up in frustration. This afternoon I decided to just spend some time playing around with a few sketches which was exactly what I needed to do. This is one of them - another sunrise using Pan Pastels. Pan Pastels are pastel pigment compressed into a dish and you apply them using either your fingers or sponges. I opted for sponges this time, something I haven't really tried before but will definitely be doing again. I stopped myself from adding too much detail on the reed banks, choosing instead to just hint at them with the green. I love the end product and as it was supposed to just be an experiment it has come as a bit of a surprise. Now I'm left wondering what I can do next with these lovely little pots of colour but for now I'll leave you with today's efforts.