Tag Archives: Pastel on Paper

Thirty in Thirty, 2014: Winter Window

Winter_Window_2014:copyright_michaela_harlow:pastel_on_paper:michaelaharlow.comWinter Window, 2014 – Michaela Harlow – 12″ x 12″, pastel on paper (14″ x 17″)


Today marks the final day of my annual thirty-in-thirty studio challenge. When I woke up on this cold, January morning, sunlight was streaming through swirled crystals on the frosty glass windowpanes. As I peered through the frozen condensation, I thought about how different the world looks through this filter; how different it looks through all filters.

winter_window_in_the_studio:copyright_2014_michaela_harlow:michaelaharlow.com Winter Window on the studio work table


2014 is going to be a year of change. And though the course is still a bit unclear, I can feel it and I am excited by the possibilities.

Thank you so much for following along, and for your supportive comments here and on various social media outlets this month. I hope you will continue to check back in, going forward into the month of February and beyond. To those who have inquired about the availability of artwork, I thank you for your interest and will be posting new work —with size, frame options and pricing– in both linked galleries over the coming weeks.

Late_January_light_in_the_studio:michaelaharlow.com Bright light, drying work and fresh flowers in the studio entryway

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Thirty in Thirty, 2014: Florist’s Window ll

Florist's Window ll_copyright_2014_michaela_harlow_pastel_on_paper_michaelaaharlow.comFlorist’s Window II, 2014 – Michaela Harlow – 12″ x 12″ pastel on paper (14″ x 17″)

After I finished work on yesterday’s pastel, I immediately started work on this little piece. Frost-covered windows and blossoms obscured beyond glass: suddenly, I am quite obsessed. Flowers. How odd that I almost never paint flowers, and when I do, they are dead or broken. It occurs to me that up until now, I haven’t known what I want to say about them, or how. If you know me well, this is of course, hilarious. Nothing occupies so much of my time —April through November— as flowers!

Of course, for the past few years, my studio hours have been restricted to the winter months. That is about to change dramatically, but it still doesn’t explain why I never use flowers in my work. Well, here they are! True, they are behind frosty glass —but I feel like they are here to stay for awhile. I’m excited about this series and eager to continue pursuing it on panel next month.

Hello flowers. It’s good to see you this winter. Florist’s Window, II.

Florist's_Window_ll_copyright_2014_michaela_harlow_pastel_on_paper_michaelaharlow.com_in_the_studio Florist’s Window II, 2014, on the studio work table

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Thirty-in-Thirty: Day Thirty

We Waited for the Thaw â“’ 2013 Michaela Harlow - 13.5 x 18, Pastel on Paper

 We Waited for the Thaw â“’ 2013 Michaela Harlow – 13.5″ x 18″, Pastel on Paper

Mother Nature is prone to some wild mood swings, and the past twenty four hours have been particularly interesting here in southern Vermont. Yesterday’s evening fog gave way at nightfall, followed by torrential rain and high wind. I awoke to find branches and other debris all over the clearing, and much of the snow melted. Periods of thundersnow, sleet and rain continued, even when the sky opened up to blue heaven and blinding sunlight. It’s been quite a show.

I snuck outside between high gusts and wind-driven precipitation to explore the beauty of January thaw. Suddenly, deep, rich, water-saturated colors —emerging from beneath snow and ice— are revealed. This false spring will surely fade by the weekend, and bitter, cold weather will return. But for now, a moment of revelry . . .

We Waited for the Thaw â“’ 2013 Michaela Harlow (in process)

We Waited for the Thaw â“’ 2013 Michaela Harlow – 13.5″ x 18″ – Pastel on Paper

Today is day thirty of thirty straight days in the studio, and I can’t believe how fast the weeks have flown. Thanks so much to all of you for sending your encouraging words via comments, email or on the various social networks I’ve recently added to my blog feed. Your support is deeply appreciated. Knowing that the work is seen, felt, appreciated and enjoyed is a great reward for sharing my process during the month of January. The internet can be a terrible distraction sometimes, but more often, I find that it helps me to stay connected to the people I care about; especially during this solitary month, when I retreat into my own thoughts and world. This journal allows me to share what I’m doing and —thanks to my little stats counter— I know that I’m not alone! Thank you for following along.

My friend Jen emailed a really great letter to me the other day. With her permission, I want to share a little bit of it, because it really gets to the heart of why I share my work here online: “Yesterday, while out for a walk, I stopped on the bridge over a brook. Only a narrow, meandering ribbon of water still moved. Otherwise, the brook was iced in. The textures and colors and forms pleased my eyes and I thought of your paintings. I see the winter world in a different way because of your paintings”. What a great gift to give an artist. What wonderful thoughts to share with a friend. Thank you, Jen.

I will be focusing on oil painting next month, and I’ve decided to limit my blog posting commitment to twice weekly during February, as oil paintings take longer to complete than pastels. I am going to try out a Sunday and Thursday posting schedule, with the occasional extra bit —inspiration, sketches, process, art field trips— thrown in for variety. I also plan to update my website and online gallery —long overdue upgrades needed— so stay tuned for changes and more work!

Thank you again for being here and for all of your support!

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Thirty-in-Thirty: Day Twenty Nine

Barely a Memory Now â“’ 2013 Michaela Harlow - Pastel on PaperBarely a Memory Now â“’ 2013 Michaela Harlow – 13″ x 18.5″, Pastel and Pencil on Paper

As January draws to a close, I find that I have to look longer and harder to find color. Yesterday —with hours of snow, ice and rain— the landscape was particularly muted. Today the thermometer is pushing 50 degrees fahrenheit, and my hilltop is shrouded in thick fog.

I do love the soft palette of winter —bleached-honey beech leaves, dusty-violet brambles, transparent turquoise ice— but sometimes when I look out at the blue-grey and violet-brown hills, I wonder… Were they ever green?

Barely a Memory Now â“’ 2013 Michaela Harlow Barely a Memory Now â“’ 2013 Michaela Harlow – 13″ x 18.5″, Pastel and Pencil on Paper

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