Being Thankful


As we enter the week of the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, it becomes time again to remind ourselves for all we have to be thankful. It has been a tough couple of years economically around the world and it seems there is no shortage of suffering reiterated on the evening news, but for many of us, here we are again with the prospects of family, friends and too much food.

Most of us find ourselves immersed in the season of fall, filled with its warm palette of reds and yellows, adding the melancholy prospects of what winter holds. The days have become shorter and the temperature is too cold to venture out plein air painting, but the quilt of color is nonetheless inspirational. As I’ve shared in previous fall-themed posts (read posts from November 2, 2009 or November 17, 2008, if you like), I find it a difficult subject. While I admire what others are capable of producing, it has not been my muse. It may be that it takes too much finesse to not make it cliché or that I haven’t given myself enough time to explore all it has to offer. Whatever the reason, it has always been a tough subject for me. This year I decided to turn my attitude around and find something to be thankful for within the season. With long walks spent visually taking in all the colors, I came to a decision: embrace the palette and see where it leads. Whatever subject matter I paint during this time of year, I plan to force my pastel palette selections to the warm side of the color wheel: red-violet to yellow-green. I’m not sure what the outcome may be but why not be thankful for the opportunity to explore what the season offers.

When I sit down to indulge in a bountiful meal on Thanksgiving Day, I will again find myself being thankful for these blessings: my first mentor, Margaret Stahl Moyer, for introducing me to pastel, its immediacy of application, technical versatility, and tactile nature that make it so special; to the manufacturers who have made it easy to experience the diversity of the medium with their array of commercially available surfaces and pastel brands; to the supportive team of F+W Media, publishers of The Pastel Journal magazine, for providing a publication and connectedness for the pastel community; to all the hardworking pastel societies that have done so much to promote the medium and educate the public about the beauty of pastel; and finally, to all the wonderful pastel artists that I am fortunate to interact with and to the ones I look forward to meeting in the future. As a dear pastelist friend from Southern California, Alberta (Bert) Collins says, “Who has more fun than us?” Happy Thanksgiving!


Don’t miss Richard’s LIVE online seminar!


On November 30, at 1 pm (Eastern time), Richard will be offering a FREE one-hour online event,  “The Three Stages for Successful Pastel Paintings,” in which he’ll share excerpts from his new book, Pastel Pointers: Top Secrets for Beautiful Pastel Paintings (on sale now in the North Light Shop). The webinar will wrap up with a question-and-answer session during which attendess will have an opportunity to pose questions.

You must register to participate. To do so, go to:

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2 thoughts on “Being Thankful

  1. Elsie Hickey Wilson

    Dear Richard,
    As I opened my newsletter email message, I was so amazed at the colors of the pastels on the leaves in that photograph. Just like your beautiful paintings, you have such a lovely way of touching just the right colors. I’ve learned so much from looking at your paintings, from you writing in Pastel Journal, DVD’s and from your blog/newsletter, and now from your marvelous book.
    As an artist I am thankful for being raised in a family that was supportive of my childhood art and to my artist mother for her teaching, inspiration and support.
    Also, for my daughter, Julia, who fell in love with pastels and inspired me to try them, myself.
    I’m thankful for your sharing of yourself and your art with us.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Janis Ellison

    It’s good to reflect on how fortunate we are as pastel artists to have such an active supportive community. It’s changed my life, and the mentors I have connected with over the years have shared their talents and expertise so generously. I am most thankful to you and your willingness to share your knowledge and skills with your blog, book, and instruction. I don’t know how you continue to give 200% in all your endeavors, I hope this Holiday uplifts your spirit and feeds your soul with the warm colors and feelings of the season.