“I was trying to make my pastels better by really focusing on the fundamentals: black, white and gray,” says Kathleen McDonnell, recipient of Pastel Journal’s 17th Annual Pastel 100 Ruth Richeson Pastel Gold Award for her pastel landscape.
Silence No. 2, her award-winning moody winter scene, seen in the April 2016 issue of Pastel Journal and in the 17th Annual Pastel 100 Competition slideshow, is part of her “Fields of Gray” series (some of which are seen below) of almost monochromatic paintings executed with a limited palette.
A departure from her main body of bright, color-filled landscapes, the “Fields of Gray” series started as an exercise in improvement. McDonnell took a workshop with pastel artist Richard McKinley, who pushed her to focus on strengthening the value in her work. “He’d make us do value studies and tape them up on our easel when we were planning a painting,” she says. “That made an impression on me.”
For a more in-depth read of McDonnell’s process, and a look at a few of her brighter landscapes, check out the April 2016 issue of Pastel Journal, available at northlightshop.com and on newsstands March 8.