I took the photo of this painting outdoors near noon. Although it was a cloudy day the overhead light was more than sufficient to emphasize the strong grain of the board, as you can see. Depending on the light angle, this grain may or may not be so visible. Furthermore, the painting is dark and the acrylic fixative is glossy - so that in certain subdued lighting situations, the pastel painting appears to be basically just black with maybe a little line of horizon showing.
Oh, you know, I have some paintings over at fineartamerica, too. And if you're there, you might want to check out some other people's oregon paintings
In this case, my idea out of nowhere was a watercolor using just two colors (randomly chosen from my paint box: Indanthrene Blue and Raw Sienna) and one brush (#10 flat sable).
I had an image in mind of Cape Meares (Oregon Coast) point, a man on the beach with a walking stick and some rocks and driftwood in the foreground. -- Starting with a very light wash of raw sienna over pretty much the entire paper, I then drew in a far shoreline (base of cape) with some indanthrene blue and whisped around some sky to make the clouds appear. I then darkened the hillside with more raw sienna and added indanthrene blue shadows, a horizon line and some wave details...
On a side note, I really don't like Indanthrene Blue; to me it's too saturated and stainy. But I studied under AWS master Domenic DiStefano and he loved it, so I always have a tube in my box. I was just glad to be able to use some of it. :)
By the way, there was no preliminary drawing here, I just started painting. The approach of abstract impressionism lets your mind fill in the details from minimal information. It works. -- The little guy with the walking stick was drawn-in with near-straight Indanthrene, and straight out of the tube paint was used for the foreground driftwood and rocks.
Well, the point of all of this is, one can always challenge oneself just to do something different. It might not be pretty but it's always a learning experience. Like I said, try it!
I sent that painting out on Monday the 18th of last month so we should be hearing from our winner soon. And I still have some prints to give away....