The Doorway, oil pastel


This painting is my second entry into the 2013 Annual Oil Pastel Society Competition.  I wanted a subject that would challenge me, as I haven’t painted inside an old structured before – so this fit with my goal perfectly.  Nothing like learning something at the last-minute, but in the end it worked.

The reference image, used with permission from Steve Lyddon (photographer w/pmp), was a photograph of the inside of the St. Michaels Tower at Glastonbury Tor in Somerset, England.  A lot of  history comes with this magnificent structure (b. in 1325) and to my surprise, much of it wasn’t good – perhaps the walls should have been painted blood-red.

The oil pastel, is 10×8 painted on a prepared gesso hardboard.  I wanted to maintain a dark atmosphere inside the structure and a black and white acrylic underpainting worked out very well.

Stone floors, walls and benches were new subjects for me to paint, so I took about 5 or 6 hours to practice building the stones mostly with tortiliums (paper stump) because I wanted a rough/textured appearance and many layers of color were laid down.  It was a very interesting process that helped me get comfortable before I actually applied OP paint on the surface.   Painting stones gave me just the challenge I was looking for . . .

The Doorway

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About Mary

Oil Pastelist
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45 Responses to The Doorway, oil pastel

  1. Petronette says:

    Beautiful, the detail of the stones, great work !

    • Mary says:

      Hi Petronette, I hope you are well. Would love to see your latest works. Thanks for your nice comment – to paint nearly 95% of the scene with stones was so different. I learned a lot with this piece. Thanks, much appreciated!

  2. Nice.
    This is the sort of scene I look for when I’m out with my camera around local parish churches, but I’ve found it very difficult to deal with the differing light levels. …..I’m fairly sure there’s an old set of water colours in the attic…….nah, I think I’ll leave it to you experts! 😉

  3. poppytump says:

    Really lovely Mary .. Looking at the softness and feeling of solitude in your painting it is hard to believe it has seen dark times !

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Poppy, so nice to have you back! Appreciate your comments – I was kind of stunned at the beauty of the place vs the brutality of centuries past by nature and human.

  4. I noticed on my scroll to comment that lots of people mentioned perspective and I have to agree that besides nailing the stone structure the fact that the window is a bit squint and the whole slightly off centre is very appealing. Peaceful site.

    • Mary says:

      Hi Leslie, you are so spot on about perspective with this piece. The building has been rebuilt twice, gone through several earthquakes and as a result it was interesting to me how things were a bit off in this place. You’re right about the windows and doorway, also notice the right bench is wider and shorter than the bench on the left. The added charm of these old structures. Thanks for your great comments!

  5. Mary, the perspective is interesting, it brings the viewer inside the church. The contrast between of colors are also eye catching. Wonderful! 😀

    • Mary says:

      Thanks Patricia – I’m so glad that you feel you’re inside when looking at the scene!! It took a bit to establish the colors, thanks for mentioning.

  6. Ogee says:

    Absolutely beautiful, Mary.

  7. It’s great, Mary! I love how you make the viewer feel like she’s right there in the painting! The details and light reflections are fantastic. 🙂

    • Mary says:

      Hi Calee, so nice of you! Thanks very much, that’s a real compliment on perspective. The light draws you in and the darkness wants you to explore other areas.

  8. I really like the perspective, but I am really drawn to the detail of the wall and open door.

    • Mary says:

      Hi Charlie, it’s so nice to hear from you. Thank you very much for your comments, especially the wall and open door – once I got going it was interesting watching the stones being built and how they got transformed, the doorway to me was the symbol of new beginnings. Thanks ~

  9. timethief says:

    This is beautiful work. The perspective is perfect. The stonework and tiles are exquisite.

    • Mary says:

      You are so generous Timethief – thank you for your comments! It took me hours to learn and practice painting stones, lol I guess I wasn’t thinking when I selected this piece. Thanks ~

  10. dorannrule says:

    I don’t know why but I posted a comment and it hasn’t shown up. I love your doorway and I’m delighted we are thinking alike about the view toward open adventure. You painting is spectacuar!

    • Mary says:

      Dorann, surprising this comment showed and your last – sometimes technology has a mind of it’s own. Thank you so much for your gracious comment and we do think a like on open doorways.

  11. dorannrule says:

    This is truly lovely and like I said before, we are two mind alike on this “doorway” thing. Your rendition is much like the one I chose with an open door to the unknown. Yours is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

    • Mary says:

      Hi Dorann, I really think you are right and when I saw your photograph I thought the same. Thank you for your wonderful comment! These places are intriguing, filled with history – if only those walls and doorways could talk. In this case, we probably wouldn’t want to know what went on at St. Michaels.

  12. Very well done, Mary. This is so beautiful and with a lot of work in it!! Bravo, my dear! 🙂 xx

    • Mary says:

      Thank you very much Marina, I really appreciated reading your comments. There was a lot of work w/the stone – I don’t know if I would tackle a subject like this anytime soon. Thanks for mentioning.

  13. doronart says:

    Great choice Mary… It is great to see the inside work and the outside via the open door that bring the light in… Interesting subject and great execution as always.

    • Mary says:

      Hi Doron, thank you for your generous comments and assessment. I’m so glad you liked the piece, there was something about this building that I felt a connection too and decided to give it a try. The doorway and light was “it” for me and the artist in me wanted to capture that – glad that you noticed.

  14. mamiesmith says:

    This is so cool– I love it!

  15. elisaruland says:

    You’ve transported me to a charming place and time, Mary! This is a beautiful piece.

  16. Forest So Green says:

    The stones look very rough and cold, I like the light, Annie

    • Mary says:

      Thanks Annie for your great comments. Yes, I wanted the stones the viewer to feel the abandoned feeling of cold from the stones – thanks for mentioning!

  17. Francesca says:

    Great work, Mary!!! The light reflection on the floor is really amazing.

  18. artscottnet says:

    Incredible work, Mary. I feel like I’m standing inside with the light reflected all around the room. Awesome!

  19. ĽAdelaide says:

    I think this came out perfectly, i like the color of the floor too. the light is so peaceful and calm.

    • Mary says:

      Hi Linda, thank you so much for your beautiful comments and feedback. From what I read the history of this place and structure had a whole lot of natural destruction and violence. So maybe the quiet beauty of this place becomes the juxtaposition to its history – the light is what originally captured my attention to try my hand at painting it. Thanks!!

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