It’s my 40th high school reunion (can’t believe it, seems like we graduated only yesterday – too bad I won’t be able to join the celebration today). In spirit of that special time and where we grew up, I’ve painted a scene that they can all relate too ~ we grew up around cherry and apple orchards, and the area still holds an annual apple blossom festival.
Orchard Path, an oil pastel (11×14) was painted on a gesso prepared hardboard using Senneliers, Holbeins and Mungyo-Gallery brand OPs. An acrylic underpainting was done in light-to-medium grayish-green tones for the background allowing the white blossoms to hold their own in the scene. A painters knife was used to work up grass textures in the foreground.
It’s been months since I painted a landscape, so it took some getting used to manipulating the oil pastels a bit differently than what is be done for a seascape or flowers. But in any event this was a good scene to get back into the swing of things.
Click onto the scene to view a larger image.
The reference image was from Irini Adler an awesome photographer and artist from pmp. I took a lot of liberty in interpreting the scene, but I don’t think she would mind.
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It’s nice to know the meaning behind the painting Mary. It’s beautiful, as are many of your memories, I’m sure!
Thank you Elisa – it’s a beautiful area, oh yes many memories!
Lovely light, Mary, made me feel good to look at your oil pastel of trees in blossom, so thank you.
Thank you so much Cara for your beautiful thoughts and comments – loved receiving your compliment.
You must have enjoyed your childhood, because this painting is chock full of joy and light!
Thank you Elena – the orchards are prized and a distinctive landmark in Upstate NY. Thanks for your feedback!! Have a great creative week ahead.
Soft and pretty! I love it, Mary 🙂
So you so much Jo!
amazing and elegant – the combination is such strong…
Thank you so much Mihrank for your generous feedback – I really enjoyed reading your description. I’m glad you enjoyed the painting.
I love the painting and the story behind it! Great work!
Thank you so much for your lovely comment!
It’s a beautiful dream!
Thank you Resa – you, the best dreamer out there!! Have a lovely weekend.
You, too, Mary!
Mary, this is very lovely and serene. I grew up around apple orchards too.
Blessings ~ Wendy
Thank you so much Wendy! There is something real special about the orchards from the blossom time to harvesting ~
Mmmm! I can almost smell those apple blossoms… Looks like there’ll be a good harvest in the fall 😉
Thank you – a most generous harvest!!
Somehow it does take me back to when apple and pear orchards were more common, and the petals used to perfume the air.
Thanks so much Brenda for your beautiful comment!
So many great comments! They are very well deserved! Bravo, Mary!
Thank you my friend, much appreciated!
OMG Mary! This is stunning…. I just want to keep looking at it and find myself in there. There is so much sensitivity in the painting and delicacy in the light and texture. Amazing!
Hi Catherine, thanks so much – I loved reading your enthusiastic response to this piece. It was an interesting and fun painting that allowed for a lot of technical aspects that I don’t always get to use in my paintings. Thank you again for your feedback.
This has a feeling of walking into a dream. Would not mind this dream at all….Very beautiful!
Thank you so much Leslie – so glad you enjoyed walking the orchard with me. Really appreciate your generous feedback!
Wonderful, Mary – poetry in paint. I should so love to walk that path!
Thank you so much Paul for your generous comment – was lovely to read.
Beautiful, Mary. I work near an apple orchard. I imagine this is what it looked like before the dirt path was paved and used as a very popular access road. Your apple orchard is so dreamy and welcoming. I have my 35th high school reunion coming up. Doesn’t seem possible!
Thanks Geralyn, too bad that they paved the road – ruins the essence of a working farm, the dreamy atmosphere away. Ah 35 – creeps up doesn’t it?
Creeps up much too fast. Wasn’t 1980 just a year or two ago?
Yes, in my book, lol!
Nice work here Mary! I love Orchards and you have created a really nice sense of one. ~Rita
Thanks Rita! Orchards were such a big part of where I grew up, we were surrounded by them literally out the front door and picking the fruit for summer jobs – to me they are like a sense of community for the region. Nothing like the Springtime beauty of pink and white blossoms as far as the eye can see.
I’m really behind on my reading, but I’m glad I came back far enough to find this…..what an awesome scene, Mary. I love the greens/yellows/whites up against the blues….and the browns are a nice steadiness against the lighter colours.
Hi A! Thanks very much – glad you enjoyed the scene, I know I enjoyed reading your feedback. It was great fun working with textures and colors against the sky.
I am so admiring of the lively interplay of broken colors and textures. Reminds me a lot of how Renoir handled his paint.
Question: you referred to your use of a palette knife for part of this. I haven’t heard of this in relation to oil pastels. Could you explain this aspect of your technique a little bit, Mary?
Hi Tom, thanks so much for your feedback and interpretation of technique – I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on it. Appreciate the compliment, I only wish ~
Great question. I use a palette knife a lot with oil pastels because it gets me some otherwise difficult textures and thick slabs of paint when I need it. Although it’s entirely different than using it with acrylics or oil paints, I can’t get as much paint as the other mediums but I do get what I need from it.
I discovered the technique by accident when I was painting Virginia Beach (https://oilpastelsbymary.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=998&action=edit). I was frustrated that I couldn’t swipe an oil pastel over the painted ocean water for the thick sea-foam that occurs as a wave is crashing against the shore. I was looking at my Senneliers white oil pastel (it’s the creamiest brand of OPs on the market, like a buttery consistency) and thought what if I heavily scrape the OPs stick with a palette knife for a thick layer of paint would I be able to swipe it onto OPs layers already painted. Oil Pastels need a gritty surface to adhere too, I had my doubts because of this. But guess what – not only did it work, but I now use it in nearly all my paintings – sometimes for thick and textured grasses (the texture in this painting is much heavier than what is showing – I take terrible pictures), other times for tree bark, and most definitely in all my seascape paintings (thick slabs of beach sand). I’ve gotten better with it as time has gone on – the result on Virginia Beach was okay, but as time has gone by I’ve learned how to manipulate the OPs better when using a knife.
Some oil pastels are too hard and this technique will not work, the best OPs brand is with Senneliers, but I’ve been able to use it with Holbeins/Mungyo-Gallery/Neopastels to a certain extent.
I hope this answered your question. This medium is exciting, interesting, challenging and frustrating – I’ve a ways to go, but if there is a technique or way to get more out of an oil pastel stick I’m going to give it a try.
This is really beautiful, Mary.
You do such good work.
Thank you so much Cynthia for your beautiful and kind response to this painting – I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. Thank you for your encouraging words ~ best wishes for an awesome week ahead.
A refreshing tribute to your home area. Bummer on not being able to attend the reunion.
Thanks Frank – the scene just seemed appropriate for the weekend. Yes, sad I wasn’t there but none-the-less the memories are great to hold.
Mary this is very beautiful! It reminds me of the French Impressionists.
Thank you Nicodemas for your lovely compliment and feedback – means a lot!
Lovely, sensitive work!
Thanks so much for your generous feedback!!
You are welcome!
So beautiful, Mary. I grew up under apple trees and cherries, plums and pears too. My grand parents had an orchard – memories, memories. Just like you. The blossoms stand out and I can hear the busy bees in the mild wind.
Hi Ann-Christine, how cool our childhood surroundings were very similar while growing up. Thank you so much for the great response to the painting, I’m glad it brought wonderful memories for you – I love that kind of compliment. Thanks my friend – have a wonderful week!
You too Mary! You are a remarkable woman.
Such a beautiful, peaceful scene, Mary!
I wish I grew up there!
Thank you so much Francesca – there is a natural beauty to orchards, can’t help but feel the sense of peacefulness that there is around the trees.
I love this image because it reminds me of where I grew up in Kent…south east of London….we were surrounded by orchards….wonderful Janet:)
So cool Janet, sounds like the place I grew up in. Thanks so much, glad the painting brought back good memories. Have a great week ahead.
Mary, this is stunning. So beautiful.
Thanks so much Carol for your generous comment – really appreciate it!
Lovely to remember those times even if you can’t be at the reunion.
Thanks so much Gallivanta – you are so right. Hope you have a lovely week ahead.
Those blossoms are leaping forward, Mary, and I love the use of light and shadow too. I’m looking forward to more if your landscape work. 💜
Thanks so much Laura! Great to read your comment because I meant for the blossom to come forward as the focal point, thanks for mentioning. I had to switch my mental painting gears going from seascapes to landscapes, but glad to get the first painting done and get a feel for trees, etc. once again. Thanks again ~ looking forward to seeing your daily paintings.
Thanks, Mary, and I’m glad this painting accomplished what you intended. That’s a great thing! 💛
I love how you use the blossoms to reflect your sweet memories and the winding road may be the path you used to walk through to school… It’s a beautiful painting. Thank you for sharing it with us, Mary.
Thank you Amy – I really enjoyed your description, appreciate it very much.
Perfect! I love the shadows and the fact that it’s a memory of your growing up makes it extra special. Too bad you have to miss the festivities but you are definitely there in spirit.
Thank you Dorann, loved reading your comment – you are so right about the memory and being there in spirit. The orchard path is a scene that I’ve been down many times as a child, really are some great memories.
You are so amazing and very versatile! Love this one, Mary. 😍
Thank you Sylvia – you’re very kind. Glad you enjoyed the scene – hope you are having a lovely weekend.
Beautiful landscape, Mary. Happy / refreshing weekend, my dear friend! 🙂
Thank you my friend! I hope you are fortunate enough to not be by any of the fires we’ve heard about. Happy weekend to you as well and all the best for a wonderful week ahead.
Thank you, my dear Mary. Yes, we are and thankfully most of them are under control. A beautiful Sunday and week ahead to you too, my friend! 🙂 xx
Beautiful work! Have fun at your reunion!
Thanks Michelle – I missed this reunion unfortunately.
So pretty Mary! Have a great reunion! How fun!!!
Thanks Rhonda!! Hope you are enjoying your weekend ~ ever hear back from the folks that you sent the boat house painting to?
Haven’t done that yet. Still have to get a copy made. The fire disrupted my plans.
I’ll bet – hope the fires have calmed down. Should be nearing the due date for your grandchild too. A lot happening for you guys – have a great week.
Yes it was declared 100% contained yesterday! Still smoky at times but all is getting back to normal. Any time now for my grandson to arrive. Thanks Mary! Hugs to you.
The painting is beautiful, Mary! The trail and its surroundings look so real. Enjoy the reunion!
Thanks Jill – kept thinking about all the orchard paths I’ve walked down. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend the reunion, but my thoughts were definitely with them.
Soft and lovely, Mary.
Thank you Sarah – hope you weren’t too close to the fires.
Nowhere near as we’re in Crete though we do get fires here. Thank you for thinking of us.
Fires scare the heck out of me – glad to hear you are at a safe distance. Hope you have a lovely week ahead.
This is so beautiful. It seems to prove that when you paint something you know from experience it has that extra “heart” in it.
Exactly Cynthia – thanks so much for your kind thoughts on this piece. A very special place in my heart – as a kid I picked sweet and sour cherries for a summer job (story for another orchard painting).
so fresh and lovely, love the shadows too xo
Thank you for your lovely feedback!!
Using hobgoblins (Holbeins) again? Good choice, says he, donning his art critic hat ( a plumed fedora). Fantastic orchard–a field of starry trees.
Ha, love the hat and plume! Thank you Prospero, glad you enjoyed the orchard, blossoming orchards are a spectacular sight in the Spring ~ Indigo of the Holbeins variety was the perfect choice for the very darks needed on the tree bark (good choice, right?).
This is so beautiful! Thank you for featuring it on your blog and for sharing your inspirations for creating it. Keep up the great work.
Thank you Ben – appreciate it!