Orchard Path, oil pastel

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.

Orchard Path 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.



About Mary

Oil Pastelist
This entry was posted in About Oil Pastels, OPs New Paintings and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

93 Responses to Orchard Path, oil pastel

  1. elisa ruland says:

    It’s nice to know the meaning behind the painting Mary. It’s beautiful, as are many of your memories, I’m sure!

  2. Lovely light, Mary, made me feel good to look at your oil pastel of trees in blossom, so thank you.

  3. You must have enjoyed your childhood, because this painting is chock full of joy and light!

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Elena – the orchards are prized and a distinctive landmark in Upstate NY. Thanks for your feedback!! Have a great creative week ahead.

  4. restlessjo says:

    Soft and pretty! I love it, Mary 🙂

  5. mihrank says:

    amazing and elegant – the combination is such strong…

    • Mary says:

      Thank you so much Mihrank for your generous feedback – I really enjoyed reading your description. I’m glad you enjoyed the painting.

  6. I love the painting and the story behind it! Great work!

  7. Resa says:

    It’s a beautiful dream!

  8. Mary, this is very lovely and serene. I grew up around apple orchards too.
    Blessings ~ Wendy

  9. Mmmm! I can almost smell those apple blossoms… Looks like there’ll be a good harvest in the fall 😉

  10. Somehow it does take me back to when apple and pear orchards were more common, and the petals used to perfume the air.

  11. Fabio says:

    So many great comments! They are very well deserved! Bravo, Mary!

  12. cmartzloff says:

    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!

    • Mary says:

      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.

  13. lesliepaints says:

    This has a feeling of walking into a dream. Would not mind this dream at all….Very beautiful!

  14. Paul Beech says:

    Wonderful, Mary – poetry in paint. I should so love to walk that path!


  15. 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!

  16. Nice work here Mary! I love Orchards and you have created a really nice sense of one. ~Rita

    • Mary says:

      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.

  17. A.PROMPTreply says:

    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.

    • Mary says:

      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.

  18. texastom46 says:

    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?

    • Mary says:

      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.

  19. This is really beautiful, Mary.
    You do such good work.

    • Mary says:

      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.

  20. aFrankAngle says:

    A refreshing tribute to your home area. Bummer on not being able to attend the reunion.

    • Mary says:

      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.

  21. Nicodemas says:

    Mary this is very beautiful! It reminds me of the French Impressionists.

  22. kkessler833 says:

    Lovely, sensitive work!

  23. Leya says:

    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.

    • Mary says:

      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!

  24. Francesca says:

    Such a beautiful, peaceful scene, Mary!
    I wish I grew up there!

    • Mary says:

      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.

  25. 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:)

    • Mary says:

      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.

  26. Carol King says:

    Mary, this is stunning. So beautiful.

  27. Gallivanta says:

    Lovely to remember those times even if you can’t be at the reunion.

  28. 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. 💜

    • Mary says:

      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.

  29. Amy says:

    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.

  30. dorannrule says:

    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.

    • Mary says:

      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.

  31. You are so amazing and very versatile! Love this one, Mary. 😍

  32. Beautiful landscape, Mary. Happy / refreshing weekend, my dear friend! 🙂

    • Mary says:

      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.

  33. Beautiful work! Have fun at your reunion!

  34. Painting for Joy says:

    So pretty Mary! Have a great reunion! How fun!!!

    • Mary says:

      Thanks Rhonda!! Hope you are enjoying your weekend ~ ever hear back from the folks that you sent the boat house painting to?

      • Painting for Joy says:

        Haven’t done that yet. Still have to get a copy made. The fire disrupted my plans.

        • Mary says:

          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.

          • Painting for Joy says:

            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.

  35. The painting is beautiful, Mary! The trail and its surroundings look so real. Enjoy the reunion!

    • Mary says:

      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.

  36. Soft and lovely, Mary.

  37. This is so beautiful. It seems to prove that when you paint something you know from experience it has that extra “heart” in it.

    • Mary says:

      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).

  38. so fresh and lovely, love the shadows too xo

  39. exiledprospero says:

    Using hobgoblins (Holbeins) again? Good choice, says he, donning his art critic hat ( a plumed fedora). Fantastic orchard–a field of starry trees.

    • Mary says:

      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?).

  40. 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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s