View Full Version : View from Wilpena Creek WIP

Susan Borgas
08-31-2005, 03:09 AM
Hello everyone :wave: . Been awhile since I have shared a WIP with you all and time to do something about it. This painting is the last of eleven that I have put together for an exhibition that I am involved with on a yearly basis. It isn’t very big which I find very different so here goes.

The work is 23.5cm x 29.5cm wide.
Blue Haze Art Spectrum Colourfix
Mix of hard & soft pastels - Rembrandt, Art Spectrum, Winsor & Newton, Schmincke & Unison.

Detail drawing using charcoal pencil. I sprayed a fixative over the charcoal so that the black didn’t dirty the worked areas when applying pastel.


I laid the sky in between the tree branches with graded blues from darks to light as I reached the hills. I also scraped a touch of pink over the pale blue in the lower areas of the sky to warm it up. I always strive to get the distance happening in the sky. Once I was happy that I had enough pastel over the sky area, I proceeded to blend the tones together to achieve a graded sky. When I found some areas lacking colour, I adjusted those spots with a light scrape of blue (usually needing the darker tone) and then blended with the layer underneath. Even though the blending has deposited pastel over top of the branches the drawing still shows through as the actual pastels were not placed on top of the tree when stokes were placed on the paper. This leaves me enough information to brush out those areas with a bristle brush so that the blue does not contaminate my darks. I do the same where I want dark foliage in the sky. Some areas of the foliage I like the effect of some of the blue sky mixed into the foliage colours. I don’t always work this way but have noticed that I tend to use this “brush out” technique more often now. During the brush off stage I do wear a mask. Also I am constantly tapping the easel so that the loose dust falls off the paper. Some may say but what about the waste brushing the pastel off. Really it isn’t’ all that much pastel removed especially when some areas are only blended over the top from excess pastel from the sky over branches. I use a folded piece of pastel paper as a gutter at the bottom of my work. What pastel dust is collected there at the end of each painting is much less than to be expected. A lot of the waste comes from working on Art Spectrum paper with its abrasive nature.


I am nutting out some of my colours and tones here with the barest scraping of the pastel across the paper. It also helps take away that flat bare paper which so many of us don’t like at the beginning of a painting.

Starting to refine the back and middle area now. I more than likely won’t touch the background again until near completion of the work.


08-31-2005, 11:34 AM

You make it look SO easy. This is going to be another lovely piece- wonderful light.

08-31-2005, 12:16 PM
Shucks......... it ended all too soon, was just getting into that lol, wanting more already

Kathryn Wilson
08-31-2005, 12:23 PM
Oooooh goodie, another WIP! With lots of photos too. Will be watching for further developments. I see the wonderful Aussie colors coming out already.

08-31-2005, 03:57 PM
I'm with Dawn, It ended too soon. this is already very striking. Love that old tree against the hills and fields broken with tree line. Lucious colors. It's so good to see how another artist approaches a piece and what lies under that final surface. Thank You, am eagerly waiting further development.

BTW, don't waste that dust in the gutter. Tap it into a small container and save it. Eventually there is enough to make a wonderful colored grey stick of pastel. I've nearly enough to make a dark grey so have begun to save by color family now.

08-31-2005, 04:53 PM
Wonderful wip ... I need more practice time for sure. Can't wait to see more of this


Susan Borgas
08-31-2005, 07:23 PM
Taa for the enthusiasm for this WIP, more pics coming soon as I will be working on this painting today.

Julie I wish it was easy. Most times I know what I want right at the beginning to happen for the final layer but it is working up to it that can give me grief. Once I lay some thin layers of pastel down, my brain will then start to kick into gear….well most times!

TJ when lying in bed this morning thinking about this WIP it suddenly occurred to me that I should be using a clean gutter just to collect blue at the bottom of my pastels just for the period that I am working on the sky. I would over a period of time then collect a lovely mid tone blue to shape into a pastel stick. Once finished collecting the blue, place the “dirty” collecting gutter back to collect the remainder of the dust. I may hopefully collect some interesting greys that have not been influenced by too much blue. I can always add dust from the blue to perhaps come up with some cool greys. No loss if the grey doesn’t turn out but fun finding out :) .

Jean yes practice is the key word. You become much more in tune and sometime pick up a pastel stick without much thought and realise “yes that is the one that I need”. It seems that your hand knows before you do yourself. Spooky! I think that is something like when you hear an artist say it is as if it painted itself. I just wished it happened more often with me. I will struggle with this painting with no pastels jumping into my hands but it is still easier for me to do than it was twelve months ago. I put that down to practice. I would feel very humble indeed if I could inspire any artist to work and practice more than they already are. I have always loved TJ’s quote in her signature line, truer words couldn’t be said.

Now for those that want more…….stay tuned for the next instalment coming soon.

08-31-2005, 09:06 PM
can't wait!

08-31-2005, 09:42 PM
I'm ready for more...

08-31-2005, 09:48 PM
OH GOODY!! :clap: A landscape ....that's three times in one week I get to pull up my chair. If I watch enough of them maybe I'll learn how to do these babies one day.... :D

Cheers, Dianna

Susan Borgas
09-01-2005, 02:48 AM
As you can see I worked on the tree today as well as the foreground area plus some marks in the middle ground area. Still work to be done on the tree trunks to sort out some of the tones. The foliage though nearly there also needs some tweaking in some parts. I will do that when the stems are finished. The grasses in the shadowed foreground need to have the lighter tones introduced as well. After that I will sit back and study it with more looking rather than putting to tidy up some things that I don’t like. If you see something already that needs to be addressed, jump in and let me know.

Tomorrow this will hopefully be finished as I want to start mounting all my works over the weekend into the frames my husband has lined up throughout our house (he has been a busy boy between his jobs here on the farm making them). I should then have some more paintings to post to the forum over the coming days as they are yet to be photographed.

Dianna I don’t think I could teach you anything :o ……….. your work is awesome! :D


09-01-2005, 03:41 AM
Wow, I can't wait to see what little tweaks you do and what are their effect as this looks pretty near perfection to me. I absolutely love the bark on the tree and the wonderful colors that make the white of it. The leaves don't look like thegum trees or eucalyptus I'm familiar with here in the states, but the trunk and limbs do. what kind of tree is it? The only little thing that maybe jumps out for me is all the branches fallen on ground and the twiggy branches on the right side of the treepoint out of the picture. I think I would like to see at least one strong branch curving back into the picture just a bit.I've always favored seeing the bare structure of a tree this way so this one grabs my heart entirely. Will you be having prints made to sell?

Nancy Leone
09-01-2005, 08:12 AM
Thank you for your wip. Your work is beautiful.

09-01-2005, 08:17 AM
Thank you for your wip. You have made a lovely landscape.

09-01-2005, 10:03 AM
Thanks for the WIP. They help a lot. I'll be waiting to see what you do with those final touches...

09-01-2005, 10:39 AM
Ah you think not....but I am landscape challenged and this is just what I need to see. All of this wonderful colour worked in here. Beautiful and fresh.

Cheers, Dianna :cat:

Susan Borgas
09-01-2005, 07:30 PM
TJ this is a River Red Gum from the eucalyptus family. When you say the leaves don’t look like the gum trees you are familiar with do you mean colour or the mass of the leaves? Being such a small painting I have avoided detail in the area of the foliage though the tweaking will involve some more dots and dashes to suggest a few that are hanging downwards. The colour can vary from one tree to another depending on the environment it is growing in or if the parrots have eaten the gum nuts which will give a reddish colour to some of the colour in amongst the foliage. I know what you mean with the twiggy branches, which tends to happen when a limb is broken off a tree. All of a sudden the remaining trunk will sprout upwards with all these small branches. I think I will leave it as it is though will play the darks down a bit or break them up with lights reflecting off them. I had a play in Photoshop to see if I could come up with some ideas to place a curving branch back couldn’t come up with something that I was happy with. I think I will go with what the course of the wind tends to do up in that area and leave the branches growing in the direction as the wind blows. There will be some smaller twigs yet placed in the picture due to the dry periods that the area has suffered with over the last few years. As this area is National Parks there is a lot of dead wood left on these trees due to it being illegal to collect dry timber for campfires. You never know while working on it today something might come to mind that may improve the over all affect.

Thank you to everyone for their interest in this WIP

Susan Borgas
09-01-2005, 07:39 PM
Dianna I wished I lived just down the road from you as I want to eventually work on still life setups and would dearly love to attend your classes. Maybe one day you will take a working holiday here in South Australia......hint hint ;)

09-01-2005, 09:07 PM
Susan thank you for answering me. I know there are more than a 100 varieties of Euclalyptus, the leaves just weren't familiar to me. The shape, not the color. You are familiar with them so will have the right color, mass and detail. I was just curious. I sure like the lighting on that trunk! Yes, I think lighting and shadow on the twiggy things can redirect the eye. I love this one a great deal.

Deborah Secor
09-01-2005, 10:06 PM
Man, I can just about smell this tree! I love the fragrance of the gums...in fact, I had a bottle of eucalyptus bath oil that just transported me home when I smelled it. (I'm originally from California where eucalyptus is common.) Susan, this is terrific. I love watching other people work... It'll be fun seeing your additions. :)


Lynn Quinn
09-02-2005, 12:25 AM
I'll just echo: thanks for doing this! I'm still new to pastels, so I'll enjoy watching finishing touches.

Susan Borgas
09-02-2005, 01:51 AM
Is it finished? I took the bull by the horn and extended one of the limbs back downwards and slightly towards the main trunks of the tree. It has certainly slowed the eye down and I hope that I have done the right thing. I will let you all be the judge of it.

Deborah I know what you mean with the smell of eucalyptus. My nose isn’t as good as it used to be and it is one of the smells that I truly miss.

TJ I love to paint the trunks of the old gum trees. It is amazing how the big Red’s can have so much colour and patterns so different to each other when they grow in the one creek bed. A really remarkable tree.


09-02-2005, 02:20 AM
Susan, spectacular. I think the bent branch does the job. I'll ask again, will you be having prints made for sale? I really like this tree.

Susan Borgas
09-02-2005, 02:27 AM
Ops sorry TJ, I did mean to answer your question. Eventually I will be doing prints but not just yet as I want it done properly and not cheap to set it up. I have high resolution photos taken of my work (this one included) before they are framed looking to the future for prints.

Cherylyn Gaiter
09-02-2005, 10:16 AM
Hi Susan :wave: , This landscape is amazing. I went to your web site and your art work is exceptional. I throughly enjoyed following this wipe. Do you fix all your painting, and at what stages do you use the fixative ?

Cherylyn :)

09-02-2005, 11:34 AM
Well Susan...another winner. Thanks so much for the walk through. What will you name this one? Nothing to do with naming but after staring at it awhile I was reminded of two dancers bending and twisting as they have a riot boogie-ing it up out there on the dance floor...one sporting long black gloves.....I think it is time I went to bed....Good nite :p

Cheers, Dianna

Susan Borgas
09-02-2005, 09:04 PM
Cherylyn I do thank you for your kind words. :wave: I have further plans for my website but time seems to be going against me for now. To answer your question the only time I use a fixative is on the first drawing to avoid it dirtying my colours. I personally don’t use a fixative at any other time as they do dull my colours. There maybe a better fixative than what I have but I am yet to find it.

Dianna thank you. I did just laugh out loud though as you had my imagination going with your own interpretation of the trees, I loved it! :D I am calling this one as the title suggests “View from Wilpena Creek” simply because it will help the tourist identify the area in answer to their most common question, “where was it painted?”

Susan Borgas
09-21-2005, 06:26 AM
Woo hoo.........i just received a phone call; this little painting has been sold. :D

Kathryn Wilson
09-21-2005, 08:33 AM
Congratulations on the sale! It must have really spoken to someone - like Dianna? Quite an imagination there - :)

09-21-2005, 09:12 AM
Love the tree with its colours, especially the pale violet and blue! I like painting trees - I even painted a eucalyptus that was in a local country estate a while ago. You are so lucky to live in Australia where you can have even red earth colours - in Ireland we just have different shades of green!


Rose Baggs
09-21-2005, 09:43 AM
Oh my!!!...no wonder it's already been sold...it's a wonderful landscape..!! Thanks for the wip Susan!

Susan Borgas
09-21-2005, 09:27 PM
Kat, Dianna has a wonderful wit about her with energy that does flow over into the forum. I will always now think of the trees dancing…chuckle
John, yes I am lucky. You must be an expert at making greens sing when there is so much of it about. I am only now becoming more comfortable with using green in my own work, especially in the grasses.
Rose, WIP’s are fun to do. Nothing like having an audience looking over my shoulder to point me in the right direction.

09-25-2005, 05:06 PM
Well congratulations Susan....though I seriously doubt that any of these last long in the marketplace. Don't you just hate it though when you're cramming for a show and one of the pieces you were counting on get sold ahead of time?? Yah, Right!! No sympathy here :D

Cheers, Dianna

Tom Christopher
09-26-2005, 09:49 AM
another great work Susan..a real treat to follow your technique -the end results are amazing. congratulations on the sale..tom

Susan Borgas
10-25-2005, 08:32 PM
I was lucky Dianna as it was sold in the first week at the exhibition it was intended for ;) . Tom thanks for your lovely words :) .

10-25-2005, 08:52 PM
That's great, Susan! Is your show over now? Haven't seen you here in a while. Did you have a lot of sales?

BTW--I think you are the one who told me to try the Art Spectrum Flinders red violet and blue violet darks--well, I got them and I love them, so thanks!