Donna Stevens, who traveled from Portland, led a very interesting program, “Thinking with Charcoal”, at our February 19th meeting. She demonstrated a technique that she uses to begin a painting, using a series of charcoal sketches, some from life, some from photo reference, that help to focus on what is important to her in a scene. It is a way to simplify shapes and values and to concentrate on what one finds most compelling to emphasize when beginning a landscape painting. I know from experience how overwhelming it can be to confront Ma Nature in all her glory, hoping to render a suitable image and then get bogged down in too many details, not enough focus areas and a blah composition.
I enjoyed Donna’s presentation very much and came away with some good ideas and some surprisingly abstract sketches. Plus, using charcoal, something I haven’t done for a while, reminded me of what an immediate, malleable medium it is, and how much fun to smear around.
I plan to do a color rendition from my sketch. Anyone who follows up with this technique and has a more finished piece, please bring that and your working sketch to the March 19th meeting. We can have a brief “Show and Tell”.
Donna Stevens’ paintings are souvenirs of a soothing internal connection with nature’s special places. Donna works with soft pastels on sanded paper, often from photos taken on hikes.
Donna is a Signature Member of Northwest Pastel Society. Her works have been shown
regionally in group shows and international juried exhibitions.
In college, she took art classes for study breaks while pursuing her degree in Physics. When she returned to drawing with charcoal, pastels were a natural step into the world of color.
Born at the beginning of the Oregon Trail in Missouri, Donna now lives at the other end in Portland, Oregon. Her love of water and trees is rooted in her years in Texas, and her love of mountains took hold while living in Colorado.