Bella, soft pastels on Canson paper

I used mainly Schminke pastels and some Derwent pastel pencils. I tried the Sennelier, I’m not crazy about them but their pigments are gorgeous. When I do portraits, I find the Schminke’s almost mimic human skin.

This was a quick one done in an evening, no patience to do anything finer. And why should I?

I would like to study famous pastel artists like Redon, Maurice Quentin de la Tour, Renoir. Their pastel portraits glowed!!

This is my cousin’s granddaughter Bella, who can resist that cheeky monkey?! Her ggrandfather was my Uncle Earl, I loved him so much. We were so poor and he would bring us lots of clothes from the US when New England was a clothing industry king. He died way too early and I miss him.

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Browns Yard Church and Cemetery

Browns Yard Church and Cemetery, New Brunswick, Canada

I’m not happy with this one, but it reminds me of home. All my ancestors from 1800s are buried here.

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Brown’s Yard Covered Bridge, New Brunswick, Canada

Covered Bridge

Browns Yard Covered Bridge, Browns Yard, New Brunswick, Canada. Pastels on sanded paper

I really don’t have the patience for landscapes, but I have been wanting to paint this bridge for ages. I grew up in that area, my grandparents home was just on the other side of this bridge, overlooking it.

Sadly, some idiot burned this bridge in the 70s and now it is just a cement bridge. All I had was an old photo my aunt gave me years ago, very faded.

So I started working on it, and although the first layer always looks horrible and I want to give up, I kept at it ( my motto… Its not a painting, it’s therapy!) and somehow this emerged.

It’s one of my favourite paintings, because of the sentiment attached. My favourite uncle used to fish out those little windows on the side.

I bought some unison pastels and I quite like them. They really add a richness to any painting, a little goes a long way. I havee found that top layers (after spraying) often require a harder pastel, like Nupastel. And of course, nothing beats a ContΓ© pencil for that transparent feel to a painting.

Hope to restore many more old photos from back home. Painting has given me the ability to give back to my community and that feels very good πŸ™‚

If you would like to view the area surrounding this bridge, I have a site dedicated to the area here: Brown’s Yard

Quick sketch


Harcourt, New Brunswick, Canada, graphite pencil and Derwent watercolour pencils on Stillman and Birn heavy watercolour sketchbook

This is from a photo from a friend of mine back home, during a blizzard. I did this sketch up quickly just as a break from pastels. I think I have advanced in my sketching a lot more, I was awful when I started and it’s nice to know I’m improving, with miles to go.

I grew up in this tiny railroad stop of a village and call it my home. I love going back there and visiting with people, nothing seems to change. Which is good, when you live far away. When I paint, I always think that someday I’ll move back and have a real studio and just paint all the time πŸ™‚ the area is known for its moose hunting and is thick with woods and streams. Lots of wildlife there to draw from. I know many wildlife artists are against hunting, but I’m not, people hunt to survive, either by eating or profiting from hunters. There’s nothing wrong with that. Life in the wild is not cozy, it’s full of danger, disease and injuries. Culling the herd is merciful.

I sign my paintings C. Petley for two reasons. My dad’s name was Carl, and my uncles name was Carman. Carman was the first person in our family to attempt painting. We joke that no one in our family has any talents but that’s not true… We excel at low self esteem πŸ™‚ I’ll bet most of my family are very artistic, they were probably just too busy carving out a living and dealing with life to try it. But Carman did, while recovering from a heart attack, and although they were crude folk art style, I always admired that he even tried and his family displayed them proudly at the one and only family reunion. So that’s why I display my family name on my own crude drawings, because of the footsteps planted before me. I hope I do them proud.