Virginia Unseld

Blackhawk, Colorado

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Juried Artist BPAF 2018

My passion is painting personal interpretations of the western landscape en plein air. The constantly changing sunlight in Colorado provides a challenge to quickly capture shadows, shapes and colors. I am attracted to the patterns and rhythms of the landscape and that is where my focus lies. I'm inspired by what I see, but manipulate elements to achieve the visual statement I want. My style has been described as Contemporary Impressionism and I think that is accurate. I am not interested in paintings that look like photographs or that look like the process was tedious. I strive for pastel paintings that look fresh and rich with vibrant color and exciting, joyous mark-making. The process and marks are as important as the subject. I make quick value sketches in black white and grey to lock in my vision of the composition, light and shadows. Then I use that sketch as my plan for the painting surface. My favorite medium is pastel on archival suede board. Pastel is pure pigment and its immediacy and lack of drying time makes it ideal for plein air work. I choose a colored surface that will remain visible in the finished painting and will enhance the mood of the scene. I work much as an oil painter does: large to small, dark to light, thin to thick. My challenge as a painter is to capture and simplify what I love and feel about a specific place.


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