Invoice Cone – On Returning To The Identical Location

I’m an enormous fan of the pastel work by Invoice Cone! Reality be instructed, I used to be barely anxious about reaching out to ask him if he would take into account contributing a visitor submit to HowToPastel. However I did and, oh my, he mentioned Sure!! I can’t wait to share his phrases of knowledge with you!

Earlier than we get going, a teaser picture and a wee bit about Invoice Cone. (He took my request for a very brief bio actually!)

Bill Cone pastel. Yet another sunrise on a morning with a lot of contrast. Note the strong difference in value between shadow and light.
Invoice Cone pastel portray, 9 x 9 1/2 in. Dawn on a morning with a number of distinction. Observe the robust distinction in worth between shadow and lightweight.

Invoice Cone Bio

Invoice Cone has been creating landscapes in pastel for over 25 years. He lives within the San Francisco Bay Space. He teaches a couple of workshops a yr and reveals periodically.

You possibly can see extra of his work on Instagram.

Now right here’s Invoice! (Observe his I-had-no-idea-he-did-this! profession.)


Notes on returning to the scene of a criminal offense…

My early artwork profession for nearly 10 years was as a industrial illustrator. I then labored in pc animation as a designer for nearly 30. I fell into utilizing pastels and portray on location within the late 90s. This was after I was working at Pixar Animation Studios on the movie A Bug’s Life. I’d began a couple of years earlier as a set and prop designer on Toy Story underneath the artwork route of Ralph Eggleston

I used to be tremendously impressed by Ralph’s lighting research for Toy Story. They had been created with the luminous medium of pastels and I used to be decided to hold on with that medium and do one thing comparable for A Bug’s Life

An preliminary stumbling block for me was that I hadn’t used pastels in any respect since a determine class in artwork college, some 15 years earlier. To be able to rise up to hurry with this dry, crumbly medium, I began practising outdoors of labor hours – at lunch, on the best way to work, on the best way dwelling, on the weekends, and on trip. I used to be pushed by a combination of concern of failure, together with the need and pleasure to know and get higher management of the method. 

After about 6-8 months of working outdoor in my spare time, solely with pastels, I had rather more confidence and management. I additionally skilled a sluggish epiphany, that portray outdoors in nature was like being in an everlasting classroom of kinds, with an ever-changing show of sunshine and color to encourage, problem, and educate me as an artist.

Portray outdoors was way more inspiring than working from images off of the web. Sarcastically, my use of pastels and the inspiration of portray in nature was actually triggered by this have to do lighting research for an animated movie round 1996. 

Bill Cone pastel. This painting and the one below were painted a few weeks apart in the same location, in 2000. This one was done early morning.
Invoice Cone pastel. This portray and the one beneath had been painted a couple of weeks aside in the identical location, in 2000. This one was performed early morning.
Bill Cone pastel. Like the one above, this pastel was done around 2000. This one is in the late afternoon, with the sun glaring on the bay, and the fog slowly starting to gather in front of the hill I was on.
Invoice Cone pastel. Just like the one above, this pastel was performed round 2000. This one is within the late afternoon, with the solar evident on the bay, and the fog slowly beginning to collect in entrance of the hill I used to be on.

Working outdoors, I started to note how the color and worth buildings of what I used to be learning would differ all through the day, as a result of angle and color temperature of the solar, in addition to the climate. By sitting nonetheless and observing nature, one might actually see the shadows transfer, and the color of the sunshine evolves from hotter to cooler, or vice-versa, relying on the state of affairs.

I recognised that Claude Monet’s research of haystacks and the Rouen Cathedral had been documenting the identical results of sunshine and color over 100 years earlier. I not solely felt this connection deeply however realised that each artist who paints in nature might uncover for themselves the identical timeless qualities and rules via their very own efforts. It doesn’t come from a e-book – it comes from observe and immersion. 

Relying on what’s occurring in our lives and what we now have as obligations and priorities, it’s an actual concern to search out when and the way we are able to ‘immerse’ ourselves so to talk.

I are likely to see the observe of artwork, except one is already a full-time skilled, as a type of train, like figuring out on daily basis. It’s one thing that takes effort and time however may be readily built-in into one’s day and one’s life. And in the direction of that finish, the thought of re-visiting a handy and provoking spot to work begins to take maintain. 

Bill Cone pastel. This painting and the one below were painted a few years after my earlier ones.  They were painted one after another, in the late afternoon.
Invoice Cone pastel portray, 9 x 9 1/2 in. This portray and the one beneath had been painted a couple of years after my earlier ones. They had been painted one after one other, within the late afternoon.
Bill Cone pastel. This was painted in the late afternoon, right after the one above. In it, you can see the glare on the water from the sun at the top of the image.
Invoice Cone pastel portray, 9 1/2 x 9 in. This was painted within the late afternoon, proper after the one above. In it, you’ll be able to see the glare on the water from the solar on the prime of the picture.

Not solely is there a long-established custom of such a observe however there are additionally sensible causes for portray in the identical spot. You might paint near dwelling, maybe even your yard or an area park.  At any price, these selections and selections are as much as every particular person. Practising artwork requires some effort and is much less of a leisurely pursuit than some may think. 

On this submit, I’ve included a collection of pastels that I’ve painted in roughly the identical location over the previous 25 years.

It’s a large turnout alongside a highway within the Berkeley Hills, sufficiently big to tug over and arrange your gear. In truth, it’s sufficiently big to host a bunch of scholars which I’ve performed quite a few occasions. It appears to be like to the west, down into Emeryville and North Oakland and throughout the bay to San Francisco and Marin County.

Bill Cone pastel painting. Late afternoon with a lot of bright haze in the air, really pushing the hill into the blues and violets at fairly close range.
Invoice Cone pastel portray, 12 x 9 in. Late afternoon with a number of vibrant haze within the air, actually pushing the hill into the blues and violets at pretty shut vary.

There’s a multitude of causes, from the sensible to the creative, to return to a supply of inspiration. Every go to is rarely precisely the identical and the extra one returns to a spot, the extra you start to catalogue the the reason why that’s. 

Listed here are a couple of:

1. Time of day: The Earth is rotating with us hapless artists upon it for the experience. Due to this fact, the angle of the solar, with respect to our view, modifications continuously all through the day. This makes an enormous distinction within the worth construction of your picture in addition to to the color.

2. Climate: Is it sunny or overcast? Foggy or crisp and clear? 

Bill Cone pastel painting. An overcast morning in the spring. Note the green grass on the distant hill.
Invoice Cone pastel portray, 9 x 9 1/2 in. An overcast morning within the spring. Observe the inexperienced grass on the distant hill.

3. Seasons: Are the grasses inexperienced or dry? The bushes barren or filled with leaves? Has the foliage altered? Has it grown considerably, is it in bloom, or fallen or reduce? Is it moist or coated with snow?

4. Ambiance: The character and color of the air, actually the house between us and different objects, performs a robust position because it comprises mud, gases, and moisture. These all contribute to the best way gentle and native color is filtered on their option to our eyes. For a number of years, I primarily centered on portray ambiance, particularly the color soar between objects close to and much. I used to be fascinated that native color might change a lot simply by being additional away in house.

Bill Cone pastel painting. Late afternoon, probably around 2012.  One of my favourite paintings for expressing atmospheric light (the gradient of colour and value towards a light source).
Invoice Cone pastel portray, 9 1/2 x 9 in. Late afternoon, most likely round 2012. One among my favorite work for expressing atmospheric gentle (the gradient of color and worth in the direction of a lightweight supply).

5. The Artist: Sure, YOU! Our moods, focus, pursuits, well being, age, and expertise change over time. We aren’t the identical from everyday not to mention yr to yr. 

These qualities and others shall be mirrored in your work each time you exit. 

Touching again on the idea of artwork as a type of research and train, I’m reminded of the music title: Once I Paint My Masterpiece. Once I exit to color, I don’t have such a lofty concept in my head. I’m usually excited to focus and get all the way down to work however I can’t predict the outcome. I’ve come to appreciate that if I paint 10 work, I’ll normally discover about half to be higher than the others. It doesn’t imply the remainder are horrible, however that I can (subjectively, in fact) select the hierarchy I’ve described. The highest 5 normally are bought over time and the remainder sit in folders. Some might make their option to the trash bin after a couple of years. 

Bill Cone's Plein Air set up for past eight years or so.
Invoice Cone’s Plein Air arrange for previous eight years or so.

Nevertheless, simply because I choose a bit unfit of promoting, doesn’t imply it lacks emotional or academic worth for me. There’s quite a lot of causes to hold on to work in addition to promote it. Typically my batting common is worse and generally higher, but it surely has been pretty constant for fairly a while. Oddly sufficient, some work that I didn’t like in any respect after I did them, slowly redeem themselves years later, so one has to just accept that our judgement is just not solely subjective but additionally primarily based on what/who we had been after we made these selections… If we modify our minds later, and the paintings hasn’t modified in any respect, then we will need to have modified!

Bill Cone pastel painting. Sunrise, painted in Fall of 2012. The grasses are dead, but the shrubs and trees are still green. The light is rather flat and dead on, as the sun is directly behind me, but there is a demarcation of shadow and light from the hills that I am on, casting their shadows into the lower half of the image. I think there was a high altitude haze that lowered the intensity of the morning sun.
Invoice Cone pastel portray, 9 x 12 in. Dawn, painted in Fall of 2012. The grasses are lifeless, however the shrubs and bushes are nonetheless inexperienced. The sunshine is moderately flat and lifeless on, because the solar is immediately behind me, however there’s a demarcation of shadow and lightweight from the hills that I’m on, casting their shadows into the decrease half of the picture. I believe there was a excessive altitude haze that lowered the depth of the morning solar.

I urge of us to search out spots they’ll return to often that present one thing of curiosity to color. Research these places at totally different seasons, climate, and occasions of day, after which periodically check out the variations between the work you do that will help you perceive what’s going on and why. You might come away with a renewed appreciation of what nature has to supply, in addition to a deeper understanding of the ephemeral, infinite character of sunshine and color.

Bill Cone pastel painting. Every morning is different!
Invoice Cone pastel portray, 12 x 9 in. Each morning is totally different!
Bill Cone pastel painting. Later in the morning than the previous image, as you can see, the shadow has dropped down the hill more. But this painting was executed a few years earlier. The background strip of blue at the top of the image is the shoreline of the north San Pablo bay, below Sonoma.
Invoice Cone pastel portray, 12 x 9 in. Later within the morning than the earlier picture, as you’ll be able to see, the shadow has dropped down the hill extra. However this portray was executed a couple of years earlier. The background strip of blue on the prime of the picture is the shoreline of the north San Pablo bay, beneath Sonoma.

A be aware on paper: All of the items are on Canson Mi-Teintes paper utilizing the graceful aspect. The early ones had been performed on the color “Twilight,” however they stopped making that color at a sure level, so I needed to adapt to different, extra diverse, colors. 


I don’t learn about you however I’ve been utterly impressed by Invoice Cone and his artwork and phrases!! 

I’ve returned to particular places however I typically get the sensation I’m simply repeating myself. Seeing Invoice’s work and listening to his reminders makes me need to get on the market and paint a well-recognized scene once more. I believe having a scene that conjures up you is tremendous essential! It’s good to be curious to see and paint the modifications Invoice talks about.

Now it’s your flip. Do you’ve got questions or feedback for Invoice Cone? Tell us your ideas!

Till subsequent time,


PS. Right here’s a hyperlink to Bob Dylan’s music When I Paint My Masterpiece