Painting with Pastels
Practice making marks and blending with pastels; if you have time, use the techniques you’ve discovered to make a simple picture…
Soft Pastels on Ingres Paper:
Having previously explored soft pastels in the Drawing Skills course, I tried to focus on painterly effects, texture, colour mixing and blending. Using soft pastel on its side for blocks of colour and thin straight lines. By using a shorter piece on its side, I could rotate it round to produce an almost perfect circle. Different colours can be layered (either by broad side strokes or narrower end ones), alternately hatched or blended with a finger or rag.
Oil Pastels on Mount Board Primed with Gesso:
I repeated similar marks to those above, however, the oil pastel was more prone to pick up the texture of the support being used. This made for some interesting effects when used fairly lightly on their side. To obtain more solid blocks of colour, I had to use the tip and pressure to work it into the support’s texture. I actually preferred the blending of the oil pastels as more options were available. Again I could layer and hatch colour but I also tried using a rag wound round my finger and this softened the oil pastel and produced a subtle, diffused blend of the colours. I then tried using solvent and brushes, firstly, a hog brush – this had the effect of moving the pigment around a lot more and left more brush marks visible. Using the synthetic Mongoose flat, which is much softer, allowed me to fuse the pigment and blend it without it shifting so much. I also noticed, that with using solvent, the pigment could run and produced lovely drips and pools of colour.
A Simple Picture – Oil Pastels:
After experimenting with the solvent and oil pastels, I was keen to use this to produce a simple painting. My intention was to let it run and be free with it, in practice it became a little stiff in execution and not as loose as I wanted initially. I used the solvent in the sky (this is the view outside my window), and combined with a rag it gave a nice base to paint on. My favourite part is the apple tree and its branches. By using the oil pastels on their tip and twisting and moving over the support, a pleasing rendition of twiggy branches was created. Doing this on top of the solvent diluted pigment also removed that layer, which worked brilliantly for getting a sharp jagged line, perfect for the branches . Not a masterpiece but experimental and informative.
A Simple Picture – Soft Pastels:
I was keen to try both types of pastel and found a photograph I took last week while walking the dog early evening. It was a spectacular sunset and I remember thinking that it would be nigh on impossible to reproduce such vivid and luminous colours in a painting. Never one to back down from a challenge, I thought I’d try, so soft pastels were probably my best chance. The most part of the picture was made using the soft pastel on its side. I was determined not to rely just on blending with my finger and to attempt hatching and layering too. In the main, I succeeded, and not just because of the fine sandpaper quality of the support. Any finger blending was more of a dabbing motion and I used a dry cloth round my finger if the need arose. Naturally in the sky, there were horizontal streaks of colour and diagonal cloud formations that also absorbed the last of the sun’s rays, so that helped focus me. The foreground and buildings were mainly in silhouette but I introduced some dark colours to avoid it being too flat. I was right, though, it’s nowhere near as stunning as real life and, unfortunately, the pinks and corals have not photographed as vibrantly as they are either which is a shame.