Wednesday, March 26

Getting A Little Dusty Again

 It's been a long while since I've created a true, 100%, soft pastel painting. I've had the urge to dig them out all winter, but just had no idea what to create - a complete blank slate. Also add to that, the challenge of creating with them again. I was just a newbie still when I set them aside for awhile, so picking them up again would not be a picnic at all. I decided to go with a composition of succulents. I really like them - I think they're super cute - and I've been wanting to create a colourful piece with them for some time. This would also allow me to highlight an aspect of the soft pastel medium that some people do not realize: they are rediculusly colourful!

I began by sketching the image on to ColourFix Suede pastel board - a good pastel painting begins with a good sketch. Then I continued with an underpainting using my Pan Pastels. They are just so easy to use to create a fast and effective underpainting. This is what I've called its "grizzly" phase - the ugly phase. I tried to use completmently colours here, so the final painting will look more opposite than what is displayed here. I sprayed it all with a light alcohol mist (the rubbing alcohol sort, not the vodka alcohol sort) to set the pastels, so that they wouldn't blend with the layers I will be applying on top, and therefore will not make it 'muddy'. This was the easy part. From here, it was all total concentration and complete loss of time...

I started at the top left - to work my way across and down, in an effort to not smudge the entire piece. These first two succulent "leaves" are where I sort of determined the style of this painting. I remind you, I haven't used pastels in so long - so I knew what I wanted to do, but didn't know how exactly I would achieve it, and what sort of style it would end up looking like. I know it sound silly - I'm sure there's some artists who understand this :)

 This is where it stood when I finished last night. It's not much, but it's almost four hours of work - yes, this piece is going to take ages to complete. But I'm hoping when it's all done, it will be amazing and work every second :) 

Above are the pastels I have used to date. It's just under 40 different colours and shades, and I'm sure before I'm finished, more will be added.

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