Author: jackie_simmonds, Contributing Editor
|A POSSIBLE SEQUENCE FOR PASTEL PAINTING
This article offers ONE approach to producing a pastel painting. (There is never only one way to do anything where painting is concerned!) In my experience as a tutor, I noticed that while most students were aware that it was a good idea to begin with some linear outlines of their subject, they weren't sure how to continue, other than to "colour-in" those outlines. This can lead to a rather "stiff" result, so the following approach may prove useful to those who might like to find a slightly different way to work.
I am aware that there are artists who like to draw their outlines, and then "colour-in" from the top of the sheet, finishing off sections at a time, and working their way down the sheet. This is fine if you are ABSOLUTELY SURE that you know exactly the values to use - otherwise, you may well find, as you work your way down, that some "finished" sections have to be reworked in the light of subsequent passages, which throw everything out of kilter.
My approach avoids this pitfall. You work over the whole image, to the same level, at the same time. Gradually, from a rather loose beginning, you refine values and shapes, until finally the whole picture "comes into focus", with correct values, and good shapes.
If you haven't tried this approach so far - do try it at least once. You might enjoy it!
|What follows is a set of steps, taken from a chapter in my book PASTEL WORKBOOK. It shows the steps used in the production of a simple winter landscape.
Before we begin, I want to emphasise that the first step in the process - the THUMBNAIL SKETCH - is one that I consider to be of utmost importance.
I always make a small thumbnail before I start any painting, in a sketchbook, using a soft pencil. In it, I try to show the main elements of the scene - AND THE MAIN AREAS OF TONE (value) , scribbled in lightly using the side of the pencil lead. I cannot stress how important it is to ensure, when you do these little sketches, to use this practice. If you simply draw outlines, and leave white paper all around the outlines, it is difficult to know, when you look at the sketch, whether those white areas should be light, or medium values/tones. The white of the paper should ONLY be left to show the light areas of the picture. Everything else should be covered in a "tone" of some kind. Quite a good way to get into this habit is to cover the WHOLE AREA with tone, and then pick out the lightest area of your scene, using a putty rubber (or kneaded eraser in the US). You can then add more dark tones, and hey presto! You have a perfect rendition of the scene with all the tone values in place.
|Here is how I go about producing a thumbnail sketch, In my thumbnails, I try to keep things simple, and I squint like crazy at the scene, which eliminates unnecessary detail, and simplifies the tones (values) in the scene. On the left, you can see the image with just the main light, and overall dark areas. On the right, I have added the full range of tones. The white of the paper is left to show the only lightest part of the image.|
|Here is my little thumbnail for "Winter Walk". It is quite simple - it just shows the main dark, medium and light areas, with some linear details of trees, bushes, and dark marks on the path in place.|
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