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jackiesimmonds
06-04-2003, 02:27 PM
Hi folks. I was clearing up my studio today and came across this sheet of information, which I prepared ages ago for my "beginner" students who always wanted to know how I went about beginning a painting, and the sequence of actions to follow. It is probably not for everyone, but it is ONE way of working. Hope someone finds it useful:

A POSSIBLE SEQUENCE FOR PASTEL PAINTING
1. Produce thumbnail sketch in sketchbook, showing the main dark, medium and light tones (values) as well as linear outlines. Squint at your subject - this will make it easier to discern main areas of tone/value.

2. On your pastel paper or board, lightly draw in the outlines of the main, largest elements of the image, using charcoal or pastel pencil. Do NOT include fiddly details at all. This is only a very basic “plan”, so that you know where you are, and so that you are comfortable that your proportions are right. You can add details such as windowframes, leaves, doorknobs etc, much later on – if you need to.

3. Choose a possible range of colours from your main selection. You can add more if you need to, later, but it is good to begin with a fairly limited palette. Put these pastels to one side - I use a little tray, the kind you get in the supermarket filled with vegetables. This becomes my "palette", and it keeps my hands from getting dirty too!

4. Block in the darkest areas of the scene LIGHTLY, varying the dark colours. (Provided the tones of the colours are all similar – dark green, dark blue, dark brown – you can make any area very exciting by varying the colours.)It is easier to block in using the sides of the pastels than the "point" or end of the pastel. Using the side of the pastel also stops you from being too fiddly! Squint at the scene, in order to simplify and eliminate detail. Two or more adjoining objects may be equally dark and can be painted together, without a line in between them...try to see the overall shape they make together. A line of trees, for instance, could be tackled as one large shape. You really do not have to be too careful with this blocking-in stage - it is not meant to be like "colouring-in". Remember, pastels are opaque, and you can work your medium and your lighter tones over the top of these early marks, so in fact, the "livelier" this part, the better!! Don't worry at all if you go over the edges of outlines - you can pull things back to their correct shapes later, by overpainting around a shape to define it properly. KEEP YOUR TOUCH LIGHT, this is really helpful, as it means that you won't fill the "tooth" of the paper too quickly. Working with too heavy a hand in the early stages is one of the biggest problems to cope with later on.

5. Now begin to include medium tones, and also some touches of your lightest colours, so that you can check the range of tones. You can work your medium value areas over the top of your dark marks, that's the beauty of pastel. Consider your technique – do you want to blend areas? Or use broken colour? Or overlay colours to create areas of interest and texture? Think before making your marks. Some kinds of mark-makining may be more suitable than others. If the area is quite textured, for instance, it might not be wise to blend too much, you will lose the feeling of texture. Or if your subject is smooth and shiny, you might want to try a technique where the pastel marks are kept to a minimum.

Keep checking tones –you can do this by asking yourself - " is this part lighter, or darker, than that part"? It is easy to adjust with pastels. You can brush off pastel with a stiff brush, spray with fix and add more pastel.

6. Gradually define your shapes, and your lightest areas, and slowly bring the image to a conclusion, only now adding details, defining important parts and subduing and softening others, so that the viewer is drawn to the more important areas.


Not everyone works in this way, it is important to realise this. Some people like to start at the top of a picture and work their way down to the bottom, finishing off bits at a time. I could never work in this way. It is important for everyone to find out which way they like to work best - but if you are a beginner to pastels, this is quite a good approach to try.

Jackie

www.jackiesimmonds.co.uk

nancymae
06-04-2003, 03:39 PM
Jackie,

Your explanation is sooo clear!!! I have seen your videos and I saw you with your little box of pastels....the colors already in there and I wondered if you did that just so you could save time in the video......now I see!!!! (Sometimes I am very dense)

I really like the explanation of using the sides of pastels...to not get too "fiddely" at the beginning. I think that is what I try to do....and my painting looks like choppy..and not "together" or I guess the term I am looking for is unified. I have printed this out for inclusion on my bulletin board...to remind me to look at things.

Also from your videos...I loved the way that you explained the various compositions from your painting flowers video....looking at different compositions..and explaining to the view why you chose the one you did...or not choose the other ones...this is a very hard subject for me to grasp....as I am usually emotionally "committed" to the scene I am trying to capture...I was to hurry and get it down...BEFORE doing the homework....like working out the composition....and develop a thumbnail sketch FIRST....

It is all great information.....we are LUCKY to have you!!!!!!

I will keep trying!!!

Nancy

jackiesimmonds
06-04-2003, 06:38 PM
Nancy - perseverance is the key to success, please believe me. I have seen it happen, to others, as well as to myself. Just keep on doing it, no matter what, and gradually, gradually, it will all come together, in more ways than one.

Jackie

oramasha
06-04-2003, 07:04 PM
Jackie,

Thank you for taking the time to describe your method. . makes perfect sense to me! Lisa

jackiesimmonds
06-05-2003, 01:02 AM
no need for thanks - hope it makes sense to others too.

Mikki Petersen
06-05-2003, 01:35 AM
This is good advice for intermediates, too. Really enjoyed the article. Thanks, Jackie! As usual, your comments are inspiring.

MarshaSavage
06-05-2003, 07:02 AM
Jackie,

Thanks for posting this. I teach my students exactly the same technique -- but getting it through their "thick" heads is sometimes quite a challenge. They get in too big of a hurry!

If you don't mind, I would like to copy this as a hand-out for my students, giving you credit. I have about three other pages of pastel tips that I give out at intervals in my classes or workshops -- this would be an added one -- and a very well-though-out one at that!

Thanks again for your wonderfully succinct words of wisdom.

Marsha

llis
06-05-2003, 08:02 AM
Thanks so much Jackie.

Want to put this into an article for WC!? I'll help you get it started. :) We could show stages of a pastel painting to back-up what you have said.

Thanks again, and let me know how I can help. :)

jackiesimmonds
06-05-2003, 01:01 PM
Marsha - I'd be flattered to think of you using my "words of wisdom" - please help yourself!

Illis - I reckon it's time I got the hang of the article-writing thing. Karen helped me with the last one, and I really should be able to crack it myself, shouldn't I? I will have a go once Ihave cleared the decks - I am in post-exhibition spring-cleaning mode right now!!

Jackie

angeline
06-05-2003, 01:54 PM
Wow Jackie thanks for this.........funnily enough I do seem to have developed doing my pictures quite similar......this is helpful Thanks.

Drumbeat-trish
06-05-2003, 02:41 PM
Thank-you Jackie!!!!!!! Very very helpful info . We are so lucky to have you here :) Have to laugh at Marsha's comment about getting through 'thickheads' Pesonally I've got a pretty thick head - but keep hoping things will start to sink in one day :)

jackiesimmonds
06-06-2003, 06:01 AM
You aren't thick at all. It is just that it takes time for stuff you read, and understand, to filter down your arm from your brain to your hand, and you cannot rush this process, please believe me. As the days, weeks and years go by, more and more information will suddenly come down to your hand and you will find yourself using that information. It's a strange thing, but true.

I have bitten the bullet, and submitted this info as an article. Watch the front page!

I may also do another on composition...........anyone interested? I need encouragement.

Jackie

JamieWG
06-06-2003, 06:33 AM
Originally posted by jackiesimmonds

I may also do another on composition...........anyone interested? I need encouragement.

Jackie

I am, I am!

*Hand raised and waving wildly*

Jamie

sundiver
06-06-2003, 06:54 AM
Originally posted by jackiesimmonds
I may also do another on composition...........anyone interested? I need encouragement.
Jackie

Most definitely!

nancymae
06-06-2003, 10:09 AM
Thank you Jackie....We really need it!!!!

I sent you a pm about getting your book...did you receive it????

Thanks for all your help!!

Nancy

jackiesimmonds
06-06-2003, 11:35 AM
Okay, article on compositon done and submitted. Getting the hang of this article thing now!

Nancy - no pm from you as yet.

Hold the front page, folks! Articles winging their way!

Jackie

Drumbeat-trish
06-06-2003, 03:13 PM
Woooohoooooo -off to read it !!!!!!! And keep 'em coming Jackie we need you :) I really enjoyed reading your article on shadows a while back and have been doing lots of looking-Ok it hasn't quite made it down the arm yet but ....... :D




awwwwww -went to look but its not there yet !!!! looking forward to it

jackiesimmonds
06-07-2003, 04:25 AM
articles have to go for submission. If accepted, they are then published. You will be informed............

jackiesimmonds
06-08-2003, 02:31 AM
sorry folks, but my article on Composition is going to be published first. The one in this thread will follow.

However, for beginners, why not look at this old thread:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=57331

crazyartist2000
10-13-2003, 09:34 AM
Originally posted by jackiesimmonds
Okay, article on compositon done and submitted. Getting the hang of this article thing now!

Nancy - no pm from you as yet.

Hold the front page, folks! Articles winging their way!

Jackie

Hi Jackie. Newbie here...glad I found your thread :)

I cut and pasted your instructions from above.
Now....how do I get to this article stuff??

jackiesimmonds
10-14-2003, 02:42 AM
the articles can be found on the main pastel forum page. Also, if you goto the composition forum, they can be found on that first page too - on the right.

crazyartist2000
10-14-2003, 07:48 AM
Thanks Jackie:D

llanpe
11-15-2003, 06:48 PM
Thanks for all this information, its great for begginers