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Katie Black
08-19-2012, 12:16 AM
Hi, I bought some loose pastels today, some are typically rounded and others are harder and kinda squareish, my question is that when using these new pastels, often I can get a hard line from the edge of the pastel or I find the rounded pastel difficult to do what I want with them...I always break the pastel in half first, but do I need to somehow mould it first into a useable shape...I have tried to explain what I mean so hopefully someone can help as its a bit frustrating, I know what I want to put down on the paper, but I keep getting something else.

jackiesimmonds
08-19-2012, 03:38 AM
Typically every pastel has an end, and a side. If the pastel is square, working with the sides will leave lines. If you do not want this, you can "round" the sides by working those sharp edges off on a spare sheet of paper.

When working with the rounded pastels, you will have no lines as such when you use it on its side; you can CREATE lines using the ends of the pastels, by breaking a stick in half so that you have a nice sharp edge at the end to use.

Every pastel will change shape as you use it, because it will wear down in whatever way you use it. And you have to adapt either your method, or you change the shape of the pastel by working it more on a sheet on extra paper.

I recommend you spend some time practicing on a spare sheet, see how many different kinds of marks you can make using your pastels in different ways and with different pressures. Get familiar with them. That is the only way. You have to be in control. If you are "getting something else" than what you expect, it is because you are not familiar with how to work with them. So you need to tackle this as a learning exercise.

this is a copy of the exercise from my book, it gives you the idea;

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/19-Aug-2012/1805-techniques060.jpg

Do not try to paint anything recognisable. Just practice mark-making. It's fun.

DAK723
08-19-2012, 09:46 AM
Hi, I bought some loose pastels today, some are typically rounded and others are harder and kinda squareish, my question is that when using these new pastels, often I can get a hard line from the edge of the pastel or I find the rounded pastel difficult to do what I want with them...I always break the pastel in half first, but do I need to somehow mould it first into a useable shape...I have tried to explain what I mean so hopefully someone can help as its a bit frustrating, I know what I want to put down on the paper, but I keep getting something else.

Yes, I understand just what you mean and it happens to all of us I would imagine.

I have some of the hard, square ones (Polychromos) and use them when I need a sharp edge. Definitely easier to get a sharp edge with the hard pastels.

With the softies, I also find that I "miss" the spot I am aiming for quite frequently. With use, you might form a sharper edge, but, yes, you often do have to make a few strokes on a scrap piece of paper to mold the edge to your liking.

It is frustrating. When doing portraits, where I might need more exactness, I tend to use harder, thinner pastels. I also try to work larger. If you work larger, then the finer lines and details can be a lot thicker than when you work small. Also, keep in mind that details can often be suggested and a painting can be done with no thin lines whatsoever.

Don

Studio-1-F
08-19-2012, 11:06 AM
Wow, Katie! Great paintings on your website! (I love Beach Time (http://katie-black.artistwebsites.com/featured/beach-time-katie-black.html). :heart: ) From the looks of it, you are skilled with pastels and with how to get various kinds of marks using them.

So what exactly do you mean by "usable shape"? What mark are you trying for that you can't put down on the paper? Sorry!!!:o

Jan

Katie Black
08-19-2012, 06:48 PM
JackieSimmonds...Thank you, yes I think I need to practice a little on scrap paper, and where necessary mold it slightly on paper before using it. I was reading a little pastel book the other night "The pastel artists bible" and I believe one of your paintings is in there..what a pleasant surprise!
DAK723....Thank you...I thought it was just me, but I will definately mold the edges in future.
Studio-1-F...Thank you, when I do abstract pastel paintings it's not a big problem, but when I recently tried a bit of realism in a small landscape I had a lot of trouble with the Sunflowers, the petals did not want to be petals, and when I tried to lightly suggest folliage on the trees I kept getting hard lines in there, so I think I know what I need to do now. :)

Colorix
08-19-2012, 06:56 PM
Worn sticks perform better, but you can use the harder edges of new sticks for when you do want hard edges. One way to soften sticks is to sand them down.

jackiesimmonds
08-20-2012, 04:14 AM
I too just visited your website....doesn't look to me like you should have any trouble at all! Each one of those images is an exercise in pastel-marking making!
I take back what I said above. I should have looked at your website first.

Now, I think perhaps the issue is that you want to create FORM. working more literally is about having more control...people often do not realise this particularly if they move from abstract mark-making, which is very much "on the surface", to making things look 3 dimensional on a 2 dimensional surface, which requires a good understanding of how to create the form with the marks you make.

I think it would do you good to spend some time working on THAT aspect of painting...how to create the 3D form of an object. Try with something like a piece of fruit, for example, something fairly round, like a tomato or an apple; light it from one side only, and see if you can get the object's form right using marks so that the technique is NOT so obvious. If you can do that, then you will be able to sort out your petals very easily!

Jackie

Katie Black
08-20-2012, 09:50 PM
JackieSimmonds...Yes thats it, its Form I was after..thanks a lot!

jackiesimmonds
08-21-2012, 02:45 AM
In that case, why not work charcoal to begin with, you can build up the form with both marks, and a little blending with fingers - in fact most of the techniques you would use with pastels, but it is easier with just one tone.

when you are fully confident that you can make a flower look like a flower, a fruit look ike a fruit, with the full shape, then switch to pastels and use correct colours and tones.

Katie Black
08-22-2012, 05:25 PM
JSimmonds..Good idea..I will give it a go!