PDA

View Full Version : Pastels and water


Craig Houghton
08-10-2003, 01:37 AM
Here's a quick little something I played with this evening that you guys might enjoy.

I've read a bunch of times (both through searching for past threads and all the books I tear through) about brushing water over pastels in order to do a quick underpainting without the use of watercolors or acrylics etc, but I had a quick thought.

What if you made little squares of pastels and used it to create a makeshift watercolor-like palette? It would be pretty darn portable, cheap, and easy to make.

First, I tried some water with pastels and discovered that water and pastel (regular old pastels and not the water-soluble sort) do mix.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Aug-2003/21273-CLP04620.GIF

So, then I tried dipping water in little squares of pastel and using them like watercolor cakes. It works! Don't let my crappy apple with the misplaced shadow fool you, it actually works well ;) I dipped my brush in the water, and then touched it to the little squares of pastel above the apple. Then I painted with it. The little apple is all brush w/ pigment from the squares.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Aug-2003/21273-water_and_pastels.JPG

If one used this technique to make a color chart/palette where they intentionally laid on the soft pastel thick enough, they'd have a fun little watercolor-like palette.

Either way, it's worth playing with just for the underpainting aspect. I know they sell water-soluble pastels, but I'm amazed at how well regular old rembrandts work with this technique. I imagine my unison would work even smoother since they'd build up a higher stack to paint from.

-Craig

Craig Houghton
08-10-2003, 01:57 AM
Regarding using pastels to make a super tiny watercolor palette, I just learned that making little squares on paper for use as a watercolor palette works better than using the pastel directly. While you could break off little pieces of pastel and use them like transparent watercolor cakes, it may damage the pastel (certainly dampen it in the short term), and in general, the pastels are too thirsty and they soak up the water. It does work though :)

Either way, try mixing pastels and water together to make a same-media underpainting. And, if you are crazy about miniature painting kits (i keep finding ways to fit the world into an altoid box) than try making little squares.

Here's what I mean about using a brush directly on the pastel stick itself:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Aug-2003/21273-CLP04628.GIF

In case you're curious, a wet rembrandt stays wet for a moment or two before the water is sucked into the body of the pastel (much to the surprise of the unhappy pastel I'm sure, but a sennelier sucked it up almost instantly -- just thought i'd share ;) )

-Craig

Dark_Shades
08-10-2003, 05:44 AM
this looks great Craig..... think I would give this a go..... love your .gifs too lol..... but wont the paper buckle?

angeline
08-10-2003, 07:16 AM
This is really interesting! Thanks for sharing........love the animated demo too!

Mo.
08-10-2003, 07:36 AM
Good little anim Craig and ineresting technique.... I should imagine although I haven't tried this, that although you obtain a watercolour effect this way that once it's dried it will still have a dry pastel look to it? i.e. it will still smudge if touched? Just wondered.

cheers,
Mo.:)

Craig Houghton
08-10-2003, 09:47 AM
Hey everyone. G'morning.

Yeah the paper will buckle unless you stretch it first or use something like a heavy cold press. My girlfriend found some tinted watercolor paper the other day. I'd like to give that a go. There are however some sanded papers out there that allow wet underpainting no (wallis?)? I haven't walked much down this path so I'm not sure.

And, yup it dries exactly like pastel. It smudges happily, and yet it seems to be such a thin layer of pastel that you have tooth left to the support.

The big limitation definitely seems to be in regards to choosing the right paper. I haven't tried it on art spectrum primed materials yet, but I'll update when I do. Since I usually prime very heavy things with the colourfix primer, it should hold up. I doubt it would work without buckling on the pre-primed colourfix papers one gets from the store, but I could be wrong.

also, I just did a search for Wallis, to make sure I spelled it correctly. :) I found this: "Museum grade is suitable for wet techniques, and can be underpainted with water, alcohol, or solvent based media. It is extremely durable and stands up to extensive scrubbing and reworking. 300 gsm."

So, that would probably work well. I'm eager to try. (must do homework today, must not pastel, must do homework today, must not pastel -- maybe if I keept chanting that it will work) ;)

-Craig

Kathryn Wilson
08-10-2003, 10:28 AM
Craig: This is a great little thread and really appreciate your taking the time to share with us the little animations. That would be great to use for WIP.

Two things, don't use Sennelier pastel sanded paper - water totally breaks down the surface. The other, I just used a fair amount of water on Art Spectrum paper (9 x 12) and it did not buckle terribly - I believe the paper they use is a heavy watercolor paper (but not positive). With an underpainting, you are not going to soak the paper so I think it would work if you taped it down as usual.

A bonus on this may be that the water may hold down the dust for the first layer?? This is where I usually get the most dust so this would be a big bonus to those experience problems with allergic reactions.

Thanks!

Craig Houghton
08-10-2003, 10:36 AM
Originally posted by kyle
Craig: This is a great little thread and really appreciate your taking the time to share with us the little animations. That would be great to use for WIP.

Two things, don't use Sennelier pastel sanded paper - water totally breaks down the surface. The other, I just used a fair amount of water on Art Spectrum paper (9 x 12) and it did not buckle terribly - I believe the paper they use is a heavy watercolor paper (but not positive). With an underpainting, you are not going to soak the paper so I think it would work if you taped it down as usual.

A bonus on this may be that the water may hold down the dust for the first layer?? This is where I usually get the most dust so this would be a big bonus to those experience problems with allergic reactions.

Thanks!

Wonderful!! I'm thrilled to hear that A. you tried it B. it worked on the colourfix (i remember reading somewhere once that sennelier's la carte and perhaps their others as well dislike water entirely), and that C. it may keep the dust levels happily down.

Many thanks!
Craig

little dreamer
08-10-2003, 02:43 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Aug-2003/8523-pastelcandy_box.jpg
~thanks to sassybird for telling me that i can use water with my pastels~i use rembrandt, sennelier soft n' iridescent. this is the toffifay plastic candy dish i use for my pastels.

Craig Houghton
08-10-2003, 02:50 PM
Originally posted by little dreamer
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Aug-2003/8523-pastelcandy_box.jpg
~thanks to sassybird for telling me that i can use water with my pastels~i use rembrandt, sennelier soft n' iridescent. this is the toffifay plastic candy dish i use for my pastels.

That's fantastic. Do you use them for underpainting or for finished effects? The toffifay dish is a really great idea.

To initially get the pastel into the dish do you scrape some off?

-Craig

little dreamer
08-10-2003, 04:49 PM
~i have used the pastel for underpainting a few times.
the dish makes nice for finished effects.
holding the pastel above the candy dish soflty scrape with scissors~