View Full Version : Pastels next?

anita Stewart
12-07-1999, 12:03 AM
I guess that choice is yours.You could also start with colored pencils and then go into pastels. I believe each media has its' own set of pros and cons. If you've been working small-not much larger than 11 x 14 or so why not work towards larger pieces and graduate to pastels ? Some folks have even chatted about working on boundaries with pastels that are larger than 18 x 24..
did you know that pastels can be used to produce drawings and paintings ? That paint can be used to achive a drawing?
Even though pastels are easier to erase there is warning not to build up the surface too much . It can become too packed into the paper..would anyone like to expound upon pastels and freshness , sketchiness that is unique to pastels..?

12-07-1999, 01:37 AM
This is a bit of a cross posting since I've asked the same question in drawing but maybe a different set of people will look at it. I've been drawing quite consistently over the past four months, following various books and realize that I am starting to get ready for the step to color. I will always keep a pencil sketch book I have learned just how much satisfaction comes from the process. But the question is, do I start using pastels as my first step into color or is there a better choice?

Drew Davis
12-07-1999, 10:40 PM
Seems to be a matter of taste to me. The current rage is for pastels to be very sketchy. I suppose that since it's considered the most drawing-like of the "painting" media, that quality is emphasized, just as watercolors typically go for transparency. (Wasn't Klee reacting to that notion when he spent so much time drawing lines with paint?) But pastels don't have to look that way, even retaining a fresh surface. I look at it more the other way around: as the most paint-like of the drawing media, pastels deserve to take advantage of their full, lush color, unlike those scratchy little colored pencil marks or monochrome charcoals http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

That untouched surface freshness is the reason pastels come in a few hundred colors. You can blend them to a fair degree, but you'll lose the surface texture doing it. So, if you need both a particular tint of a particular hue, and that surface, you have to have the color pre-mixed. (Optical mixing is the other main choice; layer works to a small degree, but soft pastels are pretty opaque.)

Razor blades are handy for scraping out overly-built up pastel, but it's better not to get that far gone in the first place. Regular erasers are for lighter chores.

Powdered pastels can be brushed, too, or washed with some water. Techniques abound.

12-24-1999, 12:44 PM
pastels are a great way to transition to painting, if that's where you are headed. there is a lot to color and pastels will save you the trouble of having to mix up the color you need. it's like having a set of loaded brushes. i like to use the a small 3/4'' piece of pastel on its side-it's simulates a small brush to 'knock in' what i am painting. be sure and get a neutral colored paper- i like canson meiteins-gray/green. i also like nu pastels. you can keep laying on more and more layers. you'll see after a while that pastel are about finding the right 'touch' and 'tooth' to the the paper. it's all about how much pressure you use to apply the pastels. another trick that is immensly helpful is to arrange the pastels by value-light to dark and group all the warms and cools together. and to keep the colours where you put them. while you're working you should know exactly where a certain colour is and be able to just reach for it.

01-18-2000, 11:01 PM
Ok, Ok, enough already on the sketchiness of pastel..yes, I've seen it used that anemic way...bbbooorrrrring!! I have been using pastels for over 20 years and have amassed an impressive collection of different papers and brands. I've won awards in a number of juried pastel shows and can tell you the work I saw there was anything BUT a sketch. Pastel is a PAINTING medium, the most permanent one you can use, since the invasion of a carrier is at a minimum, no viscous oil, varnish or other yellowing stuff. Pastels done a hundred years ago have the freshest color, almost like it was the day it was finsihed, the only problem was the paper it was on. With all the new papers that are archival, this in not a problem today. The best brands are Sennelier, Unisom and all that Richeson carries..dealers are very helpful and supply color charts if asked. I work on sanded papers and find they have enough "tooth" to carry the pastel to full painting capacity, the Wallis paper is also very good and archival. I wish I could post work shere to illustrate my point, but not com-poo-ter equiped to do that yet. If anyone wishes to email or snailmail for more, please contact me!!