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View Full Version : What and how many mediums did you try before pastels?


Christinal
07-14-2013, 12:12 PM
I fiddled with watercolors first, oils next, then acrylics before I found pastels. Not that I ever did much with any of it. I'm a rank beginner. As a beginner I naturally find painting to be incredibly frustrating to learn but I'm so delighted with pastels I can't stay away no matter how frustrated I get. :heart: :heart::heart:

I never paid much attention to pastels due to seeing nothing but portrait lessons with pastels in so many craft stores. I thought that's what pastels were for and I wasn't at all interested. I don't know why I came to that conclusion but I did. For decades! :cool:

elisehbeck
07-14-2013, 01:05 PM
Hi Christinal,

I sketched with graphite and coloured pencils as a child (in my school classes) then with biros in my highschool classes. Then I tried acrylic, oil, and watercolour. I even took a class in pottery. I love oils, hate watercolour, and would love to get into pottery more but not for the same reasons as oil & pastel - I just enjoy the physical process of clay. I have recently moved into pastels - initially I thought I would buy some cheap ones and use them to make studies and thumbnails in preparation for my oil paintings, but instead I have found them fascinating in their own right and I'm now hooked.

Painting is less frustrating if you get the right instruction. None of this 'express yourself' stuff - you need sensible help on mixing colours, getting shapes, and other practical things. Drawing well is a big part of painting, too, and teachers and experts often say no matter what medium you prefer, you should practice sketching every day.

best wishes for your explorations
Elise

robertsloan2
07-14-2013, 02:55 PM
I started out as a kid with watercolors, colored pencils, crayons and especially pen drawing. I had pencils and I had Rapidograph technical pens. I loved doing intricate pen drawings and I tried for realist drawing in pencil and colored pencils. Watercolor drove me nuts. A class in acrylics was fun. I tried a lot of different mediums later on, even oils. They were easy to work with but frustrating because they took forever to dry.

Then in high school I got a set of 72 Prismacolors. I'd hated colored pencils but that set had neutrals and muted greens and other useful colors that just weren't there. Also they were soft and blended easily. So that was some good groundwork for pastels. I didn't even think about or notice pastels much at that time.

I got into pastels in the 1990s. I'd been selling realistic pencil drawings of movie and TV characters, then I decided to try selling art on the street. I was good at people and needed a medium that I could render a person fast, within a tourist's patience for posing. So I bought 30 assorted Grumbachers and bought a $29 license to set up in the French Quarter at all the "B" spots, the less prime ones. (It was several hundred dollars to get one of the coveted "A" spots and took several years of waiting list for one to open up.)

With the proceeds of the first three portraits, I knew two things. One, I could handle pastels easily and two, I really needed skin tones. I added a 30 color Skin Tones set and had my street setup. I could work so much faster with pastels than with colored pencils and still get the likeness. Pastels are instant gratification.

I've been back and forth with them since. Pastels were always what I reached for if I wanted to sell art, because I could put a week of work into a colored pencils painting and get a price that comes out to a dollar an hour, or I could use pastels and earn good money comparable to a professional in anything else. It doesn't take that long to do a good painting with them.

I eventually got better at watercolor from what I learned doing pastels. I got better at acrylics and oils from what I learned doing pastels. Pastels are addictive and the longer I use them, the more I love them and the more painterly I get. I'm no longer as crazy about getting all the little details as I was all those years ago, now I'm all about getting the light and putting in the right few details to make the rest all make sense.

I still enjoy other mediums, but I learn the most when I'm fooling with pastels and oil pastels. I discovered oil pastels here at WC and also work with those, but I love my dusties. I was a color junkie from the point I got 72 Prismacolors and pastels are even better for that, for having a huge range to choose from before mixing and layering to get exactly the effects I want. My eyesight has also deteriorated. Doing very fine detailed slow works is harder than it used to be, but it's easier for me to squint or lose focus and work painterly.

lanaballot
07-14-2013, 05:07 PM
Christinal,
I'm glad you fell in love with pastels! :clap: It's my favorite medium! I majored in Studio Arts in college, so I had to try a lot of mediums: pencil, charcoal, watercolor, oils, took a printmaking class, sculpture. It looked like oils were my favorites back then, but the problem was I could not paint with oils without having some sort of separate studio and after graduation I did not have that luxury. So eventually I discovered pastels and loved everything about them. Yet I still was feeling like oils would be a step up, and thought, ok since the techniques of building a painting are quite similar in pastels and oils, the more I paint in pastels the better I'd be with oils when I have a studio. I don't consider any longer my pastel painting as a good training for oil painting (thought it definitely is), now I'm just enjoying pastels for their unique qualities. Eventually, I do want to be able to do all three - pastels, watercolors and oils. But for right now I'm just focusing on pastels.

JPQ
07-15-2013, 05:30 PM
I use all stuff what i used earlier now i list:

- coloured pencil and aquarelle pencils
- aquarelle crayons
- oil crayons (not same what is oilpastel harder and allows somethings). based wax not only oils.
- aquarelle
-acryl
- oil pastel
- computers (these what i mean have own unique softwares few my favorite softwares are very old one is for example currently about 20 years old)

and i test watersoluble oil paint product sample i dont yet ordered them.

Davkin
07-15-2013, 06:07 PM
Back in high school I used graphite, ink and watercolor but the watercolor was just to color architectural ink renderings. There's a chance we used tempera and maybe acrylics too, but I don't remember. That was a long time ago and I don't really consider that era part of my art training, I just never got into it that deep and most anything I learned back then was forgot by the time I picked up the pencil again a few years ago, (I'm now 46). So in my "rebirth" as a serious art student I started with graphite and only used graphite for a year or so then went to pastels. Yep, pastels was my first painting medium and I have no idea why, maybe because it's a dry medium it was less intimidating to me. Since then I have used acrylics, oils and watercolor, (but just for sketching) and ink. I am mostly focused on acrylics now but every now and then I get the my old dusty friends out to play.

David

CM Neidhofer
07-15-2013, 10:00 PM
I took a drawing class that was strictly charcoal. After that, i knew i wanted color! I tried acrylics, but everything ended up looking like mud. I found a colored pencil class with a local artist and loved them. Then she taught a pastel class and thats when i fell in love with pastels!

Christinal
07-15-2013, 10:24 PM
I'm so envious of those of you who've been able to take lessons or studied in school. I went to a rinky-dink school in a rinky-dink town where art was unheard of. I was excited to move to my current location (Orlando, Florida, USA), but I'm disappointed to find only a single location that teaches art of any type and their pastel class has been cancelled. Meh. I'm taking their drawing class this fall though.

Anyway, interesting stuff. I found watercolors to be the most enjoyable previously. And yes, Elisehbeck, I totally agree and am working on that currently. I do one painting and one "boring" lesson on the fundamentals, back and forth, back and forth.

JPQ, I have some water soluble oils I fiddled around with and was just thinking tonight I should break them out again for fun. I liked them.

CM Neidhofer
07-15-2013, 10:44 PM
I'm so envious of those of you who've been able to take lessons or studied in school. I went to a rinky-dink school in a rinky-dink town where art was unheard of. I was excited to move to my current location (Orlando, Florida, USA), but I'm disappointed to find only a single location that teaches art of any type and their pastel class has been cancelled. Meh. I'm taking their drawing class this fall though.

Anyway, interesting stuff. I found watercolors to be the most enjoyable previously. And yes, Elisehbeck, I totally agree and am working on that currently. I do one painting and one "boring" lesson on the fundamentals, back and forth, back and forth.

JPQ, I have some water soluble oils I fiddled around with and was just thinking tonight I should break them out again for fun. I liked them.

I found the drawing class through an adult ed class at the local high school (spring hill, fl) found the Cp and pastel teacher teaching through the parks and recreation dept. Might check into those options. Very reasonable fees at the time as well.

Studio-1-F
07-16-2013, 12:08 PM
. I was excited to move to my current location (Orlando, Florida, USA), but I'm disappointed to find only a single location that teaches art of any type and their pastel class has been cancelled. Meh. I'm taking their drawing class this fall though.
You might try attending meetings of the Pastel Society of Central Florida (http://pastelsocietyofcentralflorida.wordpress.com/) --- meet members, attend workshops, etc. Richard McKinley is coming in the autumn.

I also Googled orlando art workshops and retrieved quite a few listings of places all over the area that offer art workshops. It's a big busy area and LOADED with retired bored boomers who hunger for art hobbies.

Jan

Christinal
07-16-2013, 12:35 PM
Thank you both for the suggestions. I'm going to attend a Pastel Society meeting in the near future along with seriously considering that Richard McKinley workshop. I found that yesterday listed in my Pastel magazine!

I hadn't thought of parks and rec or adult classes at the high schools. I'll look into that.

Jan, a lot of stuff comes up on google but once you look into it further it pans out in terms of what I'm looking for. A lot of stuff is for kids or it's pottery, you know, that type of thing. I'll try googling "art workshops" specifically though in case I've missed something. I've been googling lessons or instruction.

Maybe things pick up in the winter when the snowbirds arrive. Right now a lot of things are geared towards kids out of school.

Colorix
07-16-2013, 03:40 PM
Graphite, Charcoal (didn't stay long with those, though -- no colour!). Did a few in Coloured Pencil... took "forever" and they were too transparent, tossed those out. Acrylics (they dry too fast). Clay, sculpting. Collage. Oil Pastel, twice, first with inferior ones, a few years ago with decent and good ones (like them, would want to develop that). Tempera (made my own egg-oil tempera). And Oils, for years. Watercolour, naturally, since kindergarten -- and I never got to be friends with wc (wishy-washy pale stuff, as I was taught. But since, I've seen wc artists who use colour, and I've discovered the intensity one can get with tubes of wc! Gonna work on developing that. Good for underpaintings, too.)
Pastels, about 30 years ago (still have the earth colours I bought then, they last forever), but initially, it didn't "take", so I continued with oils (although they're messy and take "forever" to dry). Got around to ordering some sanded pastel paper from abroad, and fell in luuuuv with how one can paint on them, and have not looked back since.

About the only thing I don't like with pastels is that the tints tend to be too chalky in appearence. Oil glazes are so much richer.

Mary Casatt. Edgar Degas. What's good enough for them is good enough for me. Both came from oils, and prefered pastels.

Christinal
07-18-2013, 09:44 AM
wishy-washy pale stuff, as I was taught. But since, I've seen wc artists who use colour, and I've discovered the intensity one can get with tubes of wc!

I had the same experience although I started out with tubes. It wasn't until I moved on then went back and fiddled with it and "wasted" (I'm so cheap) more color that I discovered watercolors don't have to pale, lol. Who knew!!