View Full Version : May's Treasurer

08-29-2013, 07:45 PM
Hello, this is my first posting in the pastel forum. I'm new to soft pastels and have been doing a lot of reading up on it. So far my experience has been a good one. I love watercolor but soft pastel is beginning to grow on me as well.
Anyway, this is a painting of lilacs I started back in May using watercolor. But the lilacs became overworked and had a dull look I did not like but I really liked the backgrounds atmospheric feel, so I thought of doing the lilacs only in pastels after the painting leaned against the wall for months. I know I still need to add branches so the leaves aren't just floating out there but I'm wondering what am I doing wrong or what can I do to improve on this. The lilac blooms in particular. Any help is appreciated.
Oh and I'm not happy about the mfg mark in upper left hand corner. Never saw it till paint was put down ....dang!


08-29-2013, 10:57 PM
Love all the colors. I would just recommend more dark in Lilacs to give more definition. Pam:wave:

08-30-2013, 08:28 AM
Thanks for joining us here in pastels! This is looking good! Like all mediums, pastels has its own characteristics that take some getting used to!

One thing you may find helpful as you proceed in pastels, is to start experimenting with pastel papers. While it is possible to use pastels on watercolor - or other - papers, they work best on pastel papers, which usually have some sort of surface made to hold pastel dust better. The sanded papers are very popular in that they allow one to apply many layers of pastel on top of one another to build up both darks and, more importantly, lights.

You have some absolutely wonderful color gradations in this painting and soft transitions that are quite watercolor-like! Lilacs - in my opinion - are very difficult to paint as they have lots of small detail. This makes it hard to represent them by the usual method of just suggesting detail. You might want to google Ovanes Berberian, who often paints still life with lilacs and other flowers.

But, really, this is a very fine first pastel!


EDIT: By the way, it is very popular to use wet underpaintings with pastel and many folks use watercolors for that purpose. So, it might be a great combo for you to try!

08-30-2013, 10:12 AM
Welcome to the forum. Looking great! Good advice from Don and Pam. If you have an area that is overworked and the tooth of the paper is full, and you need to make corrections in specific areas of your painting......don't be afraid to brush off the pastel (using an old oil painting brush or something), before reapplying. You can also use pallet knife to scrape off excess pastel to help restore tooth. This helps to keep colors clean and fresh.

08-30-2013, 12:30 PM
Pam,thank you, ok, my darkest violet I have is a Winsor Violet Dioxazine Tint 5. I will carefully add more. Is that a dark enough color? I'm one of those who is afraid of the dark:lol: I'm also using (on the Lilacs) from lightest to darkest are WN Acridone Violet Tint 1, Holbein Violet 3, Holbein Violet 1 Raw Sienna Tint 1 to bring down the color of light in background onto the lilacs and of course little highlight touches of white.

Don, Thank you Don for your response. Yes I agree Pastel is far different from watercolor. And I must say when standing in front of all those pastel sticks at the art store I feel like a kid in a candy store...such beautiful colorful sticks wish I could bring them all home with me.:lol: But for now I have to settle down and pick just pick the colors I need for project at hand. As far as the paper goes I will have to check out try out the different papers. Don thank you for the heads up on Ovanes Berberian, I will certainly google him and check him out. and thanks for the encouragement![/COLOR][/COLOR]

Rugman, the paper is 140# watercolor paper won't stiff oil brush be harsh on the paper? or maybe its ok if I just lightly brush top surface and NOT get all the way down to the paper.
Which brings me to a ??? if the fibers do begin to get loose what can I do? or is it best to just leave it alone.???[/I]

08-30-2013, 12:59 PM
As long as the value is dark you can use several colors, such as dark blue, eggplant, etc. I attend pastel class almost every Saturday and values are something I struggle with. The teacher has us put in the darks first which make the lighter colors pop. I was surprised by some of the darks she recommended I use, but she was right, as long as the value is right you can use many different darks. She always has us put "sparkles" in the end to bring attention to the focal point. It always surprises me how a light color such as mint green, very light blue, etc. can be used as highlights on items in a totally different color family. It's fun. Pam

08-30-2013, 01:28 PM
Rugman, the paper is 140# watercolor paper won't stiff oil brush be harsh on the paper? or maybe its ok if I just lightly brush top surface and NOT get all the way down to the paper.
Which brings me to a ??? if the fibers do begin to get loose what can I do? or is it best to just leave it alone.???[/i]

Doing pastel like this on plain 140# watercolor paper is going to be hard (er)
Using a small hog bristle brush to remove pastel should be fine. You end up with a 'ghost' color where the pastel pigment stained the paper. You could even go farther, by using kneaded eraser after brushing pastel to get even cleaner paper. The only time I use watercolor paper for pastel is if I apply a couple coats of sanded pastel ground (primer, gesso) first. If using 'regular' non-sanded paper, use canson mie tientes, and use the smooth side. Try not to damage fibers of any paper, I don't know what to do in that case, depends on how obvious it is or if I could hide the damage somehow

anyway..hope this helps you, the point is....is that pastels are very forgiving...if you overwork,or need to make corrections, just brush or scrape off excess pastel in area of concern, and reapply :)

oh-depending on how much pastel you need to brush off...you many want to consider doing it outside so not to breathe too much dust, or at least make sure you have a catch-tray of some kind to catch the falling pastel dust

08-30-2013, 05:03 PM
Thanks a bunch Ron & Pam for the tips. I think what I will do next with this is over the weekend I will play around with different colors & values (will have to run to the art store to look for more choices) in my sketchbook till I'm happy so as not to overwork my wc paper anymore than it is. Paper is still ok but just don't want to push my luck. Once I'm happy with the values/colors I will do the actual and post you the results. Again thanks a bunch for your help.:heart:-Donna

09-01-2013, 11:17 AM
a set of Nupastel greys ( warm/cool) is inexpensive , and useful .
2B -> 6B charcoal pencils good for basic/black dark , and will mingle under or over .
narrow foam brushes are good at removing pastel , especially for thin lines or tight spots .
if working flat , brushed dust clumps will lift off with a kneaded eraser or even a vacuum using the crevice nozzle .


03-03-2014, 01:44 PM
I finally finished May's Treasure yesterday and thought I would post results as promised. I had given up on it and it was leaning up against the wall for quite awhile. But winter here has been horrible and I looked over at the painting leaning against the wall and suddenly felt inspired to finish it. I needed something that would give me hope that spring will come.;) Any comments or critiques gladly appreciated. This is part watercolor and part soft pastel. All lilacs and leaves in the lower rightt are done in pastels.


03-04-2014, 12:22 PM
It looks great. Bill

03-04-2014, 02:01 PM
Beautiful finish!

03-04-2014, 02:18 PM
Delicate and beautiful looking, nicely done, considering you're new to pastels, I could never get my hands to paint what I want with them

03-08-2014, 02:58 PM
Amazing look, combining the mediums! I've only ever worked with pastels, so this is a concept I'm just starting to think about.

03-09-2014, 01:41 PM
Thank you, Bill, allydoodle, yikes, and keepingpure for your very kind and encouraging replies! Very much appreciated:heart:

03-09-2014, 05:28 PM
you have done very good editing with your marks to finish and convey the idea/subject . :)

an aside ;
if entering this in exhibitions/competitions , especially pastel centered ,
there is a distinction between mixed-media and pastel coverage
( 80% pastels for the final layer(s) seems to be the current ref point ) .

for myself , an underlayer of pastel , then wetted and disbursed with whatever is more true to pastel ,
and can be identified with a close look ...

yeah , it may seem kinda a nit-pick , but ...


03-09-2014, 06:20 PM
Wow - like many pieces the mat surely pulls the shapes and colors together. Nicely done. Barb