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abstract23
10-13-2013, 04:23 AM
This is an attempt to follow step-by-step one of the tutorials in Jackie Simmonds Workbook. I have taken a bit of artistic license to go my own way too. The photos doesn't do the painting justice, they look much better in reality(if that makes sense)

Definitely need C&C's as I still consider this a WIP.
One question, should I have blended the colours so that those coloured paper dots wouldn't have shown through? I did blend in the skies and like that result.
Material - Canson-My-Aunties ;) charcoal pencil outlines, underpainting with Mungyo's and some Faber-Castell softies, lights with Unisons, Fixative used 2 times.

abstract23
10-13-2013, 04:53 AM
I thought the last photo was a bit blurry, hence took another photo and attaching it here.

pastel65
10-13-2013, 07:09 PM
Great start. I do pastels as a hobby and wish I lived near you to run over some other papers to you to try. The rough side of canson tends to leave a texture. I understand some people use the smooth side. I now use a sanded paper and really like the way the pastels work on it. I do like to blend pastels but this is a personal preference. Try viewing some YouTube videos on pastels. Keep going. Pam:wave:

abstract23
10-14-2013, 02:50 AM
Hi Pam :wave:

hey thanks for your message. Yes I am gonna try the PastelMat soon (its in transit to me) and also the Fisher 400 which is similar to the Uart paper you have in the US.
Blending in pastels doesn't make so much sense to me because of the muddiness it creates and than one has to scumble over again (spending more pastels). I think pastels goes well in keeping with the concept of simultaneous contrast, whereas media like oil, acrylics, watercolour take blending better. Or perhaps I am wrong, because I have read pastel experts blend and still don't necessarily create mud. Guess this is where colour-theory comes in, plus loads of practice.
Anyway, am gonna try the exact same painting on an underpainted watercoloured paper today and see how that goes.

best wishes
Anoop

kentiessen
10-14-2013, 09:29 AM
Good control of values used and intensities of color! It is a process that is fun and challenging-

Along with other surfaces, you might also try the smoother side of Canson- the application is lighter, but easily worked (this is a real favorite of mine). Pastel is very sensitive in application- softness/hardness and sequence, surface, pressure, etc.

The full range of value could be used (more darks).

The center light shape (a lake?) dominates due to it's prominent location, and 'floats' like a cloud in the work- it might use more connection to the far bank, more description of it's surface, and more warms borrowed from the sky.

abstract23
10-14-2013, 10:00 AM
Thanks heaps Ken.
Yes very true, that 'lake' floats like a cloud due to its edges and value. How can I make it fit in its place? Did you mean scumbling with the warm pale creamish sky values and colours? Also, what would give it more description to its surface? Please take your time to answer, but it would really help to get some further help on this.

Yes I am going to try the backside of Canson as after your comment, I tried it and now feel that that's the kind of surface I will be happier to paint on.

kentiessen
10-14-2013, 11:17 AM
The far shore may be 'straighter' (a poor technical term) or have bits of trees/rocks breaking the contour. The value of the water will always be slightly lower than the sky and it's very slight texture should be perfectly flat. Find some foreground shapes (large preferably) to push more value into.

A side note: I've not liked Mungyo pastels (tested a student's set)- they seem too chalk-like and don't 'stick' as much as most.

abstract23
10-14-2013, 12:02 PM
The far shore may be 'straighter' (a poor technical term) or have bits of trees/rocks breaking the contour. The value of the water will always be slightly lower than the sky and it's very slight texture should be perfectly flat. Find some foreground shapes (large preferably) to push more value into.

A side note: I've not liked Mungyo pastels (tested a student's set)- they seem too chalk-like and don't 'stick' as much as most.

Wow, excellent suggestions Ken. Thanks! I will try those and am sure its gonna improve tremendously. I realise I often fall short in gradiations because I am scared of blending pastels thinking it always creates mud. Any tips there on blending?
True about Mungyo pastels, those I have have been sitting unused for many years now. I am just learning painting and hence using them. Once I feel I have the necessary skills for painting in correct values and transitions, I will get the big guns out :)

kentiessen
10-14-2013, 12:43 PM
Glad to be of help- fear not- get the big guns out now! At the beginning, you may blend with a finger to set your base color- from that point on, use the pastel flat and do some experimentation. No one will be hurt, I promise. Mud results more from your color choices than application.

abstract23
10-14-2013, 01:02 PM
Glad to be of help- fear not- get the big guns out now! At the beginning, you may blend with a finger to set your base color- from that point on, use the pastel flat and do some experimentation. No one will be hurt, I promise. Mud results more from your color choices than application.

Ok than, big guns booming soon :)
Did you mean when you said 'Mud results more from color choices ...' that it is the mixtures of all primaries, or a secondary and a primary that is the cause of mud? For eg. mixing alz.crimson with a green to create a particular gray. One can avoid mud in other media by adjusting quantities, but how does one avoid that in pastels during blending?

kentiessen
10-14-2013, 02:50 PM
Good! My understanding is that mud is more accurately the use of color that is not in a reasonable harmony temperature-wise with it's surroundings. Pastels do not mix easily (like aliz+green=gray) so if I need a gray, I will use gray. Direct choices will improve judgment, and color shifts can be accomplished by 'glazing' rather than 'mixing'.

abstract23
10-14-2013, 03:24 PM
Good! My understanding is that mud is more accurately the use of color that is not in a reasonable harmony temperature-wise with it's surroundings. Pastels do not mix easily (like aliz+green=gray) so if I need a gray, I will use gray. Direct choices will improve judgment, and color shifts can be accomplished by 'glazing' rather than 'mixing'.

As you mention using a gray pastel directly, that implies that one needs to have a great amount of grays to start with, and knowing how numerous the grays are in the market, one needs quite a budget to cover a wide spectrum of them just in case we need the particular gray that is needed while we are painting. Is that what really happens with those who are professionals in pastel painting? They must start out with a wide array of grays to cover all bases. No wonder I often see photos of a minimum of 200-250+ pastels when someone experienced clicks a photo of his/her pastel palette arrangement. Boggles my mind everytime. Whoever thought pastel painting was a cheap hobby! :)

kentiessen
10-14-2013, 11:23 PM
A neutral gray, or any color for that matter, can easily be shifted in hue by glazing color of a similar value over it, and an array of nice textures can also result from the combination(s). I regularily don't have the 'perfect' color at hand (at least the one that matches my thinking at the moment)- this minor element of chaos discourages formula and brings new combinations to my work- a good thing.

abstract23
10-15-2013, 02:02 AM
Now that is exactly the kind of an amazing tip (glazing a similar tone to achieve gray) that one needs at the learner's stage of ones painting life.

(Do you know of any one source, where one can obtain gold nuggets, like the one you gave, in one place? I think a book will be more like it, but something that doesn't give out too much gas & fluff like What are pastels? What is a torchon? Which artists were masters in pastels, etc. Instead, straight to the point, like a 101 of amazing tips and tricks)

Thanks heaps again for that tip Ken.

jackiesimmonds
10-15-2013, 03:31 AM
Since the tutorial was mine, here we go.

Firstly, I want to apologise for the poor printing of the book. The colours of the images in the book were a source of intense frustration to me, and a source of embarrassment too. I could do nothing about it once the book was published. I was never shown proofs. I was furious, to be honest, since the printer (probably in the far east) had the originals to work from, so there was no excuse for such BAD colour reproduction. .

Now you are privy to what goes on behind the scenes!

Having said that.........the original in the book does show rather more recession than your final piece, and that is because the viridian green you chose for the group of trees on the left, is virtually the same tone as the trees bordering the lake, while in my original, the group of trees is a slightly darker tone, as is the line of bushes at the "edge" of the hill, they are even darker, where the road drops down into the valley. To get a sense of distance, these changes in tone is what is needed.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Oct-2013/1805-lasc_adj_edited-1.jpg

If you want to read a bit of a treatise on the creation of "mud", can I recommend you view my blog? The entry before last tackles it, albeit it briefly. It IS to do with colour choices - if you blend complementary colours, you will get greys and browns, and if you do not want that, it is better perhaps to blend harmonious colours (side by side on the colour wheel). However, any blended areas of "neutrals" can then be "fixed",(I use Spectrafix, non toxic fixative) and you can then make smaller marks over the top, allowing the blended colours to peek through your marks. This is not a waste of pastel, it is a legitimate way to work with the pastels, used by likes of Degas and many others. Building up layers of interwoven interesting colour is what makes a pastel painting fascinating.

Please look more carefully at the original. You wll see that the lake is surrounded by trees in the front of it. But the blueish shape at the far side of the lake, even tho it is similar in tone to the tree line, is NOT another line of trees. It is, in fact, hillsides. The tree line on the near shore can be more carefully rendered, to show the filigree nature of trees, and their shapes, while the distant shore is more undulating in shape. And if you make it fractionally lighter too, it will recede even more. The tree line is painted with tiny, short strokes of pastel, while the distant hils are laid in very simply with less obvious mark-making.

I used the smooth side of Canson paper, which means that the uniform honeycomb effect is not so obvious.

despite the poor reproduction, I hope you enjoyed the process. The book is meant to be for total beginners, and is purely a starting point with a very simplistic approach to the images.

Please, please do read the text that goes with the pictures, there is useful and helpful info in there. At least the publishers could not muck that up!!!

Jackie

abstract23
10-15-2013, 04:10 AM
I was hoping and praying that this post catches your kind attention so that I can get even further help(besides what Pam and Ken had so kindly provided)
That mention about colour mixing you have written will help a lot.

I see that I have not being observing too closely about the green tones and hence the space is not created as much as shows in your painting lesson. Same about the blue areas around the lake.

I am going to start the painting fresh again and hopefully get those points that you(and Ken) have mentioned. Will post it here.

PS. I too use Spectrafix only, which was a recommendation I found in one of your posts. Thank god Jacksons stock Spectrafix.
Thanking You.


Since the tutorial was mine, here we go.

Firstly, I want to apologise for the poor printing of the book. The colours of the images in the book were a source of intense frustration to me, and a source of embarrassment too. I could do nothing about it once the book was published. I was never shown proofs. I was furious, to be honest, since the printer (probably in the far east) had the originals to work from, so there was no excuse for such BAD colour reproduction. .

Now you are privy to what goes on behind the scenes!

Having said that.........the original in the book does show rather more recession than your final piece, and that is because the viridian green you chose for the group of trees on the left, is virtually the same tone as the trees bordering the lake, while in my original, the group of trees is a slightly darker tone, as is the line of bushes at the "edge" of the hill, they are even darker, where the road drops down into the valley. To get a sense of distance, these changes in tone is what is needed.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Oct-2013/1805-lasc_adj_edited-1.jpg

If you want to read a bit of a treatise on the creation of "mud", can I recommend you view my blog? The entry before last tackles it, albeit it briefly. It IS to do with colour choices - if you blend complementary colours, you will get greys and browns, and if you do not want that, it is better perhaps to blend harmonious colours (side by side on the colour wheel). However, any blended areas of "neutrals" can then be "fixed",(I use Spectrafix, non toxic fixative) and you can then make smaller marks over the top, allowing the blended colours to peek through your marks. This is not a waste of pastel, it is a legitimate way to work with the pastels, used by likes of Degas and many others. Building up layers of interwoven interesting colour is what makes a pastel painting fascinating.

Please look more carefully at the original. You wll see that the lake is surrounded by trees in the front of it. But the blueish shape at the far side of the lake, even tho it is similar in tone to the tree line, is NOT another line of trees. It is, in fact, hillsides. The tree line on the near shore can be more carefully rendered, to show the filigree nature of trees, and their shapes, while the distant shore is more undulating in shape. And if you make it fractionally lighter too, it will recede even more. The tree line is painted with tiny, short strokes of pastel, while the distant hils are laid in very simply with less obvious mark-making.

I used the smooth side of Canson paper, which means that the uniform honeycomb effect is not so obvious.

despite the poor reproduction, I hope you enjoyed the process. The book is meant to be for total beginners, and is purely a starting point with a very simplistic approach to the images.

Please, please do read the text that goes with the pictures, there is useful and helpful info in there. At least the publishers could not muck that up!!!

Jackie

abstract23
10-15-2013, 04:42 AM
Hi Jackie, just been to your very informative post 'HOW TO AVOID MUD!' on your blog and really learnt, and revised, on colour mixing (besides the Ken Howard 'feast for the eyes' painting)
That post is so important that I want to creat a link here so that others who read this, can go directly there.
http://www.jackiesimmondsartyfacts.blogspot.se/2013/10/how-to-avoid-mud.html#links

abstract23
10-15-2013, 10:48 AM
Here I have redone the painting on watercolour paper (yellow background!)
I feel I am not able to get the right colour intensity as Jackie's, as her's is more subdued colours and mine is very saturated. Also the space still does not recede enough.

Ruthie57
10-15-2013, 03:19 PM
This one looks better! I think the reason you have not got the same recession is because your background hills are too dark in value, as well as being quite bright in hue. If you squint and compare the two you will see that the blue of the trees in front of, and the hills behind, the lake are a couple of steps darker than Jackie's. Also your lake does not lie flat, it curves upwards, very slightly, on the right.
The reason I think you have lost the sense of depth in the middle ground is because the curve of your path is steeper and does not curve round so far. See in Jackie's how the length of that path gives the impression of distance, even though the colour and values don't appear to change much as one goes further back in that area.
I remember the words of a good teacher. Don't think of your painting in terms of "bottom to top", think of it as "front to back". That is the way to make a painting which the viewer feels they can walk right into!
Keep going. This is a great way to learn!

abstract23
10-15-2013, 03:40 PM
Yes that's true, I need to bring down the value of the area around the lake a few notches and also work on the curve of the road as Jackie's seem to keep going quite a distance. Will get back after those are corrected. Thanks Ruth.
PS: I am struggling with the sorting of my pastels(how they are arranged before I pick them up) according to their values and hence some areas, like that around the lake, get their values painted incorrectly.

This one looks better! I think the reason you have not got the same recession is because your background hills are too dark in value, as well as being quite bright in hue. If you squint and compare the two you will see that the blue of the trees in front of, and the hills behind, the lake are a couple of steps darker than Jackie's. Also your lake does not lie flat, it curves upwards, very slightly, on the right.
The reason I think you have lost the sense of depth in the middle ground is because the curve of your path is steeper and does not curve round so far. See in Jackie's how the length of that path gives the impression of distance, even though the colour and values don't appear to change much as one goes further back in that area.
I remember the words of a good teacher. Don't think of your painting in terms of "bottom to top", think of it as "front to back". That is the way to make a painting which the viewer feels they can walk right into!
Keep going. This is a great way to learn!

jackiesimmonds
10-16-2013, 05:13 AM
One way to help yourself "see" tones a little better is to convert your image into black and white, and compare with whatever you are working from.

Here is your current image, and underneath it is mine:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Oct-2013/1805-lake_bw.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Oct-2013/1805-lasc_adj_edited-2.jpg

It is really easy to get tones wrong when you are sitting in front of a landscape itself, but when you have the image in front of you, you really have to be quite strict with yourself to copy as accurately as you can. I seem to think you said something earlier on about making a few changes to suit your own ideas........this is NOT a good idea. The reason is that you are not ready to add your own interpretation of colour and tone - you still have a long way to go in terms of filling up your knowledge bank. This takes time, and is the reason you are probably struggling to find out how to sort out your pastels - it takes time to be able to interpret colour into the right tone department, your eye has to be "exercised" to recognise instantly where something might fit in a tonal scale.

My image was painted on an orangey coloured paper which has a tone value of its own, which has been allowed to play a part in the picture. I also used soft grey-greens - it is possible you do not have any of these. Also a problem.

As for the "drawing" - you could have traced my picture quite easily, then the sizes of the individual elements of the image would be right. See how you have distorted the shape of the clump of trees on the left? It looks like one large lollipop tree.

I have a suggestion for you regarding the tone/colour issue.

Please take a look at this post, and I recommend you to try the exercise: http://jackiesimmondsartyfacts.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/tone-of-colour.html

Then, try it with your own sticks. I suggest you make marks (little patches) with all your colours in a row or two, ideally putting them down in a sequence, from light to dark. If you have too many, or not enough patience, then just choose, say, 20 sticks, any colours, light, mid tone, dark, a good mix. Alongside each colour make a matching patch of grey, of the right tone, using a soft pencil. Similarly to the way I worked in the exercise on my blog. Squint as you work. Start lightly, and darken gradually until you think you have hit the right tone. The squinting will help.

THEN, Photocopy your results, or photograph the results, and convert to black and white on your computer. This will show you how well you managed the exercise. You will soon discover where you need more practice at spotting the right tone.

You will also quickly discover where the gaps are in your pastel set. You may not have enough mid-toned pastels to create a good range. This could be your biggest issue.

abstract23
10-16-2013, 06:56 AM
Yes lots of tonal value exercises are needed for me is dearly required. I am off to working on those exercises you have kindly suggested. Thanks Jackie.


One way to help yourself "see" tones a little better is to convert your image into black and white, and compare with whatever you are working from.

Here is your current image, and underneath it is mine:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Oct-2013/1805-lake_bw.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Oct-2013/1805-lasc_adj_edited-2.jpg

It is really easy to get tones wrong when you are sitting in front of a landscape itself, but when you have the image in front of you, you really have to be quite strict with yourself to copy as accurately as you can. I seem to think you said something earlier on about making a few changes to suit your own ideas........this is NOT a good idea. The reason is that you are not ready to add your own interpretation of colour and tone - you still have a long way to go in terms of filling up your knowledge bank. This takes time, and is the reason you are probably struggling to find out how to sort out your pastels - it takes time to be able to interpret colour into the right tone department, your eye has to be "exercised" to recognise instantly where something might fit in a tonal scale.

My image was painted on an orangey coloured paper which has a tone value of its own, which has been allowed to play a part in the picture. I also used soft grey-greens - it is possible you do not have any of these. Also a problem.

As for the "drawing" - you could have traced my picture quite easily, then the sizes of the individual elements of the image would be right. See how you have distorted the shape of the clump of trees on the left? It looks like one large lollipop tree.

I have a suggestion for you regarding the tone/colour issue.

Please take a look at this post, and I recommend you to try the exercise: http://jackiesimmondsartyfacts.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/tone-of-colour.html

Then, try it with your own sticks. I suggest you make marks (little patches) with all your colours in a row or two, ideally putting them down in a sequence, from light to dark. If you have too many, or not enough patience, then just choose, say, 20 sticks, any colours, light, mid tone, dark, a good mix. Alongside each colour make a matching patch of grey, of the right tone, using a soft pencil. Similarly to the way I worked in the exercise on my blog. Squint as you work. Start lightly, and darken gradually until you think you have hit the right tone. The squinting will help.

THEN, Photocopy your results, or photograph the results, and convert to black and white on your computer. This will show you how well you managed the exercise. You will soon discover where you need more practice at spotting the right tone.

You will also quickly discover where the gaps are in your pastel set. You may not have enough mid-toned pastels to create a good range. This could be your biggest issue.