View Full Version : Who else remembers their first time?

10-19-2003, 12:58 PM
A few threads back, someone posted their very first pastel. As it takes courage to share one's first attempts at anything, I thought it might be a nice idea if the rest of us could post our own first pastel paintings/drawings. Then I figured, why not also post a recent work you're proud of, which shows how much progress you've made?

I did this with cheap Inscribe pastels on plain white copier paper back in 1991. It's very loosely based on a photo (wasn't aiming for realism ... couldn't have achieved it back then!!)


I loved the smudgeability of pastels but found them awfully messy and didn't really know what I was doing with them, the upshot being that I didn't touch another pastel stick until February 2003!!

Here's a landscape I painted last month. Another French scene. This time round I wasn't using copier paper :)


Would love to see other people's firsts and latests :)

Mary Robinson
10-19-2003, 01:06 PM
This is my very first pastel, my very first attempt at color also...


Except for the time when I was 8 and 'borrowed' my father's oil paints. :D

And my latest attempt is under Cloud-Seascape WIP

Thanks EJ, this is a nice thread...

10-19-2003, 01:17 PM
Had to go back and find this....July 25, 2000, my first pastel over a bad watercolor!


and this was my first "real pastels" painted plein air - July 26,2000. Pomegranates outdoors in sunlight!


One of the most recent ones....a study of fall color in North Georgia. Afternoon...gray, cloudy day...plein air.


10-19-2003, 02:24 PM
Aka, that's a very accomplished first pastel but if you were borrowing oil paints from the age of 8, no wonder you're so good! :)

Carly, I see you did trees too :D Those autumnal colours are beautiful ... it's a more limited palette than I'm used to seeing in your work, but no less pretty for that.

10-19-2003, 03:26 PM
.... sorry.... deleting.... that went through twice :p :D

10-19-2003, 03:28 PM
Nice idea EJ....... shame you have only just started portraits.... we could have done a similiar one....... maybe next year :)

.... Ok, my first was about 8 years ago..... did 3 .......


....... never touched them again, until last year, once kids had grown and had more time...... after a holiday in Spain, took a pic of this village with the intention of painting it...... on looking for local art classes on the net.... stumbled into WC..... the rest as they say........ is........ History ;) ..... so this was my very first posting to WC ...... and I never did find any local art classes


One achievement to date...... 'Greens' :D :evil:


10-19-2003, 07:25 PM
Good thread E-J... will have to do a search tomorrow for you.

It's great to see how everyone has progressed, with some in a short while, while for me it took a little longer I'm afraid.


10-19-2003, 08:52 PM
Here's a landscape I painted last month. Another French scene. This time round I wasn't using copier paper

E-J - I absolutely adore this painting!

You have come up with a great idea here, but I will really have to dig deep for my earliest attempts (possibly 20 years ago!).


Kathryn Wilson
10-19-2003, 09:01 PM
Great thread - wonderful progress for everyone!

This one is one of my very first - and still unfinished - I take it out and ponder on it every once in awhile - then I thought the other day about adding a Carolina Wren -


This one is my most recent and just added it to Mo's Water Project:


10-19-2003, 09:25 PM
This is one of my first. It is a portrait of my Father. A more recent painting if of the RI Shore.


10-19-2003, 09:27 PM
This is a more recent of the Rhode Island Shore.


10-20-2003, 03:12 AM
Thanks all for posting your pics! I hope lots more pastel people will share.

Dawn, funny to see that you started out with landscapes ... no hint back then of portraits or still lifes! Just like me when I first started painting ... holiday photos had a lot to answer for :D Yours are terrific for early attempts but your recent one is so zingy it just leaps off the screen at me. Your recent portrait thread showing the progress you've made over the last year was really cool, too.

Kat, your water painting is GORGEOUS. As to the berries, I don't know what a Carolina Wren might be so won't even begin to advise on whether you should put one in there! :) Can see how your skill and confidence in this medium have grown.

Claude ... your shorescape is good but so is that portrait, for a first! It does look as if you're much more assured (ashored? LOL) in your use of colours now. How long have you been pastelling?

Mo and cj, look forward to seeing what you produce after a good rummage :D

10-20-2003, 12:00 PM
OK, it looks as if everyone here was just TOO GOOD when they started out so I thought we needed to lower the standards a little :)

This is the very first pastel I attempted from life and was my first 'weekly sketch', posted on 17 Feb of this year ...


... and here's the still life I'm most proud of, done three months (and many sketches) later:


Come on you lot, get yours out :D

Mary Robinson
10-20-2003, 01:17 PM
As far as my first pastel goes, I was living in Germany, my german was so bad that I was not able to work at the time, so I took a drawing class. The teacher was from Greece, and he decided I should be doing nothing but portraits, so most of my class was spent doing people. In pencil though, not in color of any kind. So I did have a background in people. I think personally I just got very lucky with my first piece. I had ordered my paper and pastels from Dick Blick because they would deliver to an APO box and off I went. But being as stubborn as I am, I refuse to limit myself to just one subject. My very first landscape/seascape painting, however, was atrocious. I painted the moon in front of the clouds and spent three weeks staring at it trying to figure out what was wrong with it. :D And no you will never see it, it is long since gone, I lost it in one of my many moves...:evil: I can't say I'm particularly proud of any one piece of work, I think what I'm most proud of is what I have learned through the last 8 years in terms of painting and how I've watched myself improve and grow. I started with pencil then pastels, then tried watercolors, then oils and acrylics, then colored pencil and back to pastels where I feel most comfortable. And from the pieces that you've shared, EJ, I can see the talent was always there, but it takes time to develop your own style, you should be proud of yourself, also, you done that wonderfully well. Your work is rich and vibrant.

10-20-2003, 01:55 PM
Yes, I remember my first time too.... love the subject heading. Lol....

This was my first attempt at a portrait in Pastel on MiTientes paper. I was nervous about coloring it because I felt I had done so well on the portrait.

10-20-2003, 01:56 PM
I wanted to show what I was doing now, but I'm still trying to figure out how to just point to a picture. Here's my resent of my nephew.

10-20-2003, 02:05 PM
Oh, thanks Vanessa for sharing your stuff! In fact I think you made a splendid job of that background.

Katherine J
10-20-2003, 02:15 PM
What a great thread, E-J. I just love seeing how people progress and improve. These pics are wonderful - so much advancement by everyone and in short time periods. Unfortunately, I don't know which was my first and I've destroyed so many from those early pics. Also, don't have digital, so it would be hard to join in on time . But I love looking. I've been using my 6-year-old life drawings as fire starters and enjoy seeing my own improvement in that area.


10-20-2003, 02:21 PM
This is a great idea. It's wonderful to see how everyone has changed. Here is my first, done about four years ago. And my more recent one which one Best of Show in the Spring.

10-20-2003, 02:23 PM
Here is my more recent one.

10-20-2003, 03:43 PM
Well, since everyone else has been brave enough, here's mine! :o My first pastel ever (done about a year-and-a-half ago):
And my most recently finished piece:

Still alot of room for improvement, but steadily going forward!

Kathryn Wilson
10-20-2003, 04:11 PM
Wow - rwhale - huge improvement.

I guess we might ask what everyone thinks has been the biggest help towards getting from there to here??

For me, it's been Wet Canvas and all the terrific help and encouragement I have gotten from everyone and the time to paint a few hours every day.

:clap: :clap: :clap:

10-20-2003, 04:18 PM
not much improvment


Dan, hope you don't mind that I added the image to your post!

10-20-2003, 04:46 PM
ummm... My first was that cougar- but, see, I was using pastel the same way I would watercolour, not to mention I made sure my drawing was *very* correct, first.

I've always been able to draw, but never had what is called "formal art training", not to mention I did have far too many children and not enough time or money to do much more than draw with graphite or pen and ink (believe me, when your kids get hold of your Faber-Castel drafting pens, child abuse is the hard option to forego). Then, just about the time everyone left home, I got injured, and I'd lost a great deal of fine motor skill and strength in my right arm/hand- so I first had to teach myself to draw all over again. My foray into pastel came about because the watercolours I did were highly detailed- more like watercolour illustration- one or two objects perfectly rendered- mostly botanicals- and my hands would absolutely not do that anymore. With the cougar, I lucked out- and a few other pieces, too; but as I explore the medium, I'm finding I have never learned the techniques used by most of the folks here- and that is where I seek improvement.

It bothers me to paint "loose"- all I see is a mess. It bothers me to paint something that is not there- which I cannot *see*. I've a dear friend who attended Columbia Fine Art School- his work makes me gasp- and the way he puts together his scenes may be the way I have to go: He finds the costumes, the props, the people, and takes pictures of everything and then uses all of those pics as reference. For one painting, he quite literally climbed in the tub, turned the shower on, and clung to the side of the tub dripping wet to get the proper image of a man clinging to a spar in a stormy ocean. (Well, like so many really great artsits, he's a little bit depressed. Okay- a lot depressed. Okay- most conversations with him are pretty much like visiting your mother in law in the midst of her passing a kidney stone).

So now I keep my eye out for pics of things to use in paintings. And don't tell me to try plein aire- Ha!! I live on the wet side of Washington State- the State Flower here is mold. It rains here. (Although, come to think of it, all I'd need is a coupla grays and voila`! I'd have an accurate landscape...!)

But thank you all for the many things I am learning- it's wonderful to see and watch and learn.

10-20-2003, 04:53 PM
Val and Roger, WOW. Both of you have made great strides in developing your pastel skills since those first pictures.

Dan, thanks for posting! It's fascinating to see how artists have found their own distinctive style over time. Maybe by the time another 28 years is up I'll be able to say I've found mine :D

Kat, getting 'here' from 'there' ... good point ... the things that have been invaluable to me this year are: (re)discovering pastels; finding this forum and being encouraged (ok, PUSHED by Dawn and Sunny :)) into taking part in the weekly sketch thread and pastelling almost every day; and having a dedicated corner of the house in which to paint.

10-20-2003, 07:29 PM
It's great to see the work of everyone....I see a lot of improvement...but not only that, there is also a lot of style coming thru more recent artwork also!

Someone ask...what has been a strong influence? I would say it's "not settling for where I'm at". I want to move forward all the time with my art, no matter the medium. I'm always asking for tips, for critique, finding a new workshop or new instructor, any thing to pressure myself into learning more!


Craig Houghton
10-20-2003, 09:37 PM
I used to do little 'chalk drawings' in one quick burst without stopping or thinking and without a reference. I must have done fifty. None of them had a ref, and none of them started out as anything. I would just draw random lines until I noticed a trend, and then I'd add a line here or there to make it into something.

Here's something I did back before I knew what pastels even were. I called them 'these colored chalk things I found at the bookstore.'

about 10 minutes

the moon tossed in the rhine - alphacolor on sketch paper

and, a recent evening single-session sit-down, but I forget how long

merlot - soft pastels (the good stuff really) on colourfix primed paper

One thing has stayed the same: I dislike working on anything for longer than one sitting -- it's rare that I do.

Now though, I think a bit more first (sometimes even during ;) ).

Great thread,

10-20-2003, 11:06 PM
Thanks E-J and Kat for the Wows! :D It's always good to look back at where we've been, and realize that we are making strides in the right direction. As for what has been the biggest help for me, it's a tough call...I've learned alot of great lessons from everyone here at WC, my wife and family have been very supportive of my addiction;) , and like Carly, I always want to improve and learn. The hardest part for me is developing patience!


10-20-2003, 11:47 PM
I have been painting on and off since the 80's. Started in oils then moved on to acrylics, watercolor, colored pencils and now my favorite is pastels. I have been doing more now since I retired this past January. I really have to say WC sure has inspired me and got me motivated! You are all so encouraging and right there with helpful suggestions. Thank you all.

Happy pasteling

:clap: :clap: :clap:

max nelson
10-21-2003, 01:39 AM
First one (and not many since) was a copy of a Degas that I very much admired. The reference image was a small postcard that I received, so colors may not be very true. I purchased a small box of half sticks and did a copy. This was many moons ago and the colors are still fresh looking.


This is on a full sheet of rather thin pastel paper.

10-21-2003, 08:52 AM
Craig ... my jaw just dropped ... LOL... your style has changed somewhat!! Wow.

Max, that's a lovely Degas copy. Beautiful strokes.

Claude, your journey through painting media is the mirror image of my own, since I started with coloured pencils before moving on to watercolor, then acrylics and then trying oils ... how funny that after all that, we should both end up using pastels :D

10-21-2003, 10:12 AM
What a wonderful thread. Everyone's progress is amazing and it is great that everyone is willing to share! Make me think that there is hope for me yet!

I started working in pastel in 1997... I think (if you must know I have a bit of a memory problem :p). This is my first attempt with pastel. It is a copy of a reference photo that I was given when I was taking a class at a local art school (most of the teaching consisted of the students copying pictures... no structured classroom time... does that account for my lack of knowledge?) Any who.... the first


And my latest (still unfinished but... )


I'm learning ... copying a picture is not the object, but is the subject and is open to interpretation... whew... thick headed.... :rolleyes:

10-21-2003, 10:52 AM
Can't wait to see what I still have on record - most of my stuff was tossed away as I thought I got better. hmmm...

back later.


10-21-2003, 07:17 PM
This is a great thread! Amazing progress has been made!
I got soft pastels as a kid but don't have any examples around here, so I'll use oil pastels.
My first oil pastel was for a Drawing Event shortly after I joined WC. It's 9x12 cheapo o.p.s on cheapo construction paper. 1 hr
My most recent was also for a Drawing Event on this past weekend.
2 hrs 8x10 Her parents want to buy it.

Influences and inspirations? WetCanvas in general and the Pastel Forum members in particular. I had an "epiphany" while reading one of Carly's posts that was a particular turning point, and I've learned a BUNCH from Jackie.
As I've heard so many of you say, I was returning to the making of art after some years (decades) and was looking for online courses but found WC instead.

10-21-2003, 09:09 PM
Well I finally located some of my earliest work. Considering I have had in excess of 30 different addresses in my life time, I'm surprised I was actually able to find these.
From my earliest beginnings of drawing horses in the dirt as a small child I went on to fill most of my school books with pencil drawings (all the way through Uni as well . :) )

My first oil pastel - 13 yrs old


I bought my first set of 72 Holbien soft pastels some 14 years later and took a night class. I still have that set of pastels, some sticks have not even been touched, and they have been through some real extremes of temp, humidity - from the wet tropics of north Queensland to the -20 degrees snow in Sweden. (no I don't have shares in Holbien.....)

27 yrs old


Then career, travel, marriage and family took over. I finally took up pastels again last year, and this little portrait of my son was my first attempt and made a big impression on me. Even though I can now see things I could improve in the pic, I'm not going to touch it.

11 yrs further on - 18 mths ago


Influences? My mother was studying art by correspondence when she was killed at age 27 in a tragic accident. I guess I keep drawing for her, or because of her. She keeps me going :)
Most recently WetCanvas! has been my biggest motivational and educational source - I've certainly been pushed to try things I possibly would not have attempted plodding on by myself.


10-21-2003, 09:50 PM
Hey everyone... I am a newbie when it comes to pastels. In fact I have only done these two pieces period. Both are covers of two of my favorite works of art. I decided to do cover work as practice because I know so little about color... I usually work in charcoals and graphite. The practice has been good for me and I am enjoying the pastel chalks very much. I always wanted to be a painter but must confess it's a struggle... so I decided to try pastels and wonder why did I ever wait till now! Love 'em! Hope to share more with you soon.

My First Pastel... "Seated Nude" after Modigliani
8x10 gessoed masonite with the Trip Technique / pastel chalks / 1 hour / 9-17-03 / after "Seated Nude" by Amedeo Modigliani

My second (and most recent)... "Woman Combing Her Hair" after Degas
16x20 masonite prepared with 50/50 gessoe-water / pastel chalks / "Woman combing her hair" after Degas / 4 hours / 9-27-03

10-22-2003, 03:12 AM
Wendy, how cool that the parents are buying your pic. It's so vibrant! It's lovely to see where you started out with the oilies ... it's easy to forget that people haven't always been using the medium we think of as 'theirs'.

Rosic, so pastels have ensnared yet another victim!! It's a treat to find you here as I've loved your charcoal and graphite works. When you do another pastel, post it in a new thread and you will get a warm welcome and stacks of support and advice. I like the warms & cools in your Modigliani, and that intriguing background texture ... what's the 'Trip Technique'?

cj, I can see that the passion was always there with you ... your work is beautiful.

Mikki Petersen
10-22-2003, 03:49 AM
WOW! Some of you began with greatness and others of you have evidently cultivated it along the way but there is a great deal of growth depicted here.

My first pastel was 40 years ago and I thought I was pretty hot stuff back then (at 15). I dabbled with them for another few years until I got my first set of Oil paints. Then, when I found I was allergic to the oils, I just quit all together.

Last year, after a 30 year lapse, I came across an old broken up set of Rembrandts and decided to play with them. Like Dawn said, the rest is history and all of it chronicled here on the WC threads.

I, too, found WC! while searching for art instruction on the web. I sincerely doubt I would have continued to paint if not for the encouragement and support of all the lovely folks here, especially Dawn, Mo, Redsy, Jackie, lseiler over on the Landscapes forum.

Someone mentioned having time to paint every day which I feel is essential to growth and someone said having a space devoted to painting contributed. As most of you know, at the end of July, I moved from a large home with studio to a small cottage with no space to spare. I have not done a single painting since the move because I don't even have space to unpack my supplies until my studio is built. I miss painting daily in an awful way and suspect when the foul weather sets in I will be taking over the kitchen table and we'll be eating on tea trays, LOL! I fear I will be starting oveer again from the beginning when I pick up again.

Paint on you mighty artists! You deserve to pat yourselves on the back (especially Dawn who has done that amazing GREEN landscape!).

10-22-2003, 06:28 AM
Hi ...I only started soft pastels a couple weeks ago now....but I did try oil pastels about 3 years ago...hmmm...welll....they are still in there box LOL

10-22-2003, 06:31 AM
and here is the eggs a friend in another group got me to try to fix my skintones for the nude I was doing

10-22-2003, 06:35 AM
Sorry...have the directions right beside me but still cant get it all on one page....can some one do it for me and condence me down to one post :confused:

10-22-2003, 11:09 AM
Some 6 or 7 years ago, on a full sheet Canson Mi-Teintes:

On my table rigth now:
Almost finished...


10-22-2003, 01:22 PM
Originally posted by E-J
Rosic, so pastels have ensnared yet another victim!! It's a treat to find you here as I've loved your charcoal and graphite works. When you do another pastel, post it in a new thread and you will get a warm welcome and stacks of support and advice.

E-J... Thanks for the kind words. You are quite right about another "victim"... look forward to making some friends here and learning heaps from you all.

Originally posted by E-J

I like the warms & cools in your Modigliani, and that intriguing background texture ... what's the 'Trip Technique'?

The Trip Technique refereed to was given to me by WC's Triptych as a way to prepare a surface for charcoal and/or pastel. It is simply a mixture of 50% acrylic gessoe and 50% water painted on a surface. He recommended brown paper but I used smooth masonite since I have so much of it. I simply brush it on (usually one coat) with various directional strokes. I even leave the air bubbles in it to create a neat texture. Even with my little experience I have found it very satisfactory to work on. I recommend it to anyone... real inexpensive to try.

Here is a detailed shot that shows a little more of the texture.

Here is the an example of prepared masonite with the Trip Recipe (as I have come to call it).


Katherine J
10-23-2003, 09:13 PM
Managed to find one of my very first pastels done around 1987. After that I never touched them again until 2000. The blue is actually the paper. As for the recent still life, Lamplight, I'm again disappointed in the colour but don't have Photoshop and can't work the program I have. It's so much better in real life! For one thing, the little brass box doesn't show up at all well. Complain, complain (that's the polite version!).




10-23-2003, 09:42 PM
Originally posted by Katherine J
Managed to find one of my very first pastels done around 1987. After that I never touched them again until 2000. The blue is actually the paper. As for the recent still life, Lamplight, I'm again disappointed in the colour but don't have Photoshop and can't work the program I have. It's so much better in real life! For one thing, the little brass box doesn't show up at all well. Complain, complain (that's the polite version!).


Well I think they both look really nice :clap:

Mikki Petersen
10-23-2003, 11:16 PM
Katherine, all three are lovely. You do such happy colorful paintings!

Marc Sabatella
10-24-2003, 01:44 AM
It's been fun to see some of these posts!

Here is one of my very first pastel paintings - not counting little sketches of my hand, etc. I think I had also done a view of my living room and my back yard before this, but this is my first time taking my pastels in the field and trying to complete a painting.


That was in spring of 2000, just before I started studying with Doug Dawson at the Art Students League of Denver. Within a year, the improvement was pretty striking; mostly, since then, I'd say it's more a matter of getting more consistent. Here is a recent pastel I rather like (also plein aire):


Mikki Petersen
10-24-2003, 03:56 AM
Marc, that's some large improvement! You had good colors going on in the early painting but the recent one is a beauty.

10-24-2003, 04:22 AM
Anne, very brave of you to work on a full sheet in your early days as a pastellist, and a great, colourful scene.

Katherine, it's a thrill to see such accomplished pastellists as you and Dan sharing your early work here ... thank you! The recent piece is stunning! The glow of that lamp ... just yummy.

Marc, yep, that's a striking difference all right ... in your draughtsmanship as well as your familiarity with the medium.

10-24-2003, 12:01 PM
I hesitated entering anything here because of not knowing how far I'd have to dig through my closet and not knowing exactly what I'd find.

I thought I'd provide some context:

I took drawing classes first which helped me ease into pastels a whole lot simpler and then took a pastel class that helped me understand the medium.

Step 1:
portrait drawing class - first figure. 1997

first colored pencil figure 1997


first pastel class 1999


yesterday's piece (mind you I've totally concentrated on figures - my landscapes are still primitive but I know it's only because I don't PRACTICE!!!


How has WC helped me in all of this....

I learn from each and every critique whether it's my painting or not.
I learn by getting over the fear of posting my own work and putting it out there to learn from.
I learn by painting every day and being able to post with WC for encouragement and support.

It's a good thing.


10-24-2003, 12:06 PM
I was prepared to write a long comment on works by others who had posted and I realized this posting was more about what I need to learn from myself and not commenting.

I see all different levels and I see such strong development of different things - from skill level to looseness to color development to subject matter changes. It's refreshing for me to be reminded that I can grow and it's even more exciting to know my work will change a whole lot more in the future.

Isn't that exciting? and humbling!


10-24-2003, 12:12 PM
Hear Hear, Barb!
Love that last piece...a real winner.

Katherine J
10-24-2003, 01:11 PM
Thanks for your nice comments Mikki and E-J. I'm with Barb though - what she so accurately described is just how I feel about looking at and learning from these paintings. It is SOOO great to see how we can all progress and grow.

I have to say too that one of my pastel mentors was Rita Monaco who used to post a lot here but is now more into oils and posts in still life and landscape - still an active WCer. I took a couple of workshops from her.


10-24-2003, 04:16 PM
What a great thread this is! Now for my embarrassing moment - to show what no-one else has seen before...my first go at using pastel. I did this in 1996. Absolutely hated pastels and vowed never to touch the 'stupid' things again...
My next go at them was with a totally different teacher (whom I still go to), back in August 2001, and he told me that pastel was my medium. This one I'm leaving to my brother 'cos he always called me an Orangutan!
This next one was my first ever pastel portrait - again 2001. My son was then 10 and I seemed to make him look much older. I primed a piece of copy paper with art spectrum pastel stuff.
Now here is where I am at...this is my first flower painting and with expert help from you folk too.
I like painting the portraits...considering I never liked 'people' much back in those days....oh how we change! ;)

10-24-2003, 05:17 PM
After reading the whole thread thru I gotta say that I too surfed in while looking for instruction on the net. And boy did I receive what I wanted and more! This site is so well-rounded with stuff to do and show, images to paint that you don't have to pay for -esp. if you can't get overseas, and the friendliness and strong support. We receive some sweet back-slapping and encouragement and great critique from fresh eyes. (esp. after we stare at the same thing for so long that it starts to look right - and it's not!) How can we not grow?
Thanks everyone!

10-24-2003, 08:42 PM


10-24-2003, 09:22 PM
Originally posted by E-J
A few threads back, someone posted their very first pastel. As it takes courage to share one's first attempts at anything, I thought it might be a nice idea if the rest of us could post our own first pastel paintings/drawings. ........I did this with cheap Inscribe pastels on plain white copier paper back in 1991. ..........
Here's a landscape I painted last month. Another French scene. This time round I wasn't using copier paper :).

EJ, what a great thread idea! Well this goes to show what a difference good paper can make. <KIDDING> You have improved soooo much! All that practice and hard work has paid you big dividends. Congratulations! :clap: :clap: :clap:


10-25-2003, 11:49 AM
Jamie ... LOL :) Thank you!

Carol and Barb, you have both become masters of what you do: Barb working from life, Carol from her reference material ... it's fascinating to see your beginnings. Isn't it funny how so many of us tried and ditched pastels but somehow came back to them in the end!

04-04-2004, 05:42 AM
Still shamelessly plugging a thread I started last year :)

There is some really inspiring stuff in here for new members of the Pastel forum. Thought I would bump this up again so it will be seen!

04-04-2004, 02:01 PM
Hi all,

I realize that this is an old thread, but seeing as I have just joined this group, it is new to me :) !

I lost most of my artwork I did as a teenager due to a fire, and because of that fire I had stopped doing artwork for over 10 years up until 2001. This piece is my first attempt at pastel (and I am talking cheap Walmart pastels) on regular paper of a Staffordshire Terrier. My newest piece was done a few days ago of a second attempt of a Staffordshire Terrier since the first one. I think there has been a lot progress in these past 3 years.

Kitty Wallis
06-18-2004, 11:17 PM
I had the idea of showing how my work had changed since the first ones and asking others to do the same.

Carly found this thread and suggested we could continue this and at the same time see what people had posted back in '03 :)

I'm for it. I'm off to get my stuff ready, go ahead and post yours as well.

06-19-2004, 01:46 PM
Thanks Kitty for pulling this one back up! I know we have a lot of newbies to the forum since last winter and we'd all love to see those first attempts and where you're at now with you pastels!! I had fun just seeing my 'firsts' again!

Deborah Secor
06-20-2004, 04:55 PM
I'm going to have to go in search of the old stuff...and shoot digitals, since all I have are slides. This has been an interesting journey, if only from last year. Where are some of these folks? I guess people come and go!

I'll see what I can do, but I look forward to seeing what you show, Kitty!


06-21-2004, 04:58 AM
what a great thread! Cannot wait to see more. The progress that everybody made is so great to see!
I would not have a clue where my first pastel is, or what is was. I have drawn all my life and still have a box of drawings from my years as a child and from school. I might dig in it for a while - see what I find. I worked with pastels as a teenager, then nothing in art school and then no painting or drawing AT ALL ( :crying: ) for about ten years while in uni. When starting again, my mother still had some VERY OLD Rembrandt pastels that I used when I was 15.....aaah.......

06-21-2004, 08:18 PM
Alrighty, then. Amazingly enough, I DID manage to find one of the few ancient "first" pastels....this had to have been around 1982 or so. It's a quick sketch I did when we were oil painting plein air back then....Cheyenne Canyon just west of town on (ACK!) 9X12 Canson with NuPastels (ACK again!).

This really does bring back the memories of how the canyon looked! Might try using this to do a new one someday...

K Taylor-Green
06-21-2004, 08:40 PM
I posted my first pastel in a seperate thread not very long ago, but I am not adverse to posting him again!! After using several wet mediums for quite a few years, I tried pastels, almost two years ago. This horse was painted in the winter of 2002. Hooked me on pastel for life! :D

Sooz, definitly good for a first. Specially on Canson. I agree with the ACK! I just don't like the stuff! I like Nupastels, though. I use them for detail work, like manes and tails!!

06-24-2004, 04:07 AM
Splendid works, Amber and Kate, and way too accomplished for first pastels - not fair :)

Can't wait to see some of Deborah and Kitty's older stuff!

Ruth Grinstead
06-26-2004, 02:23 AM
Hi Guys

I hope it is OK to join in. I got some unison soft pastels on Thursday. Paper is rough surface watercolour so I painted it first because I didn't want white. I haven't blended as it is supposed to be impressionistic. So it is first pastel and most recent for now. I scanned it and so it got smudged in places.



06-26-2004, 10:22 AM
Ruth, of course you're most welcome to join in and post your work! This is quite impressive for a "first"! Have you found the threads here on underpainting and surfaces? Some really good information for beginning pastellists in the archives!

You've obviously got great drawing ability and a style of your own, as well. I like the directional stroke technique you've used, too. The nice thing about pastels, too, is that if it gets a smudge, it's relatively easy to fix, unlike watercolors, etc. And for impressionistic work, blending with another color over the base one works very well without looking too smoothe like real blending with fingers or stumps. Don't be afraid to pile it on as long as your paper can accept it, and if you don't like the effect, just brush it off in those areas and try again. Also, for ready-colored grounds, you might want to try Canson Mi-Tientes or Art Spectrum Colourfix paper (the former being very inexpensive but a sort of "standard" for pastels and the later being a special, "sanded" surface especially made for pastels but a bit more expensive).

I'm not a portrait expert, but I'm sure folks here who specialize in that will be happy to help. We have some really talented and accomplished people here in just about any subject matter you can imagine!

So, welcome to the Pastel Forum! You'll love it here!

PS--I've got a good friend living in Norwich! She's sent me lots of info about the town and next time I visit England I'm definitely going to add Norwich to my itinerary...sounds like a fascinating place!

PSS--I'm going to alert the guides to copy your message into a thread of it's own over in the Pastel Studio area so that more people can will see it. I'm afraid it might get "buried" in this one and too many might miss it!

06-26-2004, 12:57 PM
This is my first pastel though i have only done two...i just wanted to see how mine compared to everyone elses. :D


06-27-2004, 09:32 PM
Looks as good or better than mine, that's for sure! Thanks for sharing your firsties!

10-05-2005, 08:50 AM
Okay, after starting a similar thread of my own I had this older one brought to my attention. What a wonderful thread it is! I decided it needed reviving as it would be a shame to waste this wonderful repository of people's early efforts, so after another year's break here it is again. :)

Of course some of the "before" pictures are pretty darn impressive to me! Lovely work, and all show incredible talent, but the after pictures also show that talent alone is not enough, but work and dedication too.

I was encouraged by the wonderful wine glass and bottle done by Craig, and his comment that: "I dislike working on anything for longer than one sitting - it's rare that I do." It made me feel less worried about being a "speedy" painter.

I want to thank everyone in WC for their help and friendliness. I think WC has been the biggest influence I can think of in my new life as a developing artist. I read all sort of threads about topics I still struggle with, like composition. I look at other work, I get plenty of practice with the WDE and pastel sketch threads, and some of the projects. Practice, practice, practice is really where it's at.

And my life drawing lessons at the museum are wonderful help too. As I was struggling with my portrait last night the instructor (a really cool guy) came over and made some suggestions - that the forehead needed to be a little straighter perhaps, and the ear a little different. He made some comment about needing to look carefully, and in my frustration I said something like "I do try to look, I just didn't *see* until you pointed it out to me. " And he replied, "Well that's why I'm here, and that's why you're here, so you can learn to see, and I can help you learn to do it." So there is still a ton of benefit for me in "hands on" learning too, and I feel grateful to have the museum a mere 5 minutes from my house.

I've lost all the hundreds and hundreds of pictures I drew as a kid (99% of them of horses, :D) and I've lost all the doodles on notepads I did over the years at work. But my real life as an emerging artist began when I decided that after 30+ years of neglect I wanted to go back to drawing and painting.

So it all began with this apple. In my first drawing lesson the teacher plunked an apple on the table, gave us each a charcoal pencil, and told us to draw what we saw. I was encouraged at that point as just about everyone else in the class just drew a round circle with a stick coming out the top! Mine actually came out looking "appley".

In the third or fourth lesson she brought in some pastels and said we could try color, and plunked down two red peppers for us to draw, so next you see my first pastel attempt in that drawing class. And lastly you can see a picture I did, also of red peppers, just this last weekend. This is after just about a year of lessons, and 6 months of being a member of WC.

I know a lot of this duplicates the thread I started, but this thread was too good to ignore. I hope we will can get even more of you adding pictures to it!

10-05-2005, 09:06 AM
My word, all of you guys had GREAT first pastels.... my first 2 dozen went into the trash I am sure- would be happy with some of these first's as my 'current'.... guess I can only keep trying, but you guys are wonderful- very inspirational- sure wish I could pop over to France and get a few pics of the countryside LOL

Pat Isaac
10-05-2005, 09:13 AM
It is simply amazing the growth that everyone has attained as artists. :clap: Here is my first oilie, done with kid's craypas, but this is what started my love of OPs.
and here is one of my latest.


10-05-2005, 09:46 AM
Debbie, your developing confidence just shines through in those latest peppers, but it's clear even from the earlier drawings that all those years of doodling didn't go to waste!

Pat - kids' crayons or no, that is a superb little picture. Easy to see why you stuck with OPs :)

K Taylor-Green
10-05-2005, 10:21 AM
Wow, Pat! Extremely good.

Debbie, glad you brought this one back up. How lucky you are to have lessons so close to home. They are really paying off. You are growing with practice.

10-05-2005, 10:23 AM
I was just comparing these because I just finished this swan yesterday, and both images came from our library...three years apart.

I still really like the looseness and movement in the old one!


11.5 x 17.5 wallis paper


11 x 14 ampersand board or 8 x 10? can't recall!


Rose Baggs
10-05-2005, 10:25 AM
I just had to come and see this...I'm amazed with all these great changes in everyones paintings...
Here is my first cat...


Here is one of my latest cat paintings:

Thanks for looking!!!

Kathryn Wilson
10-05-2005, 10:30 AM
Wow, does this thread bring back memories - seeing all the people who have been members and gone on to other things and mediums - :(

Karen Margulis
10-05-2005, 01:43 PM
This is a great thread and perfect timing for me! I did my very first pastel at a one day workshop last October and I was hooked immediately! It was a lot of fun to look through my 'old' work!
Here is my first landscape attempt. It's a view of the mountains outside of Moab, Utah......

Here is a recent landscape I did last month of an area just outside of Moab...


Pat Isaac
10-05-2005, 03:11 PM
Thanks, E-J. I forgot to mention that your landscape at the beginning of this thread is wonderful.


10-05-2005, 05:53 PM
I posted my first pastel in a seperate thread not very long ago, but I am not adverse to posting him again!! After using several wet mediums for quite a few years, I tried pastels, almost two years ago. This horse was painted in the winter of 2002. Hooked me on pastel for life! :D

Sooz, definitly good for a first. Specially on Canson. I agree with the ACK! I just don't like the stuff! I like Nupastels, though. I use them for detail work, like manes and tails!!

He is beautiful !!
I was so surprised to see this thread started again :clap: I am not unpacked yet in the art department after my move to a house..but as soon as I am I will dig out something to show. Still a newbie but seeing everyone's firsts helps me try try again LOL
Crystal :D

10-05-2005, 05:56 PM
I just had to come and see this...I'm amazed with all these great changes in everyones paintings...
Here is my first cat...


Here is one of my latest cat paintings:

Thanks for looking!!!

I love kitties. Both yours are wonderful. My daughter loves "yawny kitty" :envy:

10-05-2005, 07:36 PM
A pleasure to see you again, Crystal ... not really fair when people's firsties are as good as Rose's, is it?? Still, the rest of us must share ... look forward to seeing yours :)

10-10-2005, 10:03 AM
Well, my progress is somewhat dramatic. I hadn't done much art before starting with pastel 6 or 7 yrs ago. I've learned tons here from WC. I'm grateful for the ladies in my hometown who got me started & WC who continued me on my journey. They encouraged me & never thought that I didn't have potential. When I look at my first ones, I never would have thought mine could look like they do now.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Oct-2005/3341-Jesus_Wept_worldminesmall.JPG http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Oct-2005/3341-GatewaytotheTreewip5.jpg

10-10-2005, 10:15 AM
Wow, thanks Tammy. What a difference! I'm so glad you got the encouragement you did to continue. You works are lovely.

10-10-2005, 10:24 AM
Tammy, it frustrates me how often the word "talent" trips off the tongues of non-painting people, as if accomplished artists must have been painting brilliantly all their lives because it just comes so easily to them ... It is really all about passion and hard work, isn't it? It's staggering how much you can achieve by painting compulsively and by becoming as familiar as you can with the materials you choose. Your before-and-after pics really demonstrate that ... and I still keep going back to the figures Barb posted earlier in the thread - they are an amazing reminder that development as an artist is in direct proportion to the commitment that's put in!

10-10-2005, 11:01 AM
E-J, I sure do agree that commitment and practice are imperative. I think I've grown a lot just because I'm putting so much more time and effort into it. But I do think that some folks do have more of an enate talent than others, just as some folks are better at music or sports or mathematics!

And sometimes the things we think we love aren't always what we have the most talent for, as I found out when I took piano lessons. :D

But I had a friend who loved art, and wanted badly to be able to draw. She took drawing lessons for years - and had a lovely and sympathetic teacher (I took lessons from her as well for my first drawing class) who was firmly convinced that *anyone* could be taught to draw. She hated the idea that drawing was considered an esoteric talent - and said no one doubted that all normal children could be taught to read, so why did they doubt all could be taught to draw?

Well after years of lessons this woman *did* make some progress. But when I first met her she was into her third or fourth year of lessons, yet from the very first lesson in that session I was drawing better than she was, and I had not had a lesson in 35 years! The most primitive of the "firsts" posted here all look like Michelangelos compared to what this woman was doing after four years of lessons and practice.

Of course one must not extrapolate from a set of one, but I do feel there is such a thing as artistic talent, but it takes hard work and effort to make the best of it! Just as a talented athlete might be a star on the high school baseball team, but it takes hard work and effort to play for the New York Yankees. :) My nephew is learning that now. He is a naturally gifted athlete and a star high school player, and is thinking about playing on a college level. And that's what he was told by several college coaches. "You've gotten by on talent so far, but if you want to play on a college level you will have to *work*.

But because of his talent he has far outshone other boys who have worked and worked and worked their tails off, but just did not have the natural athletic talent. My son is one of those, a bright and interesting and intelligent young man, but the only reason he got to compete on the high school track team was because he went to a tiny high school who was willing to use any warm body who agreed to compete. :) Athletic talent has never been his thing, ever since he was a clumsy kid who could barely use the playground equipment at the park.

But he *does* seem to have a natural talent for drawing, which he enjoyed as a kid (but currently does nothing with). Whereas his atheletically gifted cousin feels very hard-pressed and put upon if asked to produce a stick figure!

10-10-2005, 11:26 AM
I loooooove this thread!! Thanks to everyone for sharing their work, gives me hope that I may one day produce something that looks really good! It is great seeing how people have improved!!

Kathryn Wilson
10-10-2005, 11:38 AM
It seems everyone is really enjoying this thread the second time around. Now here is my very first pastel - found it down at the bottom of the pile. I took a class in the early '90's - then dropped pastels until joining WC.

This is on grey Canson with Grumbacher pastels - I wish they would start making them again! They were a wonderful pastel for beginners to use - a medium soft with little to no dust.

Then my most recent work is this sketch I did for the Pastel Riot.



Bill Foehringer
10-11-2005, 10:19 AM
I remember the first pastel I did but it is long gone. I was just out of collage. My plans for grad school had been interupted when I had to go care for an ailing bachelor uncle for a couple of months in the fall. When I arrived back at campus I took a job as an apartment building manager/maintainence man. (Imagine the cast of characters in a college town) I had time on my hands. I always liked to draw. For some reason I picked up a set of nupastels and a pad of paper. I would go sketching and then come back and try to make color versions. I think I picked them up because I saw them as an extention of my sketching, but in color. I remember choosing the nupastels because they were harder than the grumbachers and thought they would have a similar look to the charcols I used for my sketches. The nupastels didn't work out because the paper I had was too flimsy and had no tooth but I did do a fall hillside composed of small 1/4 inch ovals of pure color. I'm pretty sure that did not survive. I'll look for that too, it dates back to 1975. Most of those early pastel sketches are gone. Eventually I bought a set of Grumbachers and then a larger set of Rembrandts. I then did a mountain painting from a photo I had taken up near Banff. I labored and labored over that for months in about 1977. I still have the photo and the pastel. I'll try to find it and post it but right now I'm painting kitchen cabinets and need to finish the doors out in the garage before it turns too cool for the paint to dry.

10-12-2005, 11:40 AM
Here is a mine...and, you guys were great!


and a recent one!

Fun to see this post!


10-16-2005, 08:30 PM
It's been really fun to see everyone's firsts and most recents. The progress can be seen to be sure, but what I have thrilled to is the talent and potential evident in all these firsts.

I had painted in oils for a long time before picking up pastels, I did a couple of stylistic Native American style animals on velour then began doing character studies. This is the only one I still have; I was about 19 or 20 when I painted him. I still treasure him and he hangs in my LR. about 11x14 on a sanded paper. Interesting archival note. The backing is cardboard, He's not matted, just in a wooden frame under glass and he's as fresh as the day painted.


These are the first I had done after a 35 year absence. They were my first WC post.

oops, found this one in my files. It's truly my firstest--anxious to try out my new box of 1/2 sticks I grabbed some construction paper and played with strokes and colors.
This is my most recent pastel. The Native American theme fro first to last.

10-17-2005, 01:51 AM
Great thread! Well I guess I will just do my experience with oil pastels. My first oil pastel was done with specialist craypas of a Greyhound on Wallis sanded paper. I still like this painting (it was later donated to a greyhound rescue group for auction).


Here is my latest work though I do have a disclaimer about it. This is a reproduction of a painting that was done in soft pastels by artist Zefi. I haven't ever copied another artist's work before and it was cool because she did a WIP demo so I followed along step by step. She also said she liked my version too which is so cool to hear. This was done on Art Spectrum colorfix paper measures 12 x 18 inches and was done with Senneliers OPs.


This is another new painting that I did a demo on in the OP & Animal forum of a Border collie. It was also done on Art Spectrum colorfix paper (which is my paper of choice for OPs) It measures 19 x 27 inches and has an acrylic painted background.


Wetcanvas has probably been the greatest help to me above anything else at this point. After that I would say my art books which I try to study religiously.

Amber :D

10-20-2005, 10:56 AM
I used to work mainly in coloured pencil and always wanted to try pastels but found them very intimidating. I bought a cheap set of Rembrandt's and used to lurk the pastel forum. This one was my first time for a project here at WC back about 2003 or so...
A full sheet of canson 30 x 22 or so.


Recent work for upcoming show...
30 x 18 approx.

First OIL Pastel...

and again a year or so later in softies...

Its been fun learning about pastels and now I can't imagine using anything else... soooo much faster than cp and easier on the wrist...

So great to see everyone else's works also...

thanks, Colleen :D:D

10-23-2005, 09:06 PM
This was my first everything.My first official pastels and the first time I entered a juried show of any kind.Here's the other:http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Oct-2005/69167-Art_Portfolio_010.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Oct-2005/69167-Art_Portfolio_014.jpg

10-23-2005, 09:11 PM
Colleen, I LOVE those apples.They make me want to reach in and grab one.Fantastic.

10-23-2005, 11:12 PM
Colleen, I LOVE those apples.They make me want to reach in and grab one.Fantastic.

Thanks Greta Michelle!!! I wish I could do landscapes but they escape me... I need my vegetation to sit still...LOL

Cheers, Colleen :D:D

10-24-2005, 01:27 PM
I found it! My first pastel. My sister was an elementary art ed teacher in the mid 80's, and I was getting tired of working in calligraphy and acrylics so she suggested I try pastel. She had a jar that she used for all of her first time adult pastel students so that is what she set up for me to try. After working for about an hour and getting ever more frustrated because the sides of that darn jar just weren't coming out even, she finally laughed and said I had passed the test. It seems this particular jar is hand blown and the two "hips" at the top of the jar are indeed as depicted here. She used this jar to see how well her students were able to see and depict what they were looking at. Sisters: can't live with them and can't love without them... :)

This is on gray Canson and the only pastels I had to use were a full set of Rembrandts. There weren't many light colors so I had to use white a lot more than I would today. It has bounced around from studio to studio with only a single mat on it, no glazing or frame. It's pretty amazing to me that the pastel has remained in place. The paper appears to have faded unevenly though.

The Ball Jar


10-24-2005, 11:24 PM
Yay - I can finally play! I just found the image of my first pastel painting...a little over a year ago.


and my most recent...


Isn't is wonderful to see how far we have all come!?! :clap:

10-25-2005, 09:37 AM
wow! Cori, You've come a long way...lots of improvement.

Pat Isaac
10-25-2005, 11:36 AM
Excellent, Cori. Along way.. :clap:


10-25-2005, 01:43 PM
Thanks - I don't think I would have been able to show this much improvement in a year if I hadn't had WC! to keep me motivated and learning! This has been a wonderful place for helping me grow artistically!