View Full Version : Pastel portrait of Gracey

03-03-2017, 01:38 PM
I am trying pastel pencils for the first time! I am blending with a cotton-bud and presume I layer from dark to light. I could go to the pastel forum but would like some advice from pastel users here, first.


03-03-2017, 06:19 PM
Hi, I think your off to a beautiful start. I use pastels and tend to start with the darks but will go back and forth until I feel I've conveyed the right effect. I posted a polar bear picture here a few days ago that i did in assorted pastels including pencils. What kind of paper are you using?

03-03-2017, 07:47 PM
Hello, Lucyloo. Thank you. I liked your polar bear a lot. I take it Pastels can be worked both ways, dark on light and light on dark. It's very interesting trying a new medium. I'm finding it hard to get the right shade of chestnut colour and will experiment with browns and reds. I wasn't sure about blending at first but understand that I can build layers. It's quite a change from watercolour!

I need to make her right eye rounder. A friend said to use Blu-tac to remove pastel.

I was given a few sheets of paper from Windsor & Newton pastel pad. Do you have a favourite paper?

Vivien Maloney
03-03-2017, 07:55 PM
Penny - I think you are doing a great job with your pastel pencils!
Im a pastel artist and use, pastel pencils, soft pastels, hard pastels and PanPastels and love them all. I also mix them. You can use Mi-Teintes pastel paper a lot but if Im painting for an Exhibition I always use a very "toothed" paper such as Colorfix. Theres lots of different papers you can use.
If you would like to check out my blog you will see Ive used many different types of pastels and various painting mediums.

03-03-2017, 09:14 PM
Great Start!
I have a Cav named Gracie!

03-03-2017, 09:50 PM
Hi Penny, I've been using colorfix paper lately and used it for the polar bear. I have limited experience with pastelmat but found it excellent for pastel pencils. I cannot do watercolour at all. I agree with you about the right eye and look forward to see this finished. She is certainly a cutie!

Vivien, I looked at your blog and your paintings are beautiful. I unfortunately only have 8 pan pastels so don't use them very often. Your paintings make me think that maybe I should get more as I'm looking into buying some new pastels and should maybe go that route.

Vivien Maloney
03-03-2017, 10:06 PM
Lucy Thank you for looking at my Blog! I often forget to add my artwork to it, but it's quite handy for keeping record of my art.
I've always been a PanPastel fan - no not always (as I didn't like them when I first began using them).
Took me a while to get used to them - pots and sponges instead of stick pastels. But I love them now. They can be used with so many other painting/drawing mediums or just by themselves.

My most successful PanPastel was the one I won the "Supreme Award" with in the New Zealand Southern Pastel Artists Awards Exhibition.
Here's the link to it in the Pastel Forum; http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1412894

03-04-2017, 04:21 AM
Thank you, Viv. I am very pleased to know you work with pastels. I will certainly check out your blog. Great to know someone experienced in pastels.

Are you able to give me some advice as to colours you would mix to get the chestnut colour of her fur?

Do you find fixing the material alters the colouring, and what fixative is best to use?

03-04-2017, 04:22 AM
That's nice, Laura, that your cat is Gracie. I am not sure how the owner spells her name and it could be as you do. 😎

03-04-2017, 04:23 AM
Thanks, Lucy. I will look on the S.A.A. Website at papers.

03-04-2017, 06:35 AM
I looked at pan pastels. How do you apply them? With a brush?😊

03-04-2017, 10:07 AM
This such a nice start and agree with tips offered here.

03-04-2017, 10:56 AM
Thank you. The paper isn't the best and blending is looking muddy. I will get some Pastelmat or Mi-Tientes and try again. I watched a video where it said that people were often put off pastels because of disappointing results on some papers.

03-04-2017, 01:29 PM
The paper isn't allowing me to layer or to add light on dark, so I am calling a day on this attempt and will try again when I get a more suitable paper.😊


The paper is a sand colour - not showing well in this photo - shall I leave it without other background colour?


03-05-2017, 07:36 AM
I think this is looking really good! I like your style with the pencils. I think the sandy background works well and tones nicely with the fur, and personally I would leave it without any other colour. It's a shame you aren't getting on with your paper. I can't offer any advice on pastel paper as I've only used one type (Ingres) and hated it! I'm sure you'll get plenty of advice here. :)

chammi kaiser
03-05-2017, 08:02 AM
You doing really well with those pastels Penny. Always a little frustrating when the paper doesn't allow you more freedom. Just check out the left eye on my screen sweetie. It is a little too large. In the reference photo is is smaller than the right eye (on my screen) basically because it is further away from the camera. I enjoy your enthusiasm and ventures into various media. Very refreshing.

03-05-2017, 08:10 AM
Thank you, Kay. 😊 I am leaning towards leaving it as it is, but wonder if more experienced artists have any other thoughts.

This is Ingres paper and it doesn't perform at all well. I have ordered some Pastelmat and will try her again on that.

03-05-2017, 08:13 AM
Thanks Chammi. I drew the eye too small to start with and must have overdone it the second time. I will see if I can adjust it but the paper doesn't lend itself to erasing. I will be more observant when I try again on the Pastelmat. 😊

03-05-2017, 08:38 AM
Chammi - I've managed to alter the eye a little. Thanks, again, for your advice.

03-05-2017, 11:53 PM
Aww, gorgeous!

03-07-2017, 03:12 PM
I used to really dislike working in pastels until I started experimenting with the toothier paper and it really made a substantial difference for me. I still don't particularly like the first layers when I am working on a piece, but have learned on the good paper that if I persist you get to this marvelous place where you can get depth, richness and texture. I am ordering pastelmat to try that and I plan on trying out velour as well.