View Full Version : My Pastel Paintings

03-19-2017, 07:35 PM
Today's en plein effort is a step up in improvement for me.

En Plein Air, 10x7 inches, Pastel on Drawing Paper


Charles Perera
03-20-2017, 12:24 PM
It is good to start off some where. Do not be satisfied with your first painiting. It is nevertheless an effort in the correct direction. I would advice you to buy a book on Painting in Pastel. And learn to smooth out pastel colours with your fingers to begin with to make them smooth and adhere to the paper. The pastel could be put one layer on another and change the colours very easili. Please go through pastel painitings posted here to see first for yourself how different artists have created great pastel paintings. Some of them give you their websites and blogs. Go to them see how they have painted . Some of them have series of the same painting from how they began it to the end . They are wonderful workshops. Copy them and try them out yourself.
First enjoy watching the paintings , and then learn to imitate them.

Good Luck to become a great pastel artist.


03-20-2017, 03:12 PM
How wonderful that you are getting outside to paint! This is a good beginning. I don't know if you want some guidance so I won't comment other than to say, if you'd like a kind, perhaps helpful critique please just ask.

I can't help myself to say though that finger blending on Canson Mi Tientes paper isn't ideal. There are better ways to transition from one color or value mix to the nest. In my opinion, fingers should be the tool of last resort to soften or loose an edge. It is too easy to produce dull, lifeless paintings if they are over blended with fingers, and that is something less practiced pastel students do.

03-20-2017, 07:28 PM
Good for you that your painting outside! Wish I could say I was painting outside...... Thats all I try to do, just keep improving ......keep working at it.....and sure enough I do keep improving. And you will too. Keep at it, keep learning and having fun. Thanks for sharing your painting!

03-20-2017, 08:06 PM
Charles, thanks for the encouragement. I have done a handful of pastels over the past five years, I think all of them are posted on here. Finally I am at the point where I'm receptive enough to the moment to be able to stand back and see the work as others would see it. Smoothing colors on this surface is going to be very difficult. It is rust-colored gritty spray paint on top of cheap drawing paper.

Peggy, I used to put "C & C Welcome" into my signature, and nobody commented on the work. I take the signature out, and everyone comes to the tea party. Go figure :lol: In the past I played with the Mi-Teintes paper, but I do not like their watermarked bordering or the odd paper sizes. The biggest improvement I experienced in playing with colors, whether it's pastels, acrylics or oils, came when I realized that blending just destroys the pigments reflective properties. I agree .. place and leave it, or don't place until you're committed to leaving it.

Ron, now that I have spent some time indoors over the winter working with color mixing and composition, this time outdoors I was less timid. Because I have a sensory disorder I take in everything without the seeming ability to block things out. It's enough of a struggle outside the art ... but this time I felt able to stay zoned in ....

Charles Perera
03-21-2017, 05:20 AM
Well I said use finger to rub the colours as I had been doing it . I agree with Peggy that it isn't the best method. Now I see many beautiful pastel paintings posted here where the artists had used pastel pencils and special material to use with pastel painting. Hence Peggy may give you more helpful suggestions.
I love looking at paintings rather than doing them myself !!! Another wonderful pastel painter who can give you good advice is Karen. She I think is a Moderator here now. I don't know how Karen paints but they some of most beautiful pastel paintings you could see here.


Donna T
03-21-2017, 08:17 AM
Nice plein air painting! I like how you eliminated the extras to show us the main elements of your composition. It's so tempting to put it all in when we're surrounded by "things" everywhere. It's also nice that you let the color of the paper carry some of the middle values. I hope you'll be out doing more of these!

03-21-2017, 01:59 PM
Donna, I'm going to give another go with this method of pastel painting. Remember, it was a 'happy accident' that any paper was showing through. Honestly, I stood back from the work numerous times (something that I have NEVER done before) and tried to add as little as possible. I think you guys should try the "RUST-OLEUM MULTICOLOR TEXTURED" spray paint. I would NOT breath any of it (I held my breath the entire time) as it sprays out a very coarse sandpaper texture. How 'archival' this stuff is I have no clue, on the can it says that it stops rust. I tried rubbing it off the paper before painting, so see how well it was attached, and not one particle came off.

Donna T
03-21-2017, 03:46 PM
John Henry Twachtman did alright letting the paper show through in his work:


Your Rust-Oleum idea is interesting! Maybe someone can invent an archival texture spray specifically for pastels someday. You could do a quick pencil or charcoal sketch then spray on a clear textured surface and use pastels when it dries. It would be quick drying, of course, and have no harmful vapors. It would be kind of fun to use it for plein air - you could spray on more texture where there are trees and grasses.

03-22-2017, 01:26 AM
Never heard about the guy until you mentioned him, Donna. I'm gonna look him up on Google. You know, I have a can of RUSTOLEUM ...

03-22-2017, 01:22 PM
Study Of Bone, 10 x 7 inches, Oil/Chalk Pastel on RUSTOLEUM-sprayed sketching paper


Donna T
03-23-2017, 08:22 AM
It looks like you have plenty of texture to work with - nice bone study. Does the paper warp when you spray it with Rustoleum?

03-23-2017, 02:04 PM
Donna, thanks! You know, I'm not *sure* that the paper was warping, because the texture as it dries really stiffens up. It was a little disheartening though when I went to apply the turps and everything that the turps touched literally rolled off the paper. Lesson learned. Odds are probably that the painting would have looked similar to the first one I did, of the house and shed. Next time I'll wait about an hour to make sure everything is dried. If anyone's not used the RUSTOLEUM spray, that stuff is stronger than anything else I've ever used. I had to hold my breath the entire time, and even when I left the studio and closed the door I could still smell it. What makes the spray particularly dangerous is that the sand-like particles that it disperses. You get that stuff into your esophagus and lungs, you'll be making friends with the local emergency room. A mask of some sort is highly recommended.

04-09-2017, 08:43 PM
Since this is our first spring at this house, it's becoming clear the previous tenants planted some flowers. Tulips, which I'm sure that's what they are, and some wild flowers (no clue). Here is what I believe is a tulip that is either aging or was damaged by the recent storm. While painting it the wind just would not stop! There was another one further from the house, I had intended to paint it on-site instead of cutting it and putting it into a vase, but the storm mowed it down.

"The Lone Red"
10 x 7 inches
Chalk / Oil Pastel (mixture)
RUSTOLEUM-sprayed sketching paper


Donna T
04-10-2017, 03:12 PM
Very nice! I hope we'll get to see more of your flowers as you discover what the previous owners left for you.

05-07-2017, 10:21 PM
"Pop & Circumstance", 10.5 x 7.5 inches, en plein air, mixture of pastels on sketch paper


Donna T
05-08-2017, 08:07 AM
Nice plein air! I hope you enjoyed getting out and painting these poppies from life. I always wish they would last longer because they are such beautiful models.

05-09-2017, 12:01 AM
Thank you Donna. I meant to thank you for your kind words the last time around, but I have not been feeling energetic enough to do anything but work. I most enjoy those moments when I can't resist wanting to paint a scene. Major kudos to those who have this passion all the time. Or do they? Are poppies dangerous to the touch?

06-01-2017, 12:14 AM
9 x 6.5 inches, Oil Pastel, based loosely on a photograph.