View Full Version : First try at pastel

08-28-2004, 05:47 AM
I got a bug to try pastel, and feel like I'm flying blind. This is one of two horses that is on pastel paper. I am not real happy with how it's turning out, I want to keep doing more layers, is that OK with pastel or will it stop taking the pastel at some point when it becomes too thick?

I am using nupastel for hard and rowney for soft. I think I need more colors as well, I can't find the right shades for many things here.

I also am having problems breaking the hard pastel sticks to get new sharp edges for detail. Can anyone give me any suggestions on how to do this without breaking a huge chunk off and wasting a lot of the stick?

Any suggestions too for scanning? I scanned this but it marred the velour paper...maybe digital photos would be better...?

Thanks for any help! :)

08-28-2004, 09:25 AM
Hi Halo

I use Faber Castells and Rembrandt pastels and I sharpen my pastels with a wood file or you could use sandpaper, you still waste pastels but you will have a lot more control than breaking a pastel.

I think that this is coming along very nicely, I cant answer your question about how much pastel to put or how much is too much because I do not put very much pastel on my paper when I paint.

I scan my finished pastels because there is not a lot of pastel on the paper to be damaged by scaning, but I take digital photos of the work in progress.


K Taylor-Green
08-28-2004, 11:14 AM
Hi Dee Dee. Good to see you here. This is velour paper, right? It won't take as many layers as a sanded paper will, like Wallis. Wallis will take 25 layers of pastel, and if you don't like it, you can brush it off, or even scrub it off, with water, and it will retain the tooth.
I still like my velour paper, I just make sure I plan my colors out ahead. Do your underpainting in soft pastels, lightly in each layer, then detail in hards. I break mine off to keep a sharp point, too. I break small pieces, cramps the fingers sometime, but what the heck. You can use those pieces to blend into softies after the edge is dulled, so not so much waste.
If you don't want to spend a lot of money trying different pastels, go to Dakota Art Pastels, online. They have sampler packs of pastels and papers.
Your piece looks very good, but I know if you have to struggle to get there, it is not as much fun. Once you get used to the new medium, you'll be flying!

08-28-2004, 02:19 PM
Thanks Gaka, I do have some of those sandpaper stick thingies, I will try sharpening my hard pastels on that. I just looked through your threads, and am amazed at your work. I read the swollows thread and learned a lot. I am also amazed at the tiny details you get with a stick...I have problems knowing what part of the stick will hit the paper where so I end up drawing tiny details a fraction to the side of where I want it to go. Pencils seem easier to control, just the one little point :) but I have this big box of sticks...

Hi Kate! Yes, this is velour paper. Thanks for the advice on layering on this, I wanted to do a lot more layering and then realized it wasn't having any of my nonsense LOL. I'm sitting here with Lesley Harrison's book open and am wanting mine to look like that, and it's not :D I can't seem to get the details I want. But I'll keep trudging on, thanks to you both for the help!

Kathryn Wilson
08-28-2004, 03:21 PM
I can't add much more to what Gaka and Kate told you - but I think you are doing really well for one of your first efforts in pastels. Velour is tricky - it is very unforgiving, so you do have to plan ahead - and no it won't take many layers.

For more detail, pastel pencils might be an answer, but don't use too sharp a point on velour, on any other paper they are fine.

Digital for velour I would say - looking forward to seeing more!

08-28-2004, 03:45 PM
Thanks Kat, I was kind of discovering velour doesn't like a sharp point, glad to know it's not me but the nature of the beast! I don't have my digital right now but when I get it back I'll start using that, that velour is verrry fragile! :) One careful scan and it has little scratches and smooshed areas...

By the way I took a peek at your gallery, love your work! Love "Breezy Blossoms" especially. I can't get the smART viewer to work so can't see closeups but can tell they are really nice!

08-28-2004, 04:43 PM
Frankly, I can't see what you are unhappy with. I think this is gorgeous! You have a very solid grasp on equine anatomy which is something that a LOT of artists have trouble with. :clap:

08-28-2004, 06:58 PM
Thanks Cara, funny how a new medium can make a familiar subject suddenly seem like you've never done it before though! I would sit and stare at it and not know how to approach it...I would of course have done it very differently in acrylic or oil so I feel like I'm back in kindergarten with this LOL. Thanks for the nice comment though! :)

08-28-2004, 09:52 PM
I don't know anything about horse anatomy, but it sure looks like your steeped in it...beautifull work.

08-29-2004, 12:00 AM
Dee Dee,,,,

If this your first try at pastels....I sure can not wait to see the next one!

Nothing to complain about here. Just keep up the good work.



08-29-2004, 12:52 AM
This looks wonderful to me! I'm half afraid to try velour after all the talk of it being so delicate and demanding, but you seem to be doing fine! I'm sure you'll discover easier ways of working as you go along, too; it's like anything else new...you slave over it at first and before you know it, it becomes second nature, so don't be discouraged!

I can't wait to see this finished! I love horse paintings, but would never EVER try one myself, since what I don't know about horses would fill several bookshelves!

08-31-2004, 03:31 AM
Thanks David, Claude and Khadres! :)

I can't compare velour to any other paper as this is the first attempt at pastels but there is a lot I like about it, some things I don't (like I don't feel like I am in control as much as I do with acrylic or pencil...since I can't work it endlessly which I usually do to a fault with the other). But I really like how soft it looks and how it grabs the pastel. I am on this try new mediums kick, I am going to try some airbrush and watercolor pencil etc too with some pastel thrown in, it's a good excuse to buy new supplies with the grocery money LOL!