View Full Version : first try at pastel (xposted on animal art)

09-22-2004, 02:16 PM
This is done from real life with soft pastels(sennelier), oil pastels (cheapies) and lots of guessing on Ampersand pastel board. Comments are appreciated.


09-22-2004, 03:32 PM
Hi Watergirl..can tell you're in love with the color aspect of a medium! I think you're off to a good start but need to bring that lovely color into the whole piece a little more. You have a good depth in the chest area that you need to bring into the rest of the bird's body and the perch. I know more about oil pastel technique so will let others help you in that area but I think you should play with expressing that wonderful color sense in strokes. I think your proportions are good and that's 1/2 the battle with animal art. This is a good first pastel and think you just need to expand on working the colors even more, so you can develop your own unique approach in that way. (can you tell I love pretty colors too? :D )

oh!!! I just saw some of this is done in oil pastels! do tell what parts!

09-22-2004, 03:44 PM
Thanks so much for your comments! I used a variety of pastel materials including oil for the more detailed lines. I am really experimenting here with how the materials work together. Also, the ampersand board was only 4X6 as it was really expensive so I limited myself on what I could do texturally I think. But I do LOVE the colors-the world is more colorful that most people see. Your work is great!

09-22-2004, 04:12 PM
wow...4x6 is tiny! For softies you might like the Wallis paper, Kitty Wallis will send you a free sample to try (about the same size) if you let her know on her partner forum. For oilies I like Art Spectrum or making my own surface with gesso/marble dust which is similar to the Art Spectrum and I prefer that. If you can do details with oilies you should check out the Oil Pastel forum, usually detail is the area that most have trouble with and you might like exploring them more! They're great for color and texture when you use good brands. I've found that when you lay oilies next to softies that the softies will suck oil into their area and create an oil ring. Colored pencils will work well with either though. Softie or oilie...both are fun and I love to experiment too and am sure you'll have lots of fun trying new things.
Thanks for your kind words about my work :)

Deborah Secor
09-22-2004, 04:35 PM
Hi watergirl, nice to meet you! Your finch is really beautiful--those colors are spectacular! You did this from life? Do you have one of these little lovlies???

If this was my painting I think I'd work on the background a bit. The bird is so lively I think the greenish color sort of distracts. A neutral color would be nicer, or maybe something suggesting sky or foliage behind him. I'd also avoid the 'halo' effect that outlines his body. You can run lay down your harder pastels and then put softer ones over the top, especially on the Pastelbord. For the future, I'd advise painting what's behind before what's in front, generally.

I'm curious how the soft pastels and oil pastels are working together! Usually they don't mix very well, though your board may make that easier to do. Do try the Wallis paper--it's a remarkable surface!

Have fun--and let us see how this progresses........... :D


09-22-2004, 04:50 PM
Thanks for the comments! I will try out the Wallis paper and more oil pastel work, Just ordered a set of nupastels. For pastel, do you actually paint in the entire background and then fill in on top of the color? So different from watercolor it seems. So much to learn! Yes, I do have four Gouldian finches and they are all incredibly beautiful. Two of them have orange heads, one balck and I painted the red one. I also have owl finches, a cordon bleu finche and a pir of Blue Tit but this is my first time painting them. I have been concentrating on dogs.

09-22-2004, 04:53 PM
The oil and soft pastels are used on the purple chest and yellow belly-you can see a bit of splotchiness there- I think that is where they did not mix so well.

Deborah Secor
09-22-2004, 06:06 PM
Hi again-- :) There are as many different ways to paint in soft pastels as there are people doing it! However, I wouldn't paint the whole background and then try to go over it--that just wastes pastels! Instead I sketch in the light outlines of my plan using some soft charcoal. Then I paint what's behind the bird and then paint the bird and perch. That way you can nudge a little of the soft pastel over the top. For instance the bright green along his back can easily go over whatever background color you use, and then you don't have to try to paint around things or stay 'inside the lines'.

By the way, when you use soft pastels and oil pastels you're using two entirely different media --and they don't work the same at all! Next time try one painting using soft pastels and another one using the oil pastels and see how differently they behave. Soft pastels are pure pigment, the same stuff you find in any other paint (watercolors, oils, acrylics) but without any paint body. Instead the dry pigment is mixed with gum tragacanth (which lightly binds it) and rolled into sticks. (I'll let Sue [Dyin] tell you what oil pastels are made from!) It's generally easiest to work from dark colors to light colors, which is exactly the opposite from watercolors. In pastels you can lighten and lighten and lighten things, but you need those darks in place first.

Hope this helps. You might search the Pastel Library for more basic information on how to use the medium! Have fun...


09-22-2004, 06:17 PM
Oil pastels are also pure pigment but they have a binding of fossil wax and inert mineral oils, which means that they never truly dry, although they will reach a very firm stage. Oil pastels work more like watercolors, light to dark is best, and they will not 'sit' on top of a lower layer as soft pastels will, but will work in a wet in wet type manner, picking up the lower color. You'll like the Nupastels. :)
Deborah (dee_artist) has an older classroom thread in the Pastel Library that shows you how to do background toning and not use much pastel in the doing, you might like to check that out, I think it would work perfectly for this kind of a subject.
teehee...hope we're not overwhelming you with information!

09-22-2004, 06:24 PM
Hi, nice to meet you, and welcome. This is a wonderful start on your finch, lovely colors. I really like Deborah's suggestion that you try to do this in both media separately. I know, if you do, you can post them both side by side and let us know what you liked about each different media.

09-22-2004, 09:25 PM
Thank you all! I will take your suggestions and keep working! More later!