View Full Version : help/smudging
04-03-2000, 10:37 PM
I've tried alot of different mediums, but pastels just boggle my mind. I've had more trouble with using them than anything else ever! I love the look of pastel paintings, but I just can't seem to do them without it becoming a big smudged mess. Is there a difference between brands or something, mine turn really powdery. Am I doing something wrong? Is there a trick? http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/confused.gif
04-03-2000, 11:03 PM
Pastels are supposed to be powdery and blendable. But while they're blendable, you don't always want to blend them that much. That's why they come in a few hundred shades and tints -- so you can start with the color you want rather than trying to blend two.
One big difference between brands is the hardness. NuPastels are hard, Rembrandts / Maimeri are medium, and Sennelier / Schminke / Unison are soft. Often, people work by starting with the harder ones, and moving to softer ones in higher layers. With softer pastels, you can lay a stroke on top of the existing color without having to dig in and blend it so much.
It also helps to have paper with a lot of tooth, to hold the powder in place. Some people go all the way to literally sandpaper.
If all else fails, you can always use fixative to fix early layers. Some people are appalled at the idea of using fixative with pastel, though.
04-04-2000, 05:26 PM
First tip is to use good paper. My favorite is Windberg. I think it's coated with marble dust--great tooth!! I think I've tried almost all the papers and I won't use anything that doesn't have a sanded surface anymore. Some folks say it eats up your pastels, but imho it's a lot less waste.
Second, I use an acrlyic bridge to rest my hand on to keep it off the paper. It's a great little doo-dad that I got at Dick Blicks, but it would probably be pretty simple to make one.
04-04-2000, 09:36 PM
Keep working with them. It takes awhile to get use to their properties and how to use them.
I usually start in the left hand corner of my composition(if you are left handed, start the right hand corner), and build the painting from there. That way I am not going back and smudging. Like Gisela, I also use an acrylic bridge to go back in for detail. Because of the style of my work (detailed) I paint with the surface flat..picking up occassional to release the dust. If you work on an easel...in a looser style, smudging should be minimal.
I also work in predominately pastel pencils..derwent and carbothello. I fill in the larger areas with rembrant sticks..and sometime add final highlights with sennelier (found a half-stick intro set cheap). Also have some nupastels for sketching base drawing.
Canson pastel paper is the only thing that is available here, but have used some other. Got a sample pack of some handmade French pastel paper that is wonderful...great holding power. Hope to be able to expand my paper types when I return to the US later this year.
Keep working with them. They are really great...just takes time to learn the medium.
04-04-2000, 11:28 PM
kimber...post something if you can or tell me your process....milt
04-29-2000, 11:06 AM
I think your problem is not in technique, but, probably, in color and value understanding. If you see all the variations of color in an object or a scene and a scale of values, the whole thing will never be a mess. But may be you smudge a lot or overlay colors. Generally in pastel you work the same way as in oil, but you can't build up layers forever. I've noticed that lighted or highlighted spots should be covered by the right color at the very beginning, so that they would look really light.
learning to paint
05-01-2000, 12:17 AM
Back to the original topic: Senneliers lay on thick and don't blend well. Schminckes are worse. Rembrandts blend, but the color isn't as vivid. Is there a middle route? Are the newer Great Americans or Unisons a solution?
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