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View Full Version : Help me understand, Please!!!


llis
06-07-2000, 02:06 PM
I tried my new Terry Ludwig soft pastels this morning and I think I am in love with them. I would like to understand them better and know exactly what to do. I am posting this piece not for critique on my work ...but to ask questions about technique and handling pastels so that my next piece will be better. Right now, it has no fixative on it and is fresh from the easel. I have flipped the paper over to remove any loose powder. Now what....if I spray with the fixative..can I keep working...or is that it?

Here is how I worked this piece. I layed in the dark areas first then just some light and middle tones...then just started in with dots and dashes covering up as I went. I did try to rub with my fingers a in a few areas, but there has to be a better way. What is it? Any advice you can give me will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks! http://www.wetcanvas.com/Critiques/User/village.jpg


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Phy...llis
Sounds like Lizz.
P.S.
Visit the Virtual Cafe Guerbois Today! (http://www.artistnation.com/members/paris/cafe)



[This message has been edited by llis (edited June 07, 2000).]

sandge
06-07-2000, 04:07 PM
Llis - no, don't do it! Put that fixative down!
I'm not familiar with Terry Ludwig pastels as we don't seem to have the same range of art materials available over here. Presumably they are of the soft chalky variety rather than oils? All I can say is that I've had unhappy results with fixative and don't use it. I'm probably doing something wrong but I've always found it changes the tonal values - they tend to go darker but not all to the same degree. It's not a technique I use as it doesn't seem necessary. Perhaps someone who loves using fixative will come along and share their methods.
Are there any areas of the painting you want to keep working over? It's difficult to tell how exactly you've applied the pastel. Perhaps, if your camera's up to it, you could take a couple of really close-up shots of the pastel marks in areas you'd like us to comment on so we can really see what you're doing.
It is a lovely painting, by the way! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif
sandra

scottb
06-07-2000, 04:56 PM
Hey llis, I don't normally comment on critique posts, as I barely have time to handle all the other aspects of the site, but in my opinion, your trip to Giverny was very rewarding! The effect shows in this piee - good job! (Is it for sale yet in AN? hint hint!)

Cheers.
Scott

loenart
06-07-2000, 05:02 PM
This is a very nice landscape. Mood leans to Manet/Cezanne. I never done pastels (too dusty for me) but I know this is a good one.

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Michael Loen

Phyllis Franklin
06-07-2000, 06:47 PM
Sandra: Thanks so much for the advice. I have not sprayed it yet and think I will do a test on some other paper and see what happens. Since you don't use fixative, it must not be a necessary step. Thanks for the tip.

Scott: Thanks for the words of encouragement. The trip has inspired me, but I can't take credit for this as an original idea. For my inspiration piece, I used the following by the master himself, Claude Monet. http://www.wetcanvas.com/Critiques/User/monetsvillage.jpg

Now you see, my work looks nothing like his, but it was fun feeling the same spirit of France. His work is in oil and can be seen at the Metropolitian Museum of Art in NY, but I did see some similar works when we toured one of the museums in Paris.

And, Scott, the scan of my pastel looks a whole lot better than the real work does. And it looks even better from across the room without glasses on. lol


Loneart: Thanks for the words of encouragement. Coping a work from a master really does solve a lot of problems for you upfront. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

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Yep this is Phy...llis
Sounds like Lizz.
P.S.
Visit the Virtual Cafe Guerbois Today! (http://www.artistnation.com/members/paris/cafe)

Phyllis Franklin
06-07-2000, 06:56 PM
Sandra: I forgot...Terry Ludwig is a member here at WetCanvas he has developed a recipe for making your own soft pastels. You can get the recipe at www.makepastels.com (http://www.makepastels.com)



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Yep this is Phy...llis
Sounds like Lizz.
P.S.
Visit the Virtual Cafe Guerbois Today! (http://www.artistnation.com/members/paris/cafe)

4vincent
06-07-2000, 08:57 PM
It is a nice piece. I have used fix in the past, but not much now unless I want to purposely darken an area or need tooth again for a small area. I remember several years back, I made some swatches with different brands of pastel and different fixatives. Alas, I can't recall the results but perhaps you can make the test if you NEED to fix. Like I said, I've gone over to a surface with more tooth that I make, so I don't fix.
As far as rubbing with fingers, I don't do much blending except blending one color into another(with sticks not fingers) Sometimes, as in the beginning of a work, I might blend a couple of colors together in shadow areas with a stomp, to make the shadows seem "transparent". Good luck... 4vincent

Phyllis Franklin
06-07-2000, 09:04 PM
Vincent: Tell me more about the surface you are making now. Today was my first time trying any pastels so, I have lots of questions.

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Yep this is Phy...llis
Sounds like Lizz.
P.S.
Visit the Virtual Cafe Guerbois Today! (http://www.artistnation.com/members/paris/cafe)

RyderArt
06-07-2000, 09:20 PM
Ilis,
I am impressed. I too, just got my Terry Ludwig pastels...and can hardly wait to use them.
I do use fixative...but very sparingly. I spray at least a foot from the paper..sometimes farther away. I also only put on a very light layer. It does tend to change the tonal quality a bit, the more you use the darker it gets. So that is why I only spray lightly. It can also be worked on after fixing. Sometimes I will spray and then add a final coat of highlights etc. and then not fix the final layer.
As far as blending...just experiment. I have found the fingers work well for me. I work quite differently from most pastel artist...and use a tapered point color shaper to blend my pastels. This gives me the texture, shading and detail that I need in my pieces. I use it in stipling motion. And because of the this technique that I use...not much fixative is needed...as there is very little loose dust on the paper.
Experimentation is the best way to find what ideas and techniques will suit you style of work. And because pastels are so "forgiving" (i.e., you can just take a stiff bristle brush as wipe out the error and start over), I rarely throw away a piece!! Pastels are a passion with me!!! You do get hooked on them!
Look forward to seeing more!!

Stephanie

Rod
06-07-2000, 10:04 PM
Wow Liz, a great pastel, I can see you are loving these. So immediate, what a change from your oils.
I use fixative sparingly, as it does darken, then add final highlights. But some I have framed without and have not experienced any problems. Also depends on the tooth of your paper as to how many layers you can build up. Try all Liz and enjoy. You sure made a beautiful job on this one,
Rod

[This message has been edited by Rod (edited June 07, 2000).]

Terry
06-07-2000, 11:13 PM
Mess

Terry
06-07-2000, 11:24 PM
Phyllis, You Rascal! never used pastels before! I don't buy that at all.
The work looks excellent! Don't use the spray fix, enough said already on that.
I use my fingers side of my hand and
VIVA paper towels. they have a special quality that I like. I rub int he blocked in pastels athen wipe them down with the towels.. The pastels stain the paper, I use Canson MiTiens for modt of my work. this limits the build up but establishes the color patterns. Most paper is not light fast so the staining of the tooth will keep the paper from fading. I try to work 'thin' so there isn't any problem with the pastels 'flaking' off the paper when framed and shipped.
Liss I like your handeling of the pastels.
Terry

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www.makepastels.com (http://www.makepastels.com)

Phyllis Franklin
06-08-2000, 05:39 AM
Thanks Terry for the words of encouragement and for the tips about Viva. I am taking the pastels to the WetCanvas North Georgia Getaway this weekend so that should be fun. I really like your work by the way. I wish that I could attend one of your workshops. I bet you really do have a wonderful time putting them together and working with all the other artists.

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Yep this is Phy...llis
Sounds like Lizz.
P.S.
Visit the Virtual Cafe Guerbois Today! (http://www.artistnation.com/members/paris/cafe)

Phyllis Franklin
06-08-2000, 06:17 AM
Rod: I just reviewed your pastel lesson in art school on line and wondered...when are you going to post the next one? lol.... I want more and more and more...don't I. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif lol just want to keep you busy...not that you don't already have your plate full.
see ya,

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Yep this is Phy...llis
Sounds like Lizz.
P.S.
Visit the Virtual Cafe Guerbois Today! (http://www.artistnation.com/members/paris/cafe)

oleCC
06-08-2000, 07:28 AM
llis... this is truly lovely!! I guess everyone develops their own approach to using any medium, but thought I would share with you what my daughter (artistglenda) teaches in her classes: She starts with the medium values after sketching with light value first and goes from there to her lights, and darks usually come last. As for fixitive.. always use it outdoors...very serious fumes - and know of one lady who became desperately ill using it indoors and without a mask.
BTW: She (daughter) tried my pastels from Terrys recipe, and fell in love with them!
http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif Carol

4vincent
06-08-2000, 07:40 AM
Phyllis,
Rather than go into it again, check out the sanded pastel paper topic for the method and explanation. If you need any more, let me know. 4vincent

Phyllis Franklin
06-08-2000, 07:42 AM
Thanks Carol, When does your daughter have her workshops? Maybe we could set something up for this fall and have that VA WetCanvas getaway along with a workshop for us all. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

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Yep this is Phy...llis
Sounds like Lizz.
P.S.
Visit the Virtual Cafe Guerbois Today! (http://www.artistnation.com/members/paris/cafe)

Phyllis Franklin
06-08-2000, 07:44 AM
Thanks Vincent....going there now. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

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Yep this is Phy...llis
Sounds like Lizz.
P.S.
Visit the Virtual Cafe Guerbois Today! (http://www.artistnation.com/members/paris/cafe)

oleCC
06-08-2000, 10:32 PM
llis..... she teaches classes in pastels, but has not been doing workshops. I know she would really love to get one going in the fall in a VA getaway though. We must really get that planned...
Have fun this weekend...miss me eh?
http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif Carol

CarlyHardy
06-14-2000, 12:05 AM
Folks, I saw this pastel in person and up close at the getaway...the scan does not do it justice! The colors are alive and vibrant and Phyllis, you did a wonderful job with this. It is hard to believe that this was a new medium for you to try your hand at! You are a natural pastellist!

Carol, I would love for your daughter to give us some instruction with pastels at a getaway, too! And you could do watercolors!!!
carly

4vincent
06-15-2000, 01:01 AM
Sandi,
Since you've mentioned my "recipe", I just wanted to let you know that Badger Air Brush Co might have what you could use as a "mini sandblaster" to apply the grit. It's called an air eraser, model #260 I believe.
I haven't used this but it sounds appropriate. Just FYI in case you couldn't find one. Ken (4vincent)

4vincent
06-15-2000, 02:47 PM
Sandi,
The place I got my material from was one called USFilter/Abrasives 712 E Ohio St.,
Fortville, In (317)485-5157. I ended up using 250 grit; there may be finer elsewhere, but this seemed to work for me. You have to order a minimum of 50 lbs. But, if you just want to try it, they may send you a sample. My "sample" was about 5 lbs. They're very helpful people there. (remember: this is WHITE aluminum oxide, some places sell a brown color used for cleaning metal surfaces) Ken

llis
08-23-2000, 06:37 PM
Sue Ellen: Here is the post we were talking about. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

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Phy...llis (sounds like Lizz)
P.S. Want to participate in the Painting and Drawing Projects? ------->
Visit the Virtual Cafe Guerbois Today! (http://www.artistnation.com/members/paris/cafe)

arteitaliana
08-24-2000, 02:41 AM
A beautiful pastel...!!
Fix, non fix...it all depend what you want and how you work. I need to fix because I use very soft pastels and somethimes they crumble on the paper under pressure. I use Ersta sanded paper. I also fix because I like the darkening effect on some areas. It makes the colors bolder and the darks deeper.
Pastels are so great because they can be used in so many different ways. I only wish they were better appreciated.

LDianeJohnson
08-24-2000, 01:02 PM
...Right now, it has no fixative on it and is fresh from the easel....

Try not to use fixative as any type of final treatment. Use it for reworking an area by gently lifting the pastel with a kneaded eraser, spray lightly with fix, let it dry completely, before painting again. The fixative creates a bit of new tooth for you to work on. Sometimes, just lightly spraying without removing pastel will work. Depends on the problem.

...I have flipped the paper over to remove any loose powder. Now what....if I spray with the fixative..can I keep working...or is that it? ...

You don't need to flip the paper over. Just hold vertically and thump along the back side without denting the paper with your fingers. Yes you could do a final spray with fixative, however, it is not recommended. Some fixes will darken, others will make the work appear pasty, or even lighten. No matter what is sprayed on the painting, you risk loosing the glitter and beauty that you have worked so hard to create. The painting can be stored or better yet, frame under glass with a space to avoid touching the glass surface.

...Here is how I worked this piece. I layed in the dark areas first then just some light and middle tones...then just started in with dots and dashes covering up as I went ...

Generally speaking, working from dark to light works best for soft pastel, otherwise you risk getting a pasty look in the colors. Restating colors then adding lights and highlights should be the last to be applied.

... I did try to rub with my fingers a in a few areas, but there has to be a better way. What is it? ...

Working pastel into pastel is a good way to go. If you plan on blending, using your fingers can apply unwanted oil to the surface, but you sure can get right in to what you want to fix easily. Try using fingers sparingly, perhaps with vinyl gloves or cardboard stump. I sometimes apply pastel to the entire surface then do a general blend before actually beginning a painting. Other times, I use a harder pastel to rough in the composition then move to softer and softer pastels to complete the painting.




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L. Diane Johnson, NAPA, PSA, APOW
Painting Gallery of L. DianeJohnson (http://www.LDianeJohnson.com)

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animal
08-24-2000, 02:39 PM
I like this piece!
http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/wink.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/wink.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/wink.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/wink.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/wink.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/wink.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/wink.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/wink.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif