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serpentixus
08-29-2005, 05:12 AM
I'm new to working with pastels. I 've painted with acrylics and oilpaint before but I did not like the long (oil) and short (acryl) drying times and the smell of thurps (my lungs neither). Having a buisy young live I ended up painting with to large periods not painting but just waiting. And this killed enjoying and my encouragement. I ended up with some paintings unfinished.
I talked to an artist and she told me she had the same experience and solved it switching to pastel. So I decided to give it a try. I must say I really enjoy pastels. I finally learn to know and appreciate tones and i like the fact i can work fast, not taking much time to mix colors.

But my question is: learning a new medium is not easy, how can I learn to know pastels? I really am looking forward creating my own style. And I have some problems like how to get dark enough with pastels, problems with layers, etc. I guess the typical problems for new people to the medium pastel.
I know what you are thinking: practice, practice, practice. But what is best when you are new to this medium? Is it best to paint a work from artbooks? And maybe adapt it to my point of view on things? Learning to solve problems this way? Will this help me creating my own style?
Or do I just have to paint from pictures or reality? Is this the only way to find my own style? And is this the right time to do this? Will I find out how to solve the problems without the artbooks?
thanx for any advice

Kathryn Wilson
08-29-2005, 09:03 AM
Hi and Welcome to the Pastel Forum - you really have come to the right place to learn how to use and enjoy pastels. You're asking lots of questions, but the main question seems to be how to learn to use pastels.

First, explore our Pastel Library - there are many, many threads that teach different aspects of using pastels.

Second, one of our members, Jackie Simmons has a series of books that shows you the basics and in-depth views of the techniques using pastels. Jackie has a forum that you might visit to get more information on those books.

Thirdly, post your work here - you will get help and critiques of your paintings - invaluable advice and a good learning tool.

I hope that helps you get started in the world of pastels.

jackiesimmonds
08-29-2005, 11:09 AM
always happy to answer questions; for your info, before I wrote my own books about working with pastels, I studied the works of the Masters - people like Degas, and Toulouse Lautrec and others. I looked at lots of "how to" pastels books, found most of them fairly disappointing, so was happy when eventually I was asked to write my own. People seem to find them helpful - the first one I wrote, Pastels Workshop, is now in its third reprint.

There is LOTS of information and help here in the threads, and in the Library, do take time to read some of the posts, you can pick up all sorts of useful information here, in small chunks.

If you like watching videos, there are quite a few how-to pastels vids on the market as well.

Gradually, you will learn all about pastels, and yes, you still need lots of practice!

Jackie

Khadres
08-29-2005, 11:12 AM
One of the basic things you'll need to remember is that, as with oils, pastels require you to paint dark to light....you must put in your darkest tones first because it's almost impossible to darken lighter shades enough later. Also, you'll need a wide enough assortment of colors including some really dark tones to do this. A lot of beginner or basic sets of pastels simply don't include enough really dark or really light tones, so you may need to buy more sticks separately.

Otherwise, I think you learn the best by doing. By all means, use whatever books, videos, etc. you can find to help get you started, but after that...practice, experiment, and just have fun finding your way.

Welcome to the pastel forum and good luck!

serpentixus
08-29-2005, 12:06 PM
...when eventually I was asked to write my own. People seem to find them helpful - the first one I wrote, Pastels Workshop, is now in its third reprint.

I have your book Pastel workbook and indeed it s helpfull. I really like the style you are painting so I was really delighted when I found out later that you're in this forum. I already made an excercise from the book. I'll try to post it in the pastel studio later.

...pastels require you to paint dark to light....you must put in your darkest tones first because it's almost impossible to darken lighter shades enough later. Also, you'll need a wide enough assortment of colors including some really dark tones to do this. A lot of beginner or basic sets of pastels simply don't include enough really dark or really light tones, so you may need to buy more sticks separately.

Noticed that yeasterday :envy:
I have Rembrandt sets (90-100 colors) because they are very affordable in Belgium (made in Holland). But they include not much dark tones. I bought some seperate but still not really satisfied with darkness. I think for dark tones I'll better buy Schmincke. I tried a white Schmincke with a shine in it, it was very soft maybe a bit too soft, but the colours of Schmincke are really unique! Schmincke is 2,2 € for a stick while Rembrandt is just 1,6 € and after 1 painting the Schmincke stick shrunk dramatically... So in my situation I would better stick to Rembrandt for now and when I become better results I'll change to Schmincke.

thanx for the advice so far. :wave:

Bringer
08-29-2005, 05:05 PM
Hi,

First of all, welcome.
It's funny that you've started with pastels, I just started trying oils. My thought is to make a layer of oil painting once a week and work some of the other days in pastel.
Well, you said that you have Rembrandts and tried Schminke. You can use your Schminkes for highlights, for insteance.
One think about pastels is that usualy one uses the harder ones for first layers and softer ones for last layers.
You also need to try a couple of papers : Canson (both sides; Hanemuhle Velour; Colourfix or Colorfix ; Kitty Wallis ) , the last two are sanded paper.
Now for something REALLY IMPORTANT : for doing details or for blocking, BREAK YOUR STICKS.
One thing you can buy is a taper point Colour Shapper. I use it to define edges. It works great. I have the number 2 I guess, grey colour.
Well...I could keep typing forever but why don't you post your works so that we can help ?
And of course that I'm sure that you'll be abble to help us too.

Regards,

José

Trilby
08-29-2005, 05:13 PM
I started pastels in March having many years ago been an oil painter who sometimes used her 2 dozen pastels to do a character study--not very many of those. So, I was in the same quandery you are--Just how the heck do you use these sticks when you can't mix colors as you do in oils, and all the other questions? I took a class that proved useless, but watching the instructor's demos was helpful. I read lots of books and usually got at least one useful thought or guideline, but simply painting, and joining Wet Canvas has been the best teacher. Also watching others use pastel in videos and at a studio I attend. I am now at a point where I have enough knowledge about this medium that I am being asked to do some teaching. So my best advice for you is be patient, post on WC, try out lots of different kinds of papers, and supports, build your collection of pastels. Unison makes an 18 stick set of darks that you may be able to order from Jackson's in the UK at a good price. Oh yes, just play and have fun, and trust that the art knowledge you already have will come through. Welcome to the boards and to pastels.
TJ