View Full Version : W.I.P. - coastal rocks

11-30-2005, 06:07 PM
:o Sorry Guys .... could not get pics aligned with text! Will try again later. :o

(Oh I'll just carry on regardless... )

Hi pastellists
Well here goes with my first venture into demonstrating on Wet Canvas. Please feel free to criticise what I am doing at any stage .... it feels like flying by the seat of my pants! Having to stop and think what I've just done at different stages is a bit daunting!

This is on Art Spectrum, colour - mushroom, size - 33 x 45 cms. Using a mixture of hard and soft pastels ... Mungyo, Art Spectrum, Winsor & Newton, Schminke.

Stage One
Image is drawn up using blue Othello pastel pencil and black pastel. Darks are indicated.

Stage Two
Lignt areas indicated using broad strokes with side of pastel. Purple, red and dark blue strokes put in to indicate shadows, small rocks and weed.

Stage Three
Dark blue-green goes over sea area of painting using similar broad strokes as before. Also to shadow areas on big rocks.

Stage Four
Using short sideways strokes with blunt end of pastel I start at the top and work downwards. I use two greens, three blues and purple to create the distant sea .... just playing and having fun!
When I get to the far rocks I put in the seaspray using the lightes tint of Ultramarine Blue. These rocks are worked in red, purple, dark blue over the black underpainting.
I start the water leading from the far rocks towards the foreground using lighter tones of blue over streaks of purple and a little green.

Stage 5
This is a close-up of the part I am working on ..... I will continue to do the water much the same way throughout the painting using the following techniques both for the water and any reflections:
First thickish broken lines of various colours in both soft and hard pastel.
Then blending by, either, glazing' over the top with soft pastel
or 'feathering' with a harder pastel.

11-30-2005, 06:18 PM
Beanie- why bless your soul!!! Wonderful- and I am going to dig out the pastels and do it!!! thanks so much.....

11-30-2005, 06:35 PM
Purples ... this is all your fault ... you put the idea into my head!! I can't make the pics sit next to the text but will just carry on .......... All for you!

Stages 6 - 8
I treat the big rocks in much the same way as the sea:
Blocks of colour underneath with soft pastel dragged lightly over OR hard pastel feathered on.

Final Stage
Not very happy with rocks so SCRAPE them HARD with an old bank card.
Feather lightly over black lines in distance.
Play with the water in the foreground.

Is it finished??? ....... darned if I know!

John B
11-30-2005, 06:58 PM
Great stuff, I enjoyed that, very informative and a wonderful painting to boot.


11-30-2005, 07:09 PM
well, i went to the computer attached to the printer (before my science fair due tomorrow 'parents have bogus ideas' 12 year old daughter took control) and the text was gone- will try tomorrow!!! Jeez, why did I try to teach the kids to be independent thinkers and question authority- I didn't mean US.....

11-30-2005, 07:21 PM
Purples! ... we must have cross-posted ... I was editing it just after you first saw it (I saw your message). Took all the text off and was going to scrap it (this is when you must have gone back for a second look!) but changed my mind and put it back ... now all is as it was when you first looked
John .... thank you for those kind words. But its not one of my best.

11-30-2005, 07:25 PM
Beautiful, Beanie--and it's always so informative to watch someone's process who knows what they're doing. Thank you!

11-30-2005, 08:07 PM
Hello Beanie,
Thank you for posting this demonstration. The illustrated WIPs are very informative.
I am finding that blending in the transition from color to color to be frustrating using pastels. It may be that I have too few pastels and therefore the color change is abrupt, or I have too heavy a touch when using a pastel, or it could just be I don’t know what the heck I am doing.

In Stage 5 you talk of “blending by, either, glazing' over the top with soft pastel
or 'feathering' with a harder pastel.”

I assume that ‘glazing’ means to lightly go over the top of a color with another and still allow the under color to show through?

I do not know what is meant by ‘feathering’, could you explain it further?


11-30-2005, 09:16 PM
Thank you Kim - although it makes me smile that you say 'someone who knows what they are doing'. Believe me when doing a painting I rarely feel that!!

gfwolf - glad that you are finding it helpful. Don't worry too much about not having lots of pastels to choose from. I made the mistake of buying a couple of hundred over several months and now find that I use very few of them. This painting was completed using only 18 pastels including the black.

I find that its pointless trying to have every shade that you might ever need (IMO) .... because you can bet your boots that when it comes to it you'll never have the exact one you want!

You will gradually find colours that you really like to use .... then is the time to buy 2 or 3 shades of each one. And don't forget to write down the names of the ones you really like! .... there is nothing worse than using up the last grain of a favourite colour only to find that you haven't a clue as what it is called! - I've got the T-shirt for that!

You are correct about 'glazing' ... it does mean lightly dusting over one colour with another so that the first colour shows through.

'Feathering', as I understand it, is to make very delicate strokes with one colour over another to modify the underneath colour, and can also be used to blend the edge of one colour with another. The latter use can help with the gradual transition from colour to colour.

An abrupt transition between colours is sometimes quite difficult to handle and needs a sharp edge to your pastel and a steady hand! And pastel pencils can help with small areas and tiny detail.

I particularly like dragging and/or feathering hard pastels over soft. This sometimes results in unpredictable and exciting effects!

happy painting

11-30-2005, 10:27 PM
Thanks so much for answering my questions. It is very helpful to me when I get input like this.

It is the gradual transition from color to color which I am finding so hard. When I try a portrait it ends up looking like a bad paint by number and I then end up hand blending to try and get a color looking somewhat like skin. So far I have only used Conte pastel pencils and nupastels.

I have bought a set of 60 ˝ stick Rembrandts and a set of 18 Unison Daniel Greene portrait pastels but I have only looked at them. I have a rather small farm house and there is no isolated spot to paint. I am worried about making too big a mess with soft pastels, and then there is the issue of full spousal disclosure of the potential health hazards as covered in another thread. I am looking into a potential solution for the space problem so I am still looking to purchase the right supplies to have when the time comes.

A couple of additional questions if you don’t mind.
When you say to buy 2 or 3 shades of a color would that be like a dark, middle and light tone?

I really like the total effect of your painting especially the way the rocks were done. When you say the rocks were worked in red, purple and dark blue does that mean 1 red, 1 purple and 1 dark blue or various shades of each basic color?

Thanks again for taking the time to answer my questions.

11-30-2005, 10:55 PM
Hi again gfwolf (have you got another name?)

OK ..... COLOURS. Yes I meant get the pure colour then its lightest value and maybe its darkest as well. Its hard to get really good darks in pastel.

Sounds as if you have got some lovely pastels to start playing with there! LOL i don't know anything about 'spousal disclosure' .....! Just be careful to vacuum up your work space each time you finish for the day is my motto.

To prevent mess I use an easel ... either a table top one or a standing one and make sure that I have newspaper underneath to catch any dust. I also make a little dust-catching tray from folded newspaper to fit in the drawing- board holder of the easel. I fold this up front and back and stand the board on it so that very little dust can escape to the floor (I work with the board as near upright as possible so any dust falls into the 'paper tray' and NOT on to my painting).

Before moving to my present home I painted in the enclosed back porch of our house (very very small space). In this new house I have an attic bedroom and I have set up half of it as my studio area.

Skin tones are the most difficult thing of all to do. I blend with my fingers a lot for those, I'm afraid.

Well this demo piece of the rocks and sea did not look so good in real life so I have demolished it and am going to try again. The reason I am doing it is that it ended up overworked and muddy. This always seems to happen when I use black, .... I rarely use it for that reason. I had forgotten, though!

First of all I took a stiff 1" paintbrush and vigorously brushed off as much pastel as I could (I then vacuumed thoroughly!). Then I got some water and a soft 2" paintbrush and carefully stroked water across horizontally in strips, from top to bottom, to settle the remaining pastel dust. Colorfix paper is very robust and can stand this. I now have a 'misty' version of my painting to work on all over again.

I will take another pic once it is dry and if the next one turns out OK I will post both pics - 'before' and 'after' the demolition derby!

glad to be of help in any way :)

11-30-2005, 11:33 PM
Hi Beanie,
I do answer to Wolfie.
Thank you again for your responses. I am sorry that the painting did not turn out to your satisfaction. It looked great in the photos. The demonstration was still extremely helpful so I appreciate your taking the time to stop and photograph all the steps.

12-01-2005, 08:50 AM
Beanie- I think it is a wonderful demo nevertheless, and GREATLY appreciate your efforts!! I think they are still working on the regular insertion of images on WC though, which is probably why you can't get the text and pictures all like you want... but it is a wonderful demo- kids are off to school and i will try to print it out before hubby gets the computer for all day...

Paula Ford
12-01-2005, 12:02 PM

Thanks so much for the WIP. Very informative! Definately going to save it to my favorites!


12-01-2005, 02:31 PM
This is also wonderful to learn about doing the water- yours are so lovely, and I just get a stick of 'water' shade of blue for mine- so will learn more than you intended LOL

12-01-2005, 02:47 PM
Wolfie and Purples - go for it!! If my demo helps then that will be GREAT! But go easy with the black because it definitely can 'muddy the waters' if you are not very careful!

Paula - thank you. I love your works and demos so much - I am so pleased to think that you will add this to your favourites.

12-02-2005, 10:55 AM
Hi Beanie,
I wanted to thank you again for your demo and answering my questions. Yesterday I placed an order for a set of 90 Derwent pastel pencils (the only pastel pencil I could find which had 3 shades of the different colors (or colours).
Thanks again.


Piper Ballou
12-03-2005, 11:42 PM
Hi Beanie, I saw your demo a few days back and did not have time to make a comment,
I liked your painting, thank your for doing it, very informative for me.
thinking I will try your steps and just see what happens.

12-06-2005, 05:11 PM
Update and last word from me .....here is a bigger image of final stage.


12-06-2005, 05:18 PM
Wonderful use of color--love the violet in the water!

Paula Ford
12-06-2005, 08:10 PM


12-06-2005, 09:34 PM
Beanie, I love all the colors in the water...the rock is very interesting jutting out at that angle, too! Very nice.