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View Full Version : 2 New Pan Pastel Portraits from Life Elisa and Emily


Donna A
01-06-2008, 02:05 AM
Hi, Everyone! I finished the backgrounds on my two grand nieces' portraits. First is Elisa'a portrait. It's all Pan Pastel, as her sister's portrait--both of them painted from life when home from college over the holidays. This one is on Storm Blue Colourfix 20"x28" and I didn't need to use any fixative at all with either portrait, even though there are areas where I laid the pigment on pretty richly.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Jan-2008/77048-Elisa-portrait-fin.jpg

Here is a detail of the left side of her face to get a bit of an idea of the delicacy, the detail, the blending, and still some loose painterliness plus the lovely flesh tones that are possible with Pan Pastels. And this is only the fourth portrait I've done with these. I LOVE painting portraits with the PanP's!!! Just wonderful! Almost easier than in oil or with stick pastels, I think. But then it depends on what kind of portrait we are doing. They are all glorious! :-)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Jan-2008/77048-Elisa-left-detail-356.jpg

Notice the jaw line above. I really worked that a bit to get that very soft, cool edge that was clean but gently drifting around the curve of her jaw as moved back toward her throat---and the color changed from the generally cooler pale flesh under her cheekbone to a warmish rich color up across her pink cheeks and then softly transformed to a paler, warmer, less pink, slightly more orangy tint on up toward her eye. There are subtle planes that go a bit cooler or a bit lower in intensity or on in some other way(s) change ever so slightly---and which can make some nearly magical visual effects as we learn to see and use color ever better. I learned a LOT about managing very delicate shifts in color here, manipulating both the Pan colors and the sponges to achieve just the right edges and color qualities in this entire area.

And here is a detail of the right side of Elisa's face. I was so glad to be able to get some of the subtle colors that can make such a difference in more 'realistic' portraits. The shadow colors can often be the more challenging. This is where, often times, the paper towel color-build-up touches to moderate the color on my sponge tools had come in so handy, as I was mentioning in a post a day or two ago. The blending ability is just luxurious! It can be as utterly 'baby-bottom smooth' or created with a bit of 'personality' while still easing across a lovely series of mellow gradations.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Jan-2008/77048-Elisa-right_eye-detail-358.jpg

And here is a detail of some of the woodwork from the antique confessional which served as the background for Elisa. I worked very carefully to make the edges of the wood workings soft and subtle so that they would not upstage her. The original color of paint that is in the little carved-out area in the piece that angles out on the corner happens to be about the same color---a teal blue---as Elisa's shirt. That was too fun to resist! With her cool blue-blond hair, I liked the rich orangy color of the wood playing off in contrast---some of which shows even more in the full painting. And above Elisa to her right is a large north skylight, so very lovely blue light was softly pouring in on the planes facing toward the skylight, while I used a 200W (orangy-colored light) incandescent bulb to her left, giving wonderfully warm lights in contrast. I get so much richer color with that lighting set up!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Jan-2008/77048-Elisa-Conf-detail.jpg

Here is the portrait of Emily. This was done on Leaf Green Colourfix 20"x28". I painted this one a bit looser than Elisa's and it actually came together faster. Except for part of the background, the finish of her pearls and her sleeves (which originally were short) I painted her in about two hours once we got started.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Jan-2008/77048-pearls-fin.jpg

This is a detail of the left side of Emily's face---and you can see some of the Storm Green showing through the lines of vine charcoal from my drawing.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Jan-2008/77048-Emily-eye-nose-cheek.jpg

Here is a detail of the pearls. I went into details about how I approached painting these in a post a couple of days ago on Pastel Talk in the "Having a BALL..." thread if you are interested. Other details about some of the techniques I used here and in other pieces.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Jan-2008/77048-Emily-pearls-detail.jpg

I just never expected that these Pan Pastels would possibly do anywhere near as much as I'm finding they will do. I just keep being amazed by them! Very exciting to use! Take good care! Donna ;-}

AtlantaRed
01-06-2008, 02:28 AM
Elisa is being quite the quiet dominance-rix.

Emily has an annoyed hotness to her.

I like them. The looseness on what you've done with Emily is very good (to me).

The lighting effects/shading with Elisa is great!

Tracy Lewis
01-06-2008, 06:12 AM
absolutly beautiful!

pastellar
01-06-2008, 06:35 AM
Wow, Donna! You have created two wonderful portraits here. I'm amazed that this can be done with pans (sadly not available here in the UK - yet!). These are truly beautiful!

Andi Rebirth
01-06-2008, 06:57 AM
Donna,
You know I am one of your fans, so I love your work. Yhese are just wonderful. I love the lights and darks in your portraits of such beautiful girls.
I really love these, I have never tried pan pastels, my husband would have a fit if I order one more set of pastels!:eek: Lovely work. Andi

bchlvr
01-06-2008, 07:32 AM
Fabulous portraits. You do beautiful work.

DAK723
01-06-2008, 08:48 AM
Great work. Thanks for the close-ups - they really reveal the amount of subtle color and detail that you have achieved with the Pans. I have experimented just a little bit with the Pans and find them good for large general areas of color and almost impossible for this sort of detail. You seem to make it sound like the Pans are responsible for the success of these - I think not. You deserve the credit for two remarkable portraits.

Don

Donna T
01-06-2008, 09:58 AM
Donna, these are beautiful portraits of two very beautiful young women. I agree with Don, the pan pastels helped but the talent is all yours. It makes sense that these pastels work so well for portraits. You don't have to fight the pastels to keep lines from being too pronounced and the background elements can be kept soft-edged. Thanks so much for all the close-ups. I may just get inspired to try a portrait one of these days.

Donna T

Paula Ford
01-06-2008, 11:45 AM
WOW! These are so beautiful!!!

Paula

David Patterson
01-06-2008, 01:00 PM
What wonderful portraits Donna! You've really mastered those Pan Pastels!

David

DAK723
01-06-2008, 01:43 PM
Donna,

Would you mind sharing the specific pans that you used for the flesh tones in Elisa's portrait? These colors are so lifelike. This is my third time looking at these and I am just incredibly impressed.

Don

Alison2
01-06-2008, 02:12 PM
What beautiful portraits! I love the green tones in the top on the second portrait too.

Gorgeous!

Alison:wave:

Donna A
01-06-2008, 03:26 PM
Elisa is being quite the quiet dominance-rix.

Emily has an annoyed hotness to her.

I like them. The looseness on what you've done with Emily is very good (to me).

The lighting effects/shading with Elisa is great!

LOL, AtlantaRed! Both girls have always been soooo quiet---well around the family at any rate, but now and then when they were sitting---hee hee hee---I got to see some extra fun sparks of their personality glow. They would no doubt get a kick out of your comments! :-) I do know they both have great senses of humor. And they are both just gorgeous, each in their own way!

Emily sat for me first---and I really seemed to 'get her' pretty fast. And I do enjoy painting 'fast and loose!' Elisa was much more elusive. I could see her mom, my niece Catherine, in her portrait's face and my sister Margaret (Elisa's aunt,) too---along WITH Elisa's likeness, so---I knew I was in the 'ball park' but I did have to ask Elisa if she would come back the next afternoon. It was fun since her mom and a good friend of hers, who is also an art major as is Elisa---and FINALLY I 'found' Elisa in the painting! And since I've been experimenting with these Pan Pastels, I wanted to see what very fine, nuanced, delicate qualities I could achieve---with some pretty gentle blends and such (even though blending is not something I tend to do when I paint.)

I really love both portraits, but in part for different reasons. And both girls! They are very lovely young ladies! And will give the portraits to them.

By the way, I set up a mirror so that they could both watch the progress of the portrait as I painted. Most people have never seen a painting happen, so even for Emily, who is not an art major, but has always enjoyed creating art, it was interesting.

And love your comments, AtlantaRed! :-) Thank you! Donna ;-}

Donna A
01-06-2008, 04:13 PM
Hi, Tracy, pastellar, andi, Linn, Don, Donna T, Paula, Alison and David! Thank you so much for your very lovely comments and feedback! I really appreciate it.

I've always loved doing portraits and figure paintings, though most of the work I've done in the last many years has been landscapes and still lifes. I just love painting shapes of colors! and the feel of lights and shadows and the dymanic energies of a composition, whatever the subject! But---I do have to admit---this return to portraits has been soooo delish!

As 'at home' as I am painting from life with oil and pastel sticks, there was something sooooo delicious about the feel of putting on the PanP's in these two portraits---and two others I did earlier of friends, one on stretched canvas primed with Coloufix SuperTooth Primer, the other also on Cfix, and posted on the "Having a BALL.... thread along with a lot of landscapes and a still life or two, plus some works by artists who study with me.

The hair strokes were so easy. The skin tones were so easy, even getting the subtle shadow tones. The bits and pieces were so easy---eyes, etc! EASE---but then we've talked about EASE in using these in the "Having a BALL..." thread and someone in one of my painting classes (they've been using my PanP's but many ordering their own, now)---and several saying how wonderfully 'addicting' it was is to use these. LOL! Yep! But then we all find things that feel best to us to use and work best for us. And different things work for different artists!

One thing to remember about any new material is that when we first begin to use something we are not familiar with, it takes a while to 'get the hang of it.' To find the little tips and tricks and techniques of using them. It's been a fascinating journey for me and, what I supposed at first sight would be a 'nice little pastel underpainting material,' has become a magnificent major asset in pastel painting---as well as mixed-media work with watercolor and some other mediums! Pretty amazing. I was sooo surprised. Did not expect to make these discoveries! And as intently as I've been working with these now since end of October, for the most part, I am still finding more and more and more!

There are ways of loading and then of laying down the sponge tool against the painting surface, and how to use edges for very fine lines and how to pull one color into another and which sponge tool to pick for which type of stroke in which situation and how to do complex mixes of colors and such that make wonderful differences in how our paintings turn out. And soooo many of these things (not all) are things that, in their own way, are also related to similar techniques in pastel stick, oil and acrylic painting and even in watercolor, etc! As utterly unique these are, they are still from Planet Earth!

Was great to see how folks in class picked up these great techniques when shown a particular way of selecting and handing a tool or mixing a color from 2 or 3 Pans or way of laying down a color---pressure, direction, etc. There are just sooo many wonderful possibilities! And the blending is exquisite!!! Wow! I've gone in to so many of the techniques and other discoveries and observations I've made on the "Having a BALL..." thread on Pastel Talk, so if you want to learn even more about using them---there is a ton of info there to check out all the way through. Some report that they've already been through the info 2 or 3 times!

You can learn to do amazing things with the Pan Pastels! I have probably just experimented a lot more, so if you are using them---all this is in the Pan Pastels. Keep working with them. They will serve you!!! I just love them! And---'they play so well with others!' :-)

They will be in Australia end of February or early March and surely the UK will have them before too much longer. You could contact the company and ask. Enjoy! And thank you all so much for your very lovely comments! I really appreciate! Donna ;-}

Goewyn
01-06-2008, 04:26 PM
These are beautiful! How many pan-pastels did you have available to work from/did you use?

-- Linda

deyo67
01-06-2008, 04:32 PM
Wow! Is all I can say. This is my first post and I just had to compliment you on the portraits and the quality of your work. Thank you for your insight and passion. I get the feeling you really really like them. You've sold me on trying them.
John




Pastel Art
http://jdeyoungsart.blogspot.com

Jennifer S
01-06-2008, 04:38 PM
Hi, Donna--I have to say that, honestly, I wasn't particularly interested in the Pan Pastels until I saw your posts of the portraits of your nieces, Elisa and Emily. W-O-W!

The skin textures you are getting is stunning. The hair texture and the overall sumptuousness of the portraits is wonderful. V beautiful paintings and v beautiful girls. Thanks for sharing these portraits and for sharing them as a teaching tool, too. It's inspiring.

Donna A
01-06-2008, 05:01 PM
Donna,

Would you mind sharing the specific pans that you used for the flesh tones in Elisa's portrait? These colors are so lifelike. This is my third time looking at these and I am just incredibly impressed.

Don

Hi, Don! OK---the 'main-stay' colors were Red Oxide Tint and Orange Tint---in both of these portraits and the one of Lisa, all done on medium-dark, cooler Colourfix colors. Emily on Leaf Green, Elisa on Storm Blue (and Lisa on Aubergine---on the other thread.) In some areas, I laid the pigment on very richly, in some, moderate and in others very sheer---all of which gave me some various nuances.

I used Burnt Sienna Tint for the lightest light areas---and the Yellow Ochre Tint played important parts in paler mixes.

Cheeks were based on Red Oxide Tint, Perm. Red pure and Tint, as well.

For many of the darker colors in crevices, nostrils, around the eyes, etc---I used Red Iron Oxide Shade and Paynes Gray Shade. That's just a magnificent combination!!!! Varying proportions for places where you need cooler or warmer darks.

For the cooler, paler shadows where I did not rely on the Cfix undercolor, I used Ultramarine Blue pure and Tints, and/or with Paynes Gray pure and Tint to lower intensity to mix with the Red Iron Oxide Tint---or sometimes Red Iron Oxide pure. Or both. I made some pretty complex mixes sometimes. I'm just thankful to know color---and that can be learned, for those who don't have a good feel for it yet.

For the eye whites, they are NOT Titanium White! Well---you know that but some have not noticed that yet! :-) I used a bit of the flesh mixture with a bit of Paynes Gray Tint (warm blood veins soar through the cooler 'whiter' look of the eye ball material.) Then a bit of slightly paler light with variations of those general colors for the small spot that light might hit more strongly. Usually, a good bit of the eye ball is shaded by the upper lid and lashes, so Paynes Gray pure or Tint might prove useful with the Red Iron Oxide pure to mix some of the more shadowy eye white color.

There may have been a time or two where I brought in a bit of the Chrome Oxide Green Shade or pure into a flesh tone mix. Certainly in the portrait of Jim (other thread) painted on the Colourfix-primed stretched canvas with a white undercolor---along with the other colors mentioned.

With different 'lighter' complexions or different reflected lights from surroundings or in different lighting situations, I would likely add some additional colors---more Ochres and Siennas, first.

The only only only place I used any Titanium White was a tiny bit for the narrow highest high light down the nose and perhaps, at least on Elisa, a bit at the very top of her chin, I think. Otherwise---NONE!!! I see artists over using pure white soooo often!

Now--if you don't have the Tints, you'll have to use your white to create your tints, but if you want to do many portraits, your life if going to be drastically easier investing in the Tints. And some of the Shades, too. I'm going to go into a lot of the mixing and other color issues in the workshop I'm doing in March. And techniques galore.

I love the impact of the light, the opaques I can get with the Pan Pastels. They cover wonderfully, as sheer as they are---and sometimes it is a matter of building a second layer. Much depends on how well one develops their technique in loading the sponges tools and how the color is laid on.

And I've been amazed at what find details I can get, how painterly the Pan Pastels can be, how gorgeous and sensuous the blends can be, how subtle the color gradations, how hard, medium to soft the edges can be made and so on!!! And what fun they are to use! LOL! Well---I'm just so inspired "talking' about these, I've got to go run in the studio and play some more with them! LOL! Hope you all are having fun painting, too! Hope this helps. Let me know if you have other questions! Take good care! Donna ;-}

Dougwas
01-06-2008, 05:51 PM
Fantastic portraits Donna!! It was fun watching you put them together. I am sure both young ladies will love the paintings when they get them.

For all the other people interested in the Pan Pastels, see the Having a Ball using Pan Pastels thread. There is a ton of info there. You will learn so much about the Pans and if you have any questions, Donna and others will answer them for you. It is a great thread, because we are learning about a new product together.

Thanks again for sharing, Donna. (Do you have that skyscape finished yet:D )


Doug

WC Lee
01-06-2008, 05:57 PM
I'm going to sound redundant but .. beautiful portraits :)

DAK723
01-06-2008, 06:20 PM
Donna,

Thank you so much for the in-depth color descriptions!

Don

Donna A
01-06-2008, 08:19 PM
These are beautiful! How many pan-pastels did you have available to work from/did you use?

-- Linda
Hi, Linda! I ordered the whole set of 60 from Dakota Pastels before they were even available---and of course before they went on sale! :-) Ohhh, well! :-)

I think the next best thing would be the 20-piece PaintingSet if someone were watching budget---since that way---at least the artist has the whole set of pure pigments plus the black and white. But anyone doing landscapes needs (for the sake of 'handiness' to have, I believe, the Shades of Thalo Green, Raw Umber and Violet!" I really don't know --and should check---what colors are in the other 20 sets.

There are really 'handy' things about having all 60, of course. But an artist can make the tints with white added in and shades with black added in. Just have to be a bit more careful with the mixes, if one is a real Colorist and wanting THE color.

But---that is sooo possible and all sorts of ways of getting THE perfect mix with several colors. Takes some practice---but then---that's how to get to Carnige Hall! :-) (that is soooo NOT how to spell Carnige. My mind is blank as to what is right. There is another E somewhere. duh. Anyone out there who can help???) :-) Anyway---PRACTICE!!! Even if you invest in the whole set! Takes a bit time to really 'get the hang of it' but sooo deliciously worth it!!! Like anything!!! I promise! Yum!!! Donna ;-}

Donna A
01-06-2008, 08:32 PM
Fantastic portraits Donna!! It was fun watching you put them together. I am sure both young ladies will love the paintings when they get them.

For all the other people interested in the Pan Pastels, see the Having a Ball using Pan Pastels thread. There is a ton of info there. You will learn so much about the Pans and if you have any questions, Donna and others will answer them for you. It is a great thread, because we are learning about a new product together.

Thanks again for sharing, Donna. (Do you have that skyscape finished yet:D )

Doug
Thank you, Doug!!! They were fun to paint---give or take trying to figure out what in the "goodness-gracious" I was missing with Elisa! :-)

There has been some great sharing from others on the thread! And looking forward to more! :-) Someone not connected with the PanP company who also had a booth at IAPS commented to me that this was the first truly innovative fine art materials to be introduced in many decades. This came from someone who really, really knows the best of art materials!

The skyscape??? The skyscape???? grrrrrrr! :-) Naw. It's a'waitin' for me. Dust gathering. (And none of dust that comes from the PanP's.) Dang, life can get in the way! :-) Gotta go do some updating on my web site (more workshop info) and finish the MidAmerica Pastel Society next member's juried show prospectus, so I'll be done in time to do our January newsletter. Do you get the feeling I ain' got no good sense!???! But---I do have a great time! Thank you again! Take good care! Donna ;-}

Tracer
01-06-2008, 08:35 PM
Stunning work Donna!!! Thanks for all the information!

Donna A
01-06-2008, 08:37 PM
I'm going to sound redundant but .. beautiful portraits :)

Oh, WC---that kind of 'redundancy' always sounds crispy fresh! Thank you! Donna ;-}

Jennifer and John, thank you both so much, as well! Enjoy!!! Donna ;-}

Dougwas
01-06-2008, 09:12 PM
Donna, I get tired just reading what you do. If I ever took one of your workshops,(which I would love to do) I would be the guy taking a nap in the corner just so I could try keeping up with you the next day.


Doug

Spritzer
01-06-2008, 09:54 PM
Thank you so much for posting this. I am awaiting my order of panpastels to come in just any day. I can't wait!!!!
Spritzer

water girl
01-06-2008, 10:49 PM
Gorgeous portraits! I never would have believed you used pan pastels. This is quite amazing!

*Violet*
01-07-2008, 06:33 PM
how marvelous your paintings and how absolutely fabulous the time and effort you've taken to share your expertise with us !! ... kudos to you !!!

PeggyB
01-07-2008, 07:27 PM
Donna, I get tired just reading what you do. If I ever took one of your workshops,(which I would love to do) I would be the guy taking a nap in the corner just so I could try keeping up with you the next day.


Doug

Doug - I am taking Donna's pan pastel workshop, and I think I'm going to have to follow your suggestion! I'll be two time zones behind before I ever start since I live in the Pacific time zone and she's in Central... :lol:

Donna you are an inspiration just viewing these lovely portraits, and I'll do my best to stay awake. :)

Peggy

Donna A
01-08-2008, 01:12 PM
Donna, I get tired just reading what you do. If I ever took one of your workshops,(which I would love to do) I would be the guy taking a nap in the corner just so I could try keeping up with you the next day.

Doug
Doug - I am taking Donna's pan pastel workshop, and I think I'm going to have to follow your suggestion! I'll be two time zones behind before I ever start since I live in the Pacific time zone and she's in Central...

Donna you are an inspiration just viewing these lovely portraits, and I'll do my best to stay awake.

Peggy

LOL!!! You all are making me laugh! :-) LOL! And I LOVE to laugh! :-) Thank you---and thank you, Tracer, Spritzer, water girl and Violet, as well!

I'm wanting to take on Kat's fun Challenge, over on Pastel Talk, for Self Portrait's for the next portrait. :-) I've done several over the years and it's not only fun, but even more---can be really useful in exploring a certain lighting or way of reviewing a specific technique, a quality of an expression or even just for a quick 'vacation' from painting a series of lush landscapes and so forth---and on one's own timetable when working from life, which is always my first, second and third choice! :-) And it's easy to always get that danged model to turn the nose back to justttt the right place! LOL! And for those practicing doing portraits, you can keep the early outcomes between you and your model! :-) Take good care, all---and thank you again! Donna ;-}

maw-t
01-08-2008, 10:01 PM
These are gorgious! Do you enjoy or like the pans better than the sticks? They sound wonderful.. I enjoy mixing colors.. so I bet I would really love them. Your flesh tones are so smooth and lifelike.. is that look easier to achieve with the pans?
Thanks so much for sharing.. I am throughly enjoying this!

maw-t

Donna A
01-09-2008, 02:13 AM
These are gorgious! Do you enjoy or like the pans better than the sticks? They sound wonderful.. I enjoy mixing colors.. so I bet I would really love them. Your flesh tones are so smooth and lifelike.. is that look easier to achieve with the pans?
Thanks so much for sharing.. I am throughly enjoying this!

maw-t

Hi, maw-t! They have indeed turned out to be wonderful! And they have utterly surprised me with what they can do, what they can give. As far as better than.... That's rather like a question about which leg I like best. Both---but---right now, I'm having a great time hopping around on my PanP leg! :-) I just keep finding more things they will do. Some things are better than or easier than...what I can do with the sticks---but then so many things are simply different than...what I can do with them.

Ohhh---those flesh tones! I've just got to tell you how utterly delicious it was to be painting those on to the portrait! Ohhh, yum! I mean, they are great with landscapes and still lifes, but I was having such a fun time with those skin tones. And I'd come across a sponge tool I had not had before---the round one. Ohhh---luscious things I could do with the round, which somehow I had not noticed when I was first ordering my PanP's and a lot of extra sponges.

Yes---it did seem easier in a lot of ways than the sticks or my oils---both of which I love and have used for so many portraits! I spoke of that---maybe over in my thread in Pastel Talk---the 'Having a BALL..." thread. I do think there is something that is so full of grace---or which extends a particular sense of grace in painting with these. Takes a little 'getting the feel' of using these since they are sooo different in so many ways. And they give back so much. I'm just thrilled with them! Take good care! Donna ;-}

AliciaS
01-09-2008, 09:37 AM
This is beautiful work!! I will have to try the pan pastels,. The strokes here almost look like oil!! BEAUTIFUL!