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Bongo1
07-15-2008, 03:37 PM
Hello all:

I recently started using sanded papers for my pastel pieces. What do you use for the preliminary, black and white drawing? I used to use pencil on Strathmore Pastel paper. It doesn't work as well on the sanded papers. So I tried charcoal pencil and that was a failure. The lines smudged and, when I layered pastel over top, the charcoal made the colors muddy and cold.

Also, when you want to cover the entire piece of paper with a solid color before drawing, what do you use? Ludwig's darks? And what do you use when you do the preliminary drawing over a pastel undercoat?

Thanks so much!

WC Lee
07-15-2008, 04:07 PM
I usually just do a rough sketch with a stick of soft pastel .. but you can also use pastel pencils and/or vine charcoal. I don't put down a layer of flat color before doing a painting (though I sometimes do that for oil painting), if a color is desire, colourfix sanded paper is worth looking into, or do a watercolor wash, providing the surface used can handle water.

Deborah Secor
07-15-2008, 04:16 PM
I tone my Wallis sandpaper with pastel by laying down a soft layer of a dark or medium-dark color and then briskly and thoroughly rubbing it into the grit of the paper with a foam house painting brush. Then I use soft charcoal to do a value sketch, and paint directly on top of that. If I match value for value (darks on darks and lights on lights) I have no problem with the colors being affected by the charcoal sketch--but I don't go heavy handed either. Just a nice value sketch...

Hope that helps!

Deborah

PS Here's a link to demonstrations of how I do it:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=401768&highlight=toning+Wallis
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=476217&highlight=toning+Wallis

Pastel_Love
07-15-2008, 04:45 PM
Thanks Bongo for asking this, I was thinking all the day long of underpainting.

And Thanks Deborah for writing that you use pastels as an underpainting - without turpenoid :clap: or something like this.
I read in the book of Maggie Price that turpenoid is a must - but couldn't understand why.
Now reading that you, Deborah, don't use turpenoid (I hope I understand this correctly) made my day. Or better night. :D

But why do so many use turpenoid (and similaries) for solving the pastels?

Oh - and I mostly use a white pastel stick for the sketch or a darker one if the paper is lighter. Or a colour that fits to the painting.

Maggie P
07-15-2008, 05:01 PM
I read in the book of Maggie Price that turpenoid is a must - but couldn't understand why.

I don't know that I'd say turpenoid is a must--I just prefer it. When you use the turpenoid, it kind of "melts" the pastel into the paper. The color is not as likely to blend with subsequent layers but will stay more separated. It's not absolute; there still can be a little pastel rubbing off even after you use the turpenoid, but it does separate it nicely. (Note: when you do choose to use turpenoid, make sure you get the kind with the blue label. The kind with the green label is oily and never completely dries!)

Generally, I do underpaintings when I can see I will get some benefit from them. I usually use more than one color, and I think about how I might want bits of that color to show through subsequent layers. Sometimes I use the underpaintings as a way to clearly define either value structure or the separation of sunlight and shadow, as demonstrated in my book. But I always think about how the underpainting can be used to enhance the final painting.

Once in a while I do a tonal underpainting as Deborah described. I do this less now that the Richeson pastel surface is available in a number of colors--I'm more likely to just grab a piece of that. But sometimes I need the Wallis paper so I can have good crisp edges, and then I might tone it. One recent painting was to be predominantly dark, so I toned the entire surface with a dark Ludwig purple. I turped it to keep the purple from blending into the lights I planned to use later.

Like Deborah, I sketch using a stick of extra-soft vine charcoal. I generally keep it very light, and never have a problem with it muddying up subsequent layers. If I'm working on a dark-colored surface, I use a light gray pastel pencil to sketch.

When I'm painting outdoors and don't want to wait for turpenoid to dry, I use the foam brush method Deborah describes to push some colors into the surface like an underpainting.

There's no single "right" way -- there are as many methods as there are artists. It's fun to experiment though, and in the process you'll find what works best for you.

IMaybe
07-15-2008, 07:14 PM
:clap: WoW. I absolutley LOVE seeing Maggie Price and Deborah Secor posting here , and helping us ordinary pastel lovers learn about this medium. In fact, Wetcanvas has sooo many great artists, helping one another, and all learning together so much, its wonderful. Its a real thrill. I also must say, I have Maggie Price's book, and it has helped me to try things, and to learn about things I would never have learned or heard of anywhere else. Does Deborah have a book out yet? She should! I love the articles they both write in the Pastel Journal, the best Mag. ever! Thanks ladies!

Deborah Secor
07-15-2008, 07:47 PM
No, no book for me--just the articles! Maybe someday I'll write one, but for now I enjoy teaching, writing, and painting. I do have the two instructional videos coming out on ANTV sometime soon, though.

As Maggie said, there's no right way to tone paper. I've used turpenoid, too, and it does indeed melt the pastel. Solvents are different and they affect paper and pastels slightly differently, so if you try it make sure you're using one that is recommended for your paper. For instance, alcohol and Wallis paper are a little iffy. The turp works well on it, though. I sometimes use a wet foam brush over my initial block-in of color, which also works nicely. You want to make sure your paper likes wet media though, and that it isn't so lightweight that it will buckle too much. (If so, you might want to mount it to a foam board before painting.) It's always a good idea to run up a thread and seek other people's input if you're trying something new. Folks here are a big help...

Deborah

Maggie P
07-15-2008, 08:59 PM
:clap: WoW. I absolutley LOVE seeing Maggie Price and Deborah Secor posting here , and helping us ordinary pastel lovers learn about this medium. In fact, Wetcanvas has sooo many great artists, helping one another, and all learning together so much, its wonderful. Its a real thrill. I also must say, I have Maggie Price's book, and it has helped me to try things, and to learn about things I would never have learned or heard of anywhere else. Does Deborah have a book out yet? She should! I love the articles they both write in the Pastel Journal, the best Mag. ever! Thanks ladies!

I LOVE hearing that you think the Pastel Journal is the best magazine ever. Even though I no longer have an ownership interest it will always be "my baby" and it is so wonderful that people still love it.

I am just an ordinary pastel lover too...I've been very lucky and may have a little more visibility that some, but we all walk the same path. It's fun to share it!

CindyW
07-15-2008, 10:28 PM
....Even though I no longer have an ownership interest it will always be "my baby" and it is so wonderful that people still love it.

Oh yah!! Love that magazine! (subscriber for many years.) Thank you for sharing your "baby", Maggie!

I am just an ordinary pastel lover too...I've been very lucky and may have a little more visibility that some, but we all walk the same path. It's fun to share it!

This is a most humble and very nice thought to put into words...thank you for sharing this, too. :music: :music: :music:

Cindy

CindyW
07-15-2008, 10:30 PM
:clap: WoW. I absolutley LOVE seeing Maggie Price and Deborah Secor posting here , and helping us ordinary pastel lovers learn about this medium. In fact, Wetcanvas has sooo many great artists, helping one another, and all learning together so much, its wonderful...
I second that, IMaybe!

Tressa
07-15-2008, 10:57 PM
A book could be written on the different techniques for underpainting!, or at least a very looong article:D

One tip on using charcoal, if you do have a heavy hand, you can use a brush and water to paint the charcoal in, after you have applied, and it will "melt it" into the paper. I have done this, and it is pretty cool,especially when you are not wanting color underneath, and it is a realy loose way of applying..not crazy about turp myself, but not because it is not a good thing, but becasue I cannot stand the smell, even the "odorless" gets to me.
If you need a visual on "toning" with dry pastel, there is a vid on the Artist mag site of a still life with a dark toned b/g
Tressa

Pastel_Love
07-16-2008, 04:48 PM
Hi Maggie,
thank you for the good explanation. As a pastel-newbie I was a bit confused and obviously I didn't understand correctly.

May I please say another word about your book? Okay. :wink2:

Your book gave me something, that no artbook before gave me - not only a good understanding of the colors but a hint for composition that was very very important for me.
I love this book very much and today I started a painting - working after your instructions - except underpainting with turpenoid. :angel:
We can't get odorless turpenoid or sth like this here and I can't stand the smell.
I tried it with water and with watercolor but the only effect I got was a big mess. *lol
I think it is simply too early for me.

Tressa,
yes, I noticed that. The more I read here the more am I confused. I think there are so many diff. underpaintings like there are different styles.


Pastel Journal
Does anyone know if there is a non-print version I could subscriebe to? I think it won't be shipped to Germany - or yes?

artist_pw
07-20-2008, 01:32 PM
Hi:

I'm in the process of switching over to doing watercolor underpaintings with pastel over for a few reasons - one, in the field, I figured I could take a few less pastels, and also, I noticed that if I want to underpaint the sky area with a yellow, in pastel if you don't fix it, laying blue in will mix and you can get a green when you don't want it, and watercolor underpainting won't have that problem. I also really like the look of watercolor underpaintings in pastels. If you want to review some artists who really do an incredible job with this check out Richard McKinley and Albert Handell - their pieces using this technique are completely spectacular. Hope this helps and gives you some alternatives.

Maggie P
08-14-2008, 10:00 PM
Hi Maggie,
thank you for the good explanation. As a pastel-newbie I was a bit confused and obviously I didn't understand correctly.

May I please say another word about your book? Okay. :wink2:

Your book gave me something, that no artbook before gave me - not only a good understanding of the colors but a hint for composition that was very very important for me.
I love this book very much and today I started a painting - working after your instructions - except underpainting with turpenoid. :angel:
We can't get odorless turpenoid or sth like this here and I can't stand the smell.
I tried it with water and with watercolor but the only effect I got was a big mess. *lol
I think it is simply too early for me.



I like the odorless turpenoid because it's, well, nearly odorless. But you can get the same effect with regular turpentine or nearly the same effect with mineral spirits. Both of them will work MUCH better than water!

Colorix
08-15-2008, 07:24 AM
Martina, the Pastel Journal ships to Sweden, so you can definitely get it. It takes a long time to get it, though -- it shows up in my mailbox about 2 months later than the Americans get it in theirs (and when I get it, they get the next issue...) I'd love to have it on the computer, too. They do a CD with all the issues of 2007 (and one with 06), and I'm thinking that would be a good investment.