View Full Version : Weekly Pastel Sketch Thread - June 15 - 21

Paula Ford
06-15-2009, 02:58 PM
Hello Artists! :wave:

The weekly pastel sketch thread is for pastelists of all levels who use soft pastels, hard pastels, or pastel pencils.

The idea is to fit some sketching time into your week by completing a sketch in one hour or less. You can sketch anything, whether it be from life or photos.

It's a good idea to time your sketch, keeping it within 60 minutes. You know how time flies when you are creating. So get your pastels out, set your timer, and when your time is up, please post your sketches here and share your efforts with us.

For inspiration, please visit our Image Library here

06-15-2009, 10:25 PM
:lol: well I'll submit something even though it's not exactly a sketch. It's started out as a full painting, and maybe it will be. But I tried an experiment. I had a 16x20 canvas board that someone had given me once upon a time and I never knew what to do with it since I don't do oils or acrylics, but I decided to cover it with some Art Spectrum primer and see if I could use it for pastels. So I put about 4 coats of primer on it, and drew a sketch (using a ref photo that I had taken), and then used Pan Pastels to do an underpainting.

THEN I tried to put on the real pastels - and UGH. It's deadly. Such a beastly rough surface, nothing smooth, blending almost impossible. Mixing of colors is just about impossible. I've spent about an hour on it and I have barely even gotten started, and feel like maybe I'm trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear at this point. So I'm taking a break as it's making me crazy, and posting here where I am at the 1-way mark. I think it's back to just the plain Art Spectrum Colourfix paper for me now!

06-16-2009, 06:14 PM
Debbie....sorry you had such a time with the canvas board....my daughter gave me several pieces she bought at a tag sale, and I was considering trying to use them for pastels. But I think you've convinced me to think better of it! Think I'll give them to a friend who does acrylics....
Here's the landscape I did...from a photo I had taken. I kinda like the way it turned out...but see what you-all think...C&C aprreciated!

No6 Brush
06-16-2009, 07:26 PM
Here's my contribution, still learning pastels and this is my 5th ever... Tried to not blend and layer more as an exercise... Reference is from a ' how to paint' type book.

10 x 7.5 inches on Winsor 'Tints' Paper and a mix of Winsor, Sennelier and Manet Pastels.



Paula Ford
06-16-2009, 07:48 PM
Debbie, Great sketch, even though you are fighting with your board!

JB, It's beautiful! Love the reflections.

Tony, Beautiful piece! Nice and bright and warm!

06-18-2009, 07:09 AM
Debbie...good sketch...can't imagine using canvas board.

JB...nice and loose really like the water.

Tony...nice job...good colors...tempts me to pull out some of those how to's I have.

06-19-2009, 03:32 PM
This is from a ballpoint pen sketch that I bought from a street artist in Prague, in what was then Czechoslovakia.

It is 6" x 9" done entirely with panpastels. It's on white Wallis "professional grade" paper. This is the first piece I have done with the pans where I used the little eyeshadow applicators (http://www.fineartstore.com/Catalog/tabid/365/txtSearch/sofft/List/1/catpageindex/2/ProductID/20813/Default.aspx?SortField=UnitCost%2cUnitCost). I don't like them nor do I like the teensy diddlyness of the dot marks made by them.

Need to stick to the more expansive, less fussy tools/gestures. Does it look as fussy and overworked as it felt like when I was doing it?

I actually like the weight of the building on the right. It is really looming. . . :o



Paula Ford
06-20-2009, 12:28 AM
I really like it too Jan! Great sketch!

06-21-2009, 01:24 AM
Hi all, figured i'd give it a try.

Debbie, very nice, even tho its on canvas you did very good. i'll bet it was hard.

Hi JB, i think this is quite good for a fast sketch, nice and loose, well done.

Hi Tony, for your 5th pastel this is very good, keep it up your doing fine.

Jan, this is nice, how do you like the pan's?

well here is my little one. did it at our group thing we do on Thur, got there late had a few breaks so i'll say that i did this in appx one hr. give or take was only there 1 and 1/2 hr.s it's on 4/6 watercolour paper purple tint gesso/pumice. C&C welcome. Now I do know that one sidw of the lighthouse is bowed but was really doing as aa study for a larger version. which didn't come out so great at this time.


Paula Ford
06-21-2009, 09:45 AM
Really great sketch Pete! That lighthouse looks so real and painterly!

06-21-2009, 12:28 PM
Pete, that sketch is pretty nice! I especially like the sky. Lush!

Jan, this is nice, how do you like the pan's?
Well . . . . ummmmmm . . . . my jury is still out. I came to pastels directly from drawing. I have never done any painting with oils or acrylics (being careful and adamant about avoiding those two media) so I have no experience with the notion of applying color with applicator instruments, like paint brushes or those spongee things that you use for the pan pastels. I mean, the thing that originally grabbed me (I believe) about pastels was the immediacy of holding a stick of color in your hand and putting a mark right down with it. There was my actual color mark! It was very cool.

I am not sure yet how I feel about the intermediary of the sponges.

I imagine it's like coming to painting directly from fingerpainting. The fingerpainter might think "Why bother with this silly ole brush? Wazza point of this?"

Anyway, Pete, I don't know yet. No doubt I am over-noodling on this. As usual.

But I am having a good time! And the whole entire point of ALL of this is to have a good time. :thumbsup: :thumbsup: Right? Right!


06-21-2009, 07:45 PM
Debbie, Judibelle, Tony, Jan, Pete, really great sketches, everyone! :clap:

Here's one I did in a life drawing class last Thursday. It took about 20 or 30 minutes. Some of the random marks (that look like scars) are from irregularities in the surface from when I primed the paper. :( I haven't quite figured out yet how to get a smooth surface when priming. Still working on that one!



06-21-2009, 10:40 PM
Hi Nancy, very nice work. I find when priming that i use a roller. to me it works better than brushes, it still gives a texture but one that i could live with. the sketch above was done with a roller. still this is very well done and especially for the short time.

06-22-2009, 12:38 AM
Pete, thanks for the info on priming. What kind of roller and primer do you use? I've used a small high-density foam roller from the home improvement store. I didn't have a lot of success with it. It creates a texture like stucco which doesn't take the pastels very well. I've tried different kinds of primer. The hardest to use was the gesso with pumice powder mixed in, but it might be that I wasn't mixing it right. The Art Spectrum primers go on better. I ordered some Golden Acrylic Ground for Pastels and I'm anxious to try that out. I'll give the roller another go too. You seem to have been able to get a nice surface with it, no groves or pock marks, and your sketch perfect!

06-22-2009, 12:53 AM
Jan, I like your sketch. I don't think it looks fussy or overworked. I like the point of view of looking up the steps. I'm still trying to get used to the Pan Pastels too. I find they are more transparent than regular stick pastels, which is frustrating when trying to layer a lighter color over a darker. Perhaps it's just a matter of learning the techniques.

06-22-2009, 10:19 AM
Nancy, thanks for the kind words! I very much like your delicate touch in that portrait. Very renaissance-like!
I'm still trying to get used to the Pan Pastels too. I find they are more transparent than regular stick pastels, which is frustrating when trying to layer a lighter color over a darker. Perhaps it's just a matter of learning the techniques.
They seem more transparent to me too, for the most part. But I layer them multiple times with fixative in between, so I do get good coverage, if I want it. And the transparency is very nice when you want the darker undercolor to peek through and "read". And when I need some mark to be especially thick and lush (and precise), I use a stick. Voila! Rocket science it ain't.

I am the last person to advise you on achieving a smooooooth ground, as I have been trying various techniques to get more and more texture on my supports (http://jan777.blogspot.com/2009/06/i-was-wingeling-it-it.html)! With various levels of success! :o I have been mesmerized with Creevy (http://books.google.com/books?id=xu71tfuJcKcC&dq=creevy+pastesl&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=PlB8-DVdPt&sig=bm4QKocHfBx7eVhtkSPHXzfddF8&hl=en&ei=VoI_Spn5Io-Etwe8lrSqBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1)'s thick-texture techniques and have been playing around with my own variations, using other versions of his materials and also rough textured watercolor papers.

BTW, I love the Colourfix primer. One method I have used to get finer texture: apply Colourfix primer in the usual fashion, using brush or roller, let it dry and then very lightly sand it, with sandpaper. Very lightly, or you'll lose all your tooth completely. Try that!

Dumb Suggestion that I am sure you've already thought of: instead of priming paper yourself, try the sanded papers, like the finest grain UArt. Or the finest grade sandpaper from the hardware store.


06-22-2009, 10:28 AM
Nancy, I've been doing some of the same experiments lately. I bought a packet of mountboard scraps and have been able to get pretty smooth applications of primer, although the mountboard texture still comes through. I prime the board first with several layers of acrylic gesso, and then put on either colorfix or Golden Fine Pumice Gel. I use one of those cheap foam brushes from the hardware store.

The way I get a smooth surface is to brush on the medium repeatedly both directions until the texture shows no more changes. So I first go across the board, then up and down, then across again. I try to have the dominant/final strokes to go in the direction that I intend to orient the painting (long side for landscape format, short side for portrait format). By stroking both directions until new strokes don't make marks, I find that I get a smooth surface. I use the same technique with each layer.

I think that putting on repeated thin layers also helps. I use several layers of gesso, and then one or two layers of colorfix or Golden Pumice Gel. The colorfix that I have is opaque white which is nice if the scrap mount board has a dark color to it. The colored boards take a lot of layers of gesso to get rid of the color. The nice thing about the pumice gel is that I can use it to make corrections as it is transparent.

Good luck,

06-22-2009, 10:23 PM
Jan, not a dumb suggestion at all! I have been trying out different sanded papers and like the results a lot. I like a lot of texture too, just the right kind. I looked at the link to Bill Creevy's book and I'm going to have to get that book. I have his book on oil painting and love it. I also checked out your picture of the pears--Really nice!! I like the sketches too, very expressive!

I mostly wanted to try the primers because of wanting to prime canvas for use with pastels. I'm still working on that. The canvas I have is left over from my oil painting days is very rough. I think that was some of my problem. I ordered some smooth canvas and I'm looking forward to trying that.

Luana, Thanks for sharing your process for priming with me. I've found that, too, that some of the brush strokes will smooth out if I go over it several times. I'll try using a thinner consistency of primer and see how that goes. Is mountboard like foamcore, or more like hardboard?

06-23-2009, 10:55 AM
Nancy, I think I used the wrong word. What I am using is leftover pieces of mat from the framing process. A local store sells packets of them, but it's always an adventure since you never know that textures or thicknesses are in the packet.