View Full Version : Attempt at pastel

08-21-2009, 10:10 AM

Pastel is not one of my mediums that I work in much so I don't feel very confident about this one. I'd like to have a critique please. Your comments will be greatly appreciated. Barbieannehttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Aug-2009/62152-pastel_of_lady_in_chair.jpg

08-21-2009, 10:43 AM
Hi Barb, welcome to Pastel forum.

You're doing great with the pastels -- you use them on their sides, you scribble, hatch, and draw. All that the pastels are so great a medium for doing.

It looks like you've painted on a full size of Canson, the textured side. If you want a smoother look, the back side of that paper is less textured, but holds as much, if not more pastels.

Do tell what paper it is, and the brand of pastel sticks you've used. (We're nuts about that kind of info.)

The only crit I would have is of colour perspective, and the judicious use of outlines, as you're doing great with the medium. Possibly, you think 'drawing' a bit more than you think 'painting'.

Fabulous figure that is vibrating with life!


08-21-2009, 10:44 AM
Your handling of the medium is lovely and you are no stranger to the human figue....so right off the bat, I like this. Just one nit. Just between the shoulder and where her hair line ends..... a little confusing. Is that her face or hand? Cheers, Derek

08-21-2009, 11:08 AM
Charlie and Derek,

Thank you so Much! Your comments and critiques are so important to me. The paper is brown Canson and I have used three different products of pastels......Rembrandt and Grumbacher and throw in some Canson pastel pencils and that is it. I DO think pencil more than paint with the pastels...thank you Charlie for bringing that to mind. Tell me, please, what you mean by how to think paint with pastels.

Derek, the part you spoke of is the face. I took this from a picture on Pixdaus, so that could be the hand, but I thought it was the face. Is the line of the cheek too long or too deep? Thank you again. Barbieanne

08-21-2009, 11:37 AM
Barbieanne: I think at this stage I would cover that area with more hair. I looked at it again and it is a little awkward. Let's see what some others think of that area. You are very welcome by the way. Derek

08-21-2009, 08:03 PM
Like the colors you used and done beautifully. As Derek pointed out would use more hair in that area but didn't notice it before he pointed that out.

08-21-2009, 08:33 PM
A for Awesome :thumbsup:

Fantastic job with the highlights, and the warm colors you chose are great. I'd stick to pastels for a while if I were you. What kind of pastels are you using, etc.?


08-21-2009, 08:55 PM
NIce! I like the colors and the gestural quality! I agree that the edge of the face (or hand) could be trimmed back. I would consider removing the hand shape - having two parallel highlights looks a bit confusing. Overall, very nicely done!


08-21-2009, 10:27 PM
Your 'attempt at pastel' turned out really nice, I think!

The drawing of the figure is really well done, and it has a nice painterly quality.

- Ann

08-23-2009, 07:41 AM
Thank you one and all for your comments. I adjusted the face. After the comment about it being confusing I could see it also.

I stated in an earlier post that I used Canson pastels......not so....it was Conte pencils. The other pastels were the ones posted above.

I'd like to know how people get that smooth, glowing texture or lack of texture in their pastel paintings. Some that I have seen here are just WOW! Thanks again. Your input is important. If it weren't for people like you all that give an opinion I wouldn't have the critique that is needed to do a decent piece of work. Barbieanne

Paula Ford
08-23-2009, 11:18 AM
Lovely piece!

Kathryn Wilson
08-23-2009, 12:17 PM
I'd like to know how people get that smooth, glowing texture or lack of texture in their pastel paintings. Some that I have seen here are just WOW! Thanks again. Your input is important. If it weren't for people like you all that give an opinion I wouldn't have the critique that is needed to do a decent piece of work. Barbieanne

The Canson paper you are using has a texture that you will not be able to overcome easily and get the smooth look that you are seeking.

Some people blend, some don't - I use Colorshapers to blend areas I want to look smooth.

08-25-2009, 10:07 AM
What kind of paper is most suggested for pastels if a person wants a smoother look? Barbieanne

08-25-2009, 02:03 PM
Barbieanne, for a smoother look, you can either use the other side of the canson, or go for another kind of paper entirely. Clairfontaine PastelMat Card (new in the US) has a slight texture, and will allow you to build up more layers, which will look smoother. A sanded paper (artist's sandpaper) has an aggressive tooth, but the result is very smooth looking. In Pastel Talk subforum, there is a stickied thread where people review papers, that might be interesting.

People may blend heavily, too, another way to get smoothness.

Ah, to think "painting". First, let me say that you have only a slight emphasis on drawing, and pastellis might not agree with me, as you do think 'paint' a lot. Pastels work wonderfully for both painting and drawing, and for mixing painting and drawing in the same painting, and your style is beautiful, with perhaps an outline or two too many. I think of painting as starting with the larger structural parts of a scene, then subdividing them, and details don't enter until the end. In a nutshell, one could say that painting is where a line is formed by one area of colour meeting another, while drawing -- or linear style of painting -- ofthen have contour lines. But there is no one right way of thinking.

I was really 'uttering' (typing) and idle remark in my previous post, not a critique. :-)

Paint the way that works for you. This figure works great!


08-26-2009, 11:31 AM
Thanks for the information on papers. Your definition of painting and drawing helped me to understand your idea.

Most of the time I am a painter and use watercolor or acrylic. My paintings are detailed. Working with the pastels helped to loosen up my work. I think I like it! Barbieanne

08-26-2009, 02:52 PM
I think this is wonderful!!! I hope you continue with pastels and show us more.


09-01-2009, 01:34 PM
Thank you, Polly. I am working on another one at this time. I hope to show it to you all soon. Barbieanne

09-01-2009, 02:58 PM
Looks great to me - thought it was from life as it had that feel to it.

09-15-2009, 02:31 PM
Thank you, Jools,

It was taken from a black and white picture. Maybe that is why it looks like it is from life since I had to make up my own colors. I've taken it to have it framed. It should be done on Saturday. I am excited about getting it back.

Thanks again for your comment. Blessings, Barbie

george c martins
09-16-2009, 07:08 AM
Hi Bardieanne


Looks great. agree with everyone about the hair. Keep on the "dusty" world and show more.


09-16-2009, 10:01 AM
This is just lovely ..you know the form quite well..you will do great!
you might like to look at Margaret Dyers work for some inspiration..
that was my first thought when I saw this piece..similar..

09-16-2009, 11:16 AM
I have this impression that you are going to enjoy them very much (pastels that is), especially in the human figure. Be patient in finding what combination of pastel and paper works for you but experiment. It's really great when it works! Your painted figure is beautiful! I did have the same issue about the hand but agree if you cover it with hair.


09-17-2009, 01:01 PM
Thank you one and all. I did work with the face and fixed the line that runs down the cheek bone. I slanted the line of the face just a bit more toward the shoulder. Lightening the line of the cheek bone helped a lot! Now the face no longer looks divided and no longer looks like a hand/face or whatever. I would show you a picture, but the painting has been sent to the framer. I hope to have it returned soon. All of your views and critiques helped with the end product.

I do intend to stay in the dust as this new approach/medium has a way of making me loosen up in my work. Blessings, Barbieanne