View Full Version : Monthly Pastel Sketch Thread - December

Paula Ford
12-02-2009, 08:34 PM
Hello Artists! :wave:

The monthly pastel sketch thread is for pastelists of all experience 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

Paula Ford
12-02-2009, 08:36 PM
Gee, I was thinking the sketch thread sure is quiet. Then it dawned on me that I never started it :lol: :lol: :lol: oops!! Sorry folks!!

12-03-2009, 10:33 PM
Paula, thanks for this thread. I'm using my pastel sticks, hard, soft and pencils more often these days and this thread would be handy.

I was doing a seascape practice today from a book and saw a work of Nolde's (http://www.museen-sh.de/ml/digi_einzBild.php?pi=91_23214&digiID=200.6881224&s=2&page=1&action=vonsuche&r=12) that has the perfect color scheme for this piece.

Here's my draft based on a seascape book, and I put fixative on it and then I added color.

Derwent Tinted Charcoal


Loew Cornell soft pastel sticks


Here is one (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=595816) that I concocted today but it would burn most gal's and guy's eyes so don't look at it if you are not into the male reproductive organ.:lol: The one with yellow background on the top is totally Pastel chalk pencils.

12-04-2009, 12:46 AM
A couple of quick pastel sketches. It smudges so much when I use normal paper. Based on Raphael's work.



Paula Ford
12-04-2009, 01:10 PM
Very nice sketches Sandra!

I like your version of Emil Nolde's better!

12-04-2009, 04:12 PM
Great seascape, Sandra! Thanks for linking to the Nolde and your other sketches -- your phallus studies are excellent. All of your figure drawing has improved so much that I'm stunned. I was only away for a month and there you are leaping the heights, going through another new growth spurt. I'm wowed.

12-04-2009, 05:10 PM
Bumped into this thread and thought I would give it a go. I drug out my trusty chess clock, set it for an hour and hit the button. 50 minutes later, I turned it off. The painting is 9x12 on Strathmore 400 Pastel Paper. I used a nupastel for .the initial sketch and then Dick Blick pastels to finish it.


Paula Ford
12-04-2009, 09:27 PM
Wonderful sketch Steve!! It looks stormy and windy!

Are you using the new Dick Blick? If so, how do you like them?

12-04-2009, 09:27 PM
Oh that's beautiful. I love the warm muted colors and the way the ship just pops, the sense of motion in the water. It looks very antique and gorgeous, reminds me of several famous painters I can't really name offhand. Memory like a trap, it mangles everything that gets into it. Good ones though. The greenish cast to the water seems completely natural.


12-05-2009, 06:30 AM
Paula - thanks. I forgot to mention that after the sketch, I used Rembrandt's for the initial block-in and then the Dick Blicks. Yes, they are the new Dick Blicks and I think I like them. The paper I used didn't really help here but the Blicks are softer than the Rembrandt's and a bit harder than Sennelier or Great American. Some are softer than others and some have a tendency to crumble when using the broken edge. I'll see how they do on a sanded surface next.

Robert - thanks. The 60 min limit for the sketch makes you just push on. I need that just to gain experience with the pastels. I guess you can submit multiple times to this thread as I haven't really looked at these before.


12-06-2009, 01:49 AM
Hey folks.....took part in the WDE....lots of cool stuff going on there this weekend. Did my challenge in a little less than an hour just after awakening this am, and decided to post here also.. 9" x 12" on Wallis


Paula Ford
12-06-2009, 02:47 AM
Preston! Wow, I haven't seen you in so long! Great sketch! I love how impressionistic it is with those gorgeous colors. So glad you stopped in.

12-06-2009, 07:04 AM
Hi everyone. Here is another I did. It's from an exercise in a book. It's 6x9 on LeCarte. Used Rembrandts and Blicks. 40 mins.



12-10-2009, 01:16 AM
Steve, your landscape may be from an exercise in a book but I think you did it brilliantly. I love the look of it. Did you vary the colors and style or is this very close to what was in the book? It's beautiful.

Prestonsega -- wow! I love the post-it note in the composition. The painting is so beautiful and yet it's also so cool you put in the note. Wonderful idea. Funny and warm and gorgeous all at once.

Mine didn't really take a full hour, but I spent a good half hour on it.

ATC Hibiscus
2 1/2" x 3 1/2"
Conte Color hard pastels on Canson Mi-Tientes, a slightly greenish mid-tone neutral that looks more greenish in life next to all those warm colors.

I just decided to try a pastel ATC with the Conte, got out the small 12 color set and picked a random Canson Mi-Tientes ATC blank. I have a bunch of them in different colors cut up in a box so I literally just grabbed the first color that came out, then decided what to draw.

I had some watercolors I did from a past WDE up on my sketch wall so I literally sketched this from a sketch, adapting it and changing the composition. I'm starting to think about working from my sketches sometimes, so that was the experiment this time -- and I like how it came out even with the changes I made. I could simultaneously look at the sketch, remember the photo reference, remember the hibiscuses I drew from life and fool with color changing texture... it was a neat stream of thought and almost all pure visual memory.

12-10-2009, 09:48 AM
Steve....the orange blue complimentary color combination works well in this landscape.

Robert...the Georgia O'keefe-ish, in your face, style lends itself readily to this subject matter.

Paula Ford
12-10-2009, 12:29 PM
Very nice sketch Steve... you too Robert!! I love both for the beautiful color combinations.

12-11-2009, 12:17 PM
A little off topic here but I received an email from Jerry's Artarama and they are selling a "luxury": set of 30 half sticks with 15 full sticks of Rembrandt soft pastels for $39.99 until 12/31.

Robert - thanks. The sketch is pretty close to what is in the exercise including the colors. The colors in mine are not quite as brilliant as those in the exercise. The colors in your hibiscus are really brilliant. I need to work on that. BTW, I see from another thread that you use the GIMP. Excellent!!

Preston - thanks. I was basically just following the exercise. I like the looseness and colors in your sketch. Very impressionistic and very nice.

Paula - thanks.

Paula Ford
12-11-2009, 04:50 PM
I don't like Rembrandts at all!!

12-26-2009, 11:21 AM
Excellent stuff Sandra (esp the apres-Raphael sketches!), Steve, Preston, and Robert!

Here's mine: about 7-1/2" x 9", on 140lb cold press watercolor paper. I began by 'gluing' empty and cut-open Mandarin Orange Spice teabags and other teabag scraps onto the paper using Colourfix primer as the adhesive. Next I painted on 2 or 3 coats of white Colourfix primer. I let the whole thing dry overnight.

The underpainting was done with Neoart Aquarelle water-soluble "wax pastel" crayons (http://www.carandache.ch/m/la-couleur/artistes-et-professionnels/les-pastels/neoart/index.lbl), washed with water. I liked the way the crayons left a texture on the teabaged areas of the surface. (I dug the crayons out to see if I still liked them. I am trying to resist the urge to buy the ridiculously expensive DS Watercolor Sticks (http://www.danielsmith.com/Item--i-G-284-670).) I was worried that the waxiness might interfere with the adhesion of the pastels, but it wasn't too bad. Especially after washing with the water. Anyway, nothing a little SpectraFix between layers didn't solve!

The painting is about 85% Panpastels and the rest soft sticks. I like the lost edges (need to do more of this!) and I like the reflections and the overall crustyness of the surface. I don't like the middle pear or its stem. Both look nervous. C'est la vie.




Paula Ford
12-26-2009, 12:07 PM
OH JAN! I absolutely LOVE these pears!! WOW!!

12-26-2009, 04:14 PM
Jan, this came out so lively and beautiful! I never would've thought of half of what you did for it, putting in the tea bags really worked. The middle pear does look nervous but that makes it look better. I like its contrast with the shapelier pears to either side of it. The stem looks bent over like it got banged or something and that makes it less perfect, more interesting.

The reflections are dazzling and that teabagged background is so cool. I haven't tried the NeoArt yet but I've been tempted.

coladons, thanks for mentioning that sale on the Rembrandts. I've already got a set of 60 or I would be tempted, they're pretty good pastels but have a medium-firm texture unlike the soft Senneliers or hard square ones. Right in the middle, pretty handy. It's a good set for a beginner.

12-26-2009, 06:49 PM
Thank you Robert and Paula for the VERY kind words! :heart: :heart: :heart: I am sorry to say that, during a fit of greed and self-indulgence, I ordered some of those foolishly expensive DSmith wc sticks. [sigh] I'll probably love them. Rats! :o

The teabags were fun. They are small, even cut and folded open, so seams and funky selvages made a nice grid-like pattern. What's next, I wonder?


12-28-2009, 02:09 AM
Steve, very nice waves. Never thought of using green for waves but now I have another color scheme to work with. Thank you.

Preston, what great colors. The leaves pop out so vibrantly.

Robert, your colors are always so strong! Very energetic hibiscus.

Jan, love the shine on the pears! They look magical like those in fairy tales - the golden ones that you can't eat. Very tempting to take them home!

Here is a quick sketch of my bad boy lovebird.

SMi Soft Pastel sticks
Gray paper
9x 12 inch


Paula Ford
12-28-2009, 06:43 AM
Bad boy lovebird? He looks very mod!! Cool sketch!

12-28-2009, 12:53 PM
Thank you, Paula. I write a story of lovebirds and I draw these characters mostly in pencil and charcoal but occasionally in color. This is the first time I used soft pastels for one of them.

12-28-2009, 05:36 PM
Jan, I have some of those DS watercolor sticks and love them -- as watercolors. They don't work very well as something to sketch with but as watercolors they beat pans or tubes, they're very strong and soft. I like just grabbing them in my hand and swiping at them with a wet brush, they come out good and strong. There are a few more colors I'd like but I probably won't try to collect all the colors they have.

Sandra, he's looking good! Love the strong colors you used, it gives a sort of urban colored-lights look to him. Especially the strong blue for black looks like something blue is glowing near him, which is always cool.

12-29-2009, 09:25 AM
Jan, I have some of those DS watercolor sticks and love them -- as watercolors. They don't work very well as something to sketch with but as watercolors they beat pans or tubes, they're very strong and soft. I like just grabbing them in my hand and swiping at them with a wet brush, they come out good and strong. There are a few more colors I'd like but I probably won't try to collect all the colors they have.
I like the way that my old Neoart crayons leave a bit of a texture in rough paper. For sketching first and then washing a bit with water, I am hoping these DS sticks offer that same effect. I think it might be nice for pastel underpaintings. It would offer yet another way to liven up the surface.

Q: Why, exactly, do they not work very well as something to sketch with? More detail please! :heart:

Q: Did you buy those carriers (http://www.danielsmith.com/Item--i-838-010-001) with yours? I would think that if you swiped at them with a wet brush, they'd get pretty gooey. No? Maybe they dry out quickly? You'd at least need to watch out where you put them down, soz not to make a mess.


12-29-2009, 04:05 PM
I have a couple of those plastic boxes for them and several sticks in a cardboard box they got mailed in. They don't seem to draw very strong on dry paper, that's why I didn't like them for sketching. However, swiping them on moist paper is something else, they come through very powerful and strong. Also running a wet brush over the dry marks will brighten them up.

It's something about the texture that I don't usually use them as a sketch medium. But in comparison to pan watercolors, they pick up very fast dabbing the tip with a wet brush. They're very handy that way. I like mine, may get another of the plastic boxes one day and a couple of colors I'm still lacking that are favorites like Pthalo Green and Burnt Umber. I'm not going for the full range though.

12-31-2009, 06:34 PM
I haven't seen this thread before and I think it's a great idea. I don't sketch half as often as i should!
Love all the sketches on here but Robert I love your hibiscus and Jan the pears are great.
I haven't had a chance o do any art over the Christmas period, what with relatives over etc. Also my Mum has had to borrow the heater out of my studio as her heating has broken down so I've been unable to get in there.
In frustraion the other night I went and got my new Conte carres pastel sticks and a small pad of pastelmat from the studio. I had 1 hour before I had to get ready to go out so sketched what was in front of me, my fireplace. I ran out of time so you will have to imagine the candles on the hearth!


12-31-2009, 09:28 PM
Ruthie, your fireplace is so gorgeous! I love the PastelMat surface, looks like you pushed it with those lovely details and great textures. Wonderful lively sketch with so much holiday spirit, this one would make a great card even without the candles on the hearth. Love the shine on the bells and the pretty garland, you imply even more detail than you've painted.

I did a little sketch of autumn trees from imagination, not 100% happy with it but it's not the worst "imagination" scene I've done either.

Autumn Trees under Overcast Sky
8 1/2" x 9"
Color Conte (hard pastels)
White ProArt sketchbook paper

12-31-2009, 09:39 PM
Ruthie....very nice....Love your fireplace.
Sandra...Love your bad boy....great expression on his face.
Jan...great-looking pears...love the textured look
Robert...I commented on yours in the Tree Studies thread...love ending the year going out in that blaze of color!
See you all next year....

01-01-2010, 12:20 AM
Thank you! See you next year!