View Full Version : New Enthusiast

09-14-2010, 05:11 AM
Hi, everyone,

I have spent the night viewing many WIPs and tutorials, info, etc., and I must say I am a little intimidated. Although being new, that's probably fairly typical. I only picked up a pencil and started sketching about 11 or 12 months ago, and then I advanced to pastels after a not-so-rewarding attempt at watercolors. I didn't know I had even an inkling of skill, but I am trying to learn all that there is to know.

I bought Deborah's Getting Started in Pastels DVD, and felt really good after my first "pro" (lol) painting was completed. I still have a lot to learn though, especially where foregrounds, values, trees, and water are concerned. I think my perspective is pretty good, and I understand about cooler colors farther away and warmer toward the foreground, but I am working on a piece now that is making me half crazy.

I am using Strathmore paper, not a good choice in hindsight, and am trying to mix colors for a rocky outcrop. It is not working, as the paper only holds one layer of pastel. I have added and removed at least five applications and am not getting the color I'm after. I would post the WIP here, but I would first need to get permission from the owner of the photo. Perhaps I'll work on that so I get get some much-needed feedback from everyone. I just want to say that it's nice to be here and am looking forward to meeting and speaking with everyone.



Lisa Fiore
09-14-2010, 09:13 AM
Welcome to the pastel forum, Lisa! Please don't be intimidated, this is a very nice group of people! :) Pastels are a lot of fun and very addicting!! I look forward to seeing your work.

09-14-2010, 10:06 AM
welcome to pastels. Strathmore, like you said, not the greatest paper to begin with, but I am sure you have already read lots of advise on paper. You could try using a fixative on the paper so you get more tooth, but not sure if that is what you want. I have used fixative on some charcoal drawings and it work ok for what I was doing. You know WC has an image library that has tons of photos that are copy write free so you can us and practice with them so you don't have to ask permission. Looking forward to your post. james

09-14-2010, 10:27 AM
Hi Lisa! Welcome to the pastel forum! Glad you have been browsing the forum and getting lots of good information.

Don't worry if things are not going exactly as planned in your painting - that's normal! Painting is all about making corrections, adjustments, revisions, etc! Just have fun and enjoy the process!


09-14-2010, 11:14 AM
Welcome Lisa. Your story pretty much mirrors mine. I also didn't know I had any skill until I picked up some pastel pencils about 2 years ago. I didn't even try watercolor,but went straight to pastels and fell in love.

You will find Wet Canvas to be a great resource for learning and people here are very helpful and supportive. I have gained an enormous amount of knowledge. If you post your pictures and ask for C & C you will get a lot of advice and encouragement. Looking forward to seeing your art.

09-14-2010, 11:42 AM
Hi Lisa, and welcome! Yes, please do post when you're comfortable with doing that. Folks here are very supportive, and I've also learned tons of things since I joined (a pastel newbie, less than a year ago!).

Learning is an ongoing process. Even the professionals here would probably say that they continue to learn from working through problems, from other artists, etc.

And most importantly, pastel is FUN! Have a good time with it!

the drover's dog
09-14-2010, 12:02 PM
Hi Lisa,

Welcome to the dusty mob. This is such a pleasant place to hang out and I too hope you will soon feel comfortable enough to post something you've done. It's really scarey, but worth it if you ask for Comments & Critique.

If you don't ask for this, then everyone is so polite and says how nice your work is and you don't learn enough to help you progress. We have some wonderful artists here and they are so very generous in helping everyone, but take particular effort to make things very clear, with newcomers who ask for C & C.

Have fun with your pastels.


09-14-2010, 12:25 PM
I'm pretty new here myself - but I don't think you could find a friendlier bunch on the internet. I also made the move from watercolors to pastels which is a much, much better fit for me.

Welcome and have fun!


09-14-2010, 02:04 PM
Welcome to Wet Canvas and pastel forum. I browsed and lurked for quite some time before posting, so I understand how you feel. Sounds like your off to a good start. Jump in, super nice people here to share artwork and learn from one another.

Deborah Secor
09-14-2010, 03:00 PM
Hey, Lisa, you made it! Glad to see you here. I think you can tell the gang here is like a bunch of friendly puppies. We'll all tumble around and encourage you to play and have fun! Show us your work whenever you're ready--we love seeing new paintings.

water girl
09-14-2010, 03:27 PM
Welcome Lisa! You will love, love, love this group of amazing pastel artists. They are always willing to share a thought or two if you ask for critique. Also, be sure to read the comments on threads. I know that I've learned a lot, just hanging out and absorbing what they have to say.

09-14-2010, 03:58 PM
Strathmore, imho, is a reliable paper to use - it has a very subtle character
there is an obvious difference between paper and prepared (sanded) surfaces
and ways of working with them
paper, in general, is less expensive, and a good way to learn about yourself as far as making a mark, and the sticks
- you may be in a hurry to get colour on a white/blank page, but there's Lots of fun things to play with along the way
personally, i'm glad i went thru (and continue to go thru) all the 'gripes'/silly self-criticism

agree with all above
and that Wow thing is delicious !

bon appetit ! :} Ed

09-14-2010, 04:54 PM
Hi Lisa and welcome! You will learn loads here. I certainly have. You will even learn when you're not aware you are learning!

09-14-2010, 06:10 PM
Hi Lisa, I see you made it here. so let me welcome here also. Have fun and waithing to see some of your work. Now the paper you are using you may use the back side (the smooth side) and paint softly on the paper. this will give you more layers. not many tho. a heavy hand will fill most any papers tooth.

09-14-2010, 06:20 PM
Hi Lisa, just another thought for you, you can contact some paper sources and ask for samples (pastelmat) and they will send you a small set to try. Same with pastel pencils (dewent, Pitt, etc,) and a few colors (Nupastels, etc). You can also buy sample sets from Dakota pastels. You can also find bargains on EBay. You might already know this but thought I would offer a suggestion anyways. james

09-14-2010, 11:49 PM
Wow! Hello Deb, Elizabeth, Granddad, Dak, Carol, Chuas, Dale, Tim, Ron, Karen, Ed, Ruthie and Pete!! I hope I didn't leave anyone out. What an amazing welcome. I know I'm going to like it here very much. I got a good start with Deborah on her website and she kindly referred me to WC. I need to spend a lot of time in the learning threads so I can form a good foundation and not take up time asking fairly simple "housekeeping" questions. The one thing I really would like to figure out is how to keep up with these threads. There are so many that I had a little trouble finding my way back to read your wonderful replies. I will try to learn what to and what not to do here but you may have to keep me in check at first.

I have sent an email to the owner of the photograph my inspiration was drawn from and hope to hear back from him soon. If he says yes, I will make sure to upload my WIP before the week is over. Until then I will read, listen carefully, and study others' work in an effort to improve my own. Thank you all so much for your encouragement, advice, and especially for the very warm welcome. I'll keep in touch!!

09-15-2010, 08:49 AM
Hi Lisa! Welcome to the Pastel Forum...and the beginning of your addiction to Pastels:lol:

You don't have to wait until permission is given to post your work(by that I mean you can post your own work - minus the ref)...but you may not post the ref until permission is given.

If you saw the image on the internet...you are allowed to post the url of the site it's on...so we could then go there and look for a comparison to your version.

As you probably realise, it is much better to get the owners permission to post in on WetCanvas...and it makes it a lot easier for us to critique in the long run.

The way to get the best out of your time on WetCanvas is to post a lot, uploading your pictures for feedback from other artists...not forgetting to view your fellow artist's work and add your critique to it. (There's guidance on critiquing if your not sure how to do it)

All I can add at this stage is to enjoy it!:D

Paula Ford
09-15-2010, 11:03 AM
Hi Lisa, Welcome! So glad you've joined in the fun!

09-15-2010, 10:50 PM
Hi, Deirdre and Paula,

Thank you very much for welcoming me here and to let me know about posting others' work. It's nice to know that I can post the WIP without having the author's permission. I hope to get it, in fact I'm waiting for a reply now, but in the future I will use the RIL. I have already been spending a lot of time there saving my favorites for future masterpieces. Lol.

I really liked the image in question, which is in the Peak District of your beautiful country. I lived in Chelmsford, Essex for 8 years but came back home in 2001. I saw so many incredible towns and villages that I am always inspired by GB. With this particular image, although I have been doing pretty well, I have hit a couple of roadblocks and could use some advice. I will get the image posted by this weekend.

Monica put together a nice tutorial for uploading images and the size requirements. I wanted to say a big thank you for that but her post was closed to replies. Again, thank you both very much and am looking forward to C & C on my work.

09-15-2010, 11:16 PM
Welcome to the forum, Lisa! Nice to meet you!

You mentioned you'd tried watercolor - so you've got watercolor paper and maybe some failed watercolors around. If you get a jar of clear Colourfix primer (the most versatile color because you can underpaint or tone the paper with watercolor or acrylic under it) or Golden pumice gel (fine grit), you can turn that paper into good sanded pastel paper very cheap. It's about $12 for a jar of the Colourfix and it goes a long, long way.

Most people like using a foam brush or foam roller to apply the sanded primers. I use a soft watercolor brush but for some reason I was already good at smoothing out acrylic flat areas, so that's why I get good results. Others find it much easier to use foam rollers to apply it. Either way, wash up good as soon as it's on, so that it doesn't dry on what you used to apply it - it dries like acrylic. Very useful stuff.

People are always discussing their favorite pastels and tools on threads here. Read and jump in with questions. One question sets off 20 experts all running off at the keyboard in excitement.

Pack of puppies, Deborah? Add in some bounding bottle-brush-tail kittens while you're at it. lol

I guess we are pretty enthusiastic.

Ari purrs at you, Lisa, and sheds Cat Hairs of Inspiration in your general direction.

09-15-2010, 11:57 PM
Hey Robert, That's great advice. I have a lot of untextured paper laying around that I could do this with. I have only been on WC a couple of days, but I already feel more knowledgable thanks to all of you sharing valuable info with me. I really enjoy my pastel work, but sadly, I don't get enough time to do it. I will certainly be making the most of my down-time at work (I am a Night Auditor) to absorb as much info as I can, so when I do have time to work, I can get right to it without looking things up first. I will be posting my first WIP before the week is out, and although that thought is a little scary, I am looking forward to C & C from all of you. Thanks again!

09-16-2010, 12:30 AM
Hi, Deirdre,I just wanted to thank you for supplying me with that tutorial from Monica B. on uploading images. I lost my navigational way for a minute but finally realized who sent it to me. This will be my first time uploading anything, or using editing software (which came with my camera), but what I would like to know most is what is the best way to photograph my WIP? Right now it is taped to a board on my easel, but if best, I could take the easel outside to get better light. Any thoughts on this from you or anyone else, please?

09-16-2010, 09:57 AM
Lisa, I'm really interested to see your painting, as I lived in Braintree, Essex, and my husband lived in Chelmsford before I met him. I'm wondering if I will recognize your scene. We also lived in Florida for 7 years. It seems we have a lot in common including our path to pastels as I mentioned in my first post.

By coincidence we now live in Chelmsford, Massachusetts!!!

09-16-2010, 02:05 PM
You mentioned you'd tried watercolor - so you've got watercolor paper and maybe some failed watercolors around. If you get a jar of clear Colourfix primer (the most versatile color because you can underpaint or tone the paper with watercolor or acrylic under it) or Golden pumice gel (fine grit), you can turn that paper into good sanded pastel paper very cheap. It's about $12 for a jar of the Colourfix and it goes a long, long way.

Any sense of how gritty (400, 600, 800 etc) the Colourfix primer is?



09-16-2010, 11:12 PM
Hey, Carol,

It really is a small world, isn't it? My painting will be available for dart throwing (lol) by this weekend. I took the pix today, but my work is 18 x 24 so I will need to size it before uploading. This is my last night of work, so after sleeping for awhile tomorrow, I'm going to get started on that. I should have it posted by Saturday. The image I used is from the Peak District and the rocky outcrop is called "Curber Edge." Ring any bells with you? I believe it is in the Peak District National Park. The view is stunning and he really captured the essence of that area. Unfortunately, I never made it there, but I did see the Pinnines. Outside of some bad areas of London, England is a incredibly beautiful country. Amazingly enough, my husband is from Rochdale, Lancs but we met here in Florida. That's so coincidental that you now live in Chelmsford, MA. I've always wanted to visit. Maybe someday when I'm rich and famous. Lol.

Bye for now!

09-17-2010, 12:15 AM
So Lisa,

I don't know how I missed this thread! Welcome to the Pasel Forum! This is a great group of artists here in the Pastel Forum. I've been painting with pastels for 16 plus years, but I still lurked for I don't know how long. My profile says I joined in 2006, but I can't believe I lurked for that long! Maybe I did! I guess I've been posting for less than a year, and it's been a great experience. It's nice to share ideas and information about a medium (pastels) so misunderstood by other artists. If you don't work with them, I find other artists are curious, confused, and a bit unsure of them. They are so versatile, with the different surfaces, underpainting, different pastels, hard, soft, OH MY! :eek: ! It's nice to talk with people who understand. And the shopping is so much fun!

Anyway, welcome, and don't be shy. When you're comfortable, please post your work. BTW, there will be no 'dart throwing'! I've yet to see that happen here!

09-17-2010, 01:50 PM
re. photographing work:
at the top of the page is the dark blue bar and ' Content Area '
the drop-down menu has ' Article Index '
a click and a scroll brings you to ' Photography ' and " photographing artwork "

one general idea for an indoor pix:
use a full sheet of foamcore with a glossy surface to bounce sunlight at the easel/piece
- that'll likely eliminate hard shadows of the window panes(glass) frames, and the camera's program(s) will get enough info so that the flash doesn't go off
if that doesn't seem so good, yeah, outside sunlight is the way to go
- camera flash changes/distorts so much that a lot of editing, software is needed ... more than i can do :)

hope that helps

looking forward to your post

:} Ed