View Full Version : question for Gaka

11-03-2002, 05:21 PM
Hi Gaka,
I have THOROUGHLY enjoyed reading your posts!! I tried my hand at pastles once and just couldn't get the feel of it. I am a blender-I like to smooth. I have a friend who does pastels wonderfully but never blends and leaves a lot of the texture of the paper showing. I tried it and foudn myself wanting to blend away. So, what YOU are doing is scraping the dust onto a board and using what we Americans call a q-tip (cotton bud to you, I believe) to "paint" with, am I correct? And for larger areas you are using a cosmetic sponge? And for fine details you are using a color shaper? I want to understand this fully becuase this is a method I just can't wait to try. I just wanted to make sure I am understanding correctly. One more question-i thought pastel had to have a "toothy" paper for it to hold??
Thanks so much-I would LOVe LOVe LOVE to see a portrait done in yoru method.
Thanks so much
Leslie. a beginner

11-03-2002, 05:33 PM
oh yea- and are you using hard or soft pastels or both. Can you recommend a starter palette to purchase?

11-04-2002, 05:11 AM
I have a question for Gaka also. I assume you work from photos. How do you acquire your photos? I have many photos I would love to paint but lack the required detail. I can fudge some of it but not all. I love to do detailed painting but do more painterly pieces because of this fact. Sometimes I get the urge to look through magazines to paint someone elseís photos but I feel like Iím doing something wrong so I donít. lolol

11-04-2002, 06:27 AM
Hi Deco

Thank you for your response, I understand the style of painting that your friend does. I file my Pastels to a square point with a Wood File and then I remove the dust from the File with an old Toothbrush onto a Board or Canvas panel.

I do not use a cosmetic sponge for large areas, I use a Tissue, I do not know if they are called another name where you are, But they are square sheets of soft Paper that comes in a Box and you usually use for your nose or to wipe away Tears etc. I fold these into an inch square to dip into the Pastel dust and then apply the dust to the background. For small work I use a Q-tip or you could try a cosmetic sponge or any thing else that might work, small piece of Felt, Feather, soft paint Brush...The idea is to experiment with various things, you never know what effects you can/will achieve.

For the fine and finer details I use a very sharp Pastel, the Color Shaper or a Tortillion, Both of these can be made to a very fine point. You can also use both of these for doing edges that have to be sharp...For instance...if you were painting a dark Brown Eye, you draw the outline of the Eye with a sharp dark Brown Pastel, then you go aroung the very outside edge of this dark Brown and with the color Shaper you work the D/Brown Pastel into the Pastel Paper, this line will become very sharp. then you fill in the rest of the D/Brown and work this into the Paper with the color Shaper. A Tortillion will do a very similar job, Give it some practice before you start to paint.

I use hard Pastels...Faber Castells and sometimes Rembrant, "Starters Palette" I used to work in an Art supplies Shop and I recommended that People who were just starting out in Pastels, Oils etc...that they select a subject that they would like to paint and then purchae the Pastels that they neede for that work. then they could do the same for the next piece and gradually built up their Pastels over a period of time, I bought a complete set of Faber and 60% of them I have never used yet!!!

Yes Pastels Papers must have some tooth, I work on the back of Canson...but there are many different types and degrees of "Tooth" in Pastel Paper. I have seen Sandpaper Pastel Paper which has a very very fine Tooth and other members have suggested that I should try it and I shall when I get the time to experiment a little, you should try different Papers until you find something that suits you and your style.

I have not mentioned this before!!! Using the dust method, The choice of the backgroung Color is critical as the dust has difficulty in covering Colors that are much darker or much lighter than the dust unless you put the Pastel on thick or you spray it with Fixitive and then build up your dust Color. Let's say that I am doing a painting that has Blue Sky and Green Mountains as an examlpe. I would choose a light/mid Blue Pastel Paper and the Sky would look great...but trying to get dark Green to cover the light Blue Paper would be difficult with dust unless I put it on very thick and I do not want to do this if I am going to work over it with fine detail...you or other members may like to try putting Black dust over white Pastel Paper or white dust over Black Pastel Paper and try to get it to cover without being way too thick and see how it looks, Then put the same Black over a mid tone Paper and the white over a mid tone Paper and see how it looks...the mid tone blends much better. I have thought of putting a layer of paint down first or building up the dust with Fixitive between the layers but I do'not want it thick!!!....anyone out there have any suggestions???? Anyone got any ideas???? anyone know how to get it to cover and to keep it thin???? Watercolor first maybe????

Let's hear some ideas


11-04-2002, 07:04 AM
Hello Lp.....Yes I do work from Photograph's and clippings, The Main problem being is that any Photo, Published Photo or article is copyrited and you must attain copyrite release to use it. I do not sell, exhibit to sell nor make any commercial gain from any of my work, I use the Photograph's to paint from and to practice and learn how to achieve the detail, texture, light and shade, colors, mediums, finishes etc etc to a standard that I have set myself. Now that I have reached a standard that I am happy with I will now look at getting copyrite free Photo's as well as my own Photo's of subjects and reference material with the intention of selling some of my future works. I will look into the WC reference Library as well.

Should you paint from Photograph's...That depends on you and you alone and only you can and should make that decision. There are many who are horrified at the thought of someone painting from a photograph, many who use Photo's as a reference, many who say they dont paint from Photographs, But do!, Many who never paint from Photograph's, many who paint from Photograph's alone......As for me...I dont paint and live to please other People, I paint and live to please myself and I only have myself to answer too!!

The Choice is yours, Maybe get as much reference material as you possibly can, Photo's, Library Books, See the Animal live if possible, Video etc so you can get all the detail, Go to the Museum etc.......Much of this may be impossible...I don't suppose you Hippo's running down your street very often, It makes it very very difficult if you do not have the finances to travel the World getting reference material or you do not live anywhere near the Animals that you would like to paint. For instance I live nearly 2000 miles from the nearest Lion!!!

Or You can paint from someone elses Photo....But be sure to get the copyrite release before you start the Painting, You could change the composition etc.

I hope that I have been of some enlightenment here.


11-04-2002, 08:10 AM
thanks Gaka! I appreciate you summarizing your steps again. I can't wait to try this method. I think I will start small like with a banana or something :>) haha And just to get my two cents in about the photography- I personally see taking a photograph just another step in the artistic endeavor of the project. Photography is an art in itself. Can you tell I want a new camera for Christmas? :>)
Thanks again

11-04-2002, 03:20 PM
I can really relate to the paper color issue. I tried doing my blonde cockers on a dark gray Canson paper. The light yellow ochre WOULD NOT cover the paper. I tried putting it on thick and that didn't work either.

Thank you Gaka, for so much wonderful information.


11-04-2002, 06:48 PM
Hi Shirl.....I will work out eventually how to overcome the coverage problem as soon as I get some time to experiment. If you do some test or anything, Please let me know the results.

Hi Deco.....I have been a serious Photographer for more than 25 Years and I have Minolta 35mm Cameras and a Mamiya 6x7 large format Camera......BUT.....I am thinking seriously about getting a Digital Camera because it has many advantages with Computers and image storage etc. If you want to check out reviews on different Digital Cameras...Then go here http://***.dpreview.com change *** to www This will give you somewhere to start. I write a Christmas list every Year....BUT....Santa never comes!!!!!!

11-05-2002, 07:52 AM
Great Info!! Thanks again Gaka, all your tips are so helpful and veryyyyy appreciated:D

11-05-2002, 08:34 AM
what is a large format camera and what is its advantage over enlarging a picture?