View Full Version : October 2010 Pastel Sketch Thread

09-30-2010, 11:13 PM
Hello Artists! :wave: Welcome to the Monthly Pastel Sketch Thread!!

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:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/ (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/../RefLib/)

10-01-2010, 05:01 PM
Thanks for hosting this month, Don.

Well, it looks like I am first this month. This is on 7 x 5 brown Colourfix and I used FC Polychromos and Unisons. It is painted from life and it took 50 minutes to paint. Any and all comments are welcome.

Thanks for looking.



Paula Ford
10-01-2010, 05:14 PM
WOW Doug!! That's gorgeous!!

10-01-2010, 06:13 PM
Doug, This is wonderful! I love the intensity of the colors!


10-01-2010, 06:51 PM
What a great start to the month, Doug....simply gorgeous! looking forward to many more of your 'goodies'!

10-01-2010, 07:46 PM
Thanks Paula, Don and Judi. It felt good to get my fingers dusty and get back into my comfort zone of still lifes. I am nothing but still lifes this month. Thanks for the encouragement.


10-02-2010, 02:39 PM
I like the colors. Even the shadow it cast has a romantic hue to it, Doug.

Some soft pastel practices and small bits of leftover spaces between my pages of Canson 50 lbs sketchbook.

Daler Rowney soft pastels




10-02-2010, 06:11 PM
Thanks for taking a look and commenting on my sketch, Sandra. I like your sketches. My favorite is the eye. Good use of the white paper for your shading.

Here is my sketch for today. Yesterday it was limes and today it is lemons. This was done on 7 x 5 brown Colourfix paper and I used FC Polychomos, Ludwig and Unison pastels. This took one hour to paint.

Thanks for looking. Any and all comments are welcomed.



10-02-2010, 06:41 PM
Doug, your lemons and limes are beautiful. Great shadows and depth, wonderful color, good shape, so lively and powerful!

Sandra, cool sketches. I like the eye the best, that eye is so expressive.

10-02-2010, 09:45 PM
Sandra, Very nice sketches! I agree that the eye is especially nice!

Doug, This one is super! You have nailed the light and shadows!


10-02-2010, 09:50 PM
Thank you, Doug, Robert, Don, for your comments.

Doug, you like strong colors too, don't you? I like the color combo.

These are in response to the October Monthly Challenge - Everyone Welcome! (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=717671) at Southwest and Western Art Forum.

Originally, I only wanted to do them with Chinese brush and ink but then it looked a bit plain. So I added Daler Rowney soft pastels and Cretacolor pastell carre sticks.

Ed, I tried out the raw umber in the skull piece. A very interesting color. I think it could even be used for portraits. Thanks for reminding us last month of these less used colors.


10-02-2010, 10:54 PM
Continuing in response to Classical Forum's GOTHIC-October 2010 (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=10275211#post10275211)

Cretacolor pastel carre sticks
65 lbs khaki green cardstock with clear colorfix pastel ground 8.5 x 11 inch

At one point I wanted to abandon it because it was so ugly. Now it didn't look so bad after one hour.


10-03-2010, 02:01 PM
Doug - like the punchy colours, and the way you presented each type of citrus
Sandra - yvw
your posts seem to have a very personal iconography
- i like that
last pic with the critter looking at the viewer is a twist :)

i'm playing with raw umber some more - 30 min so far

curiously, i haven't changed any settings on camera or usual lighting
but built-in camera 'read' is changing the cool green to an olive
- word to the wise

:} Ed

10-03-2010, 06:25 PM
Thank you, Ed, for your comment.

I was sketching some fashion walkway piece and that's not what I have in mind with soft pastels. I might use watercolor for clothing.

Gray Paper cut to 6x9 inch for both

Pitt Oil Base pencil extra soft
Daler Rowney soft pastel


I couldn't resist doing yet another face from Wall Street Journal using Daler Rowney soft pastels and gray paper (non sanded surface) 6x9 inch.

I'm finally getting to know my raw umber and what it could do for me. Along with it, burnt umber which I don't know about.

My Girault skin tone soft pastel set doesn't have a wrapper on but just a number on the stick and I can't tell which color is which yet by looks. This is the first time I study these two colors more in detail.

Now I also know my sepia, lemon yellow tint 0, lemon ochre tint 0, cadmium red tint tint 4 , french ultramarine tint 1 and olive green.

This is also a revelation that I could use this soft patel set with normal paper and it wouldn't fall off. Very pleased with this piece.

The initial draft was with Pitt Oil Based Pencil extra soft and then I realized my mistake. My sepia soft pastel refused to go on afterwards. But after I smudged and coated all layers with a thin coat of soft pastels, it'll take on soft pastels again. So these oil pencils could be the non-smudgeable outline that I could overlay with soft pastel.

Final details of brows and pupils with General's Primo Grande Elite charcoal pencil.


10-04-2010, 08:50 PM
Ed...I really like your raw umber experiments...
Sandra...I am always amazed at the versatility in your sketches! So nice and loose...
Doug...your lemons are exquisite! They really pop out beautifully.

Here is a sketch i did in a hurry, from a photo I took some years ago.
7x9 on Bugra paper, mixture of soft and hard pastels.

It's the lake where our cottage is...

10-04-2010, 09:32 PM
Sandra- You have been busy with a variety of sketches. I like the skull. Very Southwestern. The gothic sketch has a nice colour combo. It is funny how a sketch can grow on you. Your portrait shows a lot of feeling in the eyes. The fashion sketches are quite a contrast from the others and they are done very well. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with next. Thanks for your your comments on my sketch.

Ed- Good start so far. Have you been experimenting with raw umber? I didn't know the names for colours until I started dabbling with watercolor. I just grabbed whatever stick I thought was the right colour, but it is nice knowing the proper names. I look forward to more. Thanks for looking at my sketches.

Judi- It looks like a nice spot to have a cabin. Good job on this. You give the viewer just enough info. Thanks for the comments on my lemons.

Thanks for the kind words, Don and Robert. They are very encouraging.

Here is my latest. I am working towards a larger still life painting and I am using these sketches as practice pieces. Can you sence the theme?:lol: This was painted from life on 5 x 7 UArt paper using a pastel and alcohol underpainting. Mostly Unisons and MV on top. This one took an hour, not counting drying time. Thanks for looking.



10-04-2010, 11:13 PM
Ed, Looking good so far! Keep us posted!

Sandra, Great variety! Nice fashion sketches!

Judi, Nice job on this sketch. Nice bold shadows!

Doug, Another good one! You've been very productive!


10-07-2010, 03:07 PM
Since I haven't been painting or sketching allot i thought that I would get something done and post it in this thread.

Doug your fruit sketches are beautiful! love the graphic quality to them!

Sandra You have so many sketch's! The eye and skull sketches stick out the most to me, nicely done :)

Ed nice start wondering if you did anymore on this?

Judi this shows a nice sense of distance, the yellow helps to pull the foreground to us.

This is 8x10 on smooth canson mostly rembrandts. It went over a little 1 hour 15mins. I am trying to find the essence of what will make this portrait say "Kris" who is my sister-in-law. She died this summer from Pancreatic cancer, it was very quick. So I will be doing a few more sketches to explore.

10-08-2010, 05:21 PM
Doug - thx
i have mostly Rembrandts, and the colour catagories are traditional
like your play of ellipses, diagonal, and colour
Don - thx
Betsy - respects to the family ...
like how the texture/fresh marks of the hair frame the face
given the circumstances, i would use warm colours for the face
no green or any hint of morbidity

had a pile of crap land on my plate recently
but i wanted to post this
reason being i swabbed the tomato (that's what it is) with a q-tip
and daubed the umber with a make-up swab
then sprayed with one heavy coat of fixative
so it's a before/after, FYI
:} Ed

10-08-2010, 07:03 PM
Ed, that's interesting the way the green tomato shows through the clear dish, very cool.

Betsy, sorry to hear that she died, she was so very young. Beautiful portrait of Kris. I think you caught her smile so well.

Doug, fun abstract, almost looks like pastel sticks spreading color!

10-08-2010, 08:21 PM
Betsy....so sorry she died...the portrait of her is beautiful.
Ed...I like your green tomato
Doug...your still lifes are getting better and better...Looking forward to the larger one you will do...
Thanks for the comments on my little lake scene.
I worked on another landscape from a photo I took in Montreal...have to look at it again tomorrow in the daylight, before i post it...
Robert...hope you are feeling some better today...

10-08-2010, 08:34 PM
Rob - thx
the tom is an heirloom varietal and red/green are there in a way i can't figure out to paint
vessel could be glass or metal
- i like the off-beat comp, but i'm not following any school/whatever and it seems close to 'clever'
guess i'll have to do a sketch of the sketch :lol:
:} Ed

10-08-2010, 09:14 PM
Betsy, so sorry about your sister-in-law. Nice portrait sketch. Trying to find the essence is what makes portraits so hard!

Ed, Nice job on this! The make up swab has definitely added texture (or was it the fixative?).


10-10-2010, 10:42 AM
love all the sketches! You guys have been busy.

Betsy so very sorry to hear of your sister in laws death. My best friend from childhoods mother died this past March from pancreatic cancer. she too went very quickly. From the diagnosis to her passing I think they only had just over a week with her. Love your portrait of your sil. love your use of color.

Take care!


10-10-2010, 03:00 PM
Don - thx
the q-tip is a more controlled disburse, and rubbing it on the 'active' end of a stick first won't rob the surface pigments

working on paper and doing dry set-up/underpainting needs a gentle touch to keep the tooth alive

make-up swab can do the same thing, but better for blocking
in this case the daubing and the heavy fixative coat was a ' what if '

be forwarned: the daubing can bring up wisps of dust
- i temporarily set up a desk top type air cleaner next to the easel to catch the stuff

all that said, being undecided about the material of the vessel, i added the circle = cherry tom, thinking about glass, and balance
going to drop that idea/use it for another piece and go opaque with this

Minute Minder's still ticking :rolleyes:

:} Ed
ps. a wedge of cheese to the left of the cherry tom would make sense ...

10-12-2010, 07:40 AM
I am trying to do a sketch everyday, but have been ill with horrible gastro virus for the last week so all my resolutions went up in smoke! Did this today, it took close to an hour on colourfix paper, faber castells and rembrandts 8" x 11". I have a love, hate relationship with roses, I love the flowers but I have so much trouble painting them, I definitely need more practice.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/12-Oct-2010/106652-P1000770.jpg

10-12-2010, 03:23 PM
Julie - a fine effort
lighting on flowers is so critical - temp, shading, reflected light, and on and on ... :)
especialy like how the opening bud works against the background
i'm guessing you used a Madder Lake Rembie in that and a high-key red/violet

Minute Minder said ' ding ', so here's the last post on this pic
vessel rim is too dark
not a bad idea overall, but i think it'll do better with actual objects, not assembled recollection
:} Ed
ps i've seen brown/gray offered by some makers
would be good for a quick reach
tarnished silver plating could also be interesting on the glass for the comp
just goes to show how you can realize your own mix/blend ...
takes more than an hour for me, oh well :)

10-12-2010, 09:47 PM
Julie, Wonderful roses! No one would notice that you are having trouble with them! Absolutely love the color combos in this!

Ed, Very nice with the addition of the final colors! The transparency is handled very well!


10-13-2010, 07:24 AM
Ed, Thank you. You're spot on about the rembrandt colours, you're good! I've been following your process with the tomato still life, it's been very interesting.

Don, Thanks for your encouraging comments. I'll be posting some more rose sketches over the next couple of weeks, got to try to loosen up a bit!

10-13-2010, 11:28 AM
Julie....I love the looseness of your roses...very nice!
Ed...Your color came out looking great!
I just finished a sketch I actually started a couple days ago but never got back to til now...from a photo I took at a monestarty in Montreal...

Bugra paper, 9x12; mixture of hard and soft pastels...

10-13-2010, 03:16 PM
Judi - thx
i think the big tomato would work okay against the texture/temp of the BG
( Don, that was the result of the daubing+heavy spray )
should further explore the BG colour and it's believable effect thru glass
decided a chunk of cheese would work better for colour, prop, and flavor :)

your sketch is very good about noting colour, temp, and shape
looking at your avatar(still life), i can easily imagine how that applies to a landscape
please excuse me if i'm treading on a concept that you've been exploring/presenting

:} Ed

10-15-2010, 01:38 PM
Judi, Very nice sketch of the monastery garden! I think, in a scene like this, an artist might get caught up in trying for more detail, but by keeping the tree shapes fairly simple - and keeping the large shapes of color separate - this really works well without getting too busy. Nice job!


10-15-2010, 04:37 PM
oops ! sorry Judi !
thinking a bit further, light temp influences everything
and you've marked the base distinctly to build on
very perceptive sketch
:} Ed

10-15-2010, 05:25 PM
Thanks for your comments, Ed and Don...
Yes, it was a very 'busy' scene, with lots of foliage, but very peaceful, as well...
Hope to get another done before too long....

10-15-2010, 07:36 PM
Ed, love the finale on your tomato in goblet. That's so striking. There's something eerie and compelling about it even with the darkness of those lines. It's reminding me of Pompeii for some reason - there were some clear glass goblets and vases and bowls in murals in Pompeii done realistically that remind me of it, maybe it's the shape of the goblet.

Julie, gorgeous rose. I know how frustrating roses can be, it took me years to get them looking right - but once you get it, they're a joy. I think you're getting it. The petals, the overall masses, this looks like a very natural loosely painted rose and it's lovely. The bud's great too. My only suggestion is you may want to add some dark red accent darks, not too many, just in the deepest creases. The basic shape and modeling are spot on and the color's delightful.

Judi, that's a fun landscape! Love the variety of trees and the way they're massed together. This one's got a cool composition especially in the middle and far ground, it's gorgeous.

10-17-2010, 08:41 PM
Betsy- I am so sorry to hear of your loss. It just doesn't seem right. You have a wonderful sketch here. I love all the colors you used for the skin tones.

Ed- Great experiment. You never know until you try it. I think you might be on to something. It will be interesting to see where you go with this.

Julie- I really like your rose. The looseness gives it a soft look. You should do more of these.

Judi- I like how you gave each tree a different colour, but they all go nicely together. Way to go.

Here is my latest sketch. I kept the citrus theme. It is 7 x 5 and done on aubergine Colourfix paper. I didn't do a drawing, I just blocked in the shapes with FC Polychromos and used a variety of softies on top. It took about 50 minutes to paint.

Thanks for looking.



10-17-2010, 10:09 PM
Doug, Another really bold and colorful painting! My impression is that your work is growing bolder and more self-assured with each painting! Excellent!


10-17-2010, 11:52 PM
Thanks for the encouraging words, Don. I especially appreciate them right now. I was just saying in The Goal Post, that I am having a problem doing a larger painting, but no problems doing a small painting for this thread. I think I was trying too hard to paint a masterpiece when painting larger, but felt no pressure just doing a sketch. I was also using a different method when painting larger. Duh!!!:lol: Anyway, I think I have things sorted out in my head now. Thanks again for the comments.


10-18-2010, 10:04 AM
Doug...it's gorgeous! Particularly like the lime...the shading is great. Well done!
I've just started on a still life....havent done one in a long while. We'll see how much I remember from Charlie's classes...

10-18-2010, 02:36 PM
Doug - with all the surface texture, making an area opaque, the lime, is a very deliberate choice, especially considering the new surface textures for pastel
this post is more a layout than a sketch, but following recent ideas, thought i'd toss it in
- blending with q-tip
5.5x8" on Canson white Dessin


:} Ed

10-20-2010, 04:01 PM
Robert - the shape of the goblet, my guess
maybe a cinder colour as well, but intent was exploring Umber

FYI - past the Minute Minder, but saw how the hot overhead spotlight created an optical illusion of dark behind the centered objects
can't explain it, but i'm showing it to reassure anyone
or maybe it is my eyes alone :)
:} Ed

10-20-2010, 05:31 PM
Ed, I really like your sketch....the depth perception is excellent...and the colors do work well together...

10-20-2010, 06:11 PM
thx Judi !
the back wall is Rembie raw umber .8
and the front panel is Rembie burnt umber .8
the gray is Rembie mouse gray .5
finger blending, which i rarely do
i wasn't thinking about the BG in a rush for time about the objects,
but it changes everything !
:} Ed

10-21-2010, 09:55 AM
Ed, Very nice! Interesting to see how the piece got a new dimensional feeling by adding those darks!


10-21-2010, 01:34 PM
Nice work everyone.

Ed, great subtle shapes and nice big areas for the eyes to rest. I like it.

My question is the red fruit or vegie? Not sure what it is in relationship to the other elements... I will say I like the neutrals in your color work.


10-21-2010, 02:10 PM
Barb - thx
what flavor would you favor with shallot and garlic
(hint; both answers are right - it's all in the reduction :))
:} Ed

10-21-2010, 02:35 PM
i'm stumped What's smaller in size than a clove of garlic and is red? Peppercorns? tiny tomatoes? dang....

10-22-2010, 12:58 PM
Barb - a play on words
reduction - depicting an object smaller than IRL or originally rendered
- concentrating the flavour of a sauce by slow simmer
the red thingies are grape tomatoes, so you were right ! :)
:} Ed

10-24-2010, 07:58 AM
Ed, I like those darks in the new sketch. It's very cool. The red veggies look good. My guess is cherry tomatoes of a breed that's shaped like pear tomatoes. Radishes would have roots or chopped off root spot, peppers would have a different shape of stem spot, though there are so many varieties of peppers that I guess it could be one. I've also seen some pretty large garlic cloves.

The cherry tomatoes my grandmother grew included a couple of plants that had oblong rather than round ones, that's part of why that makes sense to me. I've seen some that shape, just don't know the breed.

Duh, grape tomatoes. Of course. Perfect name for that small tomatoes breed. Pretty cool actually.

10-24-2010, 08:58 AM
Robert - thx
a grower at the local farmer's market had grape toms that just burst with sugar this year
kinda dry summer, but then there's the compost :)
imagined how it would taste as a sauce for fish with the other ingredients
so i assembled them for a still life
(low simmer gotter dun)

decided to carry the painting forward, so it's in the Studio now

:} Ed

10-24-2010, 09:22 PM
Doug, I like the reflected bits of green color!

Ed, I'm totally confused. Did you draw the darker portions behind the fruits following the spotlight's lighting or you photographed it and it gave you a shadowed band? I'm guessing it's the first one. How do you like Q-tips blending? Doesn't the color turn blander as a result?

Following your example, I'm using drab colors to do my pieces. You know how gray is never used in any paintings. I have to use it up somehow.

A quick doodle of my planes of the head with my scarf on. :lol:

Faber Castell Polychromos hard pastel
Faber Castell Pitt Pastel pencils
65 lbs black cardstock primed with black colorfix pastel ground 8.5 x 11 inch

I'm resolute after this never to combine the two again in large areas. Soft pastels looks better with a coarse background and pastel pencils blended it too much.


10-25-2010, 02:00 AM
This one is gorgeous too, Sandra. I just commented on your Spotlight scene, and this has a lot of feeling to it and beautiful proportions despite your complaints about the textures. The values read true. I love how you created so much personality in a Planes of the Head sketch!

Ed, fish disagrees with me in a big way, so I was imagining it as a sauce for pasta. Mmmmmmm! I might do something like that next summer and include fresh basil too, since my daughter grew her own herbs last summer. That's an interesting challenge for a still life - choose things that go together in flavor as well as appearance. I might have to try that my own way sometime.

10-25-2010, 10:11 AM
Sandra, Interesting use of gray and color! Yes, the texture sure did change when using the pastel pencils. I like the more raw look of the un-blended areas, personally. I have to admit, I have never used pastel pencils!


10-28-2010, 03:23 PM
Hi Everyone.

I'm having fun while on last few days of vacation. Spending couple weeks in the beautifully colorful Fall mountains of West Virginia. Hope to capture some of that intense color and feelings of freedom and excitement on paper.

c&c always welcome,



10-28-2010, 11:01 PM
Very nice! In my opinion, pastels may be the most versatile medium because you can vary the strokes so much. In this case the energy of the strokes is very apparent!


10-30-2010, 04:07 PM
Dave, very colorful and energetic. I like it!!

Thank you, Don, for your comment.

Just some doodles based on my anatomy course homework but this time I'm using Cretacolor Hard Pastel carre and General's Pastel chalk pencils. I'm going to burn through this quickly at this rate.:lol:





This baby kept crawling onto the couch to watch me draw at the university. So just before she left, I sketched her quickly and then doodled some more. It's very hard to draw babies because they move around constantly. Need a photo for that.


Designing cubist outlines now. CarbOthello Swann pastel pencils


10-30-2010, 04:28 PM
Dave, so colorful and bright! I love the wild feel of your fall landscape, the wind blowing through it is so energetic. Lively strokes!

Sandra, those are fun doodles and anatomy sketches. Great variety and expressiveness. Interesting colors.

10-31-2010, 09:00 PM
Thank you, Robert, for your comments.

10-31-2010, 09:25 PM
Sandra, Great sketches! Very imaginative and lots of different styles! Reminds me of my college days when I doodled continuously in class!


11-01-2010, 03:05 AM
Thank you, Don, for your comments. Please start November Sketch Thread. i want to post already.