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Old 11-08-2007, 01:16 AM
Donna A's Avatar
Donna A Donna A is offline
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Re: Having a BALL using Pan Pastels!!!

Hi!!! Installment #5. Today a wonderful painter began a new painting on 40"x28" Soft Umber Colourfix. She is so exciting to watch painting! Very dynamic and energetic and passionate! With gorgeous paintings at the end of it! (OK, folks---one of her big secrets is---drum roll---getting way back---often---to look at her painting! A grand dance back and forth! Wow!) Today she used both her Art Spectrum Pastels and some Pan Pastels to lay in the earliest stages of color over her slight charcoal drawing.

Thought you might find it interesting to see Jennifer's use of both 'styles' of pastel material to lay on broad areas of color. They meld beautifully! She used the largest sponge for a lot of the warm grassy land areas and AS sticks for the rest.



The source photo of the North Platte River outside of Grand Island, NE at dusk (this is a photo of the photo.):



Working on such large areas, she found her personal style to rough in the very large areas with such rapid spontaneity to sometimes go faster with the sticks, which carry the pigment within themselves. I found this true in one of my experiments---and that I liked the flow of quickly laying in some very large areas with the sticks, and then coming back in with the PanP's for some of the more subtle qualities that are particular to the latter. It's really important for us to find what serves our own working habits well---but then also to sometimes challenge them to find some of the places where we might expand what we are making happen. And I think that is something that Jennifer and I and others have been fortunate to do in our exploration of growth over the years.

Here is the piece I was mentioning recently that Bev is doing from a photo she took in Burma. This is her second Burma marketplace painting---both on 40"x28" Soft Umber Colourfix. Most of this piece was started long before the PanP's were delivered. She has done this painting primarily with stick pastels, but has done the shadows on the upper left with the PanP's and also certain areas of the trees in the upper area---some of it laid on OVER the stick pastel color. Again, a great way of working with both the stick pastels and the PanP's to great advantage.



And her photo (again, a poor quality image since it is a photo of a photo---but will give you an idea of where she is going.):



And then here is a piece I began drawing ages ago---another 8"x10" in anticipation of the MAPS 11th Annual Small Painting Show---started as a full-value charcoal drawing. I laid on a few areas of color after fixing---and then decided I'd wait for the delivery of the PanP's I'd ordered. So---here, I went back in over the few areas of stick pastel (light sunlit grasses and the blue-violet gray area in upper left) and I was really happy I had waited. The PanP's went on over the stick color beautifully---just as the stick goes on wonderfully over the PanP's. This is a piece still in progress---but I'm really liking the first 'rough-in' areas. The dark tree/shrub area upper right, for example, holds together as a dark green unit, but still gives variety between the values and temperatures of the dark greens---and gives textural variety plus variations in edges (and accomplished in 'shamefully' little time!!!) :-) LOL! And, yes---I'll surely go in and scribble in some accents there as I finish the rest of the painting. The rich warm golds are looking 'heavier' in the photo than in the actual painting. I really like the feel in the grasses and other areas. The photo of the painting is just not in focus. I'm beginning to wonder if my wonderful little digital camera is getting 'tired' or if I'm just not letting it capture its focus. Hmmm.



Will share some more of the discoveries in my Pan Pastel experiments and paintings tomorrow! Very best wishes! Donna ;-}
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Old 11-09-2007, 01:59 AM
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Re: Having a BALL using Pan Pastels!!!

Hello, again! Installment #6. First---Jennifer (whose painting beginning you saw in the previous post) worked on her very large painting again today---and again worked both with her AS stick pastels and with the Pan Pastels, layering them back and forth. WOW! I'll take a photo tomorrow and post so that you will have a visual update. Bev is in Belize, so---will be next week before she is back painting. And Jennifer is heading for AZ---so.... Gee---we have a lot of travelers around here! :-)

In the meantime---I was asked again about using our fingers to work with the Pan Pastels. (Probably the question I've been asked the MOST!) Ya'd think it was a natural. But so far, I'm finding the PanP's prefer their sponges to the finger tip. I don't know if it is the subtle oils on our skin or just the fact that our finger tips are not so finely cavernous as the sponges (which pick up and then deliver pigment) that come with our PanP's. I've rubbed my finger against a PanP color and then dragged it over a painting surface---and---yes, there was some color---but nothing so luxurious as with the sponges. Hmmm.

I also tried out chamois skin the other day---wrappped around the tip of a new fat stump---and also glued to one of the blue-handled paint tools (which I had carved from an oval to a straight-edged triangle.) (glue---Clear Liquid Nails)

The chamois works great, as well! Laying in with the chamois does a great job of 'delivering' the pigment. Gives a bit of a different surface----and that is GREAT!!! The chamois picks up a great amount of pigment and gives it back. Perfect. But---still do use the sponges for most of the work I"m doing. Variety, however, is always a great addition to the range of the tools!

Back to the 'finger painting!' It's not so much that we couldn't do it---as that it is a 'bother' compared to using the sponges, etc. I love using my fingers for things---and someone was laughing about my diving into some oil paint yesterday in class---with my fingers---to achieve a particular mix they were searching for. LOL! But---I've easily "resigned" myself to the fact that this is not a medium that 'wants' finger painting as a main-stay!

Rubbing color that has already been applied does not create large changes. And that is a huge comfort. I can move a little bit of color where there is a large amount of PanP built up, but it's just not like what would happen with 'regular' pastels. I don't understand why--but---it certainly has been my repeated observation. Of course, all I've focused on, so far, is painting on Colourfix papers and boards. The PanP's really 'stick' to the place they have been laid down on the sanded Cfix. Rubbing with my fingers moves almost none of the pigment. Pretty amazing. And that, of course, is what led me to 'breaking my 'self-imposed rule' to always fix before framing. The two PanP paintings hanging in the MidAmerica Pastel Society Small Painting Show are the only two pieces I've not fixed in years! Now that is trust! All for now! Take good care! Donna ;-}
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Old 11-09-2007, 02:20 PM
Tressa Tressa is offline
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Re: Having a BALL using Pan Pastels!!!

Great thread Donna!! I found the same with my fingers. It was almost automatic to try, but not a big result, other than to move a bit. The sponges apparently are made of a microfiber which picks up, and releases easily. Tried makeup ones without good results also. Have to try the chamois.
I love your trays, have to rig some up, as that is one thing I DON"T like is having to lay out and set up each time I paint somewhere. Unscrewing all those little pans get on my nerves, lol...
I am still experimenting with these also, and Berni just sent me the rest of the apps I did not have, I have done mostly thin layering, but am gonna try building more layers..hope to play with them this weekend, but some of family has had a bug this week, so been caregiver.
Taker care,
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Old 11-10-2007, 08:06 PM
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Re: Having a BALL using Pan Pastels!!!

Hi, Tres! Thank you! Love your Fort Wayne painting! I suspect you are going to like the trays you make! Just so easy to move around, as I did again today. Jennifer was using them Wed. and Thursday---and drat! I didn't get a follow-up photo of what she had done with them Thursday---and she will be traveling for several weeks, so won't be able to be here. Everyone was drooling over what she was doing using her AS stick pastels along with the Pan Pastels! :-) Sticks and Pans really work beautifully back and forth with each other. I plan to explore that more soon.

Will be interesting to hear about your experiences with using the PanP's in heavier layers. And some of the other sponge tools. I've been painting enough with PanP's now that I'm getting a bit of wear showing on a couple of the little sponge covers for the pale blue-handled tools. Have become a bit rough and scraggly---but---I'm thinking it is great as a texture variation! And is certainly why they supply the covers in generous multiples. Of course, we can turn them over, too, so a LOT of usability. But---thinking the 'scraggly' can have some great use, too.

Look forward to hearing more from you on your PanP adventures, Tres. Take good care! Donna ;-}
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Old 11-10-2007, 08:15 PM
Susan Borgas Susan Borgas is offline
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Re: Having a BALL using Pan Pastels!!!

Donna is it possible to have a close up of some pastel work so that we can see the texture that can be achieved from the pan pastels?
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Old 11-10-2007, 09:40 PM
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Re: Having a BALL using Pan Pastels!!!

Hi, again, everyone! Well---I had sooo much fun today with a new PanP experiment painting on an 8"x10" stretched canvas which I had primed with Art Spectrum Colourfix Primer, painted on with a large white bristle brush!!! Ohhh Yum! Works great! So---something some of you might also want to try. Love the texture and the way it handled.



This is the photo I worked from---one I took in Colorado some years ago. And of course, I made some changes since the photo is what I'm working from not to! Just inspiration and information!



I took photos of the work in progress, beginning with the sketch, which I did with the small sponge-tipped tool using the Shade of the Raw Umber. I do like drawing with this little tool. Just so easy and delightful to lay in loose though specific composition. So EVERYTHING in this painting is pure Pan Pastels. Not even any charcoal underneath.



This shows some of the first darks I laid in. I wanted to keep the dynamic energies of the subject alive---and also keep the darker areas unified as larger foundations for the medium and smaller color areas I would add as the painting progressed. I found the blues, particularly the darker, richer blues definitely wanted/needed to be laid on with some pressure to get into the deeper texture of the canvas combined with the texture of the Colourfix Primer. You can see some of the variations in the texture which comes from the white bristle brush used to paint the primer onto the canvas.



Below I laid in color to most all the other areas of the painting. Not being fussy. Going after the general impact, first!



I'm beginning to refine now. Experimenting with how to best capture the feel of the brush on the left bank--textures, patterns and the colors. They went through several variations. Actually, kinda like what I had here---but---ohhhh, I kept fussing around! At least I like very much what I ended up with, too.





More refinements---the conifers, the mountains, bridge area and so forth.



The finished painting, again:



And a couple more details:





And then my PanP's when I was finished painting today. LOL! You can see I've really been picking up multiple colors for various strokes---and working pretty fast. The pans clean up very easily---and I've found the bits of 'extras' stirred up to be handy during my painting to 'blot up' on the tool and press on to the painting---or stroke on---for a greater color impact in that spot---and then I've also used a sponge to stroke off the loose little bits of other colors into some of the lids and make some useful color mixes to use. So---so far, none of it wasted. I actually have taken colors off into a lid to mix for some colors that are very important to me---like a dark foliage green: Shades of Raw Umber, Purple and Thalo Green---and then sometimes Black as well.



That was fun to paint! Oh---and I did, at one point, spray this with fixative, rather heavily on the mid-to-lower left side to darken the area a bit and make sure the pigment would have good footing for still more more more pigment, since I was laying it on pretty liberally. I was really pleased with it all. But--ready to get back to working on something that is not so small! And someone is coming over to sit soon for me to do a portrait experiment. Her husband is a marvelous pastel painter. And he is sooo curious about these PanP's, too. More soon! Take good care! Donna ;-}
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Old 11-10-2007, 10:35 PM
Susan Borgas Susan Borgas is offline
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Re: Having a BALL using Pan Pastels!!!

Wonderful and thanks for showing us the details Donna
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Old 11-10-2007, 11:51 PM
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Donna A Donna A is offline
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Re: Having a BALL using Pan Pastels!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Susan Borgas
Donna is it possible to have a close up of some pastel work so that we can see the texture that can be achieved from the pan pastels?

Hi, Susan! LOL! I guess you posted this when I was writing what I just posted---with some close ups! Great minds! LOL! :-) I actually have been taking shots on a lot of these pieces as I've been working, but below is the first I've taken time to clean up and resize, etc. I'll go back through some of the other files and see what other detail shots I can find---or crop to, since I shoot pretty high rez and size.

There is a very interesting luxurious look to the pastel on this Colourfix-primed canvas. And I suspect that most folks just looking at it would think it was an oil. Hmmmm. Less of the suede look as on the Cfix paper---but I'm loving the look of both.

Here is a detail of South Lake Park Creek:




The detail above is from the grasses at the upper end of the creek, near the middle of the painting:



Here are two details from the (so far only) beginning stages of this 8"x10" piece on Colourfix SuperTooth. Really like how PanP's are going on over it.





From:



And this is from Golden Fields--another 8"x10"--with areas where I did a LOT of layering, in some cases, as scumbling.





And last--from a 28"x20" Colourfix, in progress--Autumn Trees:



From:



These details are not as good as the ones I shot as close-up details today, but at least are cropped at the 600px x500px from the original high-rez photos. For some reason, they have all been resized, even tho they are jpegs saved at the specified size tonight. Hmmmm. So they have all lost a bit of their sharpness and detail that I was seeing on my computer before uploading. Anyway---hope that gives some additional insight.

And---LOL! Susan, I see you have already seen the pieces I just posted before beginning these. Well---this is it for tonight! Take good care! Donna ;-}
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Old 11-11-2007, 12:17 AM
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Re: Having a BALL using Pan Pastels!!!

Hello

I am new to wetcanvas and to soft pastels (a very few paintings with nupastels)

I have just received some pan pastels and you have answered the questions I had and many more.
Thank you for sharing it makes getting started so much easier.

Su
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Old 11-11-2007, 10:24 PM
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Re: Having a BALL using Pan Pastels!!!

That's great, Su! Glad these notes are useful!!!

Just a few comments on strokes with the PanP's. There are several variations in the way we can put on the color. In some cases, I have found myself picking up the pigment which has gathered on the surface from my quick and vigorous passes against the pan surfaces. With that greater 'collection' of pigment, I've found I could just press the pigment onto the Colourfix surface---and, if I wanted, then pull the sponge a little to a lot across the painting---to achieve an even greater color impact. That has been especially handy when laying on some of the smallest bits of strong light!

When I want a fairly clean, hard-ish edge, I'll make sure I load up my sponge with three swipes across the pan, including the leading edge of the sponge tool, and then very carefully set that edge against the location in the painting and pull it away from the painting's color edge.

If we want to merge or blend one color stroke into another, begin with a firm pressure on your stroke and move the stroke's direction toward the color area you are merging into, lifting gently, little by little as you approach and move into the other color area. I've really been impressed with the merges of two colors that I can make.

When we want 'crusty' edges between two color areas, particularly effective sometimes with two similar but different colors, we can make sure we load up the sponge tool, on the color-edge's-sponge-edge (did that make sense?) and then use moderate pressure when you drag the tool away from that edge.

Of course, a lot depends on the shape of the sponge tool you are using at the moment. There's a great variety. Yesterday, doing the painting on the Colourfix-primed stretched canvas, I found myself using the tip of the pale-blue handled rectangular tool---a LOT! And interesting control for certain things that I was able to get. I was also using the very tip of the triangular tool, particularly around the bridge area.

How we load the sponges can offer variations. For most things, one or two swipes across the pan's pigment will be perfect. There have been times when I load up three or even four strokes---or pick up color from two or three pans, going back and forth and back and forth---with the most influence usually being the last color picked up.

A lot of times with my stick pastels, I'll build 'dagwood sandwiches' for color mixes. Now some of you just have to be tooooo young to know exactly what a dagwood sandwich is! Many layers of different things---and Dagwood could never wrap his mouth around his huge, sandwich creations in his cartoons---but, gee they were always gorgeous! Well---when I'm weaving together, layering into each other, strokes of several different colors to create a particular complex and unusual color or gradation of colors---I will often use the same sticks two or three times in subsequent layers as I build the final color---for example: with very, very, very dark foliage green areas I'll use the darkest AS Flinders Blue Violet D-520 (my single most favorite color stick on the planet--a dark plummy color!) on the bottom, then the darkest AS Thalo Green D-570, then sometimes also the darkest Ultramarine N-526. Sometimes the darkest Raw Umber for the added golden warmth to the foliage darks. Then more D-520, then more thalo, then maybe some ultramarine, then.....etc.

Now, I'll usually build in variations in what is predominant in the over all foliage green dark dark area, letting some of the plummy color come through more in one area, and perhaps some thalo in others---but will keep laying them on over each other in strokes until I achieve the richness and color quality I want. Adding strokes over and over each other weaves them together with a crisp freshness that others might do by rubbing the colors together to blend, but perhaps crush the crystals of the pigments and loose some sparkle. Now---I've found some similar actions useful in mixing the colors for the Pan Pastels. Picking up back and forth between the colors to get the mix on the sponge. Yes---gets the top of my pans mussed up and a bit dirtied, but---it lets me get the color I want! And that is the most important thing to me! :-)

It's another great thing to experiment with. Find your own best ways to get what you in particular need and want for your personal style. Enjoy! Very best wishes! Donna ;-}
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Old 11-12-2007, 11:59 AM
PeggyB PeggyB is offline
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Re: Having a BALL using Pan Pastels!!!

Donna not only does the "fine artist" in you shine forth in this posting so does the "natural teacher". Thank you for sharing your time, knowledge and talent with us.

btw: love the result on primed canvas!

Peggy
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Old 11-12-2007, 12:34 PM
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Re: Having a BALL using Pan Pastels!!!

Seeing all these demos is great. Keep it up. It has given me some ideas.
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Old 11-13-2007, 10:31 AM
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Re: Having a BALL using Pan Pastels!!!

Donna, thank you again for continuing to post your results with the panpastels and your knowledge and talent with us. I appreciate it so much!
Diana
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Old 11-13-2007, 10:39 PM
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Re: Having a BALL using Pan Pastels!!!

Donna
Thank You for taking the time to demo and explain so well.
Just exploring how the sponges work is great fun.
Su
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Old 11-14-2007, 11:23 PM
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Natalie NZ Natalie NZ is offline
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Re: Having a BALL using Pan Pastels!!!

Hi Donna,

re the canvas primed with colourfix, will you be using a fixative on this at the end?

Edited to say....
On reading earlier posts, I see that you do use fixative. However, what I really want to know is whether the canvas needs to be framed.
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Last edited by Natalie NZ : 11-15-2007 at 12:00 AM. Reason: Addition to post

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