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Old 02-13-2018, 07:14 PM
mercfredis mercfredis is offline
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Soft pastel by a newbie, need advice

I find it hard to do fine lines with pastels. I'm doing this one for my dad... parts of it are good, other parts not so much. But I'm almost done working on it, I'm exhausted! Any advice is welcomed.

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Old 02-13-2018, 08:06 PM
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Re: Soft pastel by a newbie, need advice

Welcome! I'm assuming you are not new to art, just pastels? It looks fine to me. Might I throw out a suggestion on the wonderful river you have painted? Think about changing the values as it comes toward you. It will just give the feeling of distance. As for fine lines, you should be able to use the edge of a broken pastel stick. Break a pastel and those edges will, with practice, give you the lines you are looking for. If it's really fine lines, as in cat hair or wiskers, there are pastel pencils. I use a General white charcoal pencil for fine white lines. I hope that helps.
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Old 02-13-2018, 08:52 PM
mercfredis mercfredis is offline
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Smile Re: Soft pastel by a newbie, need advice

Thank you SO MUCH for your advice and encouragement. I'm basically new to art since high school (though I did learn some valuable lessons in art class!)

Yeah the broken pastels is a good idea...I've had them break accidentally on me, and then tried to use the sharp edges.

When it comes to the water, would you say darken it in the back, and let it
get more light in the front?

Thanks again!
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Old 02-13-2018, 08:57 PM
mercfredis mercfredis is offline
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Re: Soft pastel by a newbie, need advice

Oh this is the reference:

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Old 02-13-2018, 09:47 PM
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Re: Soft pastel by a newbie, need advice

Look at your reference photo. Squint, and you will see that the values are a bit darker in the foreground. Right where that little waterfall hits the flat of the river, it is lighter in value. Try darkening the values in the foreground. That slightly lighter area will draw the view into your waterscape. Play with values.
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Old 02-14-2018, 12:07 AM
mercfredis mercfredis is offline
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Re: Soft pastel by a newbie, need advice

THANK YOU for your advice. I worked a little harder. I think this is better.

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Old 02-14-2018, 12:15 AM
mercfredis mercfredis is offline
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Re: Soft pastel by a newbie, need advice

I'm sorry I posted three times, this website is having problems. :-( I've tried to delete the duplicates, not working.
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Old 02-14-2018, 09:09 AM
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Re: Soft pastel by a newbie, need advice

Hi and welcome! You've done a very nice job with a difficult scene! I like how you selected a few of the foreground rocks to feature and simplified all of those in the background. One thing I would like to mention is the sunlight in the photo. It really lights up the rocks and trees on the left while everything on the right is in shade. If you want, you can enhance that effect a little (cameras don't capture all the subtle things) by warming up the color of the rock surfaces that are receiving direct sunlight with subtle touches of yellows or oranges. Sunlight not only lightens the values but it has a color depending on the time of day. The rocks that are not receiving direct sunlight are still affected by light but their flat, upper surfaces reflect the blues from the open sky above them. Water can reflect light onto the sides of rocks too. I marvel at this effect in real life and always notice that my camera downplays it or misses it altogether. Anyway, I hope you continue to enjoy your pastels!
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Old 02-14-2018, 01:39 PM
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Re: Soft pastel by a newbie, need advice

I wish your image was a bit larger, to see better...
Maybe soften/gray down the foliage colors as it goes back into the distance..?
Some warm colors should help to naturalize the green.
Unless you want to stay with the teal/turquoise.

Often a photo /camera does not get all the true shadows or full range of color or depth, so we need to imagine and enhance those to make a better painting..
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Last edited by ~JMW~ : 02-14-2018 at 01:42 PM.
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Old 02-14-2018, 02:57 PM
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Re: Soft pastel by a newbie, need advice

Others have offered advice and I donít tend to work with landscapes, so Iím just here to say welcome and think youíve done really well for your first painting! 😊
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Old 02-14-2018, 04:57 PM
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Re: Soft pastel by a newbie, need advice

I have fixed your duplicate posts. No worries. If that happens again, click on the triangle at the upper right hand corner of the thread. A new window will appear. That lets the Moderators know you need help. Type in your concerns and we'll help you.
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Old 02-16-2018, 05:33 AM
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Re: Soft pastel by a newbie, need advice

Hello! I think you have already got good advice, but I want to insist in some aspects:
Foreground should always be darker and warmer, while background should be lighter and cooler.
Try to play with light and shadows. Contrast is usually very important in a painting, and on your image, as you have already told, light is stronger in the left side, you should try to reflect, even increase, that effect.
And try to use different colours. If one area is too large with only one colour, that makes the painting uninteresting.
And one more thing, water in a river is almost never blue.
You have made a good work with that painting, just practise every day and soon you'll see how your paintings improve a lot!
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Old 02-16-2018, 09:53 AM
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Re: Soft pastel by a newbie, need advice

Excellent advise has been given. The scene you chose was complex - you did well at interpreting it. Keep painting...the more you practice the more you learn.
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Old 02-16-2018, 10:30 PM
mercfredis mercfredis is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Soft pastel by a newbie, need advice

Thanks so much for everybody's help! (And water girl for fixing my posts!)

I pretty much left this one where it was. I need more discipline...I often start out well but then I can't follow through in details. I got as far as I could on this one (my sister gave me some hints and I put a couple more hours into it.)

My next project is an orchid, but I think I will be using oil pastels on that one.
Thanks everyone for all of your solid advice and encouragement.
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