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  #196   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-22-2010, 05:16 AM
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Colorix Colorix is offline
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Re: "How to Get Started in Soft Pastels" for our newbies

Hi Little Mary,

Oh yes, there is so much info here. Looking for reference pictures? At the top of the screen, there is a blue bar with the word "Content Areas" in it, it opens a drop down menu, and the bottom choice is the Reference Image Library (RIL) of WC, there are literally thousands of pictures there, free to use as references for paintings.

Have fun,

Charlie
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Old 04-22-2010, 09:08 AM
MSusie MSusie is offline
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Re: "How to Get Started in Soft Pastels" for our newbies

Little Mary ... be sure to check out Deborah Secor's tips through out this thread. She is a wealth of information and inspiration. If you are looking for subject matter, check out the Photo Reference Library on the site. Lots to select from. Have fun!

Marie
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Old 04-26-2010, 12:18 AM
gvmillett gvmillett is offline
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Re: "How to Get Started in Soft Pastels" for our newbies

I have been doing pastels for about 3 years now, after many years of oil painting and I'm having a lot of fun and have even gotten to the point of trying to enter a competition. However...(dumb question I know), is there a standard format for the size of the image, i.e. height first, then width...like a landscape oriented picture would be 9 x 12, right? The same size portrait oriented would be 12 x 9? If it is framed, and matted with a 3 inch mat, the finished size would be 18 x 15, for the portrait oriented picture. I'm filling out the entry form and never thought about it until now. Any help is appreciated. Thanks.
Marilee
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Old 04-26-2010, 02:29 PM
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Deborah Secor Deborah Secor is offline
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Re: "How to Get Started in Soft Pastels" for our newbies

Marilee, it's my understanding that it's usually listed as height before width, so yes, 9" x 12" for a horizontal format. However, if you want to clarify even more, you can always list it as 9"H x 12"W, and then no one has to recall which is which.

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Old 04-26-2010, 04:31 PM
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Re: "How to Get Started in Soft Pastels" for our newbies

I think the US standard is HxW, always. But it may be different if you're in another country (in Sweden it is WxH, always...).

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Old 05-03-2010, 11:24 PM
gvmillett gvmillett is offline
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Re: "How to Get Started in Soft Pastels" for our newbies

Thanks so much for your replies. I appreciate it.
Marilee
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Old 05-06-2010, 10:10 AM
MissTillie MissTillie is offline
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Re: "How to Get Started in Soft Pastels" for our newbies

GReat information. I haven't worked in pastels for so long that this review is helpful.
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Old 05-06-2010, 03:07 PM
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Re: "How to Get Started in Soft Pastels" for our newbies

I've got to add one more new tip to this one, since I've been discovering it in the past few months.

I get sick during the winter and don't have much energy for major projects. So in order to keep my goals reasonable, I started listing "sketches and studies" in my monthly goals a few months ago. Every month I pushed myself even if I didn't feel up to pasteling, to at least grab some hard pastels or pastel pencils and sketch something fast -- a one minute gesture of my cat, a five minute drawing of something on my table, a sketch version of a challenge photo. Just anything, whatever grabbed my interest at the time.

The results have been startling. I didn't realize it was adding up. But when I looked back over just a few months of more intensive fast sketching, I got a lot better at observing and a lot better at accurate rendering. It also broke me of the habit of doing details first and measuring by one detail to another, which results in bad balance and too many focal points. It cured a host of problems I had with composition -- if I didn't like the composition on a sketch, wow, it's like five minutes to do a different sketch.

I was already pretty good at drawing when I started, an Intermediate or even Expert with pastels since I once did make a living doing pastel portraits. But in just a few months of steady sketch-practice, I wound up improving more than I ever thought I could... in ways I hardly expected to. It also made it easier to do serious layered paintings because the sketch would be right to begin with, especially if I sketched the subject more than once first.

I had a bad habit shared by many beginners of being afraid to goof up, taking everything slow and careful so that I wouldn't do any lopsided drawings. The thing is, it really is easier to fix a goof when it's just three blobs on the page for relative proportions. Erase one blob and do it smaller and it's fixed, those lines will get covered later anyway. Detailing became easier and it was also easier not to overdo detailing once I started sketching more.

So... my suggestion for anyone at any level is daily warmup sketching or frequent warmup sketching. Really quick simple sketches of simple subjects, studies of one fruit or one bottle, a sleeping cat before it moves, just anything that grabs your interest. They start to look good in a surprisingly short amount of time -- and then they make your paintings come out so much better it's like night and day.

Charcoal, pastel pencils, charcoal pencils and a handy smudging finger for tones are great for this too, you get very dramatic results in a short amount of time with smudging in the tones.
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Old 06-05-2010, 09:29 PM
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Anne-Marie Anne-Marie is offline
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Re: "How to Get Started in Soft Pastels" for our newbies

That is very helpful Robert! I do think creating a daily habit in most things is the key to success--whether that is diet and exercising, improving one's cooking skills, driving, golf, ect. And of course art.

I remind myself: art is something I get to do. It's a priviledge and something fun. And "fun" doesn't have to be "perfect"!
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Old 08-26-2010, 07:36 PM
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Re: "How to Get Started in Soft Pastels" for our newbies

Hi, everyone! I am a newbie in pastel. I live in a small town and there are no pastel classes. I am learning all that I can on line. I have wasted a lot of paper, but always learned in the process. Something I'm doing now is taking all my watercolor paintings that I'm unhappy with and enhancing them with pastel. I haven't got one completed that I'm entirely happy with, but I am learning. Thanks again for all the advice! - Paulette
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Old 08-26-2010, 10:26 PM
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SunFace SunFace is offline
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Re: "How to Get Started in Soft Pastels" for our newbies

Hi Paulette and welcome!

I am relatively new to pastels too. And I learned here on wet canvas! Everyone is always willing to help and you can get the best advice here.

I think one can learn on line. The main thing in learning is practice! Experimenting is part of the process.

I look forward to look at your work!

You should join the monthly challenges. They have been the greatest tool for me to learn and try to improve myself.
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Old 08-27-2010, 12:52 PM
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Re: "How to Get Started in Soft Pastels" for our newbies

Paulette, welcome! That's a great idea enhancing watercolor paintings you're not happy with using pastels. You can even work over them completely, treating it as an underpainting and making dramatic changes.

I've been in a lot of art classes in my life, especially when I was younger. I have to say I've learned more hanging out here at WetCanvas. I am not kidding. The wealth of talent and teaching talent here is enormous and the monthly challenges always have a topic. Do enough of them and your work will wind up exploding in quality, come out so well you can't believe you did that.

I'd also recommend checking the Pastel Library classes. Two of them helped me a lot in particular. ESP (Exploring Soft Pastels): Snow by Deborah Secor and ESP: Still Life the Colourful Way by Colorix. Both of those are so rich in information that they literally changed how I look at things as much as learning human facial proportions did. There's also a great six part one on drawing people by DAK723.

Lots of good classes here and they get archived there. The threads may be closed but you can post your exercises in the Studio, link to the class and get suggestions, help and comments from everyone, often including the teacher of the class who may show up to help guide you through it if you work through one systematically.

Deborah Secor's book may help you a lot too, it's wonderful. She's posting it free online chapter by chapter. There's a thread for comments on it here in Soft Pastel Talk and the link is in her signature line on all of her posts. I'm editing my post to put the link in: Landscape Painting in Pastels. She has a new chapter up, so I'm off to read some more! I haven't had time lately to do all the exercises that I want to, but like all the best books, I definitely want to come back to it and do them later. Many are the sorts of exercises and challenges that I'd want to do more than once after I've improved.

She also has a half hour video using Pan Pastels up on the Pan Pastels website, right on the front page. It's a fantastic landscape, I learned a lot from that video.
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Last edited by robertsloan2 : 08-27-2010 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 08-28-2010, 12:10 AM
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SillyBaZilly SillyBaZilly is offline
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Re: "How to Get Started in Soft Pastels" for our newbies

Paulette,

First and foremost,,, Welcome. This place is filled with a wealth of knowledge of the most wonderful people willing to share and teach. I've learned and progressed tremendously from posting and reading here (plus practice, practice, practice). Anyhow, glad you're here and can't wait to see your work.
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Old 08-30-2010, 10:35 PM
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Re: "How to Get Started in Soft Pastels" for our newbies

Hello, I'm a newbie to WC and with soft pastels. I searched the threads but couldn't find an answer.
I just finished a piece done in all Rembrandts. I went to sign it with a micron pen, then tried to use a fine point sharpie. I'm guessing the dust won't allow me to sign. I like the neatness of a finepoint.
What do most of you sign with. And do you sign before or after the fixative?
Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
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Old 08-31-2010, 01:05 AM
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Deborah Secor Deborah Secor is offline
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Re: "How to Get Started in Soft Pastels" for our newbies

Julie, I use a nice sharp #2 pencil... No fixative at all. I also sign my name and put other info on the back of the paper in pen, so there's an indelible signature on the piece.
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