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View Poll Results: How do you like to paint pastel?
on easel 147 65.04%
on table or desk 61 26.99%
other 18 7.96%
Voters: 226. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1   Report Bad Post  
Old 03-01-2007, 06:35 AM
serpentixus serpentixus is offline
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easel or table?

I was wondering how you work with pastels, on easel or on table. I also do oils and therefor have an easel but I rather work on table when doing pastels. Perhaps it's because at school we're learned to draw on a table.
I know theres an advantage using on an easel in that way the dust falls of the painting instead of discoloring other parts but I have the feeling I can't push hard on an easel. Maybe buying a heavier easel will work.
What are your preferences about this matter?
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Old 03-01-2007, 07:01 AM
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Kathryn Wilson Kathryn Wilson is offline
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Re: easel or table?

You'll want to do your pastels on an easel - your colors will muddy with too much dust laying on top of the painting.

I don't think you will be putting too much pressure on your pastels - layering your colors, just like in oils, takes a light touch.
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Old 03-01-2007, 12:23 PM
PeggyB PeggyB is offline
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Re: easel or table?

I voted easel because that's what I primarily use. Sometimes I use a heavy hand, and have never had a problem of tipping the easel, but then I use a Julien French easel (i.e. 3 legs), and a strudy backing board.

That being said, there is a legitmate way of painting flat on a table without having a problem with dust. Susan Bennerstrom, a highly successful pastel artist from Bellingham Washington, works this way. It requires one to finger blend the painting, and to do this successfully and not end up with "ugly mud", you need to know color theory and your pastels very well. Use a strudy print makers' paper so it can withstand the rough handling of being constantly rubbed, experiement, and you'll have a fun time and different appearing pastel painting done on a table. If you are interested in further info on this method, just let me know. (Yes, Bluefish, the "diamonds" are crushed , but who cares if you like what you're doing! )

Peggy
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Old 03-01-2007, 03:17 PM
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Donna T Donna T is offline
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Re: easel or table?

I mostly use my easel except when I'm rubbing color into a background and I don't want to lose all of that precious dust. Also, when putting dark color above a light area ( like a dark sky over snow) I'll do this on a table so I don't get streaks of dark dust that dirty up the light area. I learned this the hard way.

Donna T
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Old 03-01-2007, 03:49 PM
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DAK723 DAK723 is offline
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Re: easel or table?

If you work flat you still have to lift up your paper vertically to remove the access dust periodically - so it seems easier to just work vertically on an easel. I work on an easel and, when working on paper (as opposed to velour or sanded paper) I blend constantly with my fingers. I use a French Easel, so a big sturdy easel is not really necessary (I have one of those too for my oil painting). I used to work flat - the easel definitely works better!

Don
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Old 03-01-2007, 03:57 PM
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Pat Isaac Pat Isaac is offline
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Re: easel or table?

I use both, a raised table and an easel for my oil pastels. Depends on the size. Larger work goes on the easel and smaller work on the table.

Pat
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Old 03-01-2007, 04:23 PM
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khourianya khourianya is offline
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Re: easel or table?

I wouldn't trade my easel for anything. I've seen people do beautiful pastel work from flat on a table, but all I seemed to make was mud. I thought it would be hard to adjust to working completely vertical, but it only took a painting or two to fall in love with that method and that is all I do now.

And for plein air - it is my pochade
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Old 03-01-2007, 06:05 PM
bluefish bluefish is offline
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Re: easel or table?

I do almost all my pastel work on a drafting table with the surface tilted to about a 30 degree angle - I have a large sink next to it so I can lift the piece and shake off the excess dust - and as Peggy knows, I 'crush' the heck out of those diamonds of pastel particles - I have to do this bare footed because the colors are so vivid and bright that they blow my socks off ! and I work large!

I've done so much blending with my fingers with the pastel skys that I recently utilized the same technique in some large acrylic paintings of massive skys(crushed those little acrylic guys)!........'bluefish'
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Old 03-01-2007, 07:49 PM
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Re: easel or table?

Hey Peggy, I would really be interested in the method that Susan Bennerstrom uses working on a table instead of an easel. I still haven't been entirely confortable with the easel. Really a 30 degree angle like bluefish was talking about sounds about right for me. Could you pass along that info for me and maybe someone else here would be interested also. Thanks!

nana b
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Old 03-01-2007, 09:51 PM
PeggyB PeggyB is offline
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Re: easel or table?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nana b
Hey Peggy, I would really be interested in the method that Susan Bennerstrom uses working on a table instead of an easel. I still haven't been entirely confortable with the easel. Really a 30 degree angle like bluefish was talking about sounds about right for me. Could you pass along that info for me and maybe someone else here would be interested also. Thanks!

nana b

OK - it's really pretty simple. Start by knowing your composition before hand - draw it out in the same size as your painting will be, and make all corrections on the drawing before transferring it to your pastel paper. Use pastel to do your drawing on your painting - not charcoal. This can be a simple drawing of just the contour lines, but it needs to all be in the correct position. Start at the top and work you way across the paper - left to right if right handed and right to left if left handed. Put down your darkest value (in that area) and rub it into the surface of the paper. Add the next value and do likewise, ect. I think the "key" to keeping it clean is to work top to bottom. This can be confusing as you won't have your lightest lights or darkest darks placed in their proper places all over the painting to know what the balance will be unless you have a "vision" of it in mind. You can adjust some values in all places once it is finished. When done, Susan sprays hers with either Las Caux or Daler Rowney workable fixative. Lay the painting flat and spray back and forth in one direction. Give it a quarter turn and do it again, than a third turn and spray and then a fourth turn and spray. Use a light spray each time. I suggest you play a bit first with just mixing colors over colors to see what they produce. Some fabulous grays can be made this way - and so can some mud! The constant rubbing is a bit hard on my arthritic fingers so if you have that problem be aware.

This is a painting that was done right after I took a workshop from Susan many years ago:

Full Moon 9x12, Unison pastels, printmakers' paper

When driving home afterwards, the full moon was above the mountains in bright beautiful glory. I did several full moon paintings - all from memory. This is the only one I have left. Some subtle value changes don't show in this photo, but I think you can get the idea.

Peggy
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Old 03-01-2007, 10:15 PM
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Re: easel or table?

Wow Peggy, your full moon in the clouds is beautiful! Thanks for sharing and thanks for the information. I appreciate it very much!

nana b
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Old 03-02-2007, 06:37 AM
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Re: easel or table?

I mostly use the easel,or the table easel when I want to have more of an angle.
with soft pastels that is.

Retha
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Old 03-02-2007, 09:58 AM
bluefish bluefish is offline
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Re: easel or table?

Peggy and Nana:

What Peggy describes above is exactly the way I work on the tilted drafting table, although not right to left or vise versa. After finished, you go in and highlight certain areas. Of course, you have to know where you're going when you start and have the composition, values, colors, etc., stored in the right side of the brain - just push the button and out they flow!......'bluefish'
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Old 03-02-2007, 11:27 AM
Snowbound Snowbound is offline
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Re: easel or table?

I ordered my easel just two weeks after beginning to work with pastels. I had fallen in love with the medium, and knew I'd need an easel for ergonomic reasons, especially for smaller pieces (I need to be able to look straight at what I am doing, and to move around). I didn't buy an expensive easil, but it does have stability and the ability to tilt that I was looking for. I really need an easel with 4 legs because I have 3 energetic cats and a curious beagle. I tend to work pretty much all over the painting, and the easel keeps my sleeves from messing things up as I go from one part to another.

I do a lot of blending, and even on my larger pieces don't have a lot of dust. Maybe because I tend to apply layers sparingly and build up.

The only time I had a lot of dust was when I tried out LaCarte pastel card- it tended to eat my pastels. I also catch the dust and turn it into sticks of lovely shadow shades when I have enough.

Dayle Ann
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Old 03-02-2007, 04:28 PM
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Re: easel or table?

Hey there bluefish! And where is that button? I know when I'm in the right side of my brain, I can feel it, (don't laugh, I swear I can ) ,but can't always switch over whenever I wish. You made it sound so easy I thought maybe you had a secret. And also I have another question. Do you use a bridge or something along that line to keep your sleeves, wrist, arms and elbows off of your painting as you are working?
As soon as you answer these two questions I'm going to set up on the table and give it a try! I don't have a sink in here so don't know yet where I'm going to dump the pastel dust.

nana b

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