Monday, July 21, 2008

Pastel Experiment

For a while now I have been considering experimenting with pastels. I have debated back and forth if I wanted to try working with oil pastels or soft pastels. I used to work exclusively in oil paints so I was tempted to go that direction with the pastels. However, I do live in a small motorhome and after researching oil pastels I learned that they never actually dry, like oil paints do. So, keeping them from damage is actually impossible, I am can not frame and hang the finished work.

So, I settled on soft pastels. I was still not convinced of what I might be able to accomplish with them, so I was not willing to spend a lot of money up front. We went to Michael's on Saturday and I picked up a really cheap set. $5 for 48 colors. I don't think these could even be considered student line, let alone high quality. Anyway, I got them out this afternoon along with a really cheap pad of paper that I picked up for doing quick sketches and sketched out an eye.

I have always been very unsure about skin tones until I read a really intersting formula this morning. 2 warm colors + 1 cool color + gray = skin tones. I decided to try it out. I used a dark gray to lay down the initial sketch, then use a light brown (this color containing both a warm and a cool color) then I layed a light pink on top. I liked it ok, but it seemed a little dull, so I tossed in a bright yellow and some bright white in the highlighted areas.

I must say, I was rather pleased. I only spent 5 minutes on this and the results are rather satisfying for that amount of time. I think I am going to use these pastels for our Virtual Sketch Date this month. If it come out OK, then I will go ahead and invest in a higher quailty set.

Here is a photograph of the sketch along with the package that the pastels came in.

If anyone has any comments or advise on using pastels, I welcome them. I suspect I am going to enjoy working with this medium.


Anonymous said...

Hello Michael,
Came over from the Virtual Sketch Date.
Want to say that you have taken to the pastels quite nicely :)

Hope you settle in happily to your new home.
Whenever I move, I can remember where things "used to be", and it takes a while to realize that they are now in a new place!

Miki Willa said...

Very good work with the pastels. I think you will find the transition from oils to pastels quite fluid. Just work from darks to lights and it will be all good.

Lilly said...

Leslie, miki willa - thanks for the words of confidence. I have decided to use pastels for the virtual sketch date this month. For the first time in many years I am not going for realism. I have been spending some time helping my Mother shop for furniture. The furniture stores are filled with impressionistic art prints and originals. So, I have decided to go impressionism this time. I am not sure that I like it, but it does remind me of what was hanging in the stores.

I will post it on Saturday morning or Friday night. I do welcome all comments, but good and bad.