Thursday, June 10, 2010

Painting with Pastels

I started and may have finished a pastel painting today and thought that I would show my process.  This is the next step that I take after drawing which I demonstrated in a previous post.  I roughly laid in some color.  A painting is very ugly in its early stages!  I want the Iris to pop so I put a dark blue in the background.  The technique that I am using for this painting involves layering the pastel.  I will put other colors on top of the dark blue.  When layering your pastels remember that the base color will affect the final layer!

In this stage I added some darks and lightened the background.  The edges are starting to emerge but some are still ambiguous.  Colors are important but so is value.  Don't ask me which is more important because I think they are equally important!  There are a lot of artists out there that are Pro Value and others that are Pro Color but I say why not have both?  To determine your values squint at your subject.  Squinting gets rid of the details and lets you see in bigger chunks making painting easier.  You'll look silly but believe me its worth it!  Another valuable tool is a value scale.  I bet you didn't know that if you squint and put your value scale over it you will find a value at which even the brightest color will match one of the shades of gray on your scale.  I hope you understood that last little bit, if its unclear just comment and I'll try to clarify.

At this point I've gone back and defined more edges.  Added some more darks back into the background and noodled around (put in details) in the flowers.  The last step is to put in the lightest lights.  Its good not to overuse your highlights because it has a tendency to wash your painting out.  I have keep this painting loose and showed all of my marks.  If I wanted a smooth looking Iris I would blend the pastel with my finger or color shaper.  Instead, I have chosen to let my marks be apart of the flower.  I said at the beginning that I may haves finished a pastel today because I always like to leave it up on my easel or leaning against the wall so that I can pop my head into my studio and check it out.  Over the course of a few days I will be able to tell if I need to change anything but as for right now I am calling this one finished! Update....It is finished and you can purchase it on Etsy!

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