Saturday, June 05, 2010

Experiments in Pastel

Above: Portrait of Spunky #1 13"x19" (c)Pat Dolan

Below: Desert Cactus Flower - step by step

Desert Cactus Flower 12"x12" (c)Pat Dolan

Below: Red Barn #1: Process work...

Below: Red Barn #1 - 13"x19" (c) Pat Dolan

Red Barn #1 remains unresolved...the composition is off a bit, not as exciting as it could be. The colors are warmer, thus much improved, but there are a few areas that need correcting. However, I may not spend any more time on it - it's time to start some new work! FYI: I'm using Rembrandt, Grumbacher & Alphacolor soft pastels as well as Prismacolor Nupastels semi-hard sticks on Canson Mitientes paper. These are supplies I've had for years! When I did some price checking, I was stunned to learn how much these supplies cost today...

Pastels are a wonderfully forgiving medium - but the surface upon which I am working does not allow so many layers of color as I like to use. I'm using Canson Mitientes papers, and they were what I was trained on over 30 years ago. Today, however, there are many wonderful, new support papers and boards that allow up to 25 layers of pastel buildup without becoming muddy. Among them are textured/sanded papers & clay boards that hold the color pigments much more successfully.

So, I've been reading several pastel books, checking out various supply info online, researching current pastellists and their art - generally re-exploring this medium. The local library is a wonderful resource for art books - although at one time I had a personal collection that was quite extensive in the areas of watercolor and pastel. When we moved around 2001, I sold many of them via ebay since we were moving to a much smaller home. Since I was working in fiberart at the time, the books seemed non-essential. I only kept one watercolor book - because it was so instructive, even to the practiced watercolorist!

Now I find sewing much more difficult to work at the sewing machine or even doing hand sewing between the present restrictions due to arthritis and cataracts. Pastels allow me to continue creating, playing, having fun, yet not taxing my body so much.

I think I'll be experimenting in watercolors once again in the not so distant future... Stay tuned for the next installment - and, of course, there are always photographs to be shared. I thoroughly enjoy photography, too!


kimberly shaw said...

Your artwork is absolutely beautiful! I love seeing your step by step. Your barn is exquisite!!! I worked with pastels once in college but haven't played with it since, you've been encouraging.

Pat's Place said...

Thank you. If you love drawing, pastels are easy...especially compared to watercolor. In the past 30+ years, the prices of supplies for both media have taken to soaring into the wild blue yonder! I've been shocked at the current prices of individual professional-quality pastels. They are now as expensive as professional wc tubes were way back then. Disconcerting, but everything else has gone up, too!

Hope you explore some pastels on your own!


mrsjohn said...

Thank you. If you love drawing, pastels are easy...especially compared to watercolor.
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