Tuesday, 5 November 2013

The Choice of Pastel Papers

I do get asked a lot what type of paper I use.  This is actually not as easy to answer as one might think.

The reason is that I use a variety of papers.

As I live in a small community with the closest city also being rather small, there really is not a lot to choose from when it comes to pastel papers.  I'm the sort of person who likes to get the feel of a paper before purchasing it, (although I do buy from the internet from time to time).

I do recommend using a paper that has "tooth".  However, in saying that, I have been known to use a fairly smooth paper that was extremely cheap from the stationery shop…..here's the result.  Once framed it looks pretty good.  The only downside is that I couldn't add as many layers as I usually do and if you get up close and personal you can see how the pastel hasn't really adhered to the paper.  However, as it was black paper and the colours I used it doesn't really matter too much.



I've never painted on wood.  I've tried on canvas, but didn't really like it, but unless I'm doing a painting that will be sold, I experiment all the time on different types of paper.

Happy painting
Emma
website: 
http://paintingwithpastels.com

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Pastel Painting

It's funny how life gets in the way of doing the things one really loves to do.  But there comes a point when one just has to "make time".  So that's exactly what I did over the past few days.

Mind you, I was inspired by the photo I had found....this little wolf (probably an adolescent) just captured my imagination.  The foliage wasn't quite as "blurred" as I have made it here, but I didn't want to detract from the wolf, so I used a bit of artistic license to create the illusion of the foliage.

I have used a combination of hard and soft pastels and pastel pencils.  The brands are Schmincke and Mungyo and a fairly limited palette.

You can also see more of my paintings at: My Paintings

Hope you enjoy.
Happy painting
Emma
website: 
http://paintingwithpastels.com

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Next Pastel Painting

I know the title says "next" but it's a few past the last one I put up here.  Thought you might be interested.

The paper is Canson 160gm and the size is around 20"x26" so nice and big which is what I like to work on.
Also, I've done this one in black and white (actually in the veil I've used a blue white). I've used both Mungyo hard pastel and Schmincke soft pastels. I do like working with black and white because it's a great way to show the values.
She's called "Contemplation" - actually couldn't think of anything really fancy and I feel that is what she's doing.





Happy painting
Emma
website: 
http://paintingwithpastels.com

Monday, 6 May 2013

My Attempt with a Self Portrait Using Pastels.

In the back of my mind I've often mulled over the idea of doing a self portrait.  Other artists do and I always think they're great.  However, I've not really been keen to paint myself, especially in the usual style of portrait that I do.

How to make it different?  I wanted it to "look like" me, but I wanted it to be a bit quirky to reflect my personality.  I'm really not good at cartoons….but that was the type of thing I was going for.

Well, here it is…. Thought I'd share some of the steps along the way.





















It's been a bit of a learning curve and there's things I'd do differently if I did it again (which I won't).  I may, however, do something else and expand on this style just for the sheer fun of it.

Happy painting
Emma
website: 
http://paintingwithpastels.com

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

To Fix or Not to Fix???

I have been asked many times about fixatives and what I think about them. What I've learned over, (not saying how many years), is that there is absolutely no right or wrong answer to this question.  In fact, I'd go so far to say that there is no right or wrong in anything to do with painting with pastels.

I personally don't use fixative, that's not to say that I may try again one day, but for now....no.  The only reason is that the couple of times I have tried it, it's created very small spots on the pastel and darkened the final painting.  Now, this would have been o.k. if I was going to put on another layer, but I used the spray on the finished painting which left me rather frustrated and angry.

No, this is not me using fixative
Thinking that I'd got the spray can too close to the painting was the reason I tried it again, unfortunately, the same result.

But, that's me.  Having spoken to many pastel artists over time, I know that there are many who swear by fixatives.  However, I do know that most of them will use it during the painting, not at the end.  The reason being is that a fixative helps to set a layer.  Also it's important to use a "workable fixative" as this will keep the tooth of the paper.  I believe SpectraFix is good as it is non-toxic and you can use it indoors.

Another thing also to remember, if you are using a good pastel paper, again there shouldn't really be a need to fix.  Sometimes just putting a piece of newsprint over the top of your painting and, using the flat of your hand, (I tend to use the heel of my hand), carefully push down.  What this does is help to push the pastel into the tooth of the paper.  After I've done that, I then take the painting, still clipped to the board, outside and give it a good hit from the back.

So, my advice is...experiment.  You may find that using fixative will actually give you the look you want.  You may also find that, because of the paper you're using, the fixative between layers really helps.  As with anything to do with pastels, (or any other medium), it's up to you to experiment to discover what works for you and what doesn't.

As for me, I doubt I'll be rushing out to buy a spray can of fixative in the foreseeable future.

Happy painting
Emma
website: 
http://paintingwithpastels.com