Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wetting Pastels

Pot With Lemon 

Today, Painterly Pastels was about  painting with pastel washes. There are four mediums you can use to wet your pastels: Turpenoid, water, rubbing alcohol and acetone. I had rubbing alcohol in my case. I chose to go with it, because I had it. I also thought it would evaporate quicker than Turpenoid, and was a lot less smelly than acetone. Water was out. I had read that water did cause sanded paper to buckle. I figured why mess with that problem, when I had so many  others going on learning to understand this new medium?  Mineral Spirits I rejected on my own; it has an oily feel to it, which would  cause it to totally saturate the pigment.

What you see here, is how this painting walked out of class. It still needs work, but it is a CLASS. This session was meant to teach  how pastels behave when wet. I did get the drift  of  how much fluid to  use, to always dip the brush in and auto-wipe off the excess if you want to avoid drips, (there's one down the center of the page),do  expect to have to go back in and enhance highlights. One of the difficulties was handling the brush--fitting it to where you wanted to use it. That'll take practice--and a few more brushes. My favorite today was a 1 1/2" house painter's trim brush. You can't get a brush you don't care about cheaper than that.

When I first whetted the painting, 'Oh My God'  immediately flew out of my mouth. The stroke turned the pastels blackish!  I  wondered why  I bothered to put all those lovely colors into the background when they just disappeared with one fluid stroke.  But then they returned when the stroke  dried. They were  blended, but noticeable. The alcohol dried quickly--more so than water--more so than Turpenoid--which had to be put outside in the wind  for a bit to avoid the odor, some classmates objected to.  I didn't notice that the sanded paper had been damaged, as Vianna said it would be. The sanded layer did remain adhered to the backing. --Actually,  the rubbing alcohol worked just fine. I think it will work even better, if I lay the paper flat...

But I'm not going to do anything more to this. I want to play with my own still life to work on this technique, but first I need to make a trip to the market. While I have plenty of pots,  roundish fruit are definitely lacking  in our frig. (I do understand why I see so many lemon and lime paintings online though; those acidic fruits have a long life, very suitable for still lifes--pomegranates too).




29 comments:

  1. You are a veritable whirlwind, Linda - oil, acrylic, watercolor and pastel! I love that you are trying and learning so many new things - its totally inspiring to visit your blog!

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    1. Not really. Just poking around. To me acrylic with it's faster drying time is useful in conjunction with oils--acrylic under-painting/oil glazes. Charcoal and pastels are excellent spontaneous drafting/drawing materials and color workouts. Watercolors are just plain fun; I am not a serious watercolorist---it's too labor intensive.

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  2. good work on this....you have to be pleased. I like how spontaneous and splashy it looks.

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    1. The texture of the paper gives pastels a lovely rough look. And this technique does allow mixing a smooth texture look with a rough one.

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  3. Interesting technique, Linda! And I love mr FP by the way!

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    1. Thanks Judy. It is an interesting technique--that I've never heard of before and have no idea if I'll ever use it--but it's in my pocket of tricks now.

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  4. Darned interesting, although to me it begs the question - why do it?

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    1. ME TOO! When I heard that we were going to learn to make washes out of something that does't, I figured you used washes to tint the off white sanded paper. It never occurred to me that washes were used to solidify the fields and fill in the gaps the chalk left when swiped over the sanded paper. Now that's interesting because that technique does give you the opportunity to mix a tempra efffect with the chalk effect--but the question that remains is why not do a tempera under painting and a pastel over painting? The only reason I can think of is the effect of water on the sanded paper--it wrinkles it. Like I said, I have to play around with it. I have to do some work on my own to see if I have that need. I do love the look of rough charcoal drawings--and it follows I'll be happy using straight pastel. The need of the technique will just have to pop up sometime.

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  5. Hello Linda, I always learn something new when I come to your blog. It seems to me that you should be happy with this work, I find it perfect and beautiful. Ciao!

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    1. It did come out well for a morning's work--especially when you know, I had no idea what I was doing. The instructor came over and asked me where my thumbnail was. I said I didn't do one. Nine by twelve is a thumbnail when you've worked much larger for years. I didn't say that though, just thought it. I simply said, I jumped right in. The difference between me and other the other adult art students I've met is that I work every day in my studio. They work only in class once or twice a week. You can't work that little and expect respectable results.

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  6. Muy buen bodegón Linda. Me gusta la disposición de los elementos y el colorido. Enhorabuena y un abrazo.

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    1. Gracias Sonia. Un abrazo back at you.

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  7. Un bodegón espléndido, más aún cuando el pastel me parece una técnica realmente complicada. Enhorabuena.

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    1. It was Sergio. I have to give it a few more practice sessions to really see its potential--or not. My mind is open with pastels. What I am liking about this class and the medium is that I really have to think about mixing colors and the use of the lightest lights and the darkest darks available in those boxes. Pastels do make you a colorist--as Casey tells it.

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  8. I do the "OMG" quite often when I apply a dark wash to a watercolor, and it usually turns out all right, too. :)

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    1. This was really scary though Kathryn. Pitch black it was--and clearly pointed out how uneven my brush stroke had been and got me worried about 'alcohol marks.'

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  9. It is refreshing to see an artist not stagnating into one style. Good stuff. Keep poking around.

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    1. I've never had one style. I am of the opinion that different subject matters call for different approaches, much like different problems demand different solutions. I am all by myself in the art world in this belief. I also feel it's boring to knock one picture out after another all looking a like, all about the same thing. I think that tht kind of repetitious production has to do with making money--like stamping out a product--usually in the style that sold the best first time out of the barn. As I am a mood dresser, I guess I'm a mood painter. It keeps life interesting. It keeps me balanced.

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  10. Interesting techniques used! I really like the lights and darks and colours!

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    1. Yes it is. Whether it's useful or not I haven't decided. Thanks--and done without a thumbnail too.

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  11. The report on the pastel wet is really interesting: it's just like being there!
    The still life is very bright, reflects your style too.
    You will be you, Linda,  in the end, to choose, "what to do when you grow"... everything comes out so well that you may have difficulty choosing!? Or continue to do everything and have fun and make fun even for us ,following via blog your adventurous journey!
    Have nice week end!

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    1. I do choose oils. For warm ups and studies, I choose charcoal for value studies when needed and pastels for color studies. For pure fun, I choose water colors. Each medium has its place--Acrylic too, for fast work. All of it is a joy.

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    2. I agree! Painting is a true joy and  experiment mediums too. I feel lucky that you share
      the path even with me on your  blog!You are very precise when you tell what you do and this broadens my horizon even in areas which I do not know. Thanks,Linda!

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  12. ... you have a wonderful gift linda ...interesting post ... enjoy the rest of your course ..results look super .

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    1. A couple more and it's over and up to me how I will use the medium. I currently have no plans for it other than color studies of subjects I think may make a good painting.

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  13. I love the colors in this one, a very nice still life, well done.

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    1. Thanks Roger. Revealing story: Vianna came over to see how I was doing. She asked if I had done a thumbnail. I gave her an odd look and said no, I just jumped right in. I obviously didn't think two items laid on a table required any thumbnail explorations. The set up was as simple as it gets. Being in a class room situation, it wasn't like I could move my easel where ever I thought the best view was, so I saw no purpose in spending time on working out a pleasing composition; it was what it was because I was where I was going to stay. I figured I could do that during the process. A bit cocky don't you think? Or I've been around the block a few times over the last zillion years of painting and have built some confidence in my compositional abilities. Add a few more items to the set up, thumbnails would become more important. I might sound insecure sometimes in this blog, but I'm not. I'm just telling you where I am with whatever painting I'm working on at the time.

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  14. Insecure is nor a term I associate with you, Linda. Self-critical, yes, but that's a logical condition if one wants to improve.

    Which medium is pulling you to it? Any idea yet, or are you going to play the field? Will you specialize or will the subject matter dictate on each occasion?

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    1. Me neither, and I agree. Criticizing one's work, though, is just part of the process. I do that on design/build jobs all the time. And my critique is what makes the next job build easier, run smoother and come together better--just so you don't take your (self) or anybody else's criticism personally.

      Oils. Charcoal and now, pastels are study mediums. Acrylic could work as an underpainting medium for oils. I haven't tried it yet. Watercolor is just for fun, a break. I never did get over playing in the water.:-)

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