Tag Archives: pastel painting

Difference Between Watercolor Underwash and Pastel/Turpentine Underwash with a Pastel Painting

What is an underwash? With a pastel painting, it is the first layer of the painting. Why are underwashes needed? Because it either covers the media, saving you from using too much soft pastels, or has a desirous effect with your painting. We will discuss both. In both of these examples, I am using a 10″x8″ Ampersand Pastel Board.

Example #1  Watercolor Underwash

In this example I used watercolor as a first step underneath my pastel painting.
Pros: Watercolors have a cool effect. The water spreads the pigment and the clouds look soft, distant trees look realistic without much effort. Let the watercolors do what watercolors do…..spread on their own. Do you see under the clouds? It looks as if rain is descending on the ground….I did not do this intentionally, the watercolors spread on their own and like magic it looks realistic.
Cons: When dry, the watercolors dry very, very light. Apply dark if possible.

When applying soft pastels on top, do not cover the whole painting. Let the watercolor underwash show through. This enables you to achieve a 3D effect, effortlessly.

Example #2  Turpentine and Pastel Underwash

In this example I scribbled a little pastel color and blended it on my board with turpentine and a bristle brush. A little goes a long way.
Pros: It takes very little pastel scribbled on your board to cover the entire surface. It actually takes a lot less than what I used. Just apply a tiny bit of pastel color and with a clean bristle brush, spread it with turpentine. Pastels are expensive, but if you use this method you will not waste much soft pastel.
Cons: Not much of a 3D effect, rather flat, but many layers can be applied for a dimensional look.

Both methods are fun. These two examples were done on Ampersand Pastel Boards. These methods will NOT work with regular pastel paper. The water with the watercolor and the turpentine in method #2 will destroy regular pastel paper.

Explore and have fun! Layer and see where it takes you.

 

Speed Demo Video Spring Sunset Soft Pastel

It’s been a long time since you’ve seen a video, huh?!? Yeah, I’m slacking! Well, no more! Time to get to work. And more to come….I promise.

Normally, I like to perform a step by step painting demo right in nature. It is so much more pleasant than an indoor studio, however I saw this magnificent breathtaking sunset as I was driving to Springfield, IL, two weeks ago and I only had time to click a quick picture. So this demo is done from a photo.

Here is the photo:
Spring Sunset

Here is a photo of the final painting:
20170430_spring_sunset_pastel

Unfortunately the video has poor lighting, so the final (which was scanned in) looks much more vibrant. I am using new software so quality will improve with use.

I hope you are keeping up with your art. I hope you are playing and practicing. I hope you are taking time for yourself in this area. Life can be overwhelming most of the time, especially if you have a full time job and a family. You have to fight for your time. Fight for it. It will keep you healthy.

Here is a link for archival prints if interested:
Art Prints

Let’s Paint Pines by a Lake!

The November landscape has inspired me to create a soft pastel painting. Do you want to paint one with me? OK! Here we go!

First, here is the scene that inspired me (minus the rocks)…

lake_photo

Now, before we begin, here is a sneak peak of all the steps in a time lapse…

Like it? YOU CAN DO THIS! Here we go.

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Step 1: I am using a gray Ampersand pastel board 20×16. Why gray? For no reason other than I had it laying around. Using a pastel pencil, any light color will do because this will get covered completely, draw a rough sketch. I am using Derwent Pastel Pencils. ***Note: You can use ANY pastel brands you have and any colors. You don’t have to run out and buy the brands I use. 🙂

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Step 2: Lay down color all over the board just to have a base to work with. Don’t worry about which color is the right color to use. Most of this will be covered. The secret to painting with pastels is, lay down “harder” soft pastels first then top with “softer” soft pastels. You will find certain brands are harder than others. I mainly use Rembrandt and Unison brands. Rembrandt is harder than Unison so they go on the bottom. However (there’s always an exception), Unison brand seems to be darker. The darkest Rembrandt can’t get as dark as a dark Unison…so if I need to go dark, I will use the Unison first.
In this step, I used all Rembrandt pastels and wasn’t too concerned with exact color.

After you cover your board, take a fat paint brush, like a cheap one you paint your walls with, and turpentine and paint over the pastel scribbles. You’re just spreading and moving the pastels around. Don’t worry about direction of brush stroke or anything.
Also, don’t worry how dark it will look. When it dries it will become lighter. Here is what it looks like dry:

20141130_lake_step2b

This is completely dry. This step is important because it covers a lot of ground in little time with little pastel pigment.

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Step 3: Now we are going to start layering. Using Rembrandt (medium blue) #506,7  make horizontal likes in the sky near the top of the board. Then take Rembrandt (light blue) #570,9  and paint horizontal lines in the sky above the horizon and in the center.
Going lighter, paint Unison #grey 33, in the sky on top and Unison (light blue) #A53, over the horizon and center of the sky.
Time to wake up your inner child….with your finger blend these colors in the sky back and forth horizontally. Fun! I know!!

20141130_lake_step4

Step 4: Now we are going to paint the base of the pine trees. Using Rembrandt (dark green) #627,3 paint in some pines leaving “sky holes”. You don’t want one solid mass.

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Step 5: Now I notice, I have to go much darker. So, with these colors I overlap my pine boughs Unison (dark blue) #A37, (dark green) #Green 13, (dark purple) #DK 14. Looking great!

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Step 6: Here we are going to highlight the pine, here and there, not covering the whole tree. Using Unison light green, paint in some pine tips.

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Step 7: Using Derwent Pastel Pencil #Spectrum 11F Orange, draw in some birch trees over the lake in the distance. Go lightly.

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Here is a close up so you can see what they look like.

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Step 8: OK! Let’s anchor those pines to the ground by painting a dark color underneath them. Using Unison (dark blue) #A50, also paint the water by the edge of the ground to darken this area. Blend with your finger. Now using that pastel pencil for the birch trees, paint in their reflection in the water.

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Step 9: Using Rembrandt medium blue, like the sky and Unison (light blue) #BV8, paint over the water, lightest color in the middle. Blend with your fingers.

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Step 10: Now we are going to start layering the grasses. Darker color on the bottom. Using Dark Brown Rembrandt #408,3 and dark blue Unison #A49 scribble in some grasses. The lighter grasses I used a medium olive green Rembrandt #227,3.

20141130_lake_step11

Step 11: Here we are layering the grasses with lighter colors and highlighting the pine bark. In the grass area, scribble using a light sage Rembrandt #202,3, beige Rembrandt #236,3, and yellow Rembrandt #227,5. For the pines bark, I highlighted with a red Derwent Pastel Pencil #Deep Cadmium 6D.

20141130_lake_step12

Step 12: Let’s paint the lightest blades of grass and make reflections in the water. The lightest blades are light yellow Unison #Y15. Take some of your grass colors and paint them in the water. Then, take your finger and pull down.

20141130_lake_step13_final

Step 13 Final: In this step I added more punch to the pines. Using a very light yellow-green Unison highlight some pine tips. Then, sneak in some other striking colors like hot pink and purple…it gives it life. And you’re done!

If you would like a print or greeting card visit below:

Sell Art Online

I hope you enjoyed this free step by step soft pastel demonstration of pines by the lake! Remember, you can do this!

Let’s Paint a Warm Winter Field and Tree Pastel!

I don’t know what it is about an open field with few trees, but I just can’t get enough of them! Maybe it’s the open expanse of the field and the sky together, making you feel free or perhaps the feeling of looking far into the distance causing you to ponder the distance in your own life? Who knows. I just like them. So let’s see how to paint a field using warm soft pastel colors…

20130303_field_step1

Step 1: My pastel paper is tinted dark gray and feels like sand paper. I’ve had it for so long, I honestly cannot remember what brand. My paper size is 10×8. Make a simple sketch, with the horizon line 1/3 of the way from the bottom of the paper. Next sketch in some distant tree lines (scalloped edge) and two young trees in the foreground. I used pastel pencils to make my sketch.

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Step 2: I always start on top and work my way down. This is a dry pastel painting, meaning there is no underwash. This painting is small enough that I do not need to. Starting at the top paint the sky with dark (R 506,7), medium (R 570,7), and light blue (R 570,9). I am using Rembrandt and Unison soft pastels and will note Rembrandt as R and Unison as U.

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Step 3: Blend with your finger. Go right over the trees, it doesn’t matter we will fill it in later.

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Step 4: Make some distant trees in the background. My trees are two colors: first a medium brown (R 409,7) and then a purple/brown (R 538,8). Keep the top of the tree line scalloped and uneven. Gently smudge the top of the tree line into the sky.

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Step 5: On this day, the sky was mostly cloudy and had a peach color far in the distance. So that is what we will paint, using Unison soft pastels now, paint the horizon a peach color (U Orange 11), the middle of the sky a light lavender (U BV 1). Blend with your fingers lightly.

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Step 6: We are going to go even lighter in the sky with another layer of very, very, light lavender/blue (U BV 8). Blend with your finger in circular motion like puffy clouds. Oooo, the sky is looking real nice so far!

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Step 7: Now the clouds in the sky are never just white. There are many colors swirling around, like pink, yellow, purple, blue/gray. So here and there we are going to add touches of pink (U Red 18), yellow (U Orange 18), and light lavender (U BV12). Blend with your finger.

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Step 8: Now we are going to work on the field. I used three colors, first a dark purple/blown (R 538,7), next a tan color (R 231,3) and lastly a nice russet color (R 411,7). I love all of those yummy warm winter colors!!!

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Step 9: Let’s work on the trees now. I used a Carbothello pastel pencil navy (1400/760)

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Step 10: After I get the basic shape of the trunk and branches, I like to hit it with some amazing “pop” colors. The color of the sun on the trunk is (U Orange 3). I also used purple Carbothello pastel pencil (1400/385), and just a hint of moss green (R 626,5).
Highlight some grasses in the field with a mild yellow color.

20130303_field_step11_final

Step 11 Final: Lastly, add some individual grasses in the foreground green/gray (R 202,3), and red (U Red 9). Then make a shadow under the trees with purple (U BV5). And you’re done!
This image may look a little different color-wise, because I scanned in the original painting instead of taking a picture.

“Deliberate Solitude”
10×8
pastel

To purchase a greeting card or print click here.

To purchase the original pastel painting click here.

I hope you enjoyed this free step by step instruction on how to paint a field and winter tree using soft pastels!

Let’s Paint Sun and Shadow Pine!

Okay Folks, the Holidays are over and this is a brand new year with bright brand new beginnings. So lets get crack-a-lackin’ and get serious about our artwork!

Today we will learn how to paint a pine tree with soft pastels….

pine_photo_morton_arb

Here is my reference photo. This photo was taken at the Morton Arboretum in the Spring of 2009. I love the sky color peaking through the boughs and the bright sunshine on the trunk.

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Step 1: Make a sketch with charcoal on Ersta pastel paper (looks and feels like sandpaper). My paper is small 7×9 inches. I am remembering to use good composition by not placing anything dead in the center (remember the word dead. Dead = Don’t). I have my trunk 1/3 of the way from the left side of the paper and many smaller branches covering 2/3 of the paper.

20121231_step2_pine

Step 2: I did not make an underpainting. This is an all pure pastel painting. At the very top lay down some dark blue pastel, I used Unison BV12. Next color down, paint with a medium dark blue, Rembrandt 506,7. Next down paint with medium light blue, Rembrandt 570,9 and the very bottom light blue, Rembrandt 506,9. Even though I am giving you the brand and number pastel I used, you can use whatever colors you have or like. There are no rules.
Overlap the colors a bit, it helps to transition the next color.

20121231_step3_pine

Step 3: Smooth with fingers…make sure your hands are clean…sounds like Mom? Using the darkest blue you have, make some thin branches near the top of the painting and a few in the middle (these are the ones in shadow). Next, using a light purple, paint in some background pine boughs.

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Step 4: With a dark blue, make some closer pine boughs. Keep this light and airy making sure to leave spaces open in between pine needles to see the sky/background.

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Step 5: Paint the trunk thinking of sunny bright colors. I used mostly orange/brown Rembrandt 236,3 and a few touches of olive green Rembrandt 202,3 and light brown Rembrandt 231,3.

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Step 6: Hold on to your seats, here comes the fun part Folks!!! In nature, when you look at something, let’s take a tree trunk for example, you look at it and your brain says, brown. But it’s not just brown. It’s reflecting many, many colors that your brain doesn’t process. Take a long look at a tree trunk and see if any MORE colors pop out at you. In our painting we got them right here!

Add some vibrant color branches. Go ahead. Get a little crazy. I used red/purple Rembrandt 347,5 and red/brown Rembrandt 538,5.

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Step 7: Make some lovely shadows on your trunk. I used a Carbothello pastel pencil #770 (dark purple). This step gives great depth!

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Step 8 Final: Kiss it with the sun! Using a bright yellow/orange Unison, I painted selective parts of the trunk and some top branches. Next I used some blue sky color and added some sky “holes”. Lastly I took my Carbothello pastel pencil #760 and 770 and made some really thin bare branches. And we are done!

I really hope you enjoyed this free step by step demonstration on how to paint a pine tree using soft pastels. Try it yourself, it is not as hard as you think.

Original painting sold on Etsy. Click here to view.

Archival prints/framing/greeting cards sold on FAA. Click here to view.

Thank you to all who have faithfully stopped by this site to learn how to paint and wish me well. Let’s make 2013 the year to paint!