At the beginning of June, as you know, I was at the wonderful bi-annual International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS) Convention. I was fortunate to be asked to demo twice using Schminke pastels at their booth.
What to paint? Well, if you know me, you know I prefer working from life, so the first demo was a no-brainer – I’d do a still life set up. And if you’ve been following my YouTube videos you know I’m a big promoter of using quality pastels in a limited palette. (This is to help show beginners that they only need to start with a small selection of pastels which means they can afford to purchase good quality rather than mediocre pastels!)
And what did I decide to do for my demo the following day? Well, wait and see!
Let’s have a look at the first demo.
The set-up. I wanted to include a full value range from dark to light as well as different types of items. My viewpoint changed slightly from this photo as I stepped to the easel.
Gary, the Schminke rep, asked me to use the small set of Schminke pastels that I’d used in my earlier videos. Well that put a wrench in the works! So few pastels to choose from – only 11!
Schminke pastels in black and white photo. This easily shows you the value range available. Two lights, one very dark, one fairly dark, and the rest midtones (the brown and one of the reds are missing.)
Hmmmm…my thumbnail except as you can see, I forgot (how??) to add values! Nevertheless, it helped me see how the items were placed and made it easier for me to sketch the set up on paper.
Drawing in vine charcoal and first layer of pastels on. Usually, I block in the three main values – light, middle and dark. Here I worked differently in that I only had two lights to work with. So instead, I began by putting in shapes of colour over which I would layer my lights (and darks and mid-values). The red and the blue are the darks and will eventually become darks and mid-values, the orange mid-tone will eventually become a light value, and the yellow will remain a light value.
Beginning to build the layers. It’s tough going working in colours that aren’t the correct values. (They will eventually be layered over to create the appropriate value.) All this is made even more tricky with the broken focus that comes with demoing. Good practice!
Beginning to shift values to correct range. Bit bizarre isn’t it?!
The image above in black and white. This really shows you where the values stand. I wanted to point out a small value lesson. Looking at this image, you really can’t tell the difference between the orange and the colour of the paper! Cool huh? I can see I need to darken the mug a whole lot more.
More pastel applied
Photographed on my return home in daylight on a cloudy day, the colours look a bit bluer than they actually are. Schminke pastels on Pastel Premier paper med fine 320 grit, Italian Clay
With the black and white version, you can see how things have changed!
One down, one more to go.
I decided that since I had recently begun offering a workshop called “Reality to Abstract,” I’d have my second piece use the first demo as a base from which to go abstract. And even though Gary was kind enough to offer me the use of a larger set, I decided to stick with the smaller set to see what would happen.
First colours down with little care. I just went for it! Can you see the main items of pear, mug, and tea bags?
Now what? I just trusted my intuition, believing the process would take me somewhere. I just let go and watched where my hand and heart took me.
I began to think about the formal qualities of composition, value, line, shapes, edge etc. I added colours according to what I felt the painting needed.
For interest’s sake, here it is in black and white so you can see how the values are arranged. (Sorry about the shadow top right.)
This is how the piece finished up. Crazy huh? (The demo was a bit shorter as it was soon time to pack the booth away.) I need to decide how much more work to do on it if any. Schminke pastels on UArt 320 paper, 12 x 18 in
And here I am at work on the first demo. You can see part of the set up I was working from. I’m using an easel borrowed from Dakota Pastels. Kicking myself for not buying it. It would have been perfect for my upcoming trip to Budapest! Argh.
I enjoyed trying out new papers and can certainly recommend them both – UArt 320 and Pastel Premier 320 Italian Clay. They both took the layering of soft pastel very well. And of course I loved using the Schminke pastels!
Look forward to hearing what you think about these pieces! So please leave a comment 🙂
Until next week,