Thursday, 28 June 2012

Spanish Sunset - Pastel Painting

OK, I have painted another pastel, this time not a tree in sight.

It is taken from a book called 30 minute PASTELS. I love the loose style which the author adopts to complete a painting in this short time. Exactly the way I like to paint. I have actually done this once before but the result was not quite as I wanted it. I was at a loose end this week and flipping through one or two books and magazines and came across this particular image. I knew straight away that i had to have another shot at it.

The beauty of this one is the use of the side of the pastel stick to create incredible textures. And of course the redness of it! Makes a fantastically emotive landscape, I feel. The drawing is not as good as it should be but using thick pastel sticks it is difficult to work with any detail.

Anyway here it is for your perusal, I would love to know what you think about it.






The way I approach this sort of painting is to first of all create a background in a suitable colour using the sides of the pastel sticks. I would normally use more than one colour, creating a complementary under-painting which I fix with (shock horror) cheap hair spray. This has two functions:-

  • It prevents the "empty canvas" syndrome and subsequent procrastination.
  • It provides a marvellous tooth for subsequent layers of pastel.
In this case I had already got a background in my satchel, I had prepared a few earlier without any consideration of what the final paintings may look like. The background in question was simply the perfect colour for this piece.






You will notice that it is not made to be uniform, it could have been far more varied but for this subject as I said it seemed perfect.

I then carefully selected a few pastels; yellows, reds and oranges and stroked the paper with the side of the sticks to create the variation of colour in the sky and the water. Light and loose strokes provide the required texture, which can be seen in the following details.



It is important to use a light touch and to skim the surface. This leaves the background showing through, so it is important to use a background with the right colours. I did say above that I often use a complementary colour (to the top layer) which gives a really sparkling effect. Here though, The colours are from an analogous (hot) colour scheme.


To complete the painting, one or two details; the sun and its reflections are included with a subtle approach - not too much to stand out uneccesarily. The far shore / mountains are created in a very similar way using a dark brown and a soft black.

Finally the two boats are then drawn in a soft black pastel. As I said, the drawing could have been better and if I do it again (as if I would!) I will use a thin stick of soft charcoal so that I can put a little more detail in here. Not too much just a little more detail.



It always feels good to get out of a rut and this painting has certainly pleased me both in its creation and its final appearance. (offers accepted. LOL)


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