Techniques with Pastels

As well as my OCA work, I am doing a pastel drawing course at the local college. This evening we were drawing a lemon using different techniques. While the exercise is not an OCA one, I thought I’d share the results here as I feel it is very relevant.

lemon-pastel-blendingThe first week of the course (tonight was the third week) was drawing a sunset over a landscape using blending techniques so we had encountered this one before. Lots of solid colour are drawn on top of each other so they blend together. (Further blending can be achieved with fingers etc. but I did not use that method here.) After this drawing I changed my lemon as I found the knobbly end and grooved nature of this lemon were an unnecessary complication when I had several techniques to investigate in a two hour lesson.

lemon-pastel-featheringThe second technique use feathering. This was used a lot by Degas in his drawings. The different colours are applied as short lines (not to be confused with hatching). Rachel, our tutor, said the lines should go in the same direction, but I felt it would be better if they followed the curvature of the lemon.

lemon-pastel-dry-washThis technique is called dry wash and consists of pastel powder being scraped onto the paper using a knife and then rubbing the powder around with your finger. Of the techniques investigated tonight, this is my favourite one. Unfortunately, the initial outline, which Rachel assured us would disappear, is still clearly visible with this.

oca 064aThis is scumbling which uses colours underneath, including the coloured paper, showing through the top colours. I drew the white highlight areas, the dark shadow areas and the green tinged areas first, leaving the paper in the orangier parts, before applying the yellow. An interesting result, though I’m not one hundred per cent convinced by the method.

lemon-pastel-pointillistThe final method I tried was using a pointillist style. I’m pleased with the result although I can’t see me using the technique on a large drawing. We were also asked to try a drawing using a hatching technique but a) I ran out of time and b) couldn’t see any point in using a technique suitable for pen and ink, for example, where shading is difficult, unlike pastels which are easy to blend and shade.

On the whole, I was one of the ones who were happy with their evening’s work. Some were very frustrated with their results. I know how they felt having had several ‘bad days’ with life drawing last year.

About notes to the milkman

I'm a printmaker based in the North West of England, living in Bolton and printing at Hot Bed Press in Salford. Please visit my website
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12 Responses to Techniques with Pastels

  1. Reblogged this on notes to the milkman and commented:

    This is an exercise in pastel techniques from an evening course I’m doing at Bolton College. I’ve originally posted it on my College blog but thought I’d reblog it here.

  2. This is really interesting both for the finished results as well as your description of the method you used. Really really helpful, thank you very much !

  3. Mags Phelan says:

    Great exercises – especially like the dry wash, feathering, and pointillist techniques. I like pastel, but struggle to use it well, so I’ll look forward to trying out some of these. Thank you for sharing!

    • I certainly intend using pastels more – which is the purpose of having signed up for this course. Rachel is an excellent teacher and shows us different things each week. If we like the method we can use it further.

  4. The dry wash creates wonderful warmth as well as depth and your pointillist lemon has a decided citrus peel texture. I haven’t used pastels for a while but your lemons have inspired a return to these. Thank you!

  5. Nancy Farmer says:

    I am still smiling over ” After this… I changed my lemon” as it sounds like such a lovely polite euphemism for something!
    Very interesting stuff, and I totally agree with you on the second one – the lines should not all go in the same direction but follow the form of the lemon around…

  6. Pingback: P51 Exploring Coloured Media | The Milkman Goes To College

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