To keep my artwork fresh and imaginative I focus my energy on different mediums (watercolor paint, oil paint, drawing – colored pencil, water-souble crayon, etc) from time to time. Usually I re-visit something I haven’t worked with for a while, so that I can maintain or improve upon my skills in that medium. This was the situation I found myself in yesterday…
I needed a break from oil painting before I completely ruined the painting I was in the middle of (yes I have a tendency to get frustrated to the point of destruction when I can’t get a painting to the point I envision in my head). I was was working on my fourth still life (to see pictures of previous still lives click here: 1, 2, or 3) and just couldn’t seem to get things down correctly. As I struggled to control the oil paint I knew I was in need of a break. As I looked around my studio and considering all the options, I saw a half piece of Wallis sandpaper. For those of you who are not pastelists Wallis sandpaper is an archival pastel surface that has a fine grit (hence the sandpaper name). It feels similar to high-grade (ie 400) sandpaper, except smoother overall.
The end result of my pastel sketch was far less thorough then my past attempts at pastel.
Despite how much less time was put in for this piece I liked the appearance much more then pastel paintings I labored over for countless hours. There is so indescribable appeal to the sketchy, vague technique that looks so effortless.
Although I have tried to achieve this effect in the past I was never able to stop myself from blending countless layers, and applying more and more details. This can be problematic in pastel painting (or sketching) because the pigments are most brilliant when first applied to paper (or surface whatever this may be). Each time you blend pastels (with your fingers, a torchillion, a kneaded eraser, or whatever other tools are at your disposal) you are decreasing the radiant effects that pastels are most known for. So keeping this to a minimum is worth it!
Keep drawing and painting – and have a great weekend. Hopefully you can find time to work on art despite the hectic holiday season that is about to begin!
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