Pastel Fundamentals


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handout for class on painting with pastels

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Pastel Fundamentals

  1. 1. Drawing & Painting with Style and Confidence Presented by Anne Kullaf Anne Kullaf © 2008 Pastel Fundamentals
  2. 2. Course premise… <ul><li>This course is designed to provide a basic primer for students new to painting with pastels. It will cover the technical aspects of working with the materials as well as general concepts of color, composition and design. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Course Overview… <ul><li>During this course we will explore the following topics: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Methods & Materials: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Overview of materials and options for surfaces to work on </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Layering </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Blending vs. not blending </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Color: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Working with complementary colors </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Working with a limited palette </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Composition: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Creating balance with shape, value and color </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Pastels <ul><li>Pastel is an art medium in the form of a stick, consisting of pure powdered pigment and a binder. The pigments used in pastels are the same as those used to produce all colored art media, including oil paints; the binder is of a neutral hue and low saturation. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Methods and Materials <ul><li>Pastels </li></ul><ul><li>Rich color can be achieved with layering </li></ul><ul><li>Wonderfully expressive effects possible with loose strokes and minimal or no blending </li></ul>East 9 th Street, pastel on U-Art sanded pastel surface Anne Kullaf © 2008
  6. 6. Methods and Materials <ul><li>Support Surfaces </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Canson paper – good for quick sketching, but limits the amount of layering that can be done </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Art Spectrum sanded paper – a good economical brand of sanded paper that will take a good amount of layering </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sennelier La Carte pastel card – excellent higher end paper that accepts layers beautifully, archival, comes in a variety of colors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wallis sanded paper – professional and museum grades available, excellent high end paper for maximum layering </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Methods and Materials <ul><li>Pastels </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hard pastels – NuPastels, Yarka Russian pastels, excellent for under layers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Medium pastels – Rembrandt, Unison, Mount Vision are excellent medium hardness pastels, use these for layering on top of hard pastels </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Soft pastels – Sennelier, Schmienke pastels are ultra soft and best used for the upper most layers </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Methods and Materials <ul><li>Working in layers </li></ul><ul><li>Begin with a charcoal sketch to establish values </li></ul><ul><li>Using hard pastels, layer on top of the charcoal sketch beginning with dark and medium values first </li></ul><ul><li>Continue to layer, migrate to medium hardness pastels as you add lighter and brighter colors </li></ul><ul><li>Finish with soft pastels for the highlights and lightest areas of the painting </li></ul>Fifth Ave, pastel on Wallis sanded pastel surface Anne Kullaf © 2008
  9. 9. Color
  10. 10. Color Basics <ul><li>Colors that complement one another should be used to create shadows and darks, in other words, colors that appear opposite one another on the color wheel </li></ul><ul><li>Example: if you need show a shaded area on a lemon (yellow, primary color) use violet (secondary color) </li></ul><ul><li>Mix your secondary colors whenever possible instead of using them directly from the tube </li></ul>
  11. 11. The Limited Palette <ul><li>This is a little more complicated with pastel than it is with paint because you need to mix your colors optically on the surface rather than on a palette </li></ul><ul><li>Try limiting yourself to about 6 colors of hard pastels as you begin your painting </li></ul><ul><li>Add in more colors as you move from hard to medium pastels, choose brighter shades as you begin layering </li></ul><ul><li>At the very end when you add in your highlights and brightest colors with soft pastels, add in a hint of unexpected color throughout the composition, choose a color that will work harmoniously with the colors present in the painting </li></ul>
  12. 12. Composition
  13. 13. Composition Basics <ul><li>Composition refers to the way you arrange the elements/objects contained in your painting in order to create and maintain: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Balance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Harmony </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Viewer interest </li></ul></ul>Magnolia Tree, pastel on Art Spectrum sanded pastel surface, Anne Kullaf © 2008
  14. 14. Focal Point vs. Overall Movement <ul><li>There are many approaches to composition, all are a matter of personal preference and what you want to say with your painting </li></ul><ul><li>For example, you may wish to have an overall sense of movement rather than a strong focal point—either one can work but each will convey a different mood and feeling in your finished work </li></ul>Times Square, pastel sketch on Canson paper, Anne Kullaf © 2008
  15. 15. <ul><li>Look for things that repeat to keep your composition cohesive and to engage your viewer: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Shapes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Colors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Directional movement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Motion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Look for examples of </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>the items listed above </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>in the painting at right </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>Composition Basics
  16. 16. Tying it all together…
  17. 17. Tying it all together… <ul><li>Painting with pastels provides rich color and a sense of expressiveness </li></ul><ul><li>You can work on a variety of surfaces including paper and special surfaces designed specifically for pastel </li></ul><ul><li>Layering is key to color depth and dimensionality </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on shapes and values – sketch in charcoal first! </li></ul><ul><li>Experiment with larger loose strokes and avoid over blending for a painterly feeling </li></ul><ul><li>Use complementary colors for shading </li></ul><ul><li>Try working with a limited palette </li></ul><ul><li>Paint from life whenever you can, either outdoors or in your studio </li></ul><ul><li>If you work from photos, try not to “copy” the photo, instead use it just for inspiration and reference </li></ul>