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Pastel Fundamentals
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Pastel Fundamentals

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handout for class on painting with pastels

handout for class on painting with pastels

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  • 1. Drawing & Painting with Style and Confidence Presented by Anne Kullaf Anne Kullaf © 2008 Pastel Fundamentals
  • 2. Course premise…
    • 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.
  • 3. Course Overview…
    • During this course we will explore the following topics:
      • Methods & Materials:
        • Overview of materials and options for surfaces to work on
        • Layering
        • Blending vs. not blending
      • Color:
        • Working with complementary colors
        • Working with a limited palette
      • Composition:
        • Creating balance with shape, value and color
  • 4. Pastels
    • 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.
  • 5. Methods and Materials
    • Pastels
    • Rich color can be achieved with layering
    • Wonderfully expressive effects possible with loose strokes and minimal or no blending
    East 9 th Street, pastel on U-Art sanded pastel surface Anne Kullaf © 2008
  • 6. Methods and Materials
    • Support Surfaces
      • Canson paper – good for quick sketching, but limits the amount of layering that can be done
      • Art Spectrum sanded paper – a good economical brand of sanded paper that will take a good amount of layering
      • Sennelier La Carte pastel card – excellent higher end paper that accepts layers beautifully, archival, comes in a variety of colors
      • Wallis sanded paper – professional and museum grades available, excellent high end paper for maximum layering
  • 7. Methods and Materials
    • Pastels
      • Hard pastels – NuPastels, Yarka Russian pastels, excellent for under layers
      • Medium pastels – Rembrandt, Unison, Mount Vision are excellent medium hardness pastels, use these for layering on top of hard pastels
      • Soft pastels – Sennelier, Schmienke pastels are ultra soft and best used for the upper most layers
  • 8. Methods and Materials
    • Working in layers
    • Begin with a charcoal sketch to establish values
    • Using hard pastels, layer on top of the charcoal sketch beginning with dark and medium values first
    • Continue to layer, migrate to medium hardness pastels as you add lighter and brighter colors
    • Finish with soft pastels for the highlights and lightest areas of the painting
    Fifth Ave, pastel on Wallis sanded pastel surface Anne Kullaf © 2008
  • 9. Color
  • 10. Color Basics
    • 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
    • Example: if you need show a shaded area on a lemon (yellow, primary color) use violet (secondary color)
    • Mix your secondary colors whenever possible instead of using them directly from the tube
  • 11. The Limited Palette
    • 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
    • Try limiting yourself to about 6 colors of hard pastels as you begin your painting
    • Add in more colors as you move from hard to medium pastels, choose brighter shades as you begin layering
    • 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
  • 12. Composition
  • 13. Composition Basics
    • Composition refers to the way you arrange the elements/objects contained in your painting in order to create and maintain:
      • Balance
      • Harmony
      • Viewer interest
    Magnolia Tree, pastel on Art Spectrum sanded pastel surface, Anne Kullaf © 2008
  • 14. Focal Point vs. Overall Movement
    • There are many approaches to composition, all are a matter of personal preference and what you want to say with your painting
    • 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
    Times Square, pastel sketch on Canson paper, Anne Kullaf © 2008
  • 15.
    • Look for things that repeat to keep your composition cohesive and to engage your viewer:
      • Shapes
      • Colors
      • Directional movement
      • Motion
          • Look for examples of
          • the items listed above
          • in the painting at right
    Composition Basics
  • 16. Tying it all together…
  • 17. Tying it all together…
    • Painting with pastels provides rich color and a sense of expressiveness
    • You can work on a variety of surfaces including paper and special surfaces designed specifically for pastel
    • Layering is key to color depth and dimensionality
    • Focus on shapes and values – sketch in charcoal first!
    • Experiment with larger loose strokes and avoid over blending for a painterly feeling
    • Use complementary colors for shading
    • Try working with a limited palette
    • Paint from life whenever you can, either outdoors or in your studio
    • If you work from photos, try not to “copy” the photo, instead use it just for inspiration and reference