When I saw how thick these sticks were, I thought there was no way I could fill in the shapes of those leaves properly with them. They were simply too thick, and rounded, I thought. So what did I do?
I tried taking a paintbrush and stroking it onto the end of the pastel stick and using it to paint in the shapes of the leaves. That didn’t work out so well with a wet or dry brush.
I asked myself what would happen if I turned the pastel on its side. To my surprise, I had a lot of control this way, and it was very easy to get the shapes I wanted. I was really surprised the paintbrush technique didn’t work. That may be because I’m using black paper. I bought it because I thought it offset my colors in a cool way.
Some of the leaves were blue, so I made sure to fill those in before I forgot. Nothing I was putting down at this point was what the final piece would look like.
I tried mixing the colors by layering them next to each other and on top, but neither seemed to work. When I put the colors on top of each other, the color on top just overtook the color underneath.
I decided to try sandpaper since it worked so well with my charcoal. I have to get up periodically to put the pastel dust on my paper in the trash.
I’m starting to realize that to mix colors, I must first rub my underlay color in solidly. Get a good foundation for it. Then I go over it with another color, pressing more lightly. This allows the color I put down first to not be overtaken by the color on top of it. I did this with the purple bands on in the pebbles, laying a solid foundation of purple down first, then white. The result is a light purple.
Pastels come off easily onto your fingers. Try leaving margins on paper so your paper can pick it up without smudging the edges of your project.
It's imperative to have a piece of glassine under your hand when you're working in pastels. Inevitably, you will end up resting your hand on a part of the paper that already has pastel on it, and we already know what can happen.
I didn't want my crows to be solid black, so I colored them in by blending black with purple and blue. Remember, almost nothing in nature is solid black, or white for that matter.
I filled in the spaces between the pebbles with a terra cotta shade.
Painter of portraits and wildlife