Tag Archives: washes

Sketchbook: pastel experiments 

I am always quite nervous of trying new techniques, and prefer to read about how to do them first before dabbling. I treated myself to ‘The Encyclopedia of Pastel Techniques: A Unique A-Z Directory of Pastel Painting Techniques Plus Guidance on How Best to Use Them’ so thought I would spend last night trying a few things out using soft pastels on watercolour paper, which I’m enjoying since my experiments on Saturday with my Venice abstract.

Here is pastel pigment picked up with cotton wool – something I’d never have thought of. I was immediately drawn to this and loved the effect this created as a wash.

Not one of my finest efforts but this is a very quick copy of a sketch from the book where you use pencil over pastel. Again not something I’d have thought of myself – how can someone so interested in creativity but so unadventurous! This has opened up all sorts of possibilities such as using charcoal in combination with pastel and pencil too.

Next was introducing water to pastels. This I don’t understand, aside from the fact in my first attempt at a wash below I just made a muddy mess. I get that pastels are pure pigment, the same pigment paint is made from, but if you want a wash then do a wash with watercolour or acrylic. I need to understand what the benefits are. My ham fisted approach probably didn’t help – a sign I need to practice wet washes more I suspect.

Finally I picked up some pigment dust with a wet brush and swished off a little cat. This idea appeals to me as I can see how you can re-use pigment from your pastel box or desk at the end of a session to create fun little pieces.