Monday, July 8, 2013

Secret Cove

I had so much fun playing with pastels last week that I wanted to continue for this week's painting.  Last week's painting had an underpainting of watercolor and this one also has an underpainting, but I used pastels for this one.

Here is how it started.  I rubbed a light layer of pastel on Wallis sanded pastel paper.  This paper is very durable and can be used wet or dry.  Some pastel papers aren't so versatile.  One of my favorite pastel papers, Sennelier La Carte, can't tolerate any moisture at all or the surface will fall off.  Below is a photo of the first stage .
This looks pretty childish, doesn't it?  I didn't use much pastel because just wanted a light map of where the painting was heading and didn't want to fill the tooth of the paper.   If I wanted it to be darker, I would apply more pastel.  Next, I used a paintbrush and water to liquify the pastel.  I know a lot of pastel artists use alcohol but for me, water works just as well and is always available.

It looks just like watercolor, doesn't it?  Normally, I would probably use watercolor for an underpainting but I wanted to show another option (for you KimmieK) in case you don't have watercolors handy.

I used a combination of Nupastels, Rembrandts and Sennelier pastels for this painting.  My friend gave me the Sennelier pastels awhile ago as she was cleaning out her art supplies and this it the first time I used them.  They have a wonderful soft, buttery texture and are really nice to use.  Thanks Peggy!  I thought my Rembrants were soft, but compared to the Sennelier pastels, they seem like a hard pastel.

The reference photo for this painting actually had a very sculptural silhouette of a leafless tree in the foreground which is why I picked it for painting, but I was happy with the painting at this stage and was afraid that I wouldn't be able to describe the tree successfully and get the edges hard enough with the pastels.  I'll try that version with another medium in the future.

Secret Cove
Image Size 9" x 12"


  1. You did an AMAZING job with this pastel painting, Nancy. I have to admit I use alcohol but it seems that water works just as well!!! The rocks look awesome...BEAUTIFULLY PAINTED!!!
    LOVE IT!!!!

  2. Thank you Hilda. That's quite a compliment coming from such an accomplished pastelist as you.

  3. I never knew pastels could liquefy with water (or alcohol). How interesting! Love where this piece ended up, Nancy. Truly beautiful and I have visions of a home (mine) right up the beach with this view. Yes, I can dream big occasionally!

  4. Pastels are a versatile medium.

    It's good to dream big Sherry. Keep it up!


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