Early pastels experience

SPCases1All three studies: 30cm x 41cm (A3) Soft Pastels on rough Mi-Teintes paper. Phil Carrero

I have not entered this three studies individually because they were quick practice sketches of two hours or less each. I only meant to become familiar with this wonderful medium and so aim to encounter as many problems as I can early in the pace. I have definitely  learned from this three and will apply experience to following work.






Pastels take only marginally longer to do than pencil and charcoal, therefore perfect for preliminary studies to major works.

For instance I’ve already done compositions of person with objects in different poses are quickly done… in full and vibrant color! So far I had no choice but to do b/w for compositions and full oils/acrylics for color harmonies, so this is a better prelim and not a time consuming one. I have also seem amazingly realistic work done on soft pastels, so the medium can definitely achieve greatness on it’s own right, not just as an aid.







… more to follow. I’m presently doing a commission where I used the experiences gained above as composition and color preliminary studies before an oil painting. Also before the next work I should have a pastel pencil set which I’m saving for. So far I’ve been using a 12 Conte pastel pencil set. Nice pencils but I would like a bit softer pigment and a wider spectrum, have eyes set on a Stabilo Carbothello set, we’ll see.

Fixative darkening, a problem most face as I did. I think easy solved by painting lights directly onto paper or base, or onto close tonal values (light on light). If a light layer is applied on dark the fixative will dissolve light layer into the dark one, therefore darkening the lights. That’s applies equally to the Schminke and Micador Fixatives I tested, even though widely different in price.








I have been looking at the new Derwent pastel pencils and the Faber Castell Pitt. They should have a full set in a nice box, the tins bend and at least on my bench they always sit on top of something uneven. Other than that they’re not bad, matter of preference.