Monday, August 01, 2011

An experiment - Horse in pastel on velour paper

One of my New Year art resolutions was to try new mediums so I had a rummage through my art stuff and found my set of 72 Derwent Pastel Pencil and eventually a pad of Hahnemuhle Velour Pastel paper. I do want to point out that pastels on velour is not an experiment for most pastel artists, it's just for me it's an experiment - the first time I've tried it! (So please bare that in mind anyone who is thinking of commissioning me to do a portrait, lol!)

So, in my usual manner I dived right in with a full body horse painting, (using a reference photograph posted on the Pet Portrait Forum by the very talented Stephanie Greaves). The first problem I came across was I couldn't use my usual grid method of drawing the outline of the image as I did have a vague recollection of it being difficult to erase on velour paper. This presented its own problems when my freehand sketch wasn't the best (I really should get more practice at that!) so I've ended up with some untidy lines but as I am planning on it having a background hopefully I will be able to cover them up.

The velour itself is wierd to draw on - it is, as one would expect, velvety, so like drawing on a fluffy surface. The pastel only seemed to 'stick' to the surface if held in a certain way, but I'm not sure if that was due to the paper, the pastels, or more likely, me.

I only have pastel pencils and because I have started off by simply blocking in the darker parts of the drawing, using the pencil over a large area made it blunt pretty quickly and I don't have a knife or a pastel sharpener. I did manage to sharpen the pencil with the normal sharpener I have but I do think I need to invest in a pastel sharpener for when I get to the detailed bits.

After starting the painting I went online to get some tips and discovered two different methods for transferring the initial outline to the velour - if this experiment is a success maybe I'll get a chance to try them out! And I learned that blue tack and masking tape both remove pastel from the paper - must get some of both of those as well! And something else I tried out, which was recomended by a pastel artist was to rub the pastel into the velour paper with clean kitchen towel to create a pastel base which then makes the rest of the painting easier.

So, my attempts. This is only the first step, I have posted the reference which I don't normally do, but maybe even if, for me, this experiment is a disaster, my findings may help someone else - even if only to show how not to do it!!

Reference photo:

1st step of my pastel painting:

I will post more steps as I work my way through this painting - as I said, please bare in mind, this is a first for me!

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