Friday, May 6, 2016

Palm Tree in Pastels

Class demo this week was working in pastels.  I use the same palm tree composition for many demos so students can focus on the application of the medium and not necessarily the subject of the painting.  Plus I have painting so many palm trees over the years that I do not have to think too hard to  create one and can focus on the explanation of the technique.

Pastels are not my favorite but I do know that basics.  What I did:

  •   work on paper designed for pastels
  •   attach the paper to a firm background so it cannot bend easily
  •   use low tack tape to attach it so you will not damage the paper.
  •   working on a color paper will speed up the process.  Here I used blue.
  •   This paper was 9 x 6" and I decided my finished painting will be 5x7" so I gave myself guidelines
  •   Start distant to near.  I first worked the sky lightly with a couple shades of blue plus white.  I blended them and brushed off the excess.
  •   I used a ruler to give me guide for the horizon and worked the water.  Blending a little then leaving the waves more pronounced,
  •   Work the sand with a base of yellow ochre and an assortment of other colors.
  •   Placed the tree trunk with a dark brown and made the highlights a pale gray.
  •   The fronds have darker value in the shadow areas and lighter values on the top.  I used several shades of green plus yellow and peach highlights on the fronds and on the trunk.
  •   After each application I brushed off or shook off the excess pastels so the painting would not be muddied.  
  •   very thin gulls in the sky finished off the painting.  I rolled the edge of the dark blue pastel to achieve the fine line.
  • pastels must be matted to the gap between the image and the glass or acrylic is far enough that it does not mess up the image.  Mats may be stacked if needed to create a deep enough gap.

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