Sharpening Pastel Pencils

Pastel pencils can be so fragile. I often have broken them in the process of tying to get a point. Costly mistakes. Below I have taken some photographs showing how I have learned not to break the points.

I use a knife with a sharp blade to create a squared off edge see below

Photo below shows stage where it is squared off.

Final carefully whittled down to a nice point to work with.

Wormit Bay, Sunset Study

I thought I would post yesterdays work in the studio. I like to do a study before considering any larger work. Sometimes that study could be just in monotone however I wanted to test colours out on my favourite orange Mi-Teintes pastel paper. Here is a photo of my sunset study with a tray of pastels I selected for this painting. A swatch of paper I used for testing the pastels. The grey colours you see in the bottom right corner of the tray are so important to the work and desirable to have in any pastel collection. I use either a pastel pencil or charcoal for drawing a loose sketch to begin with as this can easily be corrected without damaging the paper. Now I am inspired and ready to start the larger painting.

Low Light, Isle of May, Pastel

This pastel painting has had an interesting journey. It has spent the last year on the Isle of May where my original inspiration for the painting took place. Last year there was an exhibition on the Island of work by local artists. Stormy weather hampered the return of the paintings and they were there over winter. Then this year other factors meant that they weren’t able to be retrieved until this autumn. I am looking forward to be reunited with my painting.

Man Reading

I made this pastel copy of “Man Reading” by John Singer Sargent. His painting was done in oil paint. I enjoy doing studies of master paintings you can always learn so much. His edge work is superb and it was a good lesson in observing lost and found edges. I loved working in all the lovely golden tones. His composition is particularly interesting. It was a fun exercise to do.

Carnoustie Art Club Demonstration

Recently I demonstrated the above pastel painting for the Carnoustie Art Club. I set up a still life inside a box which had a hole cut out at the side. I had brought along a lamp so I could directly illuminate the set up through the opening. This created an almost theatrical and dramatic affect to the still life. I enjoyed the process and sharing how I was approaching this painting.