Monday, September 21, 2009

Painting Cactus in Pastel on Pumice Board - Pastel Layers

Painting Cactus in Pastel on Pumice Board - Beginning the Pastel Layers

Since working with this different surface, I have noticed a few marked differences from the technique and materials I am used to using. This time instead of watercolor I used acrylic paint which produced much richer and stronger colors for the under painting. This was wonderful, the darks were much darker and the variations of colors remained vivid. The watercolor I normally used would have to be applied several times to achieve the desired intensity. However, the acrylic has a sheen to it that has to be addressed. Since the pastel by nature has such a matte finish to it, the contrast of the strokes against the shinier acrylic underneath was trying to overpower. I found it necessary to pay closer attention to the background and tried to make sure it maintained a balance of pastel coverage so as not to distract.

The sanded surface of the pumice primed gator board has been very different to work on compared to the less abrasive surface of the watercolor paper.

The pumice board:

• is harder and scratchier than the watercolor paper
• uses up your pastels much faster because of the abrasiveness of it
• holds much more pastel color onto the surface
• and because of that produces a painting with more intense color.

This painting is pretty large (48" x 26") and has taken a long time for me to finally get the dark areas established and the basic shapes and structural elements down. But I have to say, this was mostly due to me having to get out of my comfort zone and press through the differences and difficulties of something new. Imagine that.

At any rate, you can see how it is starting to take shape. FINALLY, it is beginning to look like something recognizable! Sometimes you just have to force yourself to continue to work in faith. It
will eventually start to take shape. That, for me, has been the hardest part of this painting so far.