Chicken still life in pastels

I have used watercolour pastels (Caran d’ache Neocolor II) and oil colours before and loved using them at college.  I have not really used soft pastels before (too expensive when I was student), so this is a new direction for me and its going to be long journey I suspect as I am a messy painter. You can not be messy with pastels, as I have discovered.  Leaning on your painting (its considered painting, rather than drawing) leads to messy finger marks all over the place.  Also instead of mixing your colour on a palette which allows you to keep adjusting, with pastels you are mixing on the paper or whichever media you are using. This can lead to rather dull colours as you create mud.  A razor blade can help if this happens but obviously you can’t keep doing that.

So this is my first full soft pastel painting on Mi Teintes Pastel paper 98lb.



It’s not great but it’s not a complete disaster. I used a combination of mungyo soft pastels, Nu pastels and  Conte pastel pencils. Despite having what seem to be lots of colours ( I also have a lot of cheap hobby pastels), I found I was struggling to find the right colours.  I haven’t quite got use to the idea of mixing on the paper (although that is what you do with the watercolour and oil pastels as well so I am not new to the idea).

Anyway, the chicken will be there in 3 wks when I return to Austin as I am travelling to Brittany to visit my elderly parents. As I am going on my own (emergency visit) I am going to take my pastels with me. If the weather is co-operative I am hoping to do some landscape painting with them.  I have only done plien air painting in passing before as I find I struggle to focus on one particular spot. Seems to be too much to take in, so this will also be a new direction for me. Fingers crossed the weather in Brittany improves whilst I am there.

As I am new to softs pastels I am busy looking up bloggers who work in pastels and the one that stands out for me, is this blog – Painting my world – Karen Margulis.  I love the free and easy way she uses the pastel and she has lots of good advice. Another blogger work I am enjoying at the moment is the plein air paintings of  Haidee Jo Summers and again a blog with lots of good advice.