Thursday, June 13, 2013

Soft Pastels - SWOT Analysis

Greetings folks!

Todays lunch-break I did not want to lose the opportunity to make this important post for all the pastel artists out there.

Ferrari Dino 246 GT/GTS
I am here to talk about Fine Soft Pastels. It's my take on them! Simply because I felt I need to share some important facts about working with them and what one may want to get sorted before setting out doing a piece with these materials.

Soft Pastels are such a pleasure to work with. And as usual I get fully immersed into the unique experience that it offers us. This week once again I am on a spree of creating some pieces using my Rembrandt's Soft Half Pastels. These are one of my most treasured possessions which I got all the way from Denver Colorado, way back in 1999. It was a valuable gift from a cousin when I was taken for a memorable evenings outing to a Denver Art store. Man that was an evening to cherish!!

I made the above piece yesterday on a Daler-Rowney, dark-shaded paper which I had purchased a long time ago pending the right time and the right subject to use. As it meant I had to use a new technique to draw using lighter colors and a lot of blending. I will be rolling out some more works in the coming days on Canson paper and cold-pressed Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colour Paper. Aah! I can't wait to get to work on those. When I do, I will talk about my experience with them.

Actually while I did this little automotive project I did indeed dabble with my charcoal sticks. And when the mono-colour got me a bit depressed, I jumped back here to do some more layering on my Winsor & Newton Fixative sprayed Ferrari sketch. By the way the fixative helped the brought yellows over the orcres to settle down a bit. Interesting to note that the layer of fixative on a freshly-made pastel especially on dark paper makes it look earthier, sobering down the bright highlights. So I think am okay to see that it maybe adding to the vintage look.

Another point is that I am not getting overly worried if my proportions are not measure-out at the first shot as I want to give it a hand-drawn look than a commercial mechanical drawing look.

So here it is my pleasure to show you this freehand piece of the work accessible on

One other important thing you may want to do before you even open your box of pastels.

If you are allergic to dust... these pastels create a smokey fine dust. What I missed out was wearing either a mask or gearing myself with an anti-histamine before creating this Pastel drawing. So it kept me busy taking breaks for some bouts of uncontrollable sneezing. :o). Anyway, as all chalks and pastels are non-toxic and mine showed that it is certified with a Health label from the Arts & Crafts Materials Institute conforming to ASMD-4236 I did not worry a lot.

The ingredients of my Rembrant extra fine soft pastels are well-know-infact world renowned for their pure pigments. And doesn't otherwise pose any health hazard aside from some physical allergic discomfort.

For those who don't want to go through any of this they can just do some clean business on an Adobe software like what I created here....after my daring trip to the Ferrari world last weekend. All I needed to do is work with the mouse and graphic tablet.

A drawing made with no sweat, no mess, and no violent bouts ;o) are easier but then one is left with a commercial-looking piece with missing characters of natural pencil strokes....and blend of colors. I somehow think a traditional drawing looks vibrant and alive than a digital piece.

A Ferrari Vintage Model (Original color - Emerald Green)

The message of this post is that I give "three-cheers" to another therapeutic experience which my precious pastels have given me. And encourage all you artists and artists-in-the-making to indulge in using these to enhance your masterpieces. That's right! I say masterpiece! I am rather pleased to use my Rembrant's pastels for its high degree of lightfastness and unique warmth, first-class strength and velvety softness. In their own words, this softness is achieved in part by kaolin (a clear china clay). So why not take the opportunity and create one yourself! To make you feel a true creator of a masterpiece!!

Thanks for taking part in my discussion. Welcome to visit again.

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