I had some requests to see the pastels once they had been mutilated broken into workable-size pieces. Today is your day! 

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I think there’s room for lots more, what do you think? 🙂

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Gotta run, today is massage day, don’t want to be late!

Making a Mess of Monday

We spent the weekend at our daughter’s house and I’m having trouble getting reoriented with what I’m supposed to do here at home. It’s cold and rainy today, and I’m thankful the snow that was coming down when we left northern Virginia did not follow us home. They awoke to a white blanket covering the neighborhood this morning. 

My friend, Susan, called and helped me get back on track. She reminded me our writers group meets tomorrow evening; neither of us has done the writing assignment yet. She’s been busy setting up book signings with local businesses, as she recently published her first book, “Stepping into the Wilderness.” You may know her as “Suzicate,” from her blog. 

Here is a peek at another pastel exercise, choosing colors and making marks like Van Gogh. I didn’t even know he worked in pastels! The shapes were first sketched in charcoal, then filled with linear strokes and stabbing marks of color. 003

What did you do this weekend?






Monday Mix-Up

I’ve been fighting a cold the last 3-4 days. As much as I’ve slept, I should look a lot better–beauty sleep and all.

Looking all cute--check out that BLUE sky, too!
Looking all cute–check out that BLUE sky, too!
For my next trick, "Look, Ma, no hands!"
For my next trick, “Look, Ma, no hands!”
Last look at pastels intact. Aren't they pretty?
Last look at pastels intact. Aren’t they pretty?
Goldfinch--wonder if it's molting, or fell prey to a predator.
Goldfinch–wonder if it’s molting, or fell prey to a predator.

Did you do anything fun this weekend?

Pastel–More Mark Making

I hesitated to share this with you, but, hey, it’s practice, right? Pastels are a new medium to me, so I’m learning everything from the ground up, literally. The ground is the surface suitable for pastel work. It requires tooth to allow the build-up of many layers of color. The pastels themselves come in various forms: soft, oil, pencil.

This started out as a study in blue. I picked blue, because it isn’t a go-to color for me. As you can see, that didn’t last long.


I’m practicing techniques for applying pastel  like blended and broken color, feathering, hatching, scumbling, etc. Then I learned how to correct mistakes.

The “tree” was looking pretty good, but I over-worked it until it looked like a bad haircut. My starter set is limited in colors, so I think I’m about ready to break out the Big Box.  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday and More Pastel

I can’t seem to get Monday posts prepared on the weekend lately, so they will be arriving later in the morning. 

Saturday was the funeral of the husband of a very dear friend. It was a beautiful service. During the power-point presentation of family photos, they played the most beautiful song, one I had not heard. I thought it was Faith Hill’s voice, and Googled one of the lyrics when I got home. You may be familiar with, “There You’ll Be.” If not, you can listen to it via YouTube. It was the theme song from the movie “Pearl Harbor.” The hit single came out in 2001. 

Later in the day, Suzicate and I hit the local fabric stores. She got a new sewing machine recently, and mine got a tune-up this past week. We are ready to do some stitching!

Hubby was busy with the “indoor” plumbing and turned off the water supply. Certainly, I couldn’t stay home without running water! Well, I thought it was a good excuse, anyway. 

Sunday was church, a game of Mexican Train dominoes with hubby, and then there was this football game…The Super Bowl. That’s the final play-off game of American football, for anyone not familiar with it. No more games until August, so that should free up some time on the weekends.

And this is my latest pastel exercise. Deep autumn colors were worked with the side of the pastel in short strokes, followed by short strokes of lighter colors made with the edge of the pastel. The base is Steel Gray Canson Mi-Teintes Pastel paper.Pastels 003

Something New–Pastels

In 2011, Strathmore (artist papers) offered three free online workshops. The first one, Visual Journaling taught by Pam Carriker, was my introduction to mixed media and included work with pastels. I had never heard of them. From what I read about them later, it would seem that everyone experienced them as a child. Except me!

This was my first journal page from Pam Carriker's workshop
This was my first journal page from Pam Carriker’s workshop

I was immediately drawn to the feel of the soft pastels, and the way they went down on paper. I borrowed DVDs from my local Jerry’s Artarama to observe other artists using them, looked through books and magazines, researched brands and the pros and cons of each, and finally went to the art supply store (Jerry’s) to try out the samples in open stock. I quickly decided on a brand, Rembrandt, and bought a box of 30 half-sticks to experiment. I now follow the blogs of a couple pastel artists, too.IMG_0515

Some brands,  including Rembrandt, offer larger sets with colors suited to portrait or landscape painting. I recently ordered a landscape set. Each artist has their own system for sorting their colors in a way that best suits the way they create. I haven’t decided what works best for me yet. 

My local library had several books on the shelf pertaining to pastels, so I brought home three of them. The first one was a quick read, a basic introduction. The second is much more in-depth, Bill Creevy’s, “The Pastel Book,” “Materials and Techniques for Today’s Artist.” I paged through it, then went to work on Jackie Simmonds,’ “Pastel Workbook,” “A Complete Course in Ten Lessons.” This is where I literally started to get my hands dirty. 

So far, I’m working with my small set of 30. Lesson One is making marks, and here is my first exercise, using linear marks to create patterns. 

Experimenting with linear patterns
Experimenting with linear patterns

I started with the border, but wasn’t inspired by the colors I’d chosen. Then I went to work on the center box. That was much more to my liking. It may not look so great, but I sure had fun doing it. 

Have you ever used pastels? Will you share your experience?