Gallery: Art Connections Gallery 123 N. Main Street on the Square in La Grange, Texas.
979-206-2222 http://www.artconnectionsgallery.com/

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Friday, October 24, 2008

A Day of Experiments in Pastels

The first thing I decided to do this afternoon after sketching to warm up, see previous post, was to take a pastel painting off a board, 18 x 24 inches. The painting has been around. We already reused the frame and it was time to start over on the board.

I brushed the pastel off with a brush into a foil tray to put the pastel dust in my pastel dust can. I put the dust left when I do a painting in a can to save as well.

Then I went over the board and leftover pastel with a brush and water to end up with a new under painting. The board is masonite with acrylic medium mixed with pumice for the surface that I put on with a brush. It gives texture to a painting unlike using an even sanded surface like Pastelbord. I haven't decided what to paint on it.

I was putting the pastel dust in the can and realized I had about a can full. I was saving it to make some gray pastels. I should have done it sooner. Now I have a bunch, all the same gray. Ah me.

I hadn't ever actually recovered the dust this way, just read about it, so you can now see my process.

I got out a plastic plate, plastic wrap, plastic glove, and a spoon ... oh, and the pastel dust.

I started to add water, a little at a time. It doesn't mix in well, the water floated on top and under the pastel. It took quite a bit of stirring to get it to absorb.

Because of that, I got a little too much water in the mixture and couldn't roll it into nice shapes. Impatient, perhaps? I will know next time to add the water more slowly.

This looks a bit like doggie doo, doesn't it?? Sorry for that analogy. Yuck. No smell, of course!

I imagine after it dries for a couple of days I can roll it on the plastic wrap and get a better shape to the mud sticks.

It may take a little more time here because of the humidity, but this week is one of the driest we have had. I will keep you posted and take photos of the reformed sticks.

I will try to separate my colors a bit more in the future so that I can make a variety of grays. I can save the mostly pink from the little painting I did today and keep a can with reddish colors in it. After doing a big sky and water I can save the blues, etc. Should give some nice variety of shades and still use my leftovers.

Speaking of the painting today, I was still undecided what to paint on the large board. I started going through photos on the computer and "real" photos in my reference photos I keep in a drawer. Nothing caught my eye. I remembered that there was a thread on the pastel section of wetcanvas.com to post a sketch painted on for an hour or less and this week the selection was "a flower".

I had noticed a bad photo of some beautiful hollyhocks from Frances' yard in Magdalena, so I picked that. I put a 5 x 7 inch piece of green Pastelbord on my easel, set a timer, put on my iTunes and went to work.

This is the result after about 40 minutes. It lacks some things, but it is, after all, only a sketch.

I still haven't decided what to put on the big board, but I feel closer to my quest. At least I got my pastels out of the plein air bag they came home in from New Mexico. Maybe by the time I decide, my new gray sticks will be ready to use!


Regina Calton Burchett said...

I'm so glad you ventured into the pastel making!! I have three jars/cans of pastel dust I've been collecting for years now! Did you used distilled water or regular water? How fun. I may try that now that you have forged the way. And I love your pink hollyhock!

Jo Castillo said...

Hi Regina, I just used regular water. I have heard that alcohol works well, too. They already dried too much to reshape this morning. Guess I will have a flat side and some corners for thin lines, ha. I thought it would take days!

The hollyhock was fun. Not as delicate as it should be, but only a sketch. Will wipe it off and practice something else.

My word verification to post this is "cations". Looks like a word! I looked it up and it is actually it is a word: positively charged ions. The opposite of anion. Who knew?

Regina Calton Burchett said...

Geeze, you'd think your own blog wouldn't make you do a verification! :-)

Jo Castillo said...

Hi Regina, I must be a shady character! Actually, I probably wasn't signed in. I usually don't notice the scrambled letters. No verification on this post.

Joanna said...

Those gray sticks look *very* scary! Oh my.

As for the cations, that's a word we use at work all the time.

My verification "word" for this post is winnise. Not, alas, a real word.

Also, the pastel sketch is very nice.

Jo Castillo said...

Ah, Joanna. I guess petroleum engineers and scientists would use cations. :)

Fun to think about those things, thanks for the note.

Kellie Hill said...

and my word is "thiza"!

sorry to be jumping in, but.... I love the first thing you did- the underpainting? it looks like a skyscape to me, with the most wonderful colors... if you're taking votes, please just play up the beautiful cloud shapes you've already got going!

Jo Castillo said...

Hi Kellie, thanks for stopping by my blog. I appreciate the comment and still haven't decided on the painting. I appreciate the suggestion, something to think on. :)

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About Me

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Bastrop, Texas, United States
I Grew up in a small town , Magdalena, New Mexico. I enjoy art and the pleasure other people get from my work. I always donate some of my sales and art to charities, especially for children. That started in Bolivia with Para los NiƱos. (Link on sidebar) "I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colors. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns." -- Winston Churchill


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