Thursday, 4 March 2010


When my pencils didn't turn up this morning I did panic a little and decided to drive to my nearest art shop which is approx 10 miles away in Canterbury.   Although its a huge shop, they never seem to stock whatever it is I'm looking for - and today was no exception.  No pencil extenders and the only white pastel pencils sold individually were Derwents (old range).   I do use Derwents, but prefer the Conte white.   I bought a couple to 'tide me over' and, of course, when I got back home my SAA order had been delivered by courier!!!

So, not too much progress to show on Snowy - I have done more work since I photographed this stage but won't take more photos tonight as the colours will really look strange in artificial light:

Here I've added more colour to Snowy's nose and worked on his tongue and mouth.  I've extended the fur line and this is broadly where the fur will 'fade out' so it sits nicely in the mount.    Tomorrow will really be the day to reinforce the shadows and contours, re-define eyes and areas where the pastel dust has dulled colours a  little and draw in whiskers and 'finishing bits' then its over to my client to let me know what changes, if any, are required before I 'fix' the pastel.


Sally McLean said...

Snowy is beautiful Sue. Do you use any pastel sticks or is it all done with pastel pencil? I do not fix my pastels as I find the light colours seem to absorb the fixative and go darker. Perhaps this does not happen with pastel pencil.

sue said...

Thanks Sally - he is a gorgeous looking dog isn't he?

This is the first time I've used Sennelier Pastel Card as a support so I'll do a test spray with Winsor & Newton fixative to see what it does to various colour pastels. I agree that it often darkens 'lights'. If that happens I'll use steam (which I tend to do with pastel on velour).

Its all pencils for this one.

Sally McLean said...

How do you use steam? I guess this would dampen the pastel and make it bind then lighten again as it dries? Because I don't fix i press the pastek into my sanded 'colourfix' paper or card by coving the work with glssine paper and then draggind a credit card gently over the surface.

sue said...

Yes, its as simple as that - I just hold the paper over a steaming kettle for a couple of seconds. With non-sanded papers I steam both sides lightly. With the heavy sanded ones I just steam the front. It tends not to change the colours. It isn't such an issue with pastel pencils but I usually fix soft pastels partway through and on completion. I don't know what glassine paper is? I'll Google it and see if its available in the UK.


Dors said...

This all sounds very interesting with the process of pastel when finished.

Snowy is gorgeous. I have so much enjoyed watching and reading the process on this piece. including the pencil drama LOL.

I have yet to start on the pastels. I did do a piece many years ago with pastel sticks.

It's amazing what we all learn in the blogs.

Great work Sue. I am sure your client will be over the moon.

Artoholic said...

Just gorgeous work - Snowy really has expression shining through!

Pastel artists here use glassine (like a grease proof/baking paper, but artist quality for pressing, transport and storage. Not expensive either.

Looking forward to having a good long look around your blog and seeing more of your fabulous pieces!



Sally McLean said...

Glassine is just like a shiney tracing paper. i will have to do a test on your steaming method.

sue said...

Thank you Dors, Cindy and Sally.
Sorry for delay in responding but I've had horrible problems with the blog. I think its all sorted now but I certainly won't be in a hurry to add any more 'gadgets' to the site if they can be infiltrated so easily. And Google/Blogger have offered no help or advice at all!!

Anyway, I settled on steaming Snowy's portrait but will certainly take a look at the Glassine method (or whatever equivalent I can find here)