Pastels for Pleasure

As I was working through Part Two, I started looking around for more opportunities to practise some of the techniques that I was looking at in the course handbook. After seeing a course advertised on Facebook called “Introduction to Pastels for Pleasure” that’s local to me, I signed up.

The course consists of a two hour session every week on a Tuesday evening for 8 weeks, and I thought it would be a good thing to do alongside my OCA coursework and exercises.

Earlier this evening I attended my first session, which was centred around trying the materials and a few types of paper with some fruit set out on the tables to draw.

Looking through some paper samples, I noted that there are some types of paper that were better for this medium, and that this was not necessarily the paper that is sold as being specifically for pastels.

Given a small sheet of ordinary brown parcel paper, and three different types of pastel of the same shade, the first thing I did was experiment with mark making.

I found I much preferred the chalk pastel, and felt it was a much nicer to draw with than the oil pastel. The paper was a surprisingly nice surface to draw on!

I then tried drawing one of the pieces of fruit on another piece of parcel paper.

Starting with the darker colours, I shaded the apple using layers. After drawing the main shape in red, I used a range of pink, yellow and orange shades to create the shape. I then went over the highlights in white and the stalk in a couple of shades of brown. 

After completing this, I then moved on to drawing on sugar paper, which is another lovely surface for this medium as it has a nice ‘key’. The only problem with cheap sugar paper, I was told, is that it does have a tendency to fade very quickly in sunlight.

The bananas were very difficult to draw and were a completely different challenge to the apple. I tried to blend the colours a bit more with my fingers in this drawing, and put a more background in, especially by including the pomegranate.

After finishing the bananas, I had a somewhat last minute attempt at drawing the pineapple. This was a much more daunting subject, and was positioned behind other fruit.

I tried to blend more once again, but in my haste, I reverted back to a more sketchy style, with less blending and more adding colour. The colour on the pineapple leaves was very difficult to blend, as the green leaves looked like they were coated in white. 

I have noticed that I have a habit of almost “quitting while I’m ahead”, and feeling quite please with both my first and second drawings, I felt a reluctance to start another drawing on a blank sheet of paper. This is a habit I want to try to break over the course, as I have noticed I do it with exercises too and in my personal art work.

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