How To Use Soft Pastels

How To Use Soft Pastels

I am a full time multi-media artist dwelling in the North West of England. I am sharing with you my strategy to pastel painting and pastels. This will not be the purists’ way of functioning with pastels but it will describe how I use them and the quantity of strategies I discover them beneficial in my practice

My technique to employing pastels

How To Use Soft Pastels
Malcolm Taylor – Black Vase (gentle pastel on paper)

Fundamentally I’m an summary painter and when I get started to paint I seldom know what I program to do. I by no means know which way the get the job done will progress but I like the flexibility of this technique. I use it with my pastel paintings and also my blended media get the job done, which commonly also consist of pastel in some kind or one more.

Reproducing a likeness is not one thing I concern myself when portray but in capturing the important properties of a subject. My methodology is a person of constant transform until the tensions of the composition sense proper. Strength and a feeling of liberty is what I’m looking for, allowing for the spontaneity of the marks to be interesting in their personal right.

Pastels draw in me because of their immediacy and, of course, their colours and vibrancy. Opening a new box of pastels is like opening a gorgeous box of sweets. I use mainly Schmincke, Rembrandt and Unison soft pastels with a liberal amount of charcoal involved.

Choose the proper structure for your subject

Malcolm Taylor - Drumbeat (soft pastel on board)
Malcolm Taylor – Drumbeat (gentle pastel on board)

I come across the sq. to be a extremely steady format, significantly as I don’t ordinarily set out to paint a common landscape. When painting on a rectangular help the portray will generally lean in the direction of being a landscape or a floral analyze, which is not generally what I’m looking for.

Get ready your surface area

Malcolm Taylor - Little Red Boat (soft pastel on board)
Malcolm Taylor – Tiny Purple Boat (tender pastel on board)

I favor to get the job done on a rigid help these as MDF but I do often do the job on pastel paper. 

My initial move is to roughen the surface of the board with sandpaper and utilize a coat of acrylic primer to it. Then, before it dries, I scatter a minor pumice powder over it and rub it in to give some “tooth”. 

I have applied this surface area preparing for yrs. I experience that it is considerably extra strong than pastel paper but it can certainly devour tender pastels – however the floor doesn’t get clogged as effortlessly and I like the roughened result. Having said that, I discovered very long back that this method can make a mess of your fingers, so do put on disposable gloves.

If you want the comfort of a all set to go area both of those Sennelier La Carte Pastel card & Canson Mi-Teintes Contact paper are good alternatives and will give you a related surface area to my handmade edition.

Use sketchbooks as a resource of tips

A couple of images from Malcolm Taylor's sketchbook

My sketchbooks are a resource of ideas that may possibly cause a pastel painting.

When commencing to paint I start out with a couple free scribbles and see where I’m heading, I have uncovered that this satisfies my design and style. Nevertheless, as a catalyst, I also do loads of thumbnail sketches, just doodles in a sketchbook to give me tips.

Blocking Colour

Malcolm Taylor - Tumbling Sky
Malcolm Taylor – Tumbling Sky

At the outset I block color in loosely with the pastels and brush it and scrub it close to with water to give the surface area some tone. I then allow it dry comprehensively just before proceeding. Individuals ask me if I’ve applied acrylic underneath. But it’s all pure pastel, it just has a various feel and finish to it. I’m much more into painterly paintings than drawing paintings. Functioning in mixed media offers me the flexibility to break the principles and steer clear of the dogma of the purists.

My favorite pastel painting

Malcolm Taylor's favourite painting
Malcolm Taylor – Bell Base Blues

This just one arrived about simply because I was a prize winner at the Pastel Society’s once-a-year exhibition and I won a box of Schmincke  pastels. Such lively colours! So I determined that whichever I was likely to paint with them should be rich and colourful. 

The order that the colours have been place down is a bit of a secret now! Although I’m practically certain that I place a dusting of mid-blue pastel down 1st and unfold this with a soaked brush, covering the complete area. I then then labored into it with lighter and darker tones. All of the ultimate do the job was then painted with dry pastels.

Malcolm Taylor has exhibited commonly through the British Isles, which includes The Royal Academy Summertime Exhibition, the Discerning Eye Exhibition at The Shopping mall Galleries and and at main London art fairs and galleries as far aside as Glasgow and Plymouth.

He is a member of The Royal Modern society Of British Artists, The Pastel Modern society, The Federation Of British Artists, and previous President of the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts (MAFA).

Malcolm Taylor’s operate is in collections in England, Wales, Scotland, United states of america, Switzerland, France, Spain, Portugal, Australia and New Zealand.

You can see more of Malcolm’s get the job done on his internet site