by Eric Bossik
A work of art created with soft pastel might look somewhat similar to an oil painting, but there are differences in the overall appearance. Pastels differ from oils, but have their own unique quality that you will appreciate when you master the techniques of using them. I found that the naturalistic feel and appearance of subject matter executed with soft pastels is very appealing. Pastels offer the opportunity to work directly with color when a drawing is complete.
Some people believe that a completed work in pastel is considered a painting, but I believe it is different and stands on it’s own merits. Even if a painting is executed using a dry brush method, you’re still using wet paint. Pastel is dry pigment laid down in masses and line, and is similar to form drawing with charcoal. A pastel work may be full color and the finished work may resemble a finished oil painting in many ways, but the methods of executing a painting is much different. Form drawing does not make the finished work any less important than a work finished in oil paint, and the results can be quite beautiful. I used pastels to create my “Still life with Apples, Red Onion, Grapes and Shallot”. I found pastel to be a great medium for creating a beautiful naturalistic look and feel to my subject matter.
The application of pastel is much different than oil paint or wet paint media. You can use pastel sticks to block
in large areas of value and color much like you might handle large brushes with oil paint. You would use your fingers to model value transitions and soften edges. You can also hatch and cross hatch using pastel sticks. Pastel pencils are very useful for fine details. With oil paints you would use brushes to model value transitions and soften edges. You would work with big brushes for large areas and smaller brushes for finer details.
Here is a step-by-step description of how to create a classical still life using pastels. Read more….