Using Pastels – A Short Introduction

Some learners have expressed interest in using these on one of the day courses at Ardleigh House. I have experimented over the years using different pastels and different papers, the frustrating part being that most papers cannot hold enough of the pastel to get a quicker rather than slower result – I do not like having to keep spraying pastel with fixatives. So now I use Sennelier card. Nearly all the pastel will adhere to this sandpapery surface. Pastels are all about blending and you lighten and darken the colour by using white to lighten and black to darken with any given colour so if I want a dark green I blend green with black, if I want a light green I blend green with white, the proportions of each colour will of course determine the colour. You do not always have to do this but it is a big part of the process. This is a tactile medium, you will get messy, your hands will need washing (you should always have a damp cloth with your equipment to wipe your hands after application) so you do not transfer one colour to another. Also you should keep your pastels clean, I wipe them after use with a dry cloth. You can blend the colour into the card using a paper stump or your fingertips: personally I prefer the later method. So if you are coming along to the day course on Thursday 23rd July you may like to use some pastels for the first painting of the day, which will be of a medium sized animal.