"Towards Kenbane"

"Towards Kenbane"
Spectacular Irish coastline on a stormy day

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING A LITTLE DIFFERENT!

A PASTEL SEASCAPE

Even though I haven't shared anything from this painting so far, I decided to post this image to show the pastel SEASCAPE which was completed yesterday:


Using mainly 'Unison' Soft Pastels and a reference photo [taken from my 'seascape library' - hundreds of digital pics taken around the local coastal area], this painting was done on an 8" x 24" canvas board.  

To prepare the board, three layers of white Acrylic Gesso were roughly scrubbed in [NOT sanding between] leaving each to dry completely. You do not have to use white - many people prefer to work on a coloured ground.

The first step is to layer in the darks:  
I chose a selection of three shades [tones] of blue, from dark grey/blue through to a light Cobalt, and the same with the greens.  

Tip:  Leave the lightest areas blank.

Select ALL the colours you intend to use and lay them out separately - this means you will not confuse them from the rest and it makes the painting process much easier.
It is important to select darks and lights of the same colour as opposed to 'lightening' a darker colour with white [which will only make your colours 'opaque' instead of keeping them 'pure/transparent'].  
There are SO MANY colours and shades/tones available in pastel - it's best to build up your collection slowly, as they are needed, otherwise you could spend a fortune!
I have been 'collecting' for years - this photo shows some of my soft pastels and how I lay them out for ease of visual selection:-


Right, getting back to the tutorial...  this type of scene turns out best if you work up the painting as a whole [rather than finish each section in isolation].  I 'blend' with my little fingers, using a REALLY soft touch [remember to clean off your finger as you go]. 

The lights in this painting are various shades of green, blue, violet, yellow, cream and finally, white.  
Once the light colours have been laid down, I 'blend' them into the dark areas [cleaning my finger on kitchen roll in between each touch] using a light touch.  

To achieve the effect of light shining through the top of the curling wave, I first used a light yellowish-green [along a 'mossy' tone] then working in the darker blue and green mix at the base of the wave, working from the bottom up.  Blend the light into the dark then overlay a pale yellow, working from the top down, blending this as well. 

I tend to work 'instinctively' rather than following any kind of formula - if you learn to look at your chosen image and 'see' the colours [without too much analysis], you will ultimately also paint 'instinctively'.
As you lay in lights and darks, adjust the work as you go... this might be simply shifting a line ever so slightly or making the foam 'holes' smaller/larger.  With each adjustment, look carefully at the painting as a whole to ensure your changes 'fit' the overall realism and don't look out of place or unbalanced.

The last marks are made with the lightest colours - these are the 'icing on the cake' and are, as such, NOT blended in.  This way they add the sparkle!

The following images are close-up's from the painting which hopefully, will help show the process a bit clearer:




I hope you have enjoyed this short tutorial?

Since I have quite a number of commissions to work through, it will be a little while till I can post another tutorial.  
Hope you will join me again and, in the meantime, HAPPY PAINTING!!!