Painting snow in pastels.

Setting up.

s1
Tablet with reference photo

I like to use my Samsung Galaxy tablet to view the reference photo on as I paint because it has great colour and I can zoom in and out for detail if I need to. I just hang it up next to my paper. Then I choose the boxes of pastels I’ll be using and set them out. I’m using my Unison Lights for the snow, a box of greens I’ve made up myself for the trees and some Sennelier Darks for any area that needs a punch of deep, dark colour. The Unison Landscape set is for extras I might need. I chose a purple/violet MiTientes TEX sanded paper and taped it to a foamcore board.

 

set
My boxes of pastels all set out.

Blocking in.

Next I sketch in the main composition lines with a white charcoal pencil and block in the main shapes with my harder pastels then wash them down with a watercolour brush dipped in alcohol.

 

Add in other basic shapes.

Now I start working from background to middle to fore ground.

s12
Blocking in middle trees and warming foreground trees.
s15
Adding some detail to the middle trees.
s19
Laying in the bright snow
s24
Snow on foreground trees.

 

Finishing off with a snowfall.

I choose a few very light blues and a white. Holding the pastel above the painting which I’ve now laid flat I scrape lightly with the knife and a little shower of pastel dust falls onto the painting. I start with lighter blues and end with some bigger flakes of white for the closest snowflakes.

Now I take a piece of greaseproof paper and place on top of the painting. Pressing down gently I move my hand in a circular motion to press the pastel flakes into the paper.

 

Finished painting and reference.

I was concentrating on the snow and didn’t realise that I sloped the paddock the opposite direction until I looked at it later. Doesn’t really matter as this was just a demo for my YouTube channel.

snow3

sn

Why not use the reference photo and have a go at a snowy winter scene. It’s lot’s of fun. Send me a link to your painting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Scepticism reigns supreme

My mum gave me this clipping of a writeup her local paper did to promote a charity fundraiser work shop I’m running for Mum. At 81 she’s doing the full head shave to raise funds for the Leukeamia Foundation and although I’m not quite brave enough to crop the locks I’m doing what I can to support her.

Anyway I left the clipping on the table and The Writer duly admired it. Then out troops The IT geek who takes a peek and asks who it’s about. “Why, me” I coyly reply. With a look of scepticism he flicks it over and says “Oh , it’s just the local rag” Numder two son strolls by later. He being of a more generous nature at least trys to be impressed but doesn’t  quite carry it off as he can’t resist rolling the “renowned”off a few times with a big grin on his moush.

14875008358861

I’m keeping it though. There might be some of you out there waiting for grandkids to take to the park, provide an excuse for eating icecream at the beach, and the odd grandbaby cuddle. All I’m hoping for is a fair degree of easily impressedness, cause there sure isn’t any in my own offspring!

To be fair I did get a bit of a giggle myself at the use of the word Renowned. At least they didn’t try to pin down were it actually is I’m enjoying the status of “renowned” but I can report it isn’t in my own house!

DIY Framing a pastel painting.

This is a step by step tutorial on how to frame your pastel painting using a ready made chain store frame.If you choose a well made wooden frame you can save big dollars and still have a tastefully framed painting.

Materials list:

  •  a ready made frame with a mat ( the opening to be slightly smaller than your painting) Check the corner joints are well formed with no gaps.
  • some mat board or foamcore offcuts
  • a sharp craft knife
  • a pair of scissors
  • acid free framing tape ( can be purchased from an art supply store)
  • a kitchen table knife
  • a lint free cloth
  • 2 small screws
  • 2 D rings
  • hanging wire the width of your frame plus 10 cms.
  • a screwdriver

You can buy picture hanging kits from the dollar store which include the screws, rings and wire.

 

 

Step 1 – Remove the backing board using the kitchen knife to prise up the metal tacks flat against the frame.Take out the paper and mat. Make sure you place the mat on a clean surface!I like to use the paper insert from the frame as it’s just the right size.

 

Step 2Check the frame for any damage. Especially check that the corner joints are smooth with no gaps. Check the glass to make sure there are no scratches.

framing3

Step 3 – Make a spacer frame. Cut four strips from your scrap board long enough and wide enough to make a frame that will sit approx  2cm in from the mat opening and 2cm in from the mat edge. You will make the scrap “frame”on the side of the mat that will be facing the painting.The spacer frame will allow any falling pastel dust to fall behind the mat keeping the front of the mat and the glass clean.

f8f9

Step 4Attach the spacer frame with the framing tape making sure the tape doesn’t show in the mat opening. You don’t need to tape over all the strips – just enough to hold them securely in position. You could also use double sided tape for this .

f10f11

Step 5- Centering your painting on the backing board. Take the pastel painting and sit it on the middle of your backing board. Here I’m using a piece of foamcore cut to the same size as the MDF backing board I removed from the frame. You cam use the MDF board but if you do it’s a good idea to seal it first with a coat of varnish or gesso to prevent any acid in the MDF from causing discoloration of your painting in years to come.

f12

Now place the mat over the painting to make sure only the painting is showing in the mat opening

f13

Take a ruler and measure from the top of the mat to the horizon line on both sides to check you have the horizon level.

f14

 

Once you’re satisfied with the painting placement remove the mat and tape the top of the painting to the backing board with a small piece of the framing tape. This stops it moving when you place the long strip of tape on.f15

 

Now cut a piece of tape long enough to cover the full length of the painting at the top and attach to the backing board.f16

Step 6Placing the painting in the frame. This is the fiddly bit. As you’re doing this stage you need to constantly be checking for any stray pastel dust on the mat and the glass before you go onto the next step. This is very important!

 

Clean the glass with a lint free cloth ( I use glass cleaning cloth)f19

Lay the mat on the glass making sure the spacer side away from the glass and the metal tacks are all showing. You can use the knife edge to lever the mat in  gently to get it to slip below the tacks.f20

Holding the painting on the backing board carefully place it face down on the mat

f21

You might need to use the knife again to ease it past the tacks.

f22

Use the flat of the knife to push a top and bottom edge tack flat onto the backing board.

f23

Turn over and check carefully for any dust or stray specks on the glass or mat board. If you see any remove the painting , clean the glass and/or mat and replace. You can use a kneadable eraser to clean any pastel dust off the mat. Only when you are completely sure you have no unwanted dust should you move onto the next step.

f24

Step 7- Taping the frame to keep moisture out. Turn the painting glass down . Take the framing tape and stretch it along the top edge of the frame just in from the edge.f26

Cut each end using the craft knife and gentle pressure.

f27

If your frame back is flush with the backing board then start in the middle and carefully press the tape downand gently press as you move your hands out to each edge. Don’t worry if you get a few wrinkles- no-one will see it when it’s hanging on the wall! If the frame is above the level of the backing board as mine is just cut  into the corners as below and then starting in the middle press the tape down into angle formed by the frame wall and the backing board. f28

Continue until all sides are covered.f29

I need to cover the small corner gaps now so I just cut a square of tape and place in each corner.f30

Step 8. Attach the hanging hardware. You will need 2 small screws, 2 D rings and some hanging wire. Notice that the D ring has a flat side and a curved side.f33

f35
Place with the curved side down approx 8cm from the top of the frame and screw in place.

Repeat on the other side using a ruler to make sure they are at the same level.

f36

You shouldn’t need to pre drill holes but if you do make sure to do it before you put the painting in as the vibrations will loosen the pastel dust and cause you grief!f37

Now stretch the wire across the painting to check the length is right. You should have a bit extra each side.f38

Run it through one D ring and pull it through a second time. Pull tight and tie off .f39

The excess is now wrapped tightly around the wire.f40

Repeat on the other side making sure to keep the wire tight.f41

Now just wrap the ends of the wire in a small square of the framing tape to keep all sharp ends covered.

Step 9. Hang on wall and admire!f43

 

 

Three mediums and three paintings.

I got such a positive reaction to my recent pastel painting of Adventure Bay that I did another for my Mum’s “World’s Greatest Shave ” fundraiser auction. There’s already been anabsentee  overseas bid for it so I hope it does well for the Leukaemia Foundation on the night. This photo is on the dark side- need to hone up my photography skills a bit .

14869618623540
Adventure Bay – pastel on sanded paper

A friend saw the first pastel on Instagram and asked if I could paint a small canvas for her as it brought back lot’s of childhood memories of holidays spent at Adventure Bay.So I went ahead and painted this one today. I think it’s my favourite because of the lively colours in the shadows on the sand.

14869613281190
Adventure Bay – acrylic on canvas
14869613522280
Adventure Bay – acrylic on canvas

Then I decided to break out my new Schminke watercolours and try a large (for me) painting. I really only use watercolours for pen and wash sketches these days so this was a bit of an adventure. I did find I’d forgotten a lot of the techniques but was happy I’d remembered any to be frank! I like the reflections, the clouds are OK ,the shadows are too pink and the foilage is overworked.

14869551473800
Adventure Bay- watercolours

It was interesting trying the same painting in pastels, acrylics and watercolours and made we want to brush up my watercolour technique and try a few more. We’ll see how that goes!

 

A day trip to Bruny Island

I’ve been wanting a day trip to Bruny Island all January but The Writer was hanging out for the perfect day. He was after all those blue sky and sparkling sea shots. I was all for just going and working with the weather! So last Saturday I got up early , packed lunch and said “Let’s go”- and off we went.

I have to say I was quite happy with a few clouds- I’ve got lots of sunny shots from previous trips . My first solo art exhibition was inspired by a day trip to Bruny on an astonishingly beautiful summers day and I was looking for a different, more moody side of the island. The early morning light was subdued and the water took on a silver sparkle.

14867273329057
A touch of peach

 

I love this into the sun shot at the Neck and have already painted a small pastel using it as reference.

14867272975864
A silver day silhouette

I added a little more colour and used a square format. I’m a bit of a fan of the square for small paintings.

studio_20170210_225447
Pastel painting “Silver Day”

The clouds came and went creating some interesting skies and reflections.

14867272833273
Silver sands- Bruny Island

…and the water kept on sparkling.

14867273083615
The Wave – Bruny Island

The tidal flats had just enough shallow water to make for great reflections of the amazing clouds…

14867273194196
Tidal flats reflections

And finally the sun took over the day and we had a swim and a snorkle in the fairly chilly water at Coal Pt with it’s weathered rocks that have been wind blasted creating a myriad circular pockets in the rock.

b10-2
Coal Pt. weathered rocks.

Then off to Adventure Bay for a few shots in the bright sunlight to satisfy The Writer.

14867272369630
Adventure Bay – lagoon reflections.

The lovely tracery of shadows on the sand inspired another painting…

14867255252912

All in all, another stunning day on this small island off an island.