Sunday, January 23, 2011


In my last post I wrote that working with clay printing moved me into the world of pastels. After years of painting with watercolor, with a special interest in architecture, I was confronted with the problem of not having very good control of the new medium; I could not render some of the details and the hard edges that I wanted. To overcome this, I began enhancing the clay prints with pastels, using pieces of paper to serve as a mask or as stencils for obtaining hard edges.

It was then that I began working with pastel dust. With a stencil in place I scrapped the pastel in small kitchen strainer held over the stencil and covered the area with one or more layers of the pastel, using my fingers or wads of tissue paper to rub it into the print. Following are 3 of these early pastel enhanced clay prints.

The obvious next step was to try working with the pastel only, and because of my experience enhancing the clay prints I chose to continue using the pastel dusting technique. Working on cold press illustration board lying flat and covered with a thin monochromatic wash I applied layers of dust followed by manual blending and occasional applications of workable fixative until I achieved the desired results.
Because of the fixative, I was now able to use paper stencils without disturbing the background. The earliest paintings surprise here...BARNS.

I don’t recall just how much time passed before I worked up enough courage to submit one of my pieces to the Pastel Society of America’s annual juried show. This was the painting...

To my total disbelief it was accepted into the show, won an award for best pastel with mixed media (black india ink was used in the building), and was sold! My feet did not touch ground for weeks. Patience and I went to the opening in NYC for the weekend and ended up in a topless art gallery, but that’s another story.

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