In my weekly art class, I get to choose what I like to draw or paint. It’s usually still life, although some students paint from photographs. I prefer still-life. Sometimes live things like flowers and fruit, other times just inanimate objects like bottles and wood. This time, I decided to paint plastic flowers. One of the advantages of this is that since it takes a few sessions to complete a painting, you know the flowers won’t die and will stay the same!
Having a Go with Pastel Pencils
So far at the classes, I’ve practiced pencil sketching and watercolors both Western and Japanese nihonga. Now was the time to diversify and discover other mediums! The other day, I noticed someone in class using pastel pencils. And her work looked really cool. Now I’ve drawn with pastel sticks a number of times before, and the results are beautiful especially with the colour intensity. To be honest, though, I haven’t used them for a while now because I do find them quite messy to use and they produce so much dust. Also, they smudge as well even with fixative spray so a pain to store. Discovering pastel pencils was a blessing since they minimize the messiness and moreover, are easier to draw with and great for smaller details. I was recommended by the instructor Stabilo Carbothello Pastel Pencils which also have positive reviews by other users in terms of light-fastness, colour intensity and soft/hardness.
This time we outline the subject directly with the pastel pencil as opposed to the usual graphite pencil. I found that quite practical because with pastel pencils you can easily erase mistakes and it won’t leave an impression like graphite pencils could. It’s like chalk.
Next I used some blue pencil and began filling in the background using straight strokes then smudged the colour with a cotton bud. Made sure the colour spread out evenly. Here, I would have used Pan Pastels instead which give a smoother result and avoids a streaky appearance. Never mind, I didn’t have any handy anyhow, and now I know!
By the time it came to colouring, I got a better grasp of the colour theory from my experience with watercolours, With the lilies being pink, I added some purples and blues. It was also a good idea to add some blue in the green leaves as well. And some yellow was added for some warmth. And the combination of complementary colours like pink and light green amidst a blue background is pretty cool. I was able to capture also the transparency of the glass vase, a slightly green one with a warm tinge. As I really love drawing and painting flowers, real or abstract, I feel this was great practice and lots of fun!
You may be wondering why I call this painting Star Gazer Lilies. It’s because that’s what they are officially called! It’s a species in the family of lilies. I was able to finish this piece after three lessons which is pretty quick compared to watercolours as I was comfortable using the pencils. Or perhaps I’m getting more accustomed to painting flowers now. And making them three dimensional too. I’m quite keen to do another pastel drawing again. Perhaps I’ll combine that with Pan Pastels especially for the background. And at home, create something kawaii too!