Chaos and Calm

Following the four charcoal sketches we drew in our art classes last Tuesday, we had some time left over.  I was very excited about this next phase because now we get to add some colour!  This is very new to me as I normally don’t associate black charcoal with using colours afterwards.  Maybe white chalk but never colours!  The logical choice here was something dry and “dusty” like soft pastel sticks.  However our tutor Dieter also proposed oil pastels.  Then I was of course keen to experiment with both!


I took one of the charcoal drawings, Chaos, and decided to have a go with firstly the soft pastels.  The crucial thing is to spray fixative finish over the charcoal drawing first to minimize smudging.  In classes we used Sennelier Soft Pastels which have some beautifully vivid colours as you see below.  I was even able to draw over the charcoal bits with the pastels, and there was no smudging at all which I was not expecting.  So amazing how these colours turned out that I’m even tempted to get hold of these myself but I’m reluctant to use them at home as they could get quite dusty.  Perhaps I’ll have a try in our garden outside.  At the moment, though, I am just content that I was able to create an interesting drawing combining charcoal and the vivid colours of the soft pastels here!



With this other piece, Calm, I decided to try oil pastels.  They are less messy but don’t spread colour as easily because of its waxy consistency.  A bit like using crayons.  I also miss the velvety appearance of the colours which you get with the soft pastels.  Furthermore, I notice how the charcoal smudges quite a bit when colouring over it.  Dieter suggested using turpentine to spread the colours but I didn’t have the chance to try it out since we run out of time.  As I have some oil pastels at home along with some non-odour solvent (turpentine substitute) it may be an idea to give it a shot one day!  I am actually tempted to use it on the pink “ameoba” bit and see what happens…

IMG_7747It’s always a pleasure to discover new things.  Who would have thought of adding colours to a charcoal drawing!  But then again it’s no different from adding colour to graphite pencils I guess.  Here, I had a go with combining black charcoal with pastel sticks, both in soft/dry and oil.  Both have its pros and cons but then both came out quite amazing in different ways.  I may like to experiment this at home but on a smaller scale.  And for soft pastels I have to do that in our garden because of all the dust!  And using solvent with oil pastels is definitely on my bucket list.

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