From watercolour to pastel

 
 

Introduction

Watercolour is a beautiful, expressive medium. I did a watercolour up north in the autumn some years ago to capture the early morning sun on Lake Couchiching, the moisture still hanging in the air. I felt good about the finished work and left it for a long while. Then one day, I came upon it while cleaning up my studio files and decided to use dry pastel to express the same mood.

 

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  Work in Progress
  The original work was on 190lb cold press Arches watercolour paper. The paper had enough
  tooth to hold pastel as long as no more than three layers were used.

  To see the difference between the two mediums, I marked off only part of the area for the
  application of pastel. To gain depth of colour, I applied the very darkest colours first and went
  over the area with mineral spirits. In other areas, I allowed the watercolour paint to
  remain as the ground so the original colour would show through the next layers of pastel as
  I continued to work.

 

   

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  Finished Work  
  The finished work in pastel still had the mood I was after but radiated more atmosphere and  
  packed a colour punch. The beautiful reflective quality of pastel was not absorbed into the  
  paper as in the case of watercolour. The rich glowing colours sang clear and strong yet  
  retained the subtle mood of the early morning scene.190 or 300 lb watercolour  
  paper are a beautiful support for pastel, providing a wonderful and interesting texture. Just  
  remember, the tooth does not hold as much dry pigment as sanded papers. It can take  
  liquid applications as well, but taping the paper is recommended to avoid rippling. 

 


     

 

 

 

 
 


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