Thursday, August 6, 2009

Lab WIP - Day 2

I worked on this quite a bit yesterday but it doesn't look like it here. Pastelmat is much like ColorFix in that you sort of have to fill up some tooth before you can start to blend. The PastelMat color I'm using is white and the dog is actually mostly white even though she's a Yellow Lab. But, I can't really use the white of the paper like in watercolor. I need to lay down the white base in order to get the shading done later.

Getting a good base down is sort of slow going with pastel pencils. I ordered some of the Jack Richeson square semi-hard pastel sticks and hope they arrive soon. I'm hoping they'll bridge the gap between the pencils and soft pastels.

These Richeson sticks are much like the PrismaColor NuPastels except that they're supposed to be much more lightfast and archival. I've heard that the NuPastels fade very, very quickly so I've never been tempted to use them but a lightfast stick would have a definite place in my studio. So, I can't wait to receive them and may wait until they arrive before working more on this portrait.

One of the problems I'm having with this portrait is trying to erase the sketch lines. I normally make a sketch on inexpensive paper then trace my sketch onto the good paper. Then I erase the lines as I go if necessary. I don't know whether it's the white color of the PastelMat or the texture of it, but the lines are not erasing this time. I've used a kneaded eraser, a stick eraser and a gum eraser and the lines remain. They also don't cover well with the pastel. I'm out of workable fixative but think I need to go get some to seal these pencil lines. The lines aren't deep - it's not as if they're impressed or anything so I don't know how to deal with them at this point.

Still, I do like working on the Pastelmat and would buy it again, I think. I bought 4 sample pieces that are about 14 by 20 inches and think by the time I've used those, I'll have a good idea of the best way for me to work on this support.

I'll keep you posted!


Dors said...

I see what you mean about the pencils lines Jan. Did you try just pressing the kneadable eraser into the surface or maybe roll the eraser like a sausage and roll it back and forth on the support. I have never used anything but paper supports so I am not sure much help to you.
It sure is looking good though.
Hope this works out for you Jan.
Looking forward to the next update.

Teresa said...

Hi Jan,

I'm finally out of the blueberry bushes and trying to get caught up on my blog reading!

I see you've been productively busy! LOVE, LOVE The Egret. Wow! What a powerful, beautiful piece that is.

I've had trouble with lines not erasing well too. I was using pencil on Stonehenge and if I used a light cp it didnt' cover it. So now I used a light colored cp to transfer the drawing onto Stonehenge and I can erase or simply cover it.

Jan said...

Thanks, Dors. Yes, I warmed the kneadable eraser til it was really pliable and then tried it. I even got desperate earlier and tried one of my Mr. Clean erasers! Those things clean up everything but didn't make a dent in those pencil lines! And I've even used the Mr. Clean erasers on acrylic paintings with success!

Speaking of acrylics, I may take a page out of Jeanette's book and try to cover the lines with some acrylic ink if the new pastels I ordered don't hide them!

Jan said...

Thanks, Teresa. I'm sure you're glad to be finished with the blueberries but know you'll appreciate them this coming winter!

I've never had any problems with transferring before but will certainly pay attention in the future. When I transfer for watercolor paintings, I often use a water soluble transfer paper used by dressmakers. It's great because it just washes away. I may have to try that on the Pastelmat the next time. Thanks for the kudos on the egret, my husband likes it the best of all my paintings but he's an old salt from way back and I figured it was just the subject matter that he liked.