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Playing with pastel pencils: test #3. Learning from my frog mistake I went a little bit bigger (but I think not big enough! This is 9×9″

What I learned:

  1. I need to slow down doing the backgound and get it nice and smooth.
  2. The stabilo pencils are water soluble and going lightly over it with a water wash once I’ve got some pastel down helps fill in the gaps were it may not be making good contact with the textured paper.
  3. If I want really bright colors maybe I should use a white paper
  4. Either I don’t like the spray fixative or I’m not using it right. The fixative made all the colors darker, made areas with only light pastel vanish, and made some heavy chalk lines in my underpainting stand out. Oh – it also revealed some lines from my pencil sketch! Working over the top. of the fixative felt a bit scratchy.

Since the fixative caused so many problems I did a substantial amount of work over the top of it. It left some gummy patches so my background is not as smooth as it was, but it did really let me punch up the color and rework the spots on the feathers. Looking at it now, there is some more I could do, but now I’ve got it under some glass to protect it.

2 thoughts on “Kingfisher

  1. The post-fixative has a nice, sharp quality to it. You may be learning, but the result is lovely.

    1. Thanks. I remain undecided about it: on the one hand it gives a fresh surface to work on and that means that new layers I put down go right on top without blending with the layers below. That’s the sharpness you are seeing. But it also makes everything under it so grainy that I HAVE TO go over it all again at least once to smooth it out. I might try blocking in a base color, then adding fixative, and then doing all the finish work on top. Or maybe I should learn to get it right in one pass.

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