“Summer Vase”: pastel 14×10 inches

Here’s one more before the English Bank Holiday break. Again continuing with the hatched-lines underpainting using pastel-pencils. This one perhaps not quite so successful in respect of the underpainting, since the overall tone of the picture is somewhat darker than “Pewter Mug”. That latter was done on white Pastelmat card and I did the same with Summer Vase.

As it happens, the tooth on white pastelmat card is not as sharp as on other colour card. It is quite tricky to layer soft pastel on it and in Summer Vase I needed more pastel to intensify the yellow colours of the flowers. The picture was begun with hatched lines of pastel-pencil to create the main areas of light and dark; the vase was outlined in, the flowers drawn and the light coming from the window hatched in pale yellow and pinks. From there I glazed softer pastels over, to make the pinky-purple flowerheads and the grey-blue backdrop. The “core” of green foliage was scumbled in with several green mixes and softened by an occasional light finger-rub or hatching over lightly with a harder grey-blue pastel. The yellow flowers needed a more intense input of soft pastel, using yellows from both Unison and Daler-Rowney ranges. The brown markings were made with a deep reddish-brown from Unison.

On the right, a rather nice creamy-yellow Unison provided the sunlight, glazed over the hatched pastel-pencil lines. The vase had some subtle reflections in its pottery surface and would have been a nice subject for oils; in this instance I made the various coloured patches with hatching, followed by glaze-over with soft pastels. The dark reflection was rather too much like a dark hole, so it was glazed lightly with a purple-grey and grey-blue to break up the shape a little.

NB the line you can see going across the lower half of the picture is not really there; I had to scan the painting in two halves and join the images together, which often leaves a faint joining-mark.

I am finding that this hatching technique shows through the softer pastel and breaks the top colour up, giving an impressionist mix of many colours, rather than a solid slab of one single shade. I’ll be carrying on exploring the method and seeking suitable subjects.

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