Bottle and Apple; mixed media 13×9″

Pastel-pencil and watercolour on PastelMat card

I am not sure quite how this method came about, but it started with a pastel-pencil drawing. I have a liking for glass objects and to begin with my idea had been to draw the bottle in pastel-pencil, using the harder Conte range. As the drawing progressed I had considered colouring the glass in pale greeny-yellow pencil, using lightly-hatched strokes…..and also rubbing it gently with a finger to spread the pigment dust.

The thought came to me, why don’t I just put in a light watercolour wash and then draw over the top of it? I made up a pale yellow-green and applied it to the pastelmat card….and it is at this point that the wash took off across the surface and diffused into the pencil-lines, virtually uncontrolled.

By using a tissue, I found I could mop up the paint from areas where it was not required; and by leaving it to dry, I could then re-instate my pastel-pencil lines. This colour-wash provided a very interesting spontaneous feel; in contrast to the rigid pencil lines. I chanced my arm and, after finishing the drawing of bottle and apple, added further washes to the work to create an environment for them (i.e window-ledge and light source).

PastelMat, like Art Spectrum Colorfix paper, will accept wet media. The grainy surface behaves very much like a NOT watercolour paper, but the rate of diffusion is much faster….and also much more difficult to control. It requires a bold approach and a lack of fear. Colour-wash removal can in fact be done quite easily with a damp cloth….I’d suggest not using tissue because the toothy surface will collect paper fragments and make a mess. Staining colours such as permanent alizarin can be stubborn, but add some extra water and most of it will lift out.

I would like to use these surfaces for flower drawings/paintings; Polyanthus from a couple of weeks back is an example, although it has more watermedia in it than pastel-pencil.

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