Learning to Paint with Pastels

Hey Guys. Thanks for stopping by to check out my pastel painting learning curve. It is STEEP, believe me. As you may already know, I cycle through a lot of different arts and crafts. This week it will be one thing and the next week my head will be turned by something else. Well, I am now completely obsessed with pastel painting and how to do it. At least as far as how I can my paintings look any good.

To practice my pastel landscape painting while surrounded by natural beauty, Les and I packed up our art kits and headed on out to Granite Mountain. The sun was shining, but the air was a crisp kind of cold- still too chilly to take off our jackets. As long as we stayed in the sun all was well.

Sandra McCall painting at Granite Mountain, AZ
At the Granite Mountain day use area. We had the place to ourselves because of the cold. Works for us!

Important note! I know my friends. You will try to say something nice about my poor paintings. Do not go there! They are my first and are admittedly very bad. I’m posting them in sequence to share my learning experience. So, don’t say anything nice, just please give constructive criticism as to how I can work more loose and painterly. It is seriously appreciated. In spite of watching my favorite pastelists on YouTube, there is still something wrong. Ah well, practice, practice practice.

beginner pastel painting
This is the painting that I did while out. After I got home and studied it a bit, I knew that changes were called for. It’s OK, but those tree tops look too lined up. And, I don’t know- the painting did not have that vibrant loose look that I wanted. In actuality, those trees in the foreground were much taller with their winter branches way at the top.
Pastel painting in progress
I kind of wished that I had saved the first picture so that I could have a record of progress in my folder, but nope. Not me. I had to spray the original with workable fixatif to get more tooth and then just dived in right on top of the first painting. As it happens, I think that I like the underpainting here and should have just left it alone. Again. LOL
Final version pastel landscape painting
This is my final version and I’m leaving this poor piece of pastel paper alone. It somehow morphed into a nice spring day. Ah well, more practice and I may be able to control the pastels to make them stay in the season that I start out with.

I’m not happy with my final version, but at least I can see possibilities. Les and I are going out to Dead Horse Ranch this time. He’s packing up now while I’m goofing on the computer. Guess I’ll sign off and go help.

I’ll be sure to post the new learning and pastel experiments. Until then, Have a wonderful life.

8 thoughts on “Learning to Paint with Pastels

  1. I know you provide the disclaimer but sorry the pieces are wonderful. Think of how many of us have never tried to paint with pastels and how blown away we are with your amazing early works! So I am saying officially – WOW πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awe, thank you. But, really I’m trying to improve and I have every faith that I will get there if I keep trying. Seventeen years ago, Les and I moved out here from a very crowded, smoggy space. I’m still blown away by the big sky and the miles of wide open spaces that I now get to look at daily. It truly is wonderful to be outside painting or outside just sitting on the porch enjoying all of this incredible beauty. Talk about feeling blessed…. πŸ˜€


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