This is one of my favourite pastel pencil paintings and I thought it would be interesting explain some of techniques I used to produce these images. I have used sections of this painting in hundreds of demonstrations to art groups and the tree section to the top right side of the building is the most watched clip on my youtube channel.
There are so many areas for me to talk about so it will need several blogs to cover them all. Therefore in this blog I will start with the sky and work my way down in future blogs.
The first thing to mention is the tree line where it meets the sky just behind the building, this needs to be strong so as to show through the sky colours which would be rubbed in over them. This does not apply to the distant trees because they were added after the sky was completed on top of the sky colours. This is the reason that they appear to be farther away, a little trick you can only use with the pastel pencils.
I applied the usual 101 white generously to the whole sky area and rubbed well into the pastel paper. I then used 140 blue to depict the blue sky leaving the white as the clouds. Many students go wrong here by 1. not leaving sufficient white showing or 2. making the white clouds to regular instead of a random design. I then used a stronger blue, 143, but this was applied only to the top half of the sky and graded into the light blue below, compare ’A’ with ’B’ on the picture above. Remember that the ‘B’ colour extends right down to the forward trees, see arrow.
Once I am happy with the sky I add colours such as 230, 233, 103 and just a hint of 182 to add tone to the clouds, I use circular actions with the pencils as this better represents the cloud formation. 181 is then added very lightly to add shadow to the clouds and I often allow this to stray into the blue, see ‘C’ above.
Once I am happy with the sky I then carefully erase all the sky colours from the tree line so that when the tree colours are added they are not weakened by the sky colours, you can see what would happen if this was not done by looking the distant trees on the right. So it is now time to tackle what many students would feel is one of the hardest of landscape techniques – trees but that is another blog.
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