Bluebell Walk – Take 1

Well, I had the best of intentions and was hoping to have something ready for today. Sadly, in my naive enthusiasm, I messed up. Several times. So what was supposed to have been finished, is not. There follows a lengthy post to explain myself.

You see, I have this great soft pastel painting in my head and it needs to turn out exactly as it is in my head, the artists among you will know what I mean. The problem was that I didn’t have pastel paper in the house, so…..paper for acrylics has a rough surface, doesn’t it, mine does, anyway. I started painting, only to find it was eating the pastel sticks, while most of the pigment ended up on the floor and not on the paper. This is a close up, and no matter what tricks I tried, it ALWAYS ended up looking like this.

Bluebell Walk Fail 1

Bluebell Walk Fail 1

There was no point carrying on with it. The paper had a canvas print surface, which I thought would be good for pastels to find some grip on, but unfortunately it also had a smooth coating that prevented exactly that, – I have no idea why I didn’t come to that conclusion before I started. Talk about head in the sand. After filling the deepest recesses, the pigment just slid about on it with nothing to hang on to.

Bluebell Walk Fail 2

Bluebell Walk Fail 2

Starting over was really the only option, with appropriate paper from the local art supplier, lesson learnt – impatience is not clever. The second attempt got off to a reasonable start but it increasingly looked like certain colours weren’t going to last till completion on that large canvas. After acquiring a number of sticks at the local art shop, of the only, but reputable, make pastels they stock, which is different from my own ones, the painting progressed a little more. However, I was struggling to achieve the deep shadows that I needed, particularly as one or two of the sticks just weren’t playing ball, – being hard and scratchy and not at all like soft pastels, leaving very little pigment, if any, on the paper. Close to binning the whole project I put out a call for help on social media which luckily yielded results quickly, thanks to the talented Alanda.

Now, with the most velvety, buttery soft, delicious (the last two being Alanda’s description) soft pastels – I wish I had ordered some light ones, too, while I was at it – I feel I am finally getting somewhere, but all this has delayed things somewhat, having to fit it into our daily family life. So, in order not to disappoint altoghether I will do what I absolutely detest doing, which is let you have a sneek peek at my work in progress. This is a small section of the painting with a hint at the style of the whole work, if not the subject matter, but the clue is in the name ;-). I completely realise that it isn’t entirely how you would expect to use soft pastels, but the image in my head dictates that this is what it has to be. Wish me luck and I may have the whole thing for you next time – I hope you approve of what you see so far.

Bluebell Walk Take 1

Bluebell Walk Take 1


3 thoughts on “Bluebell Walk – Take 1

  1. It’s looking fabulous from what I can see Sonja! Good luck with the rest of the piece.. struggling to “guess what it is yet” πŸ˜‰

    • Me too at times, Adrian, but there’s hoping πŸ˜‰ It has taken much longer to gel together in some sort of a way, I almost gave up. But these new pastels I bought are the ticket for the job, definitely, so I hope the bluebells will go in as smoothly as the trees are doing now.

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