Playing with Pastels

I think I have found a new art medium that is just as much fun as drawing with graphite.  I was looking for another art medium where I can work with colors.  Something that I could cover the large areas of paper.  Quickly and easily.  PASTELS!

I was looking online and found an inexpensive set of pastels.  I am a person who firmly believes “you get what you paid for”, but I found a really good deal on a set of 24 Prismacolor Nupastel sticks for under $12.

So, I gave them a try.  All I can say is Wow!


I worked on layering the colors.  I actually went from light to dark values on this apple and then applied some white for the highlights.


Does this look familiar?


Remember I had taken a picture of a still life from class (drawing explorations)?   I have been using it when I practice with different art mediums.

I had an enjoyable time using the Nupastels.  More to come!

Paper used:  Kona toned paper (11″ x 14″)

A Few Practice Drawings

I took a picture of a floral pitcher that I had sitting on my mantle.  It was the shape of the pitcher more than the floral design on it that spoke to me and said “draw me”.  Well, the floral design was keeping me from drawing the darker tones of the pitcher correctly.  So I squinted.  Oh, there’s a shadow on the handle.  You get the picture.

Here’s my graphite interpretation:


Then I decided that I needed a charcoal version of the pitcher.  I squinted some more and produced this:


I left the charcoal lines in this drawing to show the contrast better.  Otherwise, I would have smeared it to soften between the light and dark areas.

Before I decided to take a class this year, I was making a few attempts at drawing.  Here’s a barrel done in graphite:


I have always been fascinated with pictures of glassware.  I never thought I would venture into drawing it.  I studied a few pictures I took over the years and figured it could not be too hard to draw.  Kind of like draw what you see.  Right?

With that in mind, here’s my rendering from my picture:


I still need quite a bit of practice with drawing perspectives and mostly with circles and ovals.  The only way to conquer this is to keep drawing and learning.

Papers used:  Canson sketch paper

Peppers Anyone?

My plan is to draw/sketch from the many pictures I have taken in the Caribbean.  I have too many to count in my stack of “to draw in the future”.  Many of them are landscape pictures from the beautiful beaches I have visited and some are from my snorkeling adventures.  I will eventually draw all my favorites.  I draw from my own pictures that way I do not have to worry about copyrights.

In the meantime, here’s a drawing of peppers from a market in Grand Cayman:


When I first saw these peppers, I was drawn to how they were displayed, the odd numbers in the group, and the brilliant colors.  It is hard to visualize the colors when the drawing above shows only my graphite pencil.  Here’s a picture of my source photo with my drawing:


Remember I had mentioned in a past post about re-drawing favorite still life or scenes?  I have a feeling this photo will be reused for other future drawing experiments.

Paper used:  Canson sketch paper

A Flower

Personally, I think flowers are a difficult subject to draw.  I have a few hundred flower pictures in my archive.  When I get ready to draw, I always pull out a flower picture first.  It could be the composition that catches my eye or the the colors.  Then I put it back in my stack and pull out another picture not related to anything floral.

Today, I decided to grab a flower picture and just draw it.  I started with a loose outline of the flower.  I then sketched in the darkest values first.  The background came next.  I could have done more, but less is better.  I like how this one came out.  My motto:  Just Do It!


I left my remaining loose outlines on the paper.  That way you can tell where I started from and it also lets your imagination run wild as to how you would finish the flower.

Paper used:  Canson sketch paper


Personal Drawings: A Tropical Fish

I’m in a lull where I’m not taking any art classes for a few weeks.  I am making a point to practice during the evenings and on weekends.  Time permitting.  I have a lot of photos that I have taken and I have spent some time going through them.  The ones I have selected to draw, I have them printed on my Epson printer on 5″x7″ photo paper.  This size paper is big enough to see the details and still small enough that I can stick it on the corner of my drawing board while I sketch/draw.  The 4″x6″ photo paper is too small to see any details, but I will print a few of this size for quick references and they are small enough to carry in my purse for when I want to draw-on-the-go.

I have a lot of tropical fish pictures I have taken from my snorkeling adventures in the Caribbean.  I thought today would be a good time to get out my graphite pencils and do a drawing of a Blue Tang:


Drawing with graphite pencils is my first choice and favorite art medium to use.  I do like to experiment with color and I am still learning to use my color pencils.  I am also glad to have had the opportunity to experiment with color pencils in my Drawing Explorations class back in May.  I thought it would be a great idea to redraw my Blue Tang drawing in color:


This drawing is still a work in progress.

Here’s another drawing in the works:


Papers used:  Canson Sketch paper

Day 1: Charcoal Drawing – Intro & Warm Up

After dabbling with charcoal in my Drawing Explorations class, I decided to sign up for the Charcoal Drawing class held at the same local art center.  I liked how drawing with charcoal created some of the boldest and darkest lines/shapes I have ever created.  I also was intrigued by how quickly I could cover my drawing paper and created something that was not perfect, but art.  I know that sounds weird, but I tend to draw realistic versus abstract.  As in “what I see” is “what I want to draw”.  Realistically.

I’ve spent many years taking pictures and I have thousands of images.  My goal has been to make drawings from my pictures.  First, I do not have to worry about copyright issues.  The images are mine.  Second, I wanted to try different art mediums.  I tried on my own, but found I had basic skills and wanted to learn more and push myself.  This is where taking art classes come into play.

I was excited about taking this class.  Every night for a week, I would be drawing for a few hours a night.  How cool is that?

I was introduced to Anna, a charcoal artist.  I did not realize until the second night, that this was her first time teaching.  More on that later.

Anna had us do warm up drawing exercises.  We all sat around a table.  Anna had placed an apple in the center of the table.  She gave us instructions on how to draw and then gave us 60 seconds to draw the apple.  After each warm-up exercise, Anna would change the lighting on the apple.  Three warm up exercises later, we had three apples drawn.


We learned to initially draw what we saw.  We then learned to draw shapes based on dark values.  Next we drew just the dark shadows around the apple and the shadows on the apple itself.  Tonight was the night to learn many charcoal drawing techniques.

The last technique we learned was Subtractive drawing.  Basically, I covered my drawing paper with compressed charcoal.  Yes.  I took the flat side of my charcoal and just went back and forth across the paper.  After I had drawn a huge black rectangle, Anna gave me an eraser and told me to draw the apple that was used as a still life display on the table.

I looked at her for help.  She quickly demonstrated on a scrap of paper.  Once I saw what she was creating with an eraser, I set about to do the same on my own paper.  Here’s the end results:


I took my black Scholar triangular shaped eraser and started erasing edges to create the shape of the apple.  I then created the highlights I saw from the still life by erasing inside the apple.  My drawing still looked a bit flat.  I erased an edge at the bottom of the apple to create a shadow are where the apple was sitting on.  I also took the flat side of my eraser and started to erase from edge of the apple to the edge of my paper.

Practicing for the Charcoal Class

I am anxious for my next class to start.  We will be using a variety of charcoal that will be supplied in class.  So, I do not have to worry about what to bring with me.  Paper will also be provided.

Practicing is always a good thing for me.  I learn about the drawing qualities of the medium, how it behaves on paper, how light or dark, and how fine or broad are the lines/strokes.

Here’s a quick sketch of a place setting from a picture I took at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyard:


I just realized I should post my photograph as well so you can see how well I’m drawing.  Good or bad.  I will be back with a picture.