Suanne Lewis Art Blog
Pastel "painting" is a completely different challenge than using acrylics or oils for me. I began experimenting with pastels this summer and was "hooked" immediately. I love the vibrancy of the colors and the ability to blend colors right on the surface of the work. The varying "hardness" of different brands of pastels makes the possibilities endless.
I had been working exclusively in acrylics for two years and painting mostly portraits, so it was a real change for me to begin with pastels concentrating on landscapes.
The biggest difficulty with pastel paintings is whether to "fix" them or not. I know pastel artists with many years success who swear by a certain fixative spray; others with just as much experience are adamantly against it. I have to admit I've tried both ways. One picture in my current gallery ("Autumn on the Wisconsin River") has been sprayed with a thin coat of a matte fixative successfully. You won't find another of my past pictures in the gallery though. That one was a portrait of a beautiful collie shepherd mix dog lying in a bed of bright autumn leaves. I had just finished the picture and was very pleased with the results since it was my first "dog picture". In my triumph, I picked up the can of spray fixative, sprayed away and watched in horror as my picture "disolved" and became a total loss within about 5 seconds. I have no idea what I did wrong, but you can bet that can is no longer in my studio.
Well, I did the picture again (because it was a commission piece) and the second time was better anyway...Great rationalization, don't you think?
Now I frame all my original pastel paintings as soon as they are completed. That way there's no danger of damage from inadvertant smearing.
In the future, I want to try some mixed media works too, but for now, I'm "pastel-ing".