Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Jac ~ Our Cocker Spaniel

We had the grandchildren today and I didn’t get to paint. I rarely use pastels but I felt like a change today and did find a little time so I did a picture of our cocker spaniel “Jac” above for my own amusement. Painting a black dog can be a bit more testing than a multicoloured dog. You have to rely on tone for definition so it is a good excercise in composition as well as observation.

Pastels blend easily and can make very soft atmospheric pictures. For landscapes clouds, and portraits of a reasonable size they are a very good medium. The downside is that you are limited by the size of work and the amount of detail you can get into a picture. The other downside for me is that they are so messy and the result is not permanent. The pastel lodges in the paper and can be easily dislodged or smudged.

You can use fixative but this alters the texture and softness of the picture. So if you wish to keep the picture the only real alternative is to mount it and frame it. There are a lot of very fine artists who use pastel and obviously don’t mind the limitations but for me paints are a more flexible medium. By sticking to one or two mediums you are also more likely to become reasonably proficient at them.

There is a Zen saying, “The hunter who chases two rabbits will catch neither.”

That’s why I only use oils and watercolours for my work.

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