Techniques for Great Pastel Paintings

Pastel paintings can have a soft, impressionistic appearance that appeals to the eye. When you paint pastel paintings, you are actually combining the skills of both painting and drawing. A few tips on using pastels may make all the difference in your work.

Tips and Techniques for Pastel Paintings
When using pastels, the pastel sticks themselves become the painter's brush. Using different parts of the sticks will result in different strokes in your work. For example, using the tip of your stick will result a linear, drawn appearance, but using the sides of the stick can fill in large areas with color. The amount of pressure that you use on your stick will affect the appearance of your strokes.

If you are trying to blend or smudge your pastel colors together, the results may not be what you anticipated. This is one of the places where drawing comes in. Instead of blending the colors, try drawing the colors next to each other. This can create an optical illusion in which the colors appear to be blended. Another blending technique is to draw the colors on top of each other.

If you use a lot of black or gray in your work, you may end up with a piece that appears to be too dark or "muddy." Instead of using black or gray to create contrast, use individual colors to contrast each other.

You might also want to try pastel pencils to create detail and shading. Pastel pencils can be used just like regular pencils.

When you are working, remember that you don't have to paint exactly what you see. You are using pastels to create an impression of what you are seeing. Experiment with your sticks and pencils. Explore the world of colors that are available to you. Ultimately, you will find the techniques that best suit your artistic vision. 

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