Technicolour Hummers

So I have this love-hate relationship with soft (chalk) pastels.  I finally splurged and bought a decent set after drooling over the luscious colours in Brandy’s Fruits Gone Wild Series.  Seriously sumptuous colours.

The first time I used them, I loved the saturation and the blending.  The second time I used them was a bit of a disaster.  I don’t like disasters.  They disturb me.  I like things to go right the FIRST time.  And the second.  I’ve been known to quit altogether if I don’t “get” something right away.

Another aspect of the “hate” part of the relationship is how messy they are.  That powder goes everywhere.  I learned a few things this time around that helped a lot.

Firstly, I wiped my hands down with paper towel a lot.  That minimized the smears where I didn’t want them.  These little sketches are only studies, but I still didn’t want big blotches of colour everywhere.  Secondly, I used q-tips to blend some of the smaller areas.  I had tried them before and they just removed all the colour.  This time I barely tickled the surface with them and found they were lovely for moving the powder around and manipulating the colour.  Lastly, I have discovered that when it comes to pastels, a kneaded eraser is a girl’s best friend.   It was terribly handy for cleaning up areas where I’d smooshed outside of the lines.

The first thing I did was just block in the colours.  This is where I fell in love with these luscious sticks of pigment.  I found out on the first one that I need to be careful what colours I try to blend but this medium is dynamite for just getting big swaths of colour onto the piece quickly.

After I put the colour on, I sprayed them with a Matte sealer.  As I said last time I used this, I really need to get a different brand as I’m not thrilled with what it does to the paper, but it’s what I had on hand.  It did the job of sealing the powder so it won’t gum up my pens just fine, but I’d hesitate to use it on a project piece.

All that was left now was to add a bit of detail with some ink.  I use Staedtler Pigment Liners that are Archival and Acid-free.

These have worked out nicely as a way to experiment a bit before committing to a full-sized piece.  I’m definitely going to be doing some more work with hummingbirds.

As a final note, I’m not going to be posting regularly on Fridays anymore.  Our Fridays are becoming increasingly busy so I need to cut myself a break and not fret so much about not having a post because life has intervened.  Conversely, if I manage to get something cool finished on a weekend, I just may post it then.

So I’ll see you next week.  Maybe with a hummingbird or two in-tow.  Have a wonderful weekend!

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2 responses to “Technicolour Hummers

  1. Good job Jan. I love that as much you hated chalk pastels last week, that you went back to them and had complete success.

  2. Pretty!! Love the detail…. I thought that this post would be about cars lol 🙂

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