Sunset Pastel Painting with Julie Davis

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Create a colorful sunset scene with pastels! Join our Facebook Group, the BLICK Creative Community, for a Sunset Pastel Painting Demo with BLICK’s own Julie Davis on 4/6 at 6 p.m. CST. Learn to paint with a limited palette of Blick Artists’ Soft Pastels on black paper. Discover how to determine sha...

Instructions

Preparation:

  1. Secure pastel paper to the hardboard panel using artists' tape so that the artwork area is 11" x 14".
  2. If you’re using an easel, position it so that that it tilts slightly forward. Place paper towels under your work space to catch any pastel dust that falls from the surface.
  3. Protect your hands using gloves, finger cots, or by applying the Invisible Glove coating. Steps:
  4. Using Cool Grey 4 (Deep Grey), draw lines that define the shore, embankment, and tree tops.
  5. Indicate where the setting sun is positioned behind trees using vertical strokes. Start with strokes of Yellow 3 (Medium Yellow) in the center, then make strokes of Cadmium Orange Hue 3 (Light Yellow-Orange) surrounding it.
  6. Leave lines of dark paper between strokes to indicate tree trunks. Moving in a circular fashion away from the strongest area of sunlight, use the same vertical strokes to add Orange 2 (Medium Yellow-Orange), then Reddish Purple 4 (Deep Magenta).
  7. In the sky area above the tree tops, create a gradation of colors using the side of your pastels. Apply colors horizontally in the following order: Raw Sienna 2 (Pale Orange), followed by Poppy Red 1 (Light Pink), followed by Reddish Purple 4 (Deep Magenta).
  8. Blend the gradation by stippling using a Le Pastelliste Brush in Size 12.
  9. Using Colour Shaper Flat Chisel Firm in Size 6, create random, diagonal x-shaped strokes, picking up color from the sky and depositing it in the unpainted areas of the tree tops. Repeat in the area of the sunset. This technique will create the illusion of small branches with light shining from behind.
  10. Add short strokes of Raw Sienna 2 (Pale Orange) and Poppy Red 1 (Light Pink) to create spots of light at the top of the trees. Moving to the left and right of the sunset, create vertical strokes of Reddish Purple 4 and Pthalo Blue Green Shade 3 (Light Blue) to indicate darker, cooler light coming between tree trunks.
  11. As before, use the Colour Shaper to alter the strokes that were just applied.
  12. Add vertical strokes of Autumn Brown (Reddish Brown) to the tree trunks in the area of the sunset to indicate ambient light on the trunks.
  13. Once the tree line and sunset are complete, lean the panel forward and tap on the back so that any loose pastel dust falls to the paper towels on the table.
  14. Begin painting the lake by defining the shore line with a horizontal line of Pthalo Blue Green Shade 3 (Light Blue). Use White to add a highlight to the shore just beneath the sunset.
  15. About half an inch below the shore line, use the side of the pastel to create vertical strokes directly beneath the sunset. Start with strokes of Yellow 3 (Medium Yellow) in the center, then make strokes of Cadmium Orange Hue 3 (Light Yellow-Orange) on either side. Leave lines of dark paper between and move to the left and right sides, adding Orange 2 (Medium Yellow-Orange), then Reddish Purple 4 (Deep Magenta).
  16. Move the Colour Shaper tool horizontally from one side of the paper to the other, pushing through the pastel strokes and creating the illusion of reflections on the surface of the water.
  17. Using the broad, flat side of the Pthalo Blue Green Shade 3 (Light Blue) pastel, very lightly create a wide, sketchy stroke on either side of the sunset colors. Repeat the horizontal movement of the Colour Shaper tool through the blue.
  18. Create a gradation that mirrors the colors of the sky at the bottom of the page. Using the side of the pastel, apply color horizontally in the following order: Raw Sienna 2 (Pale Orange), followed by Poppy Red 1 (Light Pink), followed by Reddish Purple 4 (Deep Magenta). Reddish Purple should be at the bottom of the page. Blend gradation by stippling, using the Le Pastelliste Brush in Size 12.
  19. Frame the pastel painting in an Air Float frame or spray with Lascaux fixative. Spray a light coat using sweeping, horizontal movements, then another coat vertically. Allow to dry for 10 minutes, then apply another coat in the same manner.