Mixed media with pastel

Mixed media with pastel.

I began this painting as a demonstration for my Friday pastel group. I was hoping to inspire them with the possibilities available using mixed media with pastel.

I worked on salmon coloured pastelmatt and sketched out the basic layout of the composition in brown pastel. I didn’t want to go into any detail at this point, I wanted to be free to splash the paint, around without worrying about loosing the drawing.

I had gauche paints available, some powder pigments, powdered marble, brushes and a spray diffuser.



Once this under painting had partially dried, I added some more paint and began working with the pastels to establish my main light and dark areas and to define certain forms. In some places I wanted to work against the paint effects and in others I wanted to keep them. To maintain the energy, it’s vital not to overwork the pastel details.

I was also interested in the range of colours I could use in this picture. the objects I had chosen were all variations of red so I intended to limit myself to violet on one end of the colour spectrum and orange on the other.

The jug was such a glowing vibrant red in my still life set-up, that I couldn’t resist going into it with intense pastel marks. I worked mostly with the side of the stick and kept the marks quite ‘chunky’.

I also wanted to give the jug and the apples more volume. maybe I regret going over the intense dark red/browns in the middle section of the still life.

This is the finished painting.

In the end I ‘cheated’ by introducing some cooler greens, greys and violet-blues. Sometimes it’s hard to know when to stop. I didn’t want to overwork the objects on the right hand side, away from the light source. I was also keen not to ‘pastel’ right over some of the nice painterly strokes and drips.


nature morte pastel

stages d’art midi Pyrenees. Penelope Milner


Penelope Milner


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