Saturday, 15 March 2014

Out of my comfort zone-cherries in pastels

cherries in pastels nic mclean nicseARTh
Cherries in pastels 11 x 9 inches
So, if you've been by recently then you know that I think I've found my medium in gouache and I defintely know my subject matter is all creatures great and small but sometimes it's good to challenge ourselves and step outside of our own little comfort zones. So, with that in mind,  I decided to try one of the challenges in the Society for All Artists website which was to recreate a still life of cherries in pastels.

I had a hoak through my art supply cupboard and lo and behold I still had the small box of pastels and the last few pages of a pastel paper sketchbook that I've had since school (that's over 25 years! )

Anyway I spent about 2 hours on this and I remembered exactly why I haven't used pastels since my school days - they are incredibly messy for one thing and that chalky feeling on my fingertips kind of sets my teeth on edge. 

More crucially though,  I feel like I have very little control over them and as someone used to adding lots and lots of tiny details to my paintings that was definitely a step outside of my comfort zone.

It was an interesting exercise though, both in using a medium I'm not very familiar or comfortable with and also in drawing a subject that I would never normally consider. 

I think I'm going to make it a regular exercise just to test my artistic mettle although I'll set myself a time limit of a few hours for each painting/drawing/whatever rather than the multiple sessions each of my paintings normally take.

I may even dig out the dreaded oils again. Who knows,  I may discover I can emulate the wonderful loose brush stroke-y style I admire if I'm restricted to completing a piece in just a few hours.

34 comments:

  1. Well, out of your comfort zone it may be, but this is a little masterpiece. I know just what you mean about the messiness and lack of control when using pastels, and I hate them for those reasons. I'm trying hard to loosen up but the pastels will stay in the cupboard. I admire your determination as well as your results.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is a wonderful piece and I never would have guessed it was pastels. I don't use them much but I remember how hard it was to get any detail! You did a great job!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, great work!!

    Smiles, Saskia :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I know exactly what you mean about pastels being messy and setting teeth on edge, I get that too!...Having said that, you have stepped outside of your comfort zone with huge success...I absolutely LOVE this piece of work.

    ReplyDelete
  5. These cherries looks great, and almost as if you want to eat them. Very well done!! It's great when you have found your medium to work with. I myself is hooked on watercolour.

    ReplyDelete
  6. this is very nice. i haven't used pastels since college … at home, i never felt like cleaning up the mess after! looks like you are an expert at all types of medium.

    ReplyDelete
  7. this is fantastic Nic- and I would never have thought this out of your comfort zone-I think you can work it with any medium you pick up:)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Cherries are exquisite ~ good for you for trying another medium ~ xxx

    artmusedog and carol

    ReplyDelete
  9. wow the cherries are splendid. I know what you mean about the chalky feeling. Pastels always have a dreamy quality which I love. visiting from sunday sketches.

    ReplyDelete
  10. well done, I love that chalky , messy feeling and no brushes to wash!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wonderful work, Nic! The end result certainly doesn't look like you didn't have much control...well done! I think I wouldn't like pastels either for all the reasons mentioned however I do love viewing pastel art.

    Have a beautiful week! xx

    ReplyDelete
  12. Lovely pastel piece! Texture and values look great!

    ReplyDelete
  13. wow look at the shine on them

    ReplyDelete
  14. All I can say is that it was time well spent, as this is gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  15. You use pastels beautifully!! I can't believe you haven't used them since school! I like them because I work in quite a messy way. The other day one of my friends thought I had had my hair highlighted, it was actually paint, thats how messy I get :) I like the change in subject matter too, it is hard to step outside our comfort zones, but in doing so we can learn so much! ( Please don't stop painting animals though ;) )

    ReplyDelete
  16. Nic, your pastel is beautiful. What you dislike is what I love. I love the chalk on my fingers and the fact that I can't get many details. Isn't wonderful that we are all so different.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Even though you were frustrated in the process, I think your final cherries still life is gorgeous. I love pastels, but it's definitely a matter of choice. Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Wow...you did an amazing job with these. I now what you mean about the texture on your fingers but the end result was truly worth it. Happy SS

    ReplyDelete
  19. Good for you! They cherries are amazing...pastels give me that same feeling! So good to work with different mediums even if you love one in particular. Can't wait to see what you do next. :) Thanks for sharing!

    Happy St. Patrick's Day and Happy Sunday Sketches!

    ReplyDelete
  20. It's good to experiment - I do that sometimes, but I feel so at home with oils now that they will probably always be my choice of medium. Fabulous job with the pastels! Those cherries are awesome!!
    It's funny that you like Gouache so much whereas I don't get on with them at all! :0)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Just commented but it disappeared! Si I apologize if this comes twice. I was saying how awesome your Pastel Cherries are! It's good to experiment but also to have one medium you feel really comfortable with. In my case that's oils, where as yours is Gouache! I don't get along with that at all! :0)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Yes, stepping out of one's comfort zone once in a while definitely is a good challenge. I just felt like trying out some pastels myself last weekend, after having seen some beautiful pastel paintings on someone's blog, but it was a bit of a disaster. I didn't like mess either, and the special pastel paper I used didn't work too well either, which was a bit frustrating. I like using pastels together with other mediums though, like white pastel for highlights together with charcoal and pencil. I'm working up the courage to give those oils a try at last. I've got everything I need now, so no more excuses. It will definitely be a challenge for me.
    Your cherries are looking great! I like the colours and shadings. My attempt went straight into the bin...

    ReplyDelete
  23. This may be out of your comfort zone but you did an amazing job, Nic. Wow! Thank you for sharing this week with us. Hope you're having a wonderful week! :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. This is wonderful and maybe you will step out of your comfort zone more often. :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Love your pastel cherries. I've only worked in pastels a few times. I find them too messy to work with in a small apartment.

    ReplyDelete
  26. They looks so good I'd eat them. :) I'm pretty sure you're good at any technique with any medium painting pretty much anything. :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. "and that chalky feeling on my fingertips kind of sets my teeth on edge": haha, very recognizable. I don't use pastels exactly for that same reason. And for the scratchy noise they make .... Your cherries look wonderful though. I wouldn't even have guessed they were done in pastel. Congrats on challenging yourself!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I haven't done much in pastel either, and that mess is one reason. I do love the sound they make in use though, it's an expected and controlled sound of making art. Your cherries do look wonderful and one can't notice you're out of your comfort sone. Very well done.

    ReplyDelete
  29. You are so funny...... our of your comfort zone???? My goshhhhh this is amazing, fantastic, realism at it's finest. The detail is astonishing. OK do you get my point? Wonderful Wonderful Wonderful art
    Nicole/Beadwright

    ReplyDelete
  30. WOW! Fantastic work! It think it's so good for all of us to force ourselves to do challenges like this one. You executed it beautifully! The lights and shadows make the cherries incredibly dimensional, as if I could reach in and pluck one out! (You wouldn't mind, would you?)

    (Oh, wait. Chalky cherries. Probably not too delish.)

    Go you!

    ReplyDelete
  31. The cherries look yummy! Great job of the highlights.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I always avoid using pastels because they are so messy! You have done a wonderful job with the cherries, you are right, I think it is good to take on challenges that are out of our comfort zone every now and then :)

    ReplyDelete
  33. Wow, amazing!
    Beautiful work Nic , as always.

    Happy Easter,
    Annabelle : )

    ReplyDelete
  34. I like to use pastels when I'm feeling like I'm getting too tight. I also have to have the patience to clean up mess and fix the drawing when done. I love your work and your sense of shape and color are amazing. I love these cherries. New zones are always fun to try.

    ReplyDelete

Your comments always colour me happy! Thank you for popping by.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...