Saturday, May 07, 2011

A Series Using Conte Pastel.....the Technique

"Miss Teagan"
size: 8 x 10 inches
copyright 2011 MaryAnn Cleary

The above drawing is a second in a series of portraits of my wonderful grandchildren. The technique used is a conte pastel in a few variations of sepia browns and a touch of black. My focus is always on the eyes as they are the soul of one's being. 

  • The Tools
    •  paper - my favorites are a Reeves BFK or toned MiTienes with the smooth side
    • various conte sticks and pencils 
    • a blending stump
    • paper towel / a cotton rag
    • a piece of leather chamois
    • erasers - a kneaded one and a soft, white one used as a pencil
The drawing is slowly developed in soft layers and then "fine" tuned. This technique is so much easier than dragging paints around the landscape or smelling up the studio. For me, the tools are a favorite toned, paper mounted to a board with some painter's tape. A few pastels in a couple of shades - these can be pencils and/or sticks. A kneaded eraser. A clothe for softening the edges and a small piece of leather chamois for pulling out and softening the tone. A couple of paper towels. A blending stump for fine tuning. And other types of erasers that are occasionally used. A razor blade for sharpening and sand paper for sharpening more.

All of these tools fit easily in a zip lock bag that is easily carried with me. In the evenings, I can sit beneath my color-adjusted, brilliant, daylight lamp and spend a few hours working mindlessly.