Sunday, March 03, 2013

Morning Delight Dance

"Morning Delight Dance"
pastel (handmade) on UArt paper mounted to gatorboard, unframed
size: 8 x 16 inch

This is my first attempt trying to utilize all of my handmade pastels. This painting is 95% done with those pastels. It is delightful to have beautiful gray tones in warm and cool temperatures that provide those subtleties that are my favorite part of painting.

With this pastel, I wanted the trees to just pop against a subdued and soft background. Everyday I see this little grove of trees on the other side of my dirt road at the end of my driveway. I wanted this painting to be all about those trees and how they dance in the morning sunlight on a crisp winter morning.

More on handmade pastel sticks:
Last week I put in another order for some new pigments for making pastels from Kremer. I really like their site as they also give the lightfastness ratings for the pigments along with the data sheet. Another site that I have used to order pigments is Sinopia. They have a wonderful selection, but it is more difficult to determine what exactly makes up the pigments. They did state in an email to me that they only sell pigments that are of the best quality and have excellent lightfastness, but the chemist/engineer in me wants to see the data. I do plan on taking a sample of each pigment that I have and putting a pigment sample on a piece of pastel paper, wetting it in with alcohol, taping half of the sample off to protect from sunlight and exposing the other half to a south window in my house. I will let them sit for a year and see what happens.

I also learned a new trick for dealing with those water-insoluble pigments that are also light in weight. When making handmade pastels, the mixes commonly used are water soluble. However, some pigments are not soluble in water. To fix this most pigments will wet-out in alcohol, but if they are light in weight (many of the organics compounds are), then mixing them with a little of the French chalk and letting the mix dry is suppose to help make them easier to use. After the mix is dry, it is crumbled up and used as the starting pigment. Apparently, the pigment dyes the chalk and this adds weight to the pigment and it is then more versatile for making pastels along with being able to mix with water. The pthalo blue pigments are a nightmare to work with due to the high tinting strength (everything turns blue) and their inability to mix with water and light weight. I hope to try this method on that pigment to see what happens.