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Friday, February 14, 2014

My Thoughts about Mark Making

'On the Edge of the Forest'           6x6          pastel           ©Karen Margulis
I never would have thought it was possible. How can a chunky stick of pastel make such a variety of marks?  Even more amazing, how can it make such delicate and tiny marks?  I would have thought I needed a finer tool such as a pastel pencil to make detailed marks.  But I have learned that it isn't the case.

Big pastels can make any kind of mark you want.  It just takes practice . And some fine motor coordination!

When I first picked up a pastel stick it felt a little strange and clumsy. What do I do with it? Do I use the tip or rub it on it's side. Then of course don't I just blend everything in? (that's a topic for another post) And the big question was how did an artist get small marks from a fat stick?

I learned by doing. I painted something every day. They were not always keepers but with each painting I developed more control over the fat stick. I learned just how much I needed to lift it off the paper to get the size mark I wanted. I played with my marks. I tried linear strokes and chunky strokes. I learned how to blend without my fingers using just the pastel.  I watched other artists but I really learned what worked best for me by Painting. A lot.

Now it is second nature to me. I can make any type mark I want with any size pastel stick. My marks come natural to me and are unique to me.  If you are new to pastels I encourage you to paint often and let your own way of making marks emerge. Embrace it and practice!  And if you are experienced....go outside of your comfort zone and try another way of making marks for a fun change of pace. You never know what you might come away with.

I will be on a cruise this week with limited (and slow and expensive internet) I have some posts planned so depending on the internet connection I hope to keep posting some while I am away!

1 comment:

robertsloan2art said...

Oh absolutely! I couldn't believe it when I first started either. I'd been selling good portraits in pencil, colored pencil and charcoal for some time. But I needed to be able to do them fast enough a tourist wouldn't get bored and wander off before it was done.

So I bought pastels and tried them and it totally amazed me. I did use hard pastels for eye details for a long time but they freed me up and went so fast!

Pastels are all about instant gratification. It's very easy to paint often! Unless sick but that's something else. If I am up to painting at all, pastels are great.