My drawing of Eoin Morgan batting in the blast for Middlesex came as a result of wanting to produce another pastel cricket drawing. I love working in pastel from time to time but not all the time. There are restrictions that prevent me from working with them all the time. Firstly the mess, pastels are very dusty, the dust gets everywhere even my dog Charlie doesn’t like being in the studo when I’m using pastels and secondly colour matching is tricky, with oil paint I can mix up any colour I want but with pastels I’m restricted to the colours I have. Yes, I could buy even more pastels but since I only use them occasionally it doesn’t seem worth it.
I also wanted to use a panel that I had used for another pastel drawing. I had abandoned this drawing because it just wasn’t working with pastels and ended up painting it instead – check out Mrs Patmore, female blackbird painting.
Preparing the Panel
For this pastel piece I decided to use a piece of Gatorfoam that I had abandoned part way through. Because I already had a drawing on it that wouldn’t completely wipe away I needed to cover it up. I decided to let my hair down with acrylic paints and pastel primer to create a lively background that would enhance the painting and cover the background. Mixing about half and half of pastel ground with any colour or acrylic paint.
Mixing the ground and colours
I used a palette knife and small palette to mix, here is a lime green colour with about half and half of the pastel ground.
Fixing the background to the panel
Normally I use sponges – pastel sponges to apply the pastel primer to a panel, with lots of circular movements.
In this case because I wanted to cover the previous painting and create a lively background I decided to use a palette knife and generously apply it to the panel.
It wasn’t just random, I’m mindful of where the background is in relation to the figure.
Once the background was dry – and it took longer than I thought with all the texture that the knife used, then I could start with a dark brown to plot out where the figure is in the drawing and start to put in the biggest shapes.
The main problem that I had not thought about was the lovely texture that I had created with the background painting proved quite an issue for the pastel. Lots of bumps in all the wrong places made applying pastel to be quite tricky, something I would need to think more about next time.
Maybe keeping an area free of texture where I think the figure will go.
The second problem I had is a problem I always hit with pastels and that is colour matching. I can understand why pastel artists have so many colours. When it comes to drawing a sports kit obviously the colours have to be right, in this case I really struggled to match up the correct pink. At one point I even contemplated buying some more pink pastels but it was risky as telling colours from an online art shop is not easy. In the end I decided to stick to the pinks I had.
Continuing with my frustrations over the correct pink I hit on an idea, why not use my oil pastels. They are generally alot brighter than soft pastels but the problem is that they don’t mix well. Applying one on top of the other is problematic, the oil pastel will pull off the soft pastel and the soft pastel won’t stick to the oil pastel.
Anyway, using an extremely light touch I applied a pink oil pastel to key areas of his shirt just enough to get the correct colour across.
The Finished Piece
The finished piece is on a square panel (this is a cropped version) available to buy from my shop.
Click here to visit the piece in my shop.