A Charcoal and Pastel Sketch

The View through the Window

Good morning everyone. I have literally just finished this sketch. (And wiped all the pastel chalk dust off the table! ) As you can see, I made a charcoal and pastel sketch of the view through my window. Well, I have distorted the perspective slightly. But, your eye should travel down the garden, over the fence and the lovely, old brick wall. Then you get a glimpse of the rather fine sandstone office building to the left. And one of the small trees in my crowded shrubbery garden is featured, dominating the space. Actually, it’s an overgrown pyracantha, very hacked about over the years, in an effort to keep it in its place!

To be honest, I sketched this rather impetuously , and I don’t claim to have any skill with pastel painting. You see, I had been browsing the net and I found a great post by kestrelart, all about sketching quickly outdoors. The artist very generously described trying charcoal for capturing the scene and then adding colour with pastel. Or, watercolour and also spraying the paper in some places and leaving others dry. What fun! In fact, I couldn’t wait to try it out. By the way, does any one else use these materials together?

You can see how well the artist uses this technique if you look at his latest post here. As for me, I’ll keep on practising and I’ll definitely take charcoal and pastel out with me next time I go out plein air sketching.

A Charcoal and Pastel Sketch of the Camelia Bush

The View through the Window – a closeup

Here I have attempted to paint the camelia bush – it flowered really well this year. However, we’ve been having some late frosts recently and, at the moment, the blooms are partly brown and crispy! But, this is all part of the trials of life as a gardener, as some of you will know!

4 Replies to “A Charcoal and Pastel Sketch”

  1. Beautiful spring view! I like the textures. Pastels & I don’t mix well (sneezing). Once, just because it seemed like a genius idea (😂😂😂) I mixed them with acrylic paint. Probably someone more skilled than I could probably make that work but for me it ended up looking like colorful scrambled eggs.

    YOUR piece is lovely! 👏♥️👏

    1. Thank you so much, Robin! I think you probably need a very strong, simple composition to make this work. There doesn’t seem to be much room for improvisation once you have started. I did feel that I couldn’t blend the subtle colours I wanted – I’ve not got enough experience in pastels, I think. But I’ve started on a big acrylic painting of the same scene now to get it right!

  2. I love the effect of pastel, the scumbly impressionist scatter of light, but I’ve never done any; same problem as Robin noted above I think 😊 Closest I’ve come to the same effect is via adding fine marble dust to either acrylic or oil paints, at least in terms of creating a matte light scatter in the colors. Next closest is using white gouache on watercolor in dabs straight from the tube, letting it skip across the watercolors. Yours I think works rather well! 😊

    1. Thank you so much! Perhaps you should give pastel a try. The marble dust sounds interesting, I never tried that.

Let me know what you think !